The Evening Dances

With late dancing every night it was like Herrang-On-Sea 

With eight consecutive nights of dancing, Frankie XC was overflowing with good times and good music. Seven aboard ship and a final Saturday party at The Italian American Club of Hollywood meant that no night was left undanced.

And of course, there were themes. Sunday night was Pirates of The Caribbean, Tuesday was Cross Dressing and Friday night was Oscars Night. Throw in the ship's formal nights and that added up to a pretty complex frock strategy.

The was a regular DJ music dance on the opening night and Monday, a Big Birthday Party on Wednesday and Cabaret Night (yup, you can't escape having one of those!) on Thursday night.

The guest group for the cruise was The Lavay Smith Band, which played on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. 

Pirates Of The Caribbean

Some outstanding outfits were on show at the first themed night. Leading the way, naturally, was the birthday boy. 

Frankie the pirate
Pirate Frankie about to go plundering

 The dancing was interrupted by a competition to judge the best costumes - one for the pirates, one for the maidens. Although some maidens dressed as pirates. It all got a bit confusing at times.

Cross Dressing Night

Apparently Frankie loves dressing up as a woman. Not many people know this. But more do now. Special mention also for Ryan and Jenny, who really pushed the boat out for this one.

Caribbean Princess
Chazz (left) and Frankie on Cross Dressing Night

The Birthday Bonanza

This was nothing short of a fantastic night, with on screen videos, tributes, a show and a huge cake. It started in the main dining room with a big ovation for Frankie when he arrived. This was followed by some strange acapella singing by the Swedish contingent.

After dinner it was all down to Club Fusion for the main event. 

The Cake before
The cake as it arrived

The Cake after!
After 200 Lindy Hoppers had a bite

There was a full-scale cabaret (as opposed to a miniature one), that featured Catrine Llundgren, The Harlem Hot Shots tap team, Sing's Birthday Troupe, Ryan and Jenny doing a wonderful Charleston routine, and a Big Apple by the teachers.

There were also featured spots for Norma Miller, Chazz Young and Dawn Hampton, who brought the the house (or ship) down with her intepretaion of Bhangra.

Frankie's friend Scotty was dressed as a mailman for the evening, and dutifully delivered all the cards that had arrived. Well, delivered may be too strong a word. He walked up to Frankie and threw them on the floor!

Frankie got up and really did dance with 90 women. The Lavay Smith Band played Shiny Stockings several times, and the whole process took around 20 minutes. Frankie then followed that by asking for, and dancing to, two choruses of Jumpin' At The Woodside.

The man is indestructible!

Cabaret Night

 Thursday night was Cabaret Night. But the ship's schedule had something very tempting: a Champagne Dance Party! So a (very) few of us snuck off to the atrium and indulged in some wild dancing and free champagne. Well - wouldn't you?

Champagne waterfall
Champagne waterfall in the atrium.

 After the freebies had been guzzled, it was down to Club Fusion for The Remains Of The Cabaret. Astonishingly, Lennart Westerlund had been chosen as Master of Ceremonies, and he was ably assisted by a three-foot animated flamingo.

Lennart and flamingo
Lennart and flamingo. The flamingo is on the left.

 There some very nice turns in the second half. Joan played a beautiful classical piano piece. Bill Borgida gave us some Appalachian Clog dancing. Three gals got together for some Andrews Sisters nostalgia, and the arrival of Kelle Johansson indicated that there was going to be some rock 'n' roll in the house tonight!

Andrews Sisters
'The Andrews Sisters'

Kelle Johansson
Kelle rocks out

 Oscars Night

The last night on board ship was a fabulous outdoor event on deck 15. You could dress as a guest or as a character from one of Frankie's favourite films. He went as Robin Hood, the Errol Flynn version being tops with him. He was partnered by Judy Pritchett in a huge ballgown and fetching accompanying wig.

Also on deck was The Lavay Smith Band, who opened the evening with some fine music. 

Robin Hood
Lucie Robinson, Frankie as Robin, Andrew Winton

 Then it was time for the awards ceremony. The categories were introduced by MC Manu, who thought that Frankie had come dressed as Peter Pan. When Jenny Thomas pointed out he was Robin Hood, Manu recovered magnificently by saying "What do I know? I went to Pirates Night as a software pirate. I had illegal copies of Windows 95 in my pocket!"

Dawn Hampton won the award for the best turn for her Bhangra performance at Frankie's birthday. Then it was the Lifetime Achievement award, presented by three of the people who rediscovered Frankie in the early 80s: Ryan, Steve and Lennart. Frankie accepted the award and gave fulsome thanks to all three, referring to them as "my sons". Then he made a comment about Steve's mother and a mock fight broke out.

Dawn Hampton
Andrew Winton with Dawn Hampton

Lavay Smith
Lavay Smith sings her heart out

The evening ended very sedately with some riotous dancing to the band and DJs. Catrine then said "As we are in America, we must end the party by jumping in the swimming pool!" And before you could say "There may be some safety implications here", the organisers Elliot, Christine and Jodi were in, followed by Catrine, Bill Borgida and even Judy Pritchett in full ball gown and wig.

It was all very 20s Hollywood and highly unsanitary.

July 2004 Andrew Winton.

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