Be the Player at the Polo Match

June 20, 2011

With the summer season here, what better way to embrace the D.C. social scene than by attending a polo event? Never been? Well here is a quick how-to guide on breaking into the polo scene and becoming a polo-ite with ease and class.

Origins and Rules of Polo

Polo originated in Northern Persia around 600 BCE, but became the game we know today in Northern India in the 19th century. The word polo comes from the Indian word “pulu” which is the name of the wood from which the ball was made. Polo can be played either on a large grass field or in an enclosed area. A full game consists of six chukkas, or seven and a half minute long periods of play. Players score goals, located at opposite ends of the field, and after each goal, teams switch sides. The four players per team are designated by their jersey numbers. Player number one is offense and player two covers both offense and defense. Jersey number three is saved for the best player: the quarterback and the playmaker. Player four defends by keeping the ball up field with long, accurate hits. There are three-minute breaks between each chukka, and a five-minute halftime for divot stomping.

Stomping Divots

The best part about being a spectator at a polo match is that you get to participate and socialize with the players. During halftime, spectators get to stomp the chipped away pieces of turf back into the field. Players frequently join their spectators for divot stomping, taking time to entertain and mingle.

Polo Fashion

Summer fashion will follow you to the polo field. Base your outfit on a whimsical romantic flirting with a preppy style, and lots and lots of white. White linen shorts, white structured blazers, white crop dresses, white ruffle blouses… White is in! Show off your summer legs with some gold wedges; heels will only sink into the turf and wedges will keep you walking above the ground. To compliment the white, accessorize with leather and gold. Knee high riding style boots are always a classic, and gold statement jewelry will sparkle in the sun. To keep the sun out of your eyes and on the polo ponies, hats are a must; fedoras and dramatic floppy hats will get the job done. If you need some color in your fashion life, mix in a preppy color piece like a navy polo or a pastel pleated skirt. A great pair of sunglasses that compliment your face will complete your outfit.

Happy Polo Hour

Many polo-ites never leave their seat without their champagne flute, but there are more than just bubbles to tickle your nose on the sidelines. Mimosas and Bellini’s are a classic cocktail and a tasty alternative. Watermelon mojitos are breaking out in the summer happy hour scene as the new ‘it drink’: something fresh to keep you cool. However, nothing tops the Polo Cocktail: one ounce gin, one tablespoon of lemon juice, and one teaspoon of orange juice. This drink sends the message that you are a serious divot-stomping polo-it.

Players and Ponies

For the time in between the chukkas, chat about the important part of polo: the ponies and the players. Nicholas ‘Nic’ Roldan, grew up in the life of polo. His father played for the Sultan of Brunei in Southeast Asia. Nic is currently the captain of Prince Harry’s charity polo team Sentebale, and a model for Wihelmina Modeling Agency. According to the World Polo Tour Player Rankings, the current leading polo player is Juan Martin Nero from Argentina. His 2011 highlights include a U.S. Open Championship and Finalist at the USPA Gold Cup. Of course there is the beautiful Nacho Figueras, model and top ranked polo player. He plays on the Black Watch Polo Team and frequently models for Ralph Lauren’s Black Label. 2010’s American Polo Horse Associations top ranking pony was Dolfina Noruega, with winning performances in the U.S. Open, Pacific Coast Open and many other shows.

D.C. Polo

Great Meadows Polo Club is only an hour away and offers the perfect atmosphere for the up-and-coming polo-ite. Every Saturday night, weather pending, Great Meadows presents Twilight Polo, open to spectators to wine, dine, and enjoy an evening of polo. They also host weekly summer events such as Girls Night Out and Latin Dance Night. From lists of events to social memberships and even polo lessons, Capitol Polo Club is a great place to start on the polo scene. Located about an hour away from Georgetown, Capitol Polo sports games that members and public can attend.

Great Meadows Polo Club: The Plains, VA,

Capitol Polo Club: Poolsville, MD,

Polo Events

These are some upcoming events in the D.C. area to start your polo summer off. Contact the Polo Club for more information about each event.

Great Meadows Polo Club

– Twilight Polo: Every Saturday Night

– Capital Hospice Cup/College Night: June 18

– Disco Fever: June 25

– Military Appreciation Night: July 2

– Girls Night Out: July 9

– Hawaiian Beach Night: July 16

Capitol Polo Club

– Commus Sky Polo Tournament: June 18-19

– 4 Goal Club Tournament: June 25-26

– BBQ & Fireworks: July 4

– Eastern Circuit Constitutional Cup: July 9-10

– USPA 2 Goal Master Cup: July 16-17

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CityDance Ensemble Takes its Final Bow

June 17, 2011

The locally beloved CityDance Ensemble was forced to shut down their professional dance company and their avant-garde co-founder and artistic director, Paul Gordon Emerson, submitted his resignation in accordance with the closing. According to the Washington City Paper, CityDance could not fiscally support their contemporary professional dance entity anymore. Also, none the professional dancers have renewed their contracts in following with the collapse of the performing entity.

A strong competitor to the longer-established Washington Ballet, CityDance alluded to having everything going for them- talented dancers, tours all over the globe, and local buzz from raving reviews. Yet trouble maintaining a large enough audience and donor base brought the company to its knees under the weight of the current economic downturn.

With a diminishing return on production and not enough sales, the dance production company was quickly running out of cash. In an interview with the Washington City Paper, Alexandra Nowakowski, executive director of CityDance, commented that the hype of the company’s success had masked lurking financial issues. She continued to comment on how CityDance’s professional company lacked a strong donor base, and due to the recent fiscal crisis budgets were not being met.

Emerson has been with the company since its inception in 1996 and became artistic director in 2000. His uniquely creative choreography brought booming attention to the company, winning multiple D.C. Mayor’s Art Awards annually, and being invited to tour globally in countries such as Russia, Peru and Algeria. CityDance’s performing creative genius stems from its innovative collaborative choreography, where not just choreographers contribute, but artists and even the dancers create a melting pot dance piece.

However, CityDance’s ballet school, outreach programs, and film production entities are staying alive and doing very well during this rough time. “All of that is thriving and growing… We have 500 students at the school,” said Nowakowski in the Washington City Paper on June 3.

Future plans for a professional performing entity seem small, with a bleak reality that CityDance probably will not have a complete dance production entity again. Nowakowski continued by saying that CityDance needs to refresh its program to figure out how to support an artistic output for dance.

The Upperville Horse Show

June 16, 2011

When Colonel Richard Henry Dulany organized the first Upperville Show in 1853, the program listed two classes: one for colts, the other for fillies. 158 years later, the Upperville Colt and Horse Show spans seven days and includes over two thousand horse and rider combinations, 28 awards and eight competitive events.

This year’s event kicks off on Monday, June 6, “Under The Oaks,” 40 miles west of Washington D.C. Since 1853, Grafton Farms has been the site of the oldest horse show in the United States.

How it all Began

Colonel Dulany had the idea to begin the first Upperville Horse Show after coming across an abandoned and struggling colt during the winter of 1853. Determined to encourage surrounding breeders to take better care of young fouls and breed better stock, Dulany hosted the first Upperville Horse Show in June of that year. The show garnered so many entries and interest that a sponsorship club was started with Colonel Dulany as the president. The Upperville Union Club published their first account of the Upperville Horse show in 1857 in The Southern Planter.

By 1902, the organization was renamed the Upperville Colt and Horse Club and sponsored a two-day show in June of that year, expanding to include more classes, entries and events. In the years that followed, the Upperville Horse Show expanded over five days and included entries and riders from all over the country.

Since then, the Virginia Horse Shows Association has voted Upperville the Horse Show of the Year, and its been designated as a World Championship Hunter Rider Show and selected as the National Show Hunter Hall of Fame’s Horse Show of the Year.

Into The Present

Whether you are an equestrian, breeder, exhibitor or spectator, this event showcases the best of the best, as they compete for highly-coveted titles and awards. The competition is fierce, with over two thousand riders and horses ranging from children on ponies to Olympic and World Cup riders and horses.

Riders and horses are either scored or judged depending on the event. In a jumper competition, the main objective is to get the horse to jump over the jump without knocking it down, without concern for form or style while jumping. Grand prix show jumping, the highest level of show jumping, has become a popular and important spectator sport in the United States. Show jumping is also one of the few sports where men and women compete on equal levels, and range in age from 16 to 60.

Horses in the hunter class are judged not only on their ability to get to the other side of the jump, but also on their ease and grace while completing the various obstacles, such as a farmer’s fence, gates, stone walls and posts. The main objective is for both the horse and rider to navigate all the obstacles willingly and effortlessly.

Don’t Miss These Highlights!

Here, we share our favorite events, which we anxiously await each year. Publisher Sonya Bernhardt anticipates the Ladies Sidesaddle Hunter Under Saddle event, which displays women donning old-fashioned Victorian garb as they elegantly perch sidesaddle on their beautifully-bred horses. One of the most formal classes in the event, these women are the epitome of class and grace that represents the Victorian Era. It takes place on Saturday, June 11.

Evelyn Keyes, head of the In Country section, loves watching the Family Classes and the popular Piedmont Foxhounds invitational hack for the “silver foxes” of showing. The event is held “under the oaks” on Saturday, June 11, in the main ring in front of the grand stand.

Daily admission to the show is $10.00 per person. Children under 12 are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Gates open at 8 a.m. daily.

For special arrangements, entertainment, reserved parking, or box seat information, please call 540 687-5740 or, during the show, 540-592-3858

For a complete schedule of the seven-day show visit