OH MAN!!! Palm Springs New Years was more than I could have ever wanted! I wanted to go last year after hearing about the event through the grapevine, but I had already planned to be back in Dallas for New Year’s. So alas I was going to make it my mission to be there for the next year. And I was!! Thanks to CSS I was able to complete that mission and it was so worth the wait!
So here are my top 5 highlights from the event (in no particular order):
THE THEME – Who knew how fun a 20’s/prohibition theme would be?!?!? The whole event was centered around the theme and they went all out. From nicknames for the staff, to renaming the workshop rooms and the ballroom, to a themed photo booth, to the amazing décor throughout the ballroom, it was so well done!!! And to top that off, everyone dressed up for the incredible New Year’s Eve celebration. Everyone had amazing costumes and were taking pictures and celebrating all night and I being the silly newbie forgot to bring something…..but let the record show I will not make the same mistake twice! Westies really go all out!
COMPETITIONS – I think as someone who does everything and somehow still has time to keep up with her shows on TV, time management is so important. And this event was so good about keeping comps running on time, getting everyone lined up and making sure finals list were posted in a timely manner. It may seem like a small part, but to me I love it! I find it lets me enjoy the event more!
THE DJ’S – MUSIC!!!!!! Dance is nothing without the inspiration of music that drives our motion! The amazing DJ’s that were playing music all weekend were incredible! I barely spent any time outside the ballroom unless it was to eat or sleep! I was hearing so much new and amazing music it kept me dancing all night.
THE PEOPLE – ALWAYS the best part of the weekend for me! There is something about being around west coast swing dancers that just puts a smile on my face. Everyone is always so welcoming and you have the opportunity to meet people from all over. Even though since I am from California I knew a lot of the dancers there, I still had the chance to see people I hadn’t seen in so long and grow some of other friendships I cherish so much. These competition weekends are about so much more than just trying to earn points in Jack and Jill or win money in strictly and the people who are there can make the difference!
PLACING 3rd IN ADVANCED STRICTLY – The cherry on top of an already perfect weekend. I had the wonderful opportunity of dancing in Advanced Strictly Finals with the incredible Khayree Jones…..and man that was so much fun!! This barely intermediate dancer was so nervous and as I walked out there the only thought going through my head was “if I don’t fall I will consider this a success!” The all skate dances were not what I was worried about because Khayree and I dance so well together…….it was the spotlight dance that I was worried about! The only other time in my dancing career that I have done a spotlight was at Desert City Swing 2015 when I was in novice. At the time, it was my partners first competition and we were both so nervous. We couldn’t put our feet in time and it was a train wreck, so going out there to compete against people I admire in a spotlight made me INSANELY nervous! And to add to my nerves, the genre was fast blues…FAST BLUES!!!! That is not my strong suit let me tell you! But never the less I made I through and am so happy that I did it. To this date I honest think that was one of my best dances! When they were announcing awards, you should have seen the look on my face when they called our names! I was so confused! The people around me can attest to how in shock I was! To make it even more special, when we went up to collect our award the INCREDIBLE Robert Royston told me he loved watching me dance! I was speechless!!!!! So now if I ever get down on myself about my dancing, I have this to show to myself that I do know what I’m doing (at least most of the time)
The weekend at the beginning seemed like it was never going to end, and I absolutely loved that. But before I knew it was over and I was back on the road headed for home! This event was the perfect way to ring in the new year and it would have not been possible if not for the CSS program! I am definitely putting the event on my calendar for next year, and so should everyone else!