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My First Out-of-State Competition: MADJam

Many college students do not get the opportunity to travel out-of-state for dance competitions – let alone to the biggest WCS competition in the east coast. I was granted the opportunity to travel to Baltimore last week to attend MADJam, and have been extremely thankful and blessed. Well, there’s so much to start on. Where can I begin?

Like every good student, I finished all of my homework throughout the weekdays before MADJam so that I could really enjoy my first time flying out to a competition. After getting some practice in on Thursday, I was ready to dance on Friday. After Tracy and I arrived at MADJam, we checked into our hotels to rest for a bit. Then I headed to the ballroom. The moment I walked in, I was completely in awe. The white backdrop looked amazing, with all sorts of lights shining on it. There was a huge screen in the middle with a live camera rolling on it. It was amazingly technical – I had never seen any dance competition like it. The dance floor was huge!

Competing in Intermediate Strictly with Brian Larson

Besides the amazing design and technology that I was beholding, I couldn’t believe where I was. I was at the place where I watched endless hours of videos of, seeing the pros in real life. I immediately saw Alyssa Glanville and Nicole Clonch – some of my favorite dancers. I was essentially in dance heaven!

Madjam comp pics!

Now, let’s switch to the competing aspect. I competed in the Intermediate Proam JnJ and a strictly JnJ on the first day. I was lucky enough to place in both competitions and was ecstatic.

Unfortunately, I did not make prelims for the Intermediate JnJ. I’m not going to lie – I felt defeated. I had never felt so disappointed in my dancing before.

Competing with Jerome Subey

Madjam with Friends - Team Tiny Texas!

However, I was still at MADJam, and I wasn’t going to let that little setback ruin my experience. Because I did not have to worry about competing the next day, I stayed out all night social dancing and got to meet so many people. Ironically, I met a lead who used to live in Austin before I moved to Austin. I saw a follow who did not have a hand, and she was absolutely incredible. I had a private elevator ride with Alyssa Glanville – one of my idols – and exchanged words with her. I watched all of the routines – from rising star to showcase, feeding my hunger to learn more. I even got to talk to some pros about my JnJ and got feedback from them on ways I could improve in the future.

So much happened this weekend. While there were certain parts of it that made me feel discouraged, everything else I was able to witness and experience made up for it more than a thousand times. And even though I just got back to Austin, I’m ready again to start working on my dance, now more than ever!

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