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Being Part of Team TexaCO at Jack & Jill O’Rama

Last weekend, I had the honor and privilege of being able to attend one of the west coast’s largest WCS events – Jack & Jill O’Rama. Even more exciting, I had never gone to any competitions in California prior to that weekend.

Several months before the event, Tracy, Bryn, and I already began preparing for Team Texaco. (As a side note: for those who have not been to Jack & Jill O’Rama before, the event’s focus is team spirit and competition. Each geographical region is grouped into a team, and team that has the most spirit and placement in competitions wins a trophy at the end of the weekend. Texas is generally grouped with Colorado – hence the name TexaCO). Bryn and I were tasked with ordering T-shirts and choosing T-shirt styles and designs for Team Texaco. It was a cool experience because we were essentially in charge of a mini-event within the event itself. My responsibilities made me feel integral to the success of our team and allowed me to meet pretty much every single member of TexaCO. However, on the day of distributing T-shirts, there were a few hiccups – some sizes were incorrect and some people didn’t get the shirts that they wanted. However, everyone was respectful and understanding about it, so it all worked out. Their attitudes really convinced me that Team TexaCO was filled with some pretty awesome people.

More highlights of the weekend included attending Benji’s workshop. I really liked it, because as a follow, I find that workshops are often lead-focused (eg. learning a new pattern). I enjoyed that Benji ran his workshop like a Q&A session and shared some of his thoughts on basic footwork. He also danced a follow’s role when he was demonstrating a left-side pass, which was a major bonus for me. Just being able to observe the way he used the floor while dancing and how he transferred his weight was enough to spark plenty of thoughts in my head.

On Saturday, the moment I was waiting for finally came – Intermediate Jack and Jill Prelims. Since I did not do well at MADJam, I had been working especially hard on my dancing. I had been given feedback after MADJam that I did not roll my feet enough or allow my arm to have enough stretch on the anchor. I practiced as often as I could, and fortunately, it paid off. I was happy to have made semifinals, and found out that night that I made finals as well. I couldn’t have been more thrilled!

Sunday was definitely my favorite day, however. As always, watching the Champion Jack and Jill was amazing; however, I think the Role Reversal Finals really stole the show. It was funny to see the sheer amount of sass some of the Reverse Role Follows had and how many dips the Reverse Role Leads led. Mike Carringer and Janelle Guido were absolutely incredible (I was and am still fangirling pretty hard).

Intermediate finals were also that day. My partner was an amazing dancer, however, we both felt that we didn’t dance our best. We apologized profusely to each other and felt terrible. However, much to our surprise, we got first place! We were ecstatic. Placing, let alone getting first, at such a large Cali event felt unbelievable. For follows, Intermediate was a tier 5 competition. It still feels surreal :O

Sunday night dinner and social dancing was very fun. At dinner, I got to bond with fellow Team TexaCO members that I met this weekend. After dinner, though not too many people went dancing (there was Disney Day the next morning), I actually met quite a lot of new people that I didn’t meet the previous nights. I met some fellow Taiwanese and Singaporean dancers who told me about the WCS scene in Taipei and Singapore. It was cool to find out that WCS exists in one of my homes - Taiwan!

As I went to bed on Sunday night (more like 4:00 in the morning), I really had to take a few moments to absorb everything that happened from the weekend. There were some ups and downs. The T-shirt orders were stressful and confusing. I felt terrible for people who weren’t able to get the shirts that they wanted. However, every nice encounter I had with Team TexaCO and everyone person I got closer with made my stress disappear. I learned some valuable dance lessons from Benji’s workshop. I got to watch some amazing leads and follows switch places. My partner and I placed. I got to enjoy the company of everyone I met this weekend. Closing my eyes, I thought, “there is no way I could have enjoyed this weekend any better.”

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