First of all, I want to say that this summer was a blast with CSS. It’s not that I didn’t have a blast during the school year, but since I didn’t have a super busy schedule I was able to go to so many cool events. The one I was looking the most forward to, however, was Wild Wild Westie. Why you might ask? W3 was my first ever WCS competition. It marks the one-year anniversary of my competing and wanting to take dancing seriously. So many great things happened last year at W3 and I was excited to see how much it grew since the previous year.
To give you a backstory on how I decided to start competing, I’ll explain a little about what went on last summer for me. After freshman year was over, I decided to take on a summer internship, a part-time job, and two classes. I worked hard in the daytime and danced in the evenings. I began taking private lessons that summer and wanted to learn as much as I could. Sheven Kekoolani, one of my instructors at the time, convinced me to apply for the CSS at W3. I wasn’t planning on spending over $100 on dance and told him I would have to think about it. Alex Robles, a dance friend, also recommended going to W3. Because of my internship and classes, I was not planning on going. However, after hearing so many people talk about it, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to go just once. I signed up to volunteer and minimized my costs as much as I could. I applied to CSS. It turned out to be one of the best choices I made in my dance life. I ended up placing first in the Novice Jack and Jill and was awarded the CSS! And that’s where it all began.
Fast forward to a year later, I was super excited to go back to the first and luckiest comp for me. There are so many reasons why W3 is my favorite comp and will probably be my favorite for a while. First of all, pretty much all of the Texas dancers go to W3, so I get to see all of my friends; the feeling of community is awesomely overwhelming. Secondly, W3 works to build a sense of community regardless of where you’re from. For example, the volleyball tournament during the pool party created friendships across teams. Furthermore, the AI programmed paired an all-star up with an intermediate dancer to bond over not only dance but outside interests as well. It was great to see how people enjoyed all of these little programs/games throughout the comp, and not just the dancing/competing.
However, the dancing/competing was amazing too. Since the staff list was huge this year, attending the leveled workshops was fun because we got to see what all of the different instructors had in store for us. I especially enjoyed the workshop by Markus and Tren because they taught fun body movements and footwork syncopations. In addition to awesome workshops, social dancing was very fun because the floor was so much bigger. I got to meet some awesome California dancers, like Connie Wang and Joseph Tong. Competitions were also super fun (and stressful at the same time). Since W3 was my first advanced comp, I was very nervous but was fortunate enough to make finals. However, making finals made me even more nervous because we had to do a jam. Fortunately, my partner Joel and I had fun dances and placed 4th (shout out to Joel!). My favorite part of W3, however, has to have been the Champions Jack and Jill. And for everyone who has seen it, I think you would agree. Glenn Ball and Tren Veal had such hilarious dances (; I still can’t get over it (if you haven’t watched it, please do. I’ll give you a hint: there’s crawling involved).
Last but not least, in addition to community building and dancing, W3 has stolen my heart for another reason – the College Swing Scholarship. This year, I was able to serve on the board for CSS and see what goes on behind the scenes. Sherry Reynolds and the CSS board did an amazing job organizing our meetings and supplying us with all of the information we needed to make an informed decision on the next scholar. Furthermore, I had the honor of reading each college student’s application. As a student myself, each application was so relatable; I wanted to give the scholarship to everyone who applied. However, we could only award it to one student. In the end, we chose Lani Kim to be our next scholar. We are all so proud of her, and knowing what CSS has done for me, I’m so excited to see what it does for Lani next year!