It was only a week ago that Westies near and far (even a gentleman from Paris! Yes, Paris France!) gathered at the luxurious Westin Galleria in Dallas for the 5th annual Wild Wild Westie West Coast Swing dance convention put on by Event Directors, Tracy Wang, Jay Tsai, and CJ Caraway.
The event kicks off every year with a big welcome BBQ dance at the lovely Knorr establishment. Sadly, I wasn’t able to make it this year, but as always I heard the food was sinfully delicious and the dancing set the tone for an incredible weekend.
After auditions and a busy afternoon of leveled workshops taught by our world class instructor staff, the festivities officially kicked off with an opening ceremony. Now this is one of my favorite parts, because I don’t know how many events participate in this, but we initiate what is called a “snowball.” The staff first finds people they’ve never danced with before, then those dancers find other partners to dance with and so on and so forth. I love this concept, because you see everyone on the floor simultaneously and the energy is what you want from an event – eager dancers sharing their love and passion for West Coast Swing. It’s truly a beautiful sight to see.
The Wild Wild Jack and Jill a major hit just like last year, and we had an enormous amount of entries! 3 heats worth of contestants, and they all rocked it.
This was the song for the Wild Wild finals jam (Thanks Cher Peadon!), and it was perfect for the finalists.
I don’t know what was in the water Friday night, but the late night social dancing was absolutely dreamy for this westie. The music was superb (Thank you Chris Singley and Helen Toco!), and the dancing – OH MAN… I haven’t been social dancing a whole lot prior to W3, and it felt like this is exactly what my soul needed. Such generous leads! FUN leads! It was so much fun, I didn’t end up leaving the ballroom until 5 am. Way later than I usually stay on Friday nights.
SO much awesomeness Saturday night! From the stellar Rising Star couples to the insanely fun Invitational Jack and Jills. I love looking at the first time attendees faces’ whenever they see their westie idols dance right in front of them. Ruby Lair gave us the magical music selections of Michael Jackson and Prince. Man, was it a show. If you don’t believe me just check out the video for proof!
Meredith Payne serenaded the ballroom to kick off late night, and did not disappoint. I’ve rarely social danced to live music, and it’s always refreshing to mix it up between the DJ sets and bringing in musicians. Thank you, Meredith!
The E.D.s put out a challenge for the W3 dancers – if you make it to 6 a.m. you win a coveted “Owl Night Long” mug. Many answered the call head on! Dancing to “Shake Ya Tailfeather” (Nelly, Murphy Lee, P.Diddy) at 5 in the morning! Dancing to “Scatman” 136 BPM Scatman at 6 in the morning! INSANITY! I’ve never seen so many dancers want an event souvenir so badly. But it happened! You guys were a blast to watch from the DJ booth, and an even bigger joy to dance with. Saturday night will go down as one of my favorite event nights in my westie career.
Sunday funday! Great atmosphere throughout the Intermediate-All-Star finals! They all did a commendable job! However, I think what took the cake Sunday was the Novice Shoot Out. Seriously. You think you’ve seen the novice game around the country? No no, my friend… Trust when I say, the novices brought it and served it.
Many of them haven’t done a spotlight before, and the way they kept up with the pros was outstanding. Congrats to all the participants. It looked a blast!
Thank you to everyone that I danced with! Thank you again to Tracy, CJ, and Jay for running one of the best events in the world, and thank you friends and dance family for a great weekend. We shall make #www2017 even greater. Westies Wanted: Reward… ALL THE DANCES. For StephLpham.com I’m Stephanie, Keep dancing!