A Review of Desert Classic 2019 From the Sidelines

I’m having the worst time deciding how I want to start this blog post, so I’m writing this sentence just so there is something written. Maybe it will start flowing from here.

Or we can skip to the end – I had a simply wonderful time at Desert Classic this past week! It was the perfect mix of work and pleasure and left me feeling relaxed and fulfilled. I had a couple moments watching the competition when I felt that bittersweet wish to be the one on the dance floor, not in the audience, but actually those moments were far fewer than I expected. I was too busy enjoying myself, cheering others on, and connecting with dance friends, both new and old.

The days leading up to my departure for the competition were crazy. I was working overtime for the day job to make up for the lack of PTO I had banked. Along with last week’s blog post, I had an interview with another website to finish. Physical therapy was Monday evening. My dance lesson was Tuesday evening. I had to clean my entire apartment in preparation for my dogsitter, who stays at my place while I’m gone. There was also laundry and packing. Yeah…there was a lot going on.

I felt like I was on track to get things done until Sunday evening, when I had one of those “oh shit” moments and suddenly it felt like I had no time at all to finish everything I was supposed to finish. It all got done though. Tuesday night, I was on my feet for probably five hours straight, so it’s no surprise that my knees flared up and I was walking funny at work the next morning. I was supposed to drive to the competition Wednesday afternoon and I was a little worried that it would be a rough drive. My knees did ok; I felt them more when I finally got out of the car at the hotel.

Naturally, my room was like a mile hike from the lobby. When the guy who checked me in drew on the resort map how to get from the parking area to my room, I looked at him and said as nicely as I could, “listen, I have bad knees and they’re flared up today. Isn’t there a shorter way?” There wasn’t, but luckily, my room was closer to the ballroom (although the route included a large set of stairs).

Geographical location aside, the hotel was super nice and the ballroom was full of beautiful dancers. I watched pretty much every pro-am Smooth round Thursday morning to afternoon, starting from Heat 1 at 8am. Teacher was competing with one student in Bronze and he was nice enough to hang out to watch some of the Open heats with me. I took notes on what I saw that I liked and disliked, and what I wanted to make sure I showed in my own dancing in Open.

Thursday evening, I held a meetup for The Girl with the Tree Tattoo followers. I admit I was a little nervous about it. I don’t have a great track record for organizing events and people showing up. But my fears were unfounded. Plenty of people showed up, including dancers I hadn’t met in person before and one whom I hadn’t seen in over six years!

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When ballroom dancers pose for a photo

Check out my Instagram page for more photos from the meetup. Lots of smiles, lots of hugs, and lots of dance talk. For someone who is very strongly introverted, I had a wonderful time welcoming and chatting with everyone.

Friday, I cheered on my dance friends in International Ballroom (a.k.a. Standard) and then enjoyed some pool time before going to watch the pros dance Smooth and Latin. While I wished I had been able to compete at this event, at the same time, it was nice to be there and not have to stress. I could eat the dessert or order the extra drink (don’t tell my 90-day program coaches). I didn’t have to watch what heat was coming up to see if I had enough time to run to the restroom. I could just be there and enjoy.

I have to say – if this is a glimpse of what my future could be like when I no longer need a day job because the brand has grown enough to support itself and my life, the future is looking good! Of course, in the future, I’ll also be competing, but the idea of getting to attend more competitions to meet with my readers and support them in person is very appealing.

Back at the home studio, Teacher and I didn’t waste any time in getting to work to prepare for our next competition goal, Embassy Ball. Only a month and a half to go! We spent an entire lesson on Foxtrot and at risk of jinxing myself, it’s shaping up to be a really cool routine.

Congratulations to everyone who competed at Desert Classic and I can’t wait to join you on the dance floor.

Happy dancing!

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