Heartland Swing Festival: My Midwest Home

Solo Charleston Contest

I embarked to a new place, Des Moines Iowa!

My Purpose: attend Heartland Swing Festival as a finalist for Miss Heartland Swing.

In all honestly, I was quite nervous leaving my southeast comfort zone where all the dancers are like family. I arrived at the Airport and Rae Mullica was there to all dolled up ready to take me to the dance! She was so gracious and gave me a couch to sleep on & a ride throughout the weekend. A person that I have only affiliated through Facebook just before the festival, was so welcoming, I instantly felt OK being away from the south. I ended up getting my bag delayed and had to pick it up the next day. Luckily, Rae had an exuberant amount of dresses to choose from so I was covered until I retrieved my bag. πŸ˜€

When I got the main dance, the floor was packed with many new faces! I Quickly changed and started to dance, dance,dance. Grand Marquis did a fantastic job on Friday! I was pretty exhausted by the late night, yet stayed for the sexy burlesque show by the Les Dames Du Burlesque!

Saturday was filled with all sorts of classes! I mainly worked and help keep classes on schedule. I was impressed with Jenna Stworzyjanek style and teaching and thought how come I haven’t met her before! Her way of communicating to the class was seamless and she was pretty chipper. I like happy chipper people!

The evening was filled with many competitions! I liked that it started early so you could get in more social dancing. During the night my dear friend Liz, gave me some great advice about competing: Make it your show. So I took the advice and danced for myself. I competed in the solo Charleston Contest and got first place! Certainly a piece of knowledge that I will keep on applying.

Now throughout this whole event, I was also competing for the Miss Heartland Swing title. Being the only contestant outside of the Midwest, I knew the odds of winning would be tough, yet I was going to work hard to show I would be a great ambassador for Heartland Swing Festival. But the moment I met Miss Rae, I knew she was going to win. This woman is the backbone of the swing dance community of Des Moines. She offers so much to her community and does it with love. She takes care of her “dancing kids” as she and her husband puts it. The fact that she was instantly welcomed me to the city touched my heart and I knew I have met a very special person. Miss Rae DID win the Miss Heartland Swing and she deserved every bit of it.

I had such a fantastic time in Des Moines! Thank you Micheal and Eve for hosting such a great event and thanks to the community for being just like home. I can’t wait for next year!

Congratulations Miss Rae!