Liza May

Desert City 2013 – Update #4

An important correction! Tricia McLaws Reynold – the cook for Friday night’s Hospitality Suite dinner – tells me that she did not mistakenly serve undercooked pork.

“I am the cook and have been for the last 3 years. In fact I have made that exact dish for numerous events many times. The fact is we bought bad pork from costco and its being taken care of. The pork was actually tough and overcooked. … The dish was made Wednesday and after it was cooked went straight into the refrigerator in the staff room.”

I sympathize with Tricia. I would feel awful in her position.

Social dancing! I have not mentioned social dancing at Desert City! If you come for no other reason, the social dancing itself makes this event worthwhile. Shoot, you could come to play all day at the waterpark, sleep in the sun, and dance all night every night, and that would be one fun weekend! Even without competing!

Social dancing this year, just like last year, was FABULOUS!

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights – fabulous! Packed floor till daybreak all three nights. Even Sarah Grusmark – Skippy’s right-hand-man-who-is-a-woman – who never stays up late to dance – even Sarah danced all three nights till 6am! A record for her.

The level of dancing here in the Wild West is just superb. I get flak every time I say this, but I can’t help it! It’s true! They are just so GOOD out here! I hear France is like this, too, extremely advanced.

But here in the States Arizona and California are where it’s at.

I gotta think it’s that out here they teach technique early on. Because even beginners feel (and look) great – they’ve already learned posture, staying over their feet, connection, and listening. Out here you can dance correctly because the person holding your hand is dancing correctly, following direction and momentum.

And you have people to mimic for styling.

I think that when you’re surrounded by good dancers your learning curve must be “flatter.” Like you all pull each other upwards – instead of sideways or maybe even downhill lol – so the whole region gets better faster.

They’re younger out here, too. That’s got to account for a lot of it. Constant infusion here of young people who are serious about getting good.

D.C. (where I’m from) is a large community but we’re old. Some 30-yr-olds and 40s, lots of 50s, 60s and older. Only the occasional 20-something and no teenagers or pre-teens at all. Well, except for Ian and Emily Hull, that is, our adorable US Open Young America superstars.

It’s great that we provide a place for people to find friends, community, exercise, artistic expression into old age. What a great hobby!

But I sure wish we had all the great energy, playfulness, and talent of young people that you find out here. And their seriousness about the dance.

Didn’t tell you about the All-American Jack and Jill. FUN!

All levels, from Novice to Champion, paired and rotated randomly as in any Jack and Jill.

Three heats of 30 couples in Prelims,

24 boys, 24 girls made it to Semis:

  • Jullien Vallier
  • Kyle
  • Josh Williamson
  • Michael Kielbasa
  • Thomas Carter
  • Mike Carringer
  • Arjay
  • Michael Miller
  • Brent
  • Michael Caro
  • Andrew Slac
  • John Lindo
  • Gary Thompson
  • Reginald Beeson
  • Nick De Vore
  • Ben Morris
  • Paul Fritzler
  • Julian Lange
  • Chuck
  • Matt Richey
  • John Piper
  • Rome
  • Connor Goodmanson
  • Jason Taylor
  • Mackenzie
  • Brandi
  • Hannah
  • LIndsay Nastos
  • Yenni
  • Irina Puzanova
  • Sarah
  • Jen Deluca
  • Melissa Rutz
  • Nicole
  • Katrina Whetten
  • Patty Vo
  • Angie Jones
  • Tessa
  • Chevy
  • Britny Delp
  • Torri
  • Erica Piper
  • Kara
  • Kellese
  • Laura Mackie
  • Larisa Tingle
  • Trista Eazell
  • Lara Deni

And 14 boys and girls made it through to finals.



Nathan, Martin, Angel, Katie, Barry, Dawne, Carrie, and Ch J Phil

  • Julien and Mackenzie
  • Josh and Hanna
  • Michael Miller and Sarah
  • Andrew and Melissa
  • Julian and Patty
  • Matt and Brandi
  • John Piper and Chevy
  • Connor and Yenni
  • Jason and Torri
  • Kyle and Kara
  • John Lindo and Kellese
  • Arjay and Laura
  • Ben and Larisa
  • Michael Kielbasa and Lara Deni


  1. Michael and Sarah
  2. Matt and Brandi
  3. John and Kellese
  4. Andrew and Melissa
  5. Kyle and Kara

Sunday evening – when I went up the beautiful spiral staircase to the scoring room on the second floor – I discovered a big concession stand with all kinds of sandwhiches and snacks available, also a bar, and a coffee bar – all right there just outside the ballroom- where I could have been getting food all weekend. Wish I would have known, I would have eaten way more junk food.

What a fun weekend. We love Desert City. Everyone loves Desert City.

Two more stories to tell which will have to wait for next Desert City 2013 Update.

Because …

I am now in San Diego at ESS (“Endless Summer Swing Camp”) where in one hour I begin the first of a full weekend of levelled workshops with the most amazing instructors in the whole wide world.

So I’d better get out of my bathing suit.

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Filed Under: Desert City

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