*Le sigh* If only Westies were billionaires and we could afford the time and money to travel to every event on our wishlist. Unfortunately, due to that green monster (money), that 40-hours-a-week pest (job) and that annoying yet recharging habit that (should) happen every night (sleep), most of us aren’t able to attend as many events as we’d like. This week I’ll give you some easy steps you can take to help you narrow down your choices from the many events out there and form a more concrete schedule.

Money makes the Westie world go round:


I could probably write a whole article on being a frugal Westie. It’s easy to get excited in the moment and make lots of plans to go to an event every weekend. However, if you’re not careful the cruel reality of adulting can hit pretty hard. Before you book ANYTHING, sit down and make a spreadsheet of your potential budget for that event. This will give you a practical look at what you’re able to do with the resources you have. Factor in the event pass, contest fees, private lessons (if you decide to take one), transportation (airfare, train/bus fare, and/or gas money), food, and all the other necessities you would need for a weekend. Money shouldn’t stop you from going to an event since there’s plenty of budget hacks. However, to survive as both a Westie and human in the adulting world, you need to be realistic and plan out your finances so you’re able to travel even more in the future.

But you gotta have friends:

"But You Gotta Have Friiiiiiiiiends." - Donkey from Shrek

“But You Gotta Have Friiiiiiiiiends.” – Donkey from Shrek

One way to cut down on costs is to travel with roomies! Last week’s post included lots of factors on how to handle being a Westie roomie article, but friends can be a HUGE motivating factor to attend an event. Whether you’re reuniting with old friends or making new ones on your adventure, the “community” feeling of an event can certainly inspire you to travel and grow as a dancer. You might also have friends or family in the town an event’s taking place, so it’s always a good excuse to visit and get some dancing into a packed weekend.

Role models up close:

Ben Morris and Bonnie Subey at Atlanta Swing Classic 2016 Photo Cred: Ariel Penu

Ben Morris and Bonnie Subey at Atlanta Swing Classic 2016 Photo Cred: Ariel Penu

True story: the very first event I ever went to was based solely on the fact that a) I could travel with one of my close dance friends and b) Ben Morris was going to be at an event only three hours away from me. Transitioning from watching your idols on YouTube to actually seeing them dance before you in the flesh can be thrilling. Not only do you get to witness what they do best, but having the opportunity to study under them can motivate your dance career like no other. Staff rosters are a definite draw to events. Check the event’s website (or Facebook event) and see which pros will be in attendance. Who knows, you might find yourself a mentor in the process!

Location, location, location:


When you’re deciding to attend an event, check out its surroundings. Are you close to the airport where shuttle service or low-cost Uber is accessible? Is affordable eating nearby, so you’re not spending hundreds of dollars on hotel dining? You could also be adventurous and sight-see some of the local attractions in your down time. [Who wouldn’t want to go to Disneyland after Jack and Jill O’ Rama? ;)]

What’s your focus – #DanceGoals: Often dancers want to attend events to progress as a competitor. Some want to indulge in the hours of amazing social dancing you don’t get on a normal basis. Get a sense of what drives the event. Is it academically driven with hours of workshops? Is there a spotlight on social dancing where rewards are given to late night troopers? Are there unique contests like Bookends (same-sex couples) or three-person routines? Figure out what you want from an event and go for it!

Whatever your motives and aspirations to attending events are we hope your journey is memorable and that you’ll want to continue doing this for a long time! What do you take into account when picking events? Sound off in the comments below

That’s it for this week’s post. For Wandering Westie, I’m Stephanie Pham! Keep dancing!

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