No stagefright on the WDS stage

One of my more exciting entries for me on my 50 for 50 list was to say that I would grace the World Domination Summit stage. This is my favorite conference, which may be weird to hear. Do people really have favorite conferences? Yes, when it’s the fun, silly, inspiring WDS in the perfect place: Portland (keep Portland weird people!).

I figured I would get on stage by being selected as an “attendee story” — and my story was about my 50 for 50 adventures. I wrote a killer entry, but horrors! They didn’t choose me — bastards! (Nah, truth is the organizers are great people and I’m friends with them.)

I was a little bummed, but I figured I could re-submit in 2019 when I was closing in on the end of my project. And then I joined my WDS partner in crime in our shared hotel room two nights before the first main conference session. Merideth Mehlberg was giddy with excitement. She swore me to secrecy and then told me that she would be dancing in a Bollywood opening number with our favorite DJ Prashant. No! Yes! No way! Yes way! And of course my next question was, “Think he needs another dancer?” I waited patiently on the outside but frantically on the inside as she took a few minutes to unpack and then I said, “Can you check with him now?!” She texted and he texted back in seconds, “hell yes!”

So the next morning we snuck backstage without any attendee friends seeing and proceeded to practice a flashy dance number to Jai Ho!, a song Mer already knew the steps to because she had danced it with Prashant and his crew in front of me and 150 of her friends at her 50th birthday party in Alameda mere months before. I had brushed up on the routine with her the night before in our hotel room so my rehearsal moves weren’t too bad, but the first time we went out on stage to practice, I stared like a deer in the spotlights for five seconds or so.

The next morning we got up even earlier so we could get backstage in costume before attendees started lining up to get in. The wait was exhilarating, and the performance itself was a blast. I grinned the entire time — and you can see it! Check out the start of Prashant’s speaker video and keep your eyes peeled for a bright orange skirt at the right and Mer’s fabulous aqua salwar kameez. Meridith and Prashant, THANK YOU for such an amazing experience and for making a dream of mine come true so easefully and joyfully. Big appreciation! I’m giddy with excitement watching it again. #5 for 50, you rocked!

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