It’s time for residents of the Antelope Valley to dust off their dancing shoes, as Palmdale’s national dance convention returns next weekend, online.

The High Desert Dance Classic, an annual event hosted by the USA Dance Antelope Valley Chapter, has been transformed into an interactive and free virtual event that will take place at 9 a.m. on March 13.

Event Director Lisa Sandoval said the dance classic was ready to go last March, but ultimately had to be canceled as COVID-19 began to spread worldwide.

“We wanted to keep everybody safe and we had to cancel,” she said. “We tried valiantly over the summer, on Zoom, to have dance classes but it just wasn’t the same.”

Sandoval said that due to distance learning, the program lost access to the elementary and junior high students but are still able to work with high schoolers.

“We reached out to those kids and we said ‘Hey, if we were to come up with something, where we hired this teacher, professional to do solo choreography, would you guys be interested in doing that?’ Because we also understand that some of these (kids) don’t have access to partners.”

That’s exactly what was decided, as the program organizers pivoted to an online format for this year’s dance classic.

“We just said we’re going to make this interactive, even though it’s pre-recorded, and we’re going to make it a show,” Sandoval said.

The dance classic will be conducted in a unique set-up, as competitors were required to submit recordings of their routines by Feb. 22. This gave the judges an ample amount of time to review each routine and decide the winners.

Because the dance classic has ventured online, the competitions were opened to dancers from across the country and included participants from Utah and Arizona.

For each dance competition, a compilation video will be played featuring all the participants that entered that division. The competitions will highlight various dance styles including Ballroom, West Coast Swing and Cabaret.

The winners of each division will be revealed live, during the event and awards will be given to the top three performances, including cash prizes.

“We were able to get 30 top professionals to donate 30 minutes of a private lesson to the winners of the kids’ division,” Sandoval said.

In addition to the performances, the event will also feature five, 30-minute workshops. Unlike the rest of the event, each workshop will cost $20 and will be led by top professionals in the industry.

The workshops are “Hip-Hop Moves” by Mark Pable and Christann Heiderman, “Empowering Mindfulness for Dancers” by Tashina Beckmann, “The Power of Musicality” by Michael Kielbasa, “Foxtrot for Your Living Room” by Teresa Shiry and “Latin Moves” by Benji Schwimmer.

The Zoom link for this year’s High Desert Dance Classic will become available on March 12.

To participate in the workshops, residents can send an email to info@highdesertdanceclassic.com and someone will reach out to follow up. Once payment has been confirmed a different link will be sent to access the workshop.

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