Life as a dancer (for 80 minutes)

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Ms. Jessie Ryan

Jacqueline Fitzpatrick '22 and Caitlin Cruz '22 joined a block of Dance I and II for an early morning warm-up.

In the journalism room for the Veritas Shield, we were all casually discussing the upcoming dance concert when someone brought up the idea to join in on one of the dance classes. Being in need of something to write, I hesitantly volunteered. Even though I would have a few days to prepare myself, the thought of dancing in front of experienced and talented dancers freaked me out. I have never participated in a dance class, and I don’t even attempt to dance along to songs with my friends, because I already know it won’t look nice. At the last school formal, you probably remember spotting me around the food tables, as far as I could possibly get from the dance floor.

The day had come all too quickly, and as I started to walk from room 20 to the aerobics room, I felt nervousness wash all over me. I was not quite sure at that moment why I even signed up to engage in a dance class, even if it was just Dance I and II.

The walk was hardly long enough as I would have liked it to be, and my fellow journalist Caitlin Cruz and I had arrived at dance class before I knew it. As I walked past the doors on the outside, I felt especially anxious, feeling as if the dancers on the other side of the one-sided tinted glass were watching my every move.

I took my time changing into black leggings and a sweatshirt, for better movement. As I took my first hesitant step into the dance studio, Ms. Ryan, the dance teacher, was immediately welcoming and encouraging of my investigation and experience; however, she asked that I remain quiet while she went over all the upcoming events that the class had to prepare for.

The actual dancing came way too fast, and before I knew it I was jumping and spinning, more than I ever had, to loud and upbeat music that was perfect for a good start to the day. The exercises were not too hard to do, but I know for a fact that I didn’t look too good doing them. It was made very apparent to me that I have no skill in dance when I found myself dancing alongside 10 or so incredibly talented dancers.

All of a sudden the routine seemed to have gotten many levels harder as we began to roll across the floor and leap into the air. I even began to try a kick handstand. If I can’t even do a cartwheel, why did I even think I could successfully attempt this?

But I did it anyway. And not to my surprise, or anyone else’s in the class, I fell to the floor, drawing all attention to me. I heard a few giggles and noticed many smiles about to burst into laughter. The class seemed to have stopped for what was the longest 10 seconds of my life. The fall, without a doubt, made it to the number one spot on my list of most embarrassing moments. It certainly didn’t help that I knew hardly anyone in that class, giving them more reason to judge me. But what they were probably thinking didn’t stop me from giving it a second try. This time I did it with loads of confidence and motivation to not fall again.

And, I did it. I felt so proud of myself for not falling, even though no one probably noticed my successful attempt. From this experience, I learned that it’s very important to try new things and to go out of your comfort zone once in a while. You never know if you might like it or be super good at it, which in my case I certainly was not. Would I give dancing another go at the next school dance? The answer is quite a simple one: no.