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Dancing for Tremaine
As I twirled on the ball of my left foot with my right leg pressed up against the side of my head, I felt as if I was a majestic peacock unfurling my beautiful feathers, turning on the peak of the world. Yet, I also felt as though there was a black hole in the pit of my stomach, sucking up all of the my wavering confidence, and setting tiny claws of uncertainty dancing across my skin.
I was one of fifty young girls who nervously sprang, spun, and leapt across the stage like hot popcorn shooting out of a bag. We each did our most impressive moves, then tensely looked at the judges conversing around the water cooler to see if they were watching. Every girl came with the hope to win a big trophy or a scholarship for next year’s competition. This was not any competition, but Tremaine, which is one of the most prestigious and competitive dance competitions in California. It is lead by Mr. Tremaine, a legend in the world of dance who has worked with stars such as Brittany Spears, Madonna, Helen Hunt, and Cameron Diaz. He is tall, like a proud giraffe looking down on all of the small and unconfident ants. Stories say that he is seventy, but he holds his head up high and throws back his shoulders in such a way that you would think he was a young man.
As I was finishing the last jumps of the warm-up, my thoughts zoomed by faster than the multicolored cars on the bustling freeway. Suddenly, George, our nondescript ballet teacher, finally spoke the words I had been waiting for.
“Dancers to the floor please,” he said in his dry and colorless voice.
I smiled as I looked at him, but the nervousness in the pit of my stomach was spreading at the rate of a sleek bright orange cheetah running after its prey. You could almost smell the other dancer’s nervousness and wonder, for those elements were dancing about the room and spinning in our heads.
George slowly taught us the ballet combination. Though the steps seemed simple, there were so many components to the articulation of each movement that its simplicity was deceptive. He divided us into four lines, and I was chosen to be one of the line leaders. I slowly walked out onto the stage. My arms pushed against the cold thick air like a fish’s tired fins pushing against cold water. My legs moved gracefully, but was it gracefully enough? I finished with a triple pirouette and held my right arm high in the air while my left flowed up from my side. I smiled at the judges, and felt the triumph of an advanced dancer who had just finished five solo numbers in a row on her toes. I held my position tensely, for the assistants who would whisper in our ears whether we would go or stay were walking up to the judges so slowly that it almost seemed like a curse. The judges were like emotionless dull gray statues who moved only their lips. One by one, the judges whispered to each of the assistants which of the dancers would be accepted. I watched as the two girls in front of me nodded to what the assistants said and sadly ran toward their moms and dads as if they were scared of an unseen being. The tall slender girl that was chosen to tell me whether or not I made it or not walked towards me so slowly she seemed a turtle in human’s clothing. Her mouth moved very close to my ear. My heart throbbed high in my neck. She finally whispered, “Please g---” She looked back at the judge and nodded, then turned towards me again. “--stay.” The assistants were teenagers, and they often forgot who was to go or stay by the time they reached us. My head and stomach throbbed with relief. I had been so scared, and even now I jumped around nervously. Luckily, I was also asked to stay after the jazz audition. Now, all I had to do was hope that my name was called tonight.
That night, I sat among the crowd like a small pebble squished among many gigantic rocks. The room was jam-packed, and we sat in what seemed an enormous ant-hill squished with billion and billions of ants of all different sizes and shapes. In a voice that jumped with excitement, Mr. Tremaine spoke about how wonderfully all the dancers had done this year and how far everyone had come.
“And now,” he said, “with no further ado…the junior, teen, and senior scholarship awards! The first out of the three junior awards goes to Samantha K.”
I clapped loudly, but to tell you the truth, it was not exactly from my heart. I felt more guilty than a hyena who had just eaten his brother’s deer and left the bones in his cave.
“Our next winner is. . . Katie K.!”
I felt squashed in the enormous erupting volcano of the applause.
“And now…our last winner for tonight for the juniors, and the only who will be receiving a yellow envelope, which is good for not one but two conventions…”
I sighed--I didn’t think that I did that well. I was an enormous deflating balloon.
I gasped--what had just happened? But the screams from my dance studio verified it. I was sitting at the edge of the sand, and an enormous wave pushed me forward. Their screams were like lions roaring in my ears. I must have gotten it! I stood up and walked towards the stage to receive the envelope. I smiled at the hundreds of people who were watching. I felt that if I fell off the stage right then and there, I would only laugh with them. I smiled once more and took the scholarship from Mr. Tremaine. He looked at me, and winked.