Dance Jitters This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     My palms were sweaty as I stood in the darkness behind the curtains. There were no butterflies in my stomach. Rather, it felt like pterodactyls flying around. Wearing our magenta mini-skirts and sequined tops, the other dancers and I were ready to dazzle the judges.

Though we had practiced for months, backstage my mind went blank. The sound of excited chatter filled the air as music blared for the dancers now onstage. My friend Brittanie and I anxiously peeked to watch the others perform their jazz routine. We watched their perfect pirouettes and flawless leaps, which only made us even more nervous.

“Are you ready?” Brittanie asked with a weak smile.

“Of course I am!” I replied, trying to sound confident.

“I guess I’m kind of nervous,” she admitted.

“Okay, so am I! But we’re on in about 30 seconds!”

As I spoke, I heard the song end and roaring applause. As the dancers left the stage, they were out of breath. Deep breaths, I thought to myself, Deep breaths.

Then my dance team lined up and we strutted onto the stage as if we owned it. In the back of my mind, I heard my teacher say, “Confidence is everything!” as she did when we spent long hours in the studio. I flashed the judges my biggest smile, trying not to show that I felt like collapsing.

We reached our starting poses and stood motionless with nervous smiles plastered on our faces. I noticed that several of the judges wore listless expressions, and one of them even seemed irritated, which added to my discomfort on stage.

A few seconds later, I heard our familiar song in the speakers, and my nervousness evaporated. The dance started with a simple few counts and a more challenging turn section followed. To my complete surprise, my fouette turns were perfect. Even my grande jetés were higher than usual! Our upbeat dance gave us such an adrenaline rush; we never lost our energy. Even the judges began dancing in their seats.

The dance ended with back handsprings and a lift, all of which were perfect. We received a standing ovation! That sense of accomplishment was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had. I left the stage with a genuine smile, knowing that I had performed my best.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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