Everyone danced. It wasn’t that ugly movement that you would see at a school dance, but the kind that was fluent, improvised, and you couldn’t tear your eyes away from it if you tried. I told myself right then that I was going to be just like these magnificent people.
Grabbing my best friend’s hand, we skipped around the rows of velvet chairs to the makeshift stage where the other competitors were. Loud and cheerful music boomed from the large speakers on the walls-- it filled the enormous ballroom and vibrated the wooden floor. Hesitant to dance along, Carissa and I awkwardly stood in the middle of the movement.
The giants I was competing against surrounded us and made me feel small despite the fact that I was the tallest in my third grade class. These dancers were enormous: huge, muscular, and height-gifted. They easily intimidated me even if they didn’t mean to.
Despite our many physical differences, the giants and I all had something in common. We were all at this competition to show off what we had dedicated our school nights, Sunday afternoons, extra sleep, TV and homework time to. We were all there to learn something new that we could take home with us and treasure.
We were all there to dance.
This was my very first dance competition, and the anxiety from awaiting our results had completely taken control over my mind, and I think that other competitors had the same issue at the time. It had been an hour since I stood on this stage and performed my well-prepared routine. For some other studios, it had been two to three hours. My face burned from the heavy, glittery, makeup, and my body itched from the shiny sequence. I just wished to peel it all off.
“Hey, I like this song!” Carissa shouted toward me over the obnoxiously loud noise in the room.
I responded with, “So do I,” and we begin to move like the others. Laughing, we both felt extremely stupid and embarrassed. Because of the little space and large strangers, we were practically on top of each other.
“Do you want to get on my shoulders so you can see?” I loudly asked. Carissa, being a mighty four-foot-two, was on the opposite end of the height spectrum as me. Squishing her nose up to her forehead, she obviously did not like the idea. “Oh, come on!” I begged.
With an apparent sigh, Carissa finally gave in to my pleas. She hopped onto my shoulders in probably the most awkward way possible, and we laughed as loud as tornado sirens.
After all of our waiting, the announcer regally stepped onto her pedestal. Carissa and I stopped singing along to the music and froze in motion. Everyone in the ballroom held their breath as to not miss a single syllable that came out of her mouth. These results that she was about to present to us was what we had been waiting months on end for.
I helped Carissa off of my shoulders very mouse-like: quick and quiet. I grabbed her small hand next to mine and shut my eyes. I could feel my heart hammering in my chest. Chills were sent down my neck, along my arms, and rolled off of my legs. I couldn’t contain my nerves anymore.
Being the youngest at the competition did have some good points. One of them is that we’re the first to have our results announced. “Candy and Company’s Broadway Kids has received,” she began. I couldn’t contain my excitement and had already started to stand when I heard the single word that kept a smile on my face for days,
Did I hear correctly? Is this really what we won?
Carissa had happy tears streaming down her cheeks and our entire group was going crazy. We all had smiles that stretched from ear to ear and gave out hugs that squeezed all of the air out of us.
Find what makes you happy.