My First Solo

By , New Orleans, LA

It was the start of the spring semester and the teachers debriefed us on what we would be performing in our spring recital that year. We watched the professional version of the ballet we would be performing on the flat screen that was in the studio, and, during this time, our tap teacher, Mrs Lisa,  would also decide who would be doing what part in the dance. There was one part in the ballet we were watching where there was a quartet of dancers. Three of them were women who wore beautiful, light blue tutus on that sparkled in the stage light with pastel pink tights and pink pointe shoes that allowed dancers to dance on the tips of their toes. The last one was a man and he had on a deep blue, velvet ballet top with shiny white tights and white ballet slippers. The three women did pique turns around each other and grand jete leaps across the floor while the man stood in the back. Then the three women did bourrees moving toward to back while the man started to do very high grand jete leaps across the floor.


As we were watching the video, Mrs. Lisa doled out the roles of the ballet. She decided that I would be part of the quartet of dancer along with three other girls named Cecelia, Michelle, and Ava. Our jazz teacher, Ms, Sarah chimed in and said that we would be doing a version of the dance where we would all be dancing together. She also said that I would be taking the man’s part because I could jump really high and do most of the things that male dancer could do, but that she is going to change it up and make it more of a feminine dance. I started to get really excited because Cecelia, Michelle, Ava, and I would get to dance in a special part in the recital which was a first for me. Then Mrs. Lisa said to keep watching the video. In the video, the quartet finished and two of the women and the man went off stage while the last woman stayed on. Beautiful violin music started to play in the background and she started to dance a solo. When I saw this my stomach dropped, and I was hoping that what I thought was going to happen was not going to happen. Ms. Sarah then confirmed my suspicion by saying that Cecelia, Michelle, Ava, and I would all have solos for the spring concert along with our quartet dance. I was scared because I had been at that dance school for at least nine years and I had never had a solo before. I never thought that I was good enough to have a solo and I never had any experience with one. So while the other three girls were happy and warming up to learn the dance, I was sitting there feeling terrified, but I could not help feeling a big smile growing on my face.


The video finally ended and the company split up to go learn their parts for the dance. Ms. Sarah took the four of us into the big studio to learn our parts. She said that we would be learning the quartet part first. Ms. Sarah then positioned us in the upstage left side corner of the stage and started to teach us the quartet dance. We got about halfway through it and took a break. Then Ms. Sarah split us up again to learn solos.


I was going to learn my solo first even though I was second in the order of the recital. My piece was a powerful one with loud music and a lot of jumps. The music started immediately with loud horns and drums, and the first move of my solo was a big saute leap coming on stage. I continued to learn it for the last thirty minutes of class while the other three girls had a snack and the rest of the company continued to learn their dance with Mrs. Lisa. I got halfway through my dance when the rest of the company came in the big studio to watch me do my solo. This was not really a big deal for me because I have messed up in front of them before and, more importantly, they were like family to me. Ms. Sarah put on the music and I performed what I knew so far for the rest of the company. After I was done, the rest of the dancers looked at me in shock, and I was confused because they would not say anything at first. The they started to congratulate me and they said that the dance was really good. Mrs. Lisa; however, said, “My one critique would be that you need to have more confidence in your movements. This is a very powerful piece and you need to act the part.”


Three months had passed since we started working on our dances and now we were finished. We started to work on some technique and rerun the dance over and over again to make sure it was memorized for the recital, which was two weeks away. When the recital finally came, I was a little nervous, but, at the same time, I was excited and confident in my dance. I knew that the  audience was full of the parents of everyone that attended the school along with my own.


The first dance of the show was an early learning/pre Kindergarten class, then there was a second level dance group, and after that was my tap and jazz dance. There were more lower level groups after that and then it would be our quartet. Our quartet dance went on without a hitch and it was time for our solos. First it was Michelle, then me, Cecelia, and then Ava. When it was time for my dance, I was freaking out a little but I managed to calm myself down and do my dance.


I felt great about my dance and the audience must have really liked it as well because, in the middle of my dance when I was doing jumps and turns, they applauded me. After I had finished, they gave me even more applause as I went off the stage. My first solo had gone really well and after the recital my parents told me that they were proud of me and that I did really well. I felt proud of myself too because I was able to pull of my first solo, and I had the strength to overcome my fears.






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