Dancing Through Life

By , Wyckoff, NJ

How many people look at a dancer and say “Oh! I can do that! That looks so easy!”? Most of the time, everyone, and sometimes they may be right. But some of the time, they can be far, far from it. People think that dancing takes up so much time, and means that the person has no social life. Unfortunately, they are right. As a dancer, you have to rehearse for long periods of time in order to critique yourself and have a sense of what you can and cannot do. Dancers are such an inspiration to me because, when I was seven, I got cast in my first musical. I had to learn a plethora of  lines, staging, and choreography. We were doing turns, leaps, floor routines, etc. Since this was my first musical and my first time dancing as a whole, I became very confused when everything was first introduced to me. There were other kids in the cast who had been dancing previously, and they understood very well, and started doing what our choreographer was doing. I would stand there and attempt to do choreography, but really I would make a fool out of myself. Eventually, I started getting the hang of this dancing thing, and I would stretch at home, so I could come into rehearsal prepared and prepare myself what was to come later that night.

The rehearsals were rigorous. We learned one scene after another, one dance after another, I would only pay attention to the major dances because I knew those were going to be the death of me. As the show grew closer and closer, I knew that it was crunch time. I had most of the dances, and scenes memorized, but I needed to familiar myself with them daily just so I didn’t mess up at a later rehearsal.


Out of nowhere it was the week before the show. “Where did all of the time go?”, I thought to myself. This week consisted of multiple dress rehearsals, and technical rehearsals. What I mean by that is, we would run the show a couple of times, and then go back and dissect each scene and dance to make sure everything was perfect. We could not afford any type of mistakes! After every single dress rehearsal, I would go home and review everything we had changed that night.


Finally. It was finally the night of the first show! As I waited in the wings for my first entrance, I was practicing the choreography, going over it in my head, acting it out in a smaller version, and making sure I didn’t mess anything else up. It was time. The curtain opened, the lights came up, and onstage I went. If you ask me how my performance went that night, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. All I remember is walking onstage, and then walking off as soon as it was over.  I could not believe what I had just done and how well I actually executed it. Later that night, I went to my parents and asked them if I could continue dancing by taking more classes at the same place the show I did was. Thankfully, they said yes!


About a month later I started class. I had a couple of friends who I knew from school, and the show I just explained I had done a few months prior. The moment I stepped into the studio, I could feel the heat kids exiting from the previous class hit me in the face, like a bat hitting a ball and sending it out of the park. I also could smell the last class. Disgusting. I put on my hard to shove my foot into Jazz shoes. I couldn’t stop beaming with delight when everyone I knew came into the class!  I joined mid-year, so it was kind of awkward getting settled in because the class had officially started a few months before I had joined. I had a hard time catching up, but eventually, when I did, I was able to start enjoying the class a lot more than I thought I would. We would learn things such as pirouettes, combinations to do across the floor, where we would have to pick a partner. We did so many different routines, that I was so overwhelmed yet I was having the best time of my life! It came to the end of May where I really felt like I was getting into the vibe of this class! It was May 16th, and I came into class as normal, and sat on the floor. As I was shoving my small feet, into my even smaller Jazz shoes, our teacher came in and said that we were having a recital in a couple of weeks. “WHAT?! A RECITAL?!” ,I thought to myself. I didn’t think that I was ready! I had just finished my first musical, and even that was nerve racking! Now I have to memorize a whole two minute dance, along with performing in front of a 1,200 person crowd! I was about to throw myself off of a cliff, with all of the stress that was immediately placed on top of my shoulders! Week after week, I would come into class and leave with about 20-30 seconds of our dance memorized. Finally, it was mid June and our recital was a week away. For the first time in my Dance career I was actually excited! I knew everything that was taught and I thought that I had executed it all pretty well during class.


It was the night of the first recital. I was ecstatic! I watched all of the older girls gossip, and put on their makeup. I was so lucky to have such a simple costume. I had a little button down blue shirt, and long, black, Jazz pants. They were so long that I had to pin them up just so I wouldn’t trip on them! My class (Jazz Three) was stuck in a tiny, dimly lit room, with a couple of chairs and a monitor so we knew when we had to line up. A few dances with the older kids had passed, and finally it was time to line up! We had all lined up in our order that we would be in on stage. As I started walking to the stairwell, I could feel the nerves rush all around my body, like everybody rushing through the crowded mall on Black Friday. As we walked up the blue, marble steps, I could feel my heart slowly starting to beat faster and faster! I was so nervous, yet super excited! “Jazz three, backstage please!”, I heard as my class all started to find our assigned spots backstage.


Finally. The dance before us had just finished, and the lights were starting to dim. That is when we took our places. I walk onstage, and take my place. I fold my arms and lean back, just like everyone else in my class. After about a second of darkness, the bright, stage lights came up. I looked down, to avoid being blinded by the newly lit, stage lights. The music started, and so did I.






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