Over the weekend, I performed in my 4th showcase that Dance Austin Studio hosts. After each performance, I’ve written about how I’ve felt and I realize what an important place dance has in my life.
This time was no different, in fact, I realized just how much I need dance and those I dance with to fulfill my life.
I started dancing in 6th grade, taking a jazz class at a small gym with one of my friends. We performed a few times, and I still recall flopping when we had to pull red boas from our partners’ leotards. It was cringe-worthy!
A year later, I tried out for the dance squad at my middle school – I didn’t make it, but made it the following year after practicing my smile and wearing lots of body glitter. I continued dancing throughout high school, I served as captain of a team, competed across the state of Indiana, and even choreographed a piece for my senior project.
And then I stopped dancing. I used writing as my form of expression, and while obviously I still am (and will always be) a writer, I started dancing again when I moved to Austin two years ago.
I feel like I’m really lucky that I ended up at THE best studio in the city – or maybe that’s all the proof I need that fate is real. Dance Austin Studio has challenged me physically and emotionally, and I’ve done things I never thought I would get to do: audition, perform on stage, and most importantly, learn from some of the best dancers in the industry on a regular basis.
Over the last two months, my life has suffered a whirlwind of changes. Many of my readers know that among the general hectic nature of my life, I recently went through a family emergency that flipped my world completely. There were days I was barely going through the motions of life, and I forced myself to dance.
I may not remember a single thing I thing I learned during those classes, but I know my classmates were there for me – even if they didn’t know it.
That’s the other thing about Dance Austin; it has truly become my family. While I had acquaintances at the studio last year, some of the ladies have really embraced me, invited me into their homes, and even included me in dance pieces of their own. I don’t know what kind of shape I’d be in without these people, these experiences.
For this showcase, “The Aftermath”, I performed in a Broadway Jazz piece. I have always had a secret wish that one day, I’d wake up and my life would be a musical – very much like the blue bird scene from “500 Days of Summer”. Taking broadway jazz was pretty much that dream, realized, and then I got to be a KILLER stepford wife on stage.
It didn’t happen without hours of practice in and outside of the studio; many nights I practiced in my living room wearing slippers while my cat watched with wide eyes.
I was also asked to perform in a contemporary piece with a message of women’s empowerment. It was very powerful and a true honor to get to dance in it!
This was my first time doing jazz in (obviously) several years; first time doing any “dressography”, and my first time performing two routines, plus in both shows! Whew!
But as we probably all know, the more challenges thrown at you, the more you conquer, and the more you ultimately learn about yourself. This weekend, I can say I learned that I CAN DO IT. I can learn something completely new amidst chaos, and smile through it.
So I owe a big thank you to all the ladies that danced with me, a thank you to Chi Chi – the owner of Dance Austin Studio, a thank you to Caitlyn – my instructor and insanely talented choreographer who put up with me being zombified for six weeks, and a thank you to the Ultraviolets for inviting me to share the stage with you as part of such an incredible piece.
February showcase, I’m coming for you!