Dancing the Doubt Away

It’s weird to think that four months ago, I was stretching and warming up in Kresge dance studio and trying to ignore the fact that my whole body was shaking with nerves. It’s weird because just last weekend, I walked back into that same dance studio with my head held high. I had so much fun performing that I forgot to be nervous.

Photo credit: Gustavus Marketing

For context, I haven’t been dancing for very long. I started during my sophomore year of high school, and most of the other dancers I know basically all started when they were in preschool. So, just deciding to walk into the audition for Shared Space took more confidence and strength than anything else. I was surrounded by amazing dancers with years upon years of experience, and I didn’t feel like I fit the mold.

But my choreographer (and, conveniently, also my best friend and roommate) must have seen something in me that I didn’t, because she cast me in her piece. And it didn’t take long for those rehearsals to become my favorite place to be. I got to be with five talented, unique, interesting people, and our little group had a very supportive and sometimes very funny vibe. I learned a little slower than everyone else, and I needed extra practice every now and then, but eventually I got it. Little by little, Kresge dance studio became less of a place of anxiety for me, and more one of comfort. I started to learn, over the course of those late, tiring rehearsals, who I authentically was.

My lovely choreographer/best friend/roommate.

The performances were simply a beautiful culmination of all the learning and growing I did over the semester. For me, they were less about the audience and more about myself. Being able to walk into that studio and hold my head up as the lights rose meant everything for me. But what was more important were the connections I made with other dancers in the show. Going to the cast party, and talking with everyone else in the dressing room and at rehearsals, made me realize that I actually did fit the mold. No one was telling me that I didn’t fit in before, that was just my own brain making that up.

With one of my favorite seniors and Gilly, the Gustavus Dance Company mascot.

I am truly going to miss this crazy dance-filled semester, but I know this won’t be the last time I perform at Gustavus. And next audition, I won’t be shaking.