Yay. Guess what I just got to spend my entire day doing? Yup, filling out college applications. It was simply riveting. I had so much fun. Relatively speaking. I mean, my sister just got her wisdom teeth removed this morning…I MUST have been having more fun than her…maybe… Well, there’s a slight chance, anyway. -_- I love college websites. And college essays. And college applications. And everything else related to college, including the huge glossy pieces of junk mail with full-color pictures of football players plastered over the front. (Honestly. Just send me all the money you wasted printing that, and I’d be more likely to consider going to your college Mr. Palm Beach Atlantic. I’m not interested in football. Good gracious. Get with the program.)
…Ahem. Ranting aside. I wrote you something. =) At least, it was originally for a college Dance application, but I had to cut half of it out and ruin all the good sentences. So I saved a copy and will post it here for my future reference and your possible enjoyment. Whoever “you” are. Hehe =) ‘Tis my answer to “What is your favorite performing experience to date? Why?” …alright, so there are SOME good things about college applications…=)
I love to perform. I love the crowded, noisy dressing rooms filled with glittering costumes. I love the picture-perfect stage makeup and the Company Class on the open stage before the show. I love the big empty house, waiting to be filled with hundreds of people all there to watch me dance. I love the rising thrill accompanied by the first notes of music as they creep into the dark wings behind the curtain where I wait. The music washes over me, and all the dancers around me cease to exist. I am carried off into a world of joy and glimmering pixie dust.
Ever since I was a young girl, I have loved the brightly-lit stage. My favorite performing experience has definitely been this past year, when I danced my first solo role. My dance school put on an original production of Beauty and the Beast, and I danced the part of Cogsworth, the Clock in the enchanted castle of the Beast. Learning the part presented a new and exciting experience for me, since I had only ever performed as part of a group, with the rest of my class. All the rehearsals, squeezed in between classes and run-throughs, gave me a chance to get to know the other girls with solo roles better, as well as giving me one-on-one attention and instruction from my teachers. As Opening Night neared time became scarcer, and every stolen moment was filled with practicing the steps I needed to learn.
This opportunity as a solo dancer challenged me and stretched me in ways I otherwise would not have grown. For instance, along with the excitement of having my first solo role came quite a bit of pressure and stress. I couldn’t just hide in the back of a group if I didn’t quite know the steps, or blend in with the others when I made a mistake. I would be the only one of me on stage, and every eye in the audience would watch me, unconsciously noting each flaw and hesitation. I learned to take steps I had just seen once and work on them alone, critiquing my own dancing and making adjustments based on my strengths and weaknesses. I learned to ask for help when I needed it, rather than remaining silent and just watching what everyone else did. I felt I could not let my teacher down by missing an entrance or forgetting a sequence. Furthermore, I could not let down my fellow dancers. They counted on me to perform to my fullest, giving them the cues they would need for their own steps. I saw frustration in their eyes when the performance approached and I still could not remember the steps they taught me from a missed rehearsal. I could not let them down. This challenged me to practice my hardest, no matter how tired I became.
As Opening Night drew nearer, I learned to overcome my exhaustion and insecurities and trust in and rely upon the many years of training and months of preparation leading up to the rise of the curtain. As I stood backstage, butterflies hammering in my stomach and mind whirling to remember the order of my many entrances, I knew that I had only to give it my best, pour all my acting and dancing abilities into my face and hands and feet, and do what I loved most. I had only to dance, both for the people waiting expectantly in the darkened house on the other side of the curtain, and for my God, who I had so often entreated for strength in the past few weeks. The results of my hard work and many practices were in His hands. The curtain opened, and I stepped onto the stage. A year’s worth of training and rehearsals stood behind me, backing me up and cheering me on. I knew I could do this.
That first step on stage embodied the most exciting moment of my year. In the glare of the lights, I could hardly make out the faces of the audience, and I didn’t want to. I knew they came to watch me and would be disappointed should I make a mistake, but that did not matter now. Only one sight held my eyes; only one thought ran through my head. I could see from the stage a small square of light, up above and to the left of the balcony. My dance teacher sat there, in the sound booth, watching the show. I smiled for her, hoping she saw what skill I had as a product of her careful training and a tribute to her own expertise. I hoped she was pleased and satisfied with me. And I thought of my Father in heaven, watching me dance as well. I know He gave me the talent I have, and I longed to give it back to Him, to use it for His glory. I danced for Him alone, and hoped what He saw pleased Him. The music picked me up and whirled me on into the dance. The steps flew into my head and down my legs to my feet, sequence after sequence of long-practiced movement.
I overcame the anxieties I felt before the show, and the three performances of Beauty and the Beast all went smoothly. I enjoyed my part tremendously in the end, and hope I showed my teacher that she did not make a mistake in trusting me with the responsibility of a solo role. Knowing that I was a part of an enormous production that represented months of work and that so many people watched made me feel needed and wanted, a valuable member of our dance company. That first step onto the stage reveals my true self, when the music fills me to overflowing and everything gathers together for the first flight into imagination. Each year the performances hold the same glimmering magic, yet I shall always remember my first solo role, when my teacher trusted me with such a beautiful responsibility and I did not let her down.
I believe the college was looking for a bit shorter of an answer to their question…but what can I say? They asked.