Missionary Week: Day 4

I finally got a good night’s sleep! It may be due to the fact that I ended up going to bed around midnight, but whatever. My mind was settled and ready for bed and getting up at 6:30 wasn’t so bad. Of course I didn’t really get out of bed until like 6:50, but whatever. The night before I had gotten some answers to prayers that I’ve really been needing. Such a blessing! Maybe that’s another reason I slept easier.

This morning I started my day out with a trip to the Temple. I’ve been meaning to go for a while, it’s just that I haven’t had time in my schedule to fit it in and I haven’t had anyone who could go with me/take me there. This is my second time going to the Provo Temple since being here. It’s really different from the one back home, but I like it. And going to the Temple is just what I needed. I felt a calm in the morning that has lasted the whole day. I know things will work out and everything will be alright. I just need to take some deep breaths and smile.

In ballroom class I had a lovely test. Testing in there is a little different than in a normal class. There’s a short written part asking us about steps in the dance, footwork for certain steps, timing of steps, and asking whether we completed our practice hour. Then after that’s done we have to dance for the teacher while she comments on our dancing. It can be kind of intimidating actually. I should be use to dancing in front of people and being judged, I did it for eleven years of my life. The thing is, you never get use to it. No matter what. You just learn how to deal with your nerves more. Same applies to auditioning and interviews. You just know the mechanics of it and you have a better idea of how you react under situations the more you do them. But they never get less nerve racking. Anyway, I think I did alright on my test. We don’t really know how we dance grade wise, we’re just left to guessing from the comments make on the comment sheet. But like I said, I think I did pretty commendably. I know that I’ll never be a ballroom dancer, but I was more coordinated then a monkey dancing around the floor.

Today was just full of dancing. I had my ballroom test in the morning and I had tap club rehearsal after classes. We’re learning a disco number. Super fast and super high energy. It’s easy to have a good time dancing to that one, though right now my face probably looks like the face of someone trying to figure out their calculus test. It’s definitely been a journey for me getting back into tap after a four or so year break. Sounds like a story I should share!

When I was a wee little lass of three my parents put me in a dance class. We were little ballerina bunnies who hopped around the stage and were bearable to watch because we were just so dang adorable with our fluffy lil’ tails. I continued dancing the next year and got to be a ragtime tap girl with my bright blue “flapper dress,” bedazzled with shiny party beads dangling with the fringe. Let’s not forget the lovely, glitter happy hat with blue feathers and silver tinsel. Again, we got by with the cute factor. I don’t know how I got interested, but I tried out for the dance company. I was four and 3/4 with high ambitions. I guess I was adorable enough (because I KNOW I wasn’t a gifted dancer) and they let me join the dance company after what was probably a laughable audition (you know, the ones where you just go “awww, she tried to do that leap and failed, but she’s still precious”). We were the dancing grapes. Strange, I know. But to cut back costume costs we used the same dress for our three competition numbers, the exception being a big ballerina skirt we put over it for our ballet routine. Our costumes were obnoxiously purple and sparkly, we were fresh into elementary school, and we had a boy on our team. What judge could resist us? And so my journey into the world of competitive dancing began. Parades, competitions, rehearsal, shows at fairs, recitals, I did it all. I grew up without a life outside of dance and school. Sure, there was church, but still. I was a busy little girl. I’m not going to go into the details of my years as a dancer right now. That would take far too long and this is about tap. The point is I started out young and grew up doing it. I’m not really sure if this is the one event in my life that grew my passion for tap, but it definitely stands out in my mind.

In company we have routines that go to competitions. As you get older the more competitive it gets among your teammates to make it into certain routines (this is when girls get caddy and sassy, like in Dance Moms). Now, I was a bigger girl. I’m not going to deny it. I had my chubby years, which are hard to go through especially when you’re a dancer and a lot of people are in the mindset that you need to be a twig in order to amount to anything in the dance world. Self-esteem shot down, I pushed on through with dreams of becoming a jazz/lyrical dancer (contemporary wasn’t a huge thing, lyrical and jazz were). Then I remember making it into a small group tap number. Small groups were kind of hard to get into because, you know, SMALL group. It was a tap number to a Three Stooges song (who knew they had songs). It feels good to know that someone thinks your good enough to make it in a small group number. I was in the small group tap number every year after that until I quit. I even did a tap solo. Tap slowly became my thing. I could pick up choreography fairly quickly and I was pretty good at tapping. I loved taking tap classes and being loud and obnoxious with my feet. When I was 12 I won a tap scholarship at a convention to attend one of their conventions in New York. I was thrilled. People thought I was actually good and I really loved what I was doing. Going to New York and tap dancing with some great tappers was such a great experience. Through a series of events I ended up dancing in the tap group that was above my age level. I grew so much as a tapper that week, it was amazing (I also got to dance with Travis Wall, always a plus). The next year at dance we got a new tap teacher. She was a nice lady and all, she was just the old, classic style of tap that the tap world was slowly shifting from. I feel like I didn’t grow as much with her, but I still loved to tap so I wasn’t going to give up. I had also won free tap classes for getting the studio award for most improved tapper, so I definitely wasn’t going to quit my free lessons. After my eighth grade year I decided to quit dance for marching band. I realized though that I had sustained an injury from dance and had to have surgery. They removed a bone from my foot and I haven’t been able to use my muscles the same way I use to be able to.

Where am I going with this overly long story? Well, to today. I really wanted to pick up my tapping again and decided to take a tap class at BYU. After changing levels a few times (I honestly didn’t know how good I would be after a five year hiatus) I got into a tap class that fit my schedule and my level. I found tap is like riding a bike, you never truly forget how. I’m in the highest level of tap classes, so next semester I wouldn’t have a class (unless I took the same class again). That just wasn’t going to fly with me, I finally got back into the swing of things. Long story short (even though this whole rant on tap WAS a long story) I talked to my teacher and she invited me to fill a space of a girl leaving on her mission in tap club. So not only am I excited about the new lowered missionary age because it makes a mission more in my reach, I’m also grateful because it’s the reason I get to be in tap club. I love the way things work out.

I’m not exactly sure I remembered my dance life in the correct order of events. Cut me some slack, the most recent events happened five years ago.

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