My heart leapt out of my chest as I shuffled on stage and faced the audience, obscured by darkness. With bated breath, I waited silently for the spotlight — my cue to dance.
This year, I was a dancer in Lawrenceville’s annual Spring Dance Concert (SDC), an annual dance performance with dances choreographed by students, a few alumni, and faculty member Derrick Wilder, Lawrenceville’s director of dance. Over 200 students participated in SDC this year, setting a record-breaking level of involvement in the production. After hours and weeks of rehearsal, performers were finally ready for the two-night event, themed “Get Wilder,” a play-on-words of Mr. Wilder’s name and his unbridled spirit and energy for dance. As one of the most popular events of the year, SDC never fails to delight those who come to support their friends and family on stage.
I watched SDC in my Second and Third Form year, and each time, I was amazed not only by the talent that my peers possessed but also by their courage to perform in front of a few hundred people. While SDC had been something that I really wanted to participate in, I was extremely hesitant to try out. When auditions came around again this year, I almost did not go. But with the coaxing of a friend and the thought that I knew I would regret not trying, I sprinted from Kennedy House to the Kirby Arts Center to audition. I had no prior dance experience, and when I saw people practicing the audition piece, I nearly left the building. However, the veteran dancers were patient and more than willing to teach me the dance step-by-step. Minutes later, I was walking to the auditorium stage with a group of other students to perform in front of the choreographers. There was no going back now.
I cannot put into words the joy I felt when I scanned the audition results list and saw that I had been selected. I always looked forward to our practices every Monday, progressively learning and mastering more and more of the upbeat, fast-paced hip-hop-dubstep dance, performed to the song “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody.” Although it was difficult for me to master the “body roll,” Lily and Izzy, my steadfast, patient choreographers, were extremely patient and encouraging until I could do it without embarrassing myself completely. They led us through every obstacle we encountered, whether it was mastering a handstand or even getting the right costumes.
Tech week, the last week before the performance, consisted of a several stressful nights of rehearsal. Finally, the day of the first show had arrived. I was in the second dance of the show, and while Nachale, the Indian dance group, performed, my group gathered in a circle backstage to hold hands and pray for us to succeed. My heart raced as I walked on stage, but standing there in the dark, I already knew that all those long nights had been worth it. I put my all into dancing that night, and after we ran off stage I could not stop smiling.
I never would have thought that I would dance in front of hundreds of people. But if there’s anything that I have learned at Lawrenceville, it’s that going outside of your comfort zone will often lead to some of the best experiences of your life. I could not have asked for a better group of people and choreographers to dance with in my first SDC — thank you all for teaching me to dance and that how to have “a little party.” I cannot wait to audition again next year!