While most people define Sundays as the day of rest, I define Sundays as my day for dance!
I started dancing when I was four years old, at Nancy Stanley’s School of Dance. The moment I put on my first pair of ballet shoes, was the moment I fell in love with the art. For six years, I attended weekly ballet and tap classes. I remember going to Popeyes with my mom each Wednesday before dance class started, ordering the 2 pc spicy chicken meal combo, and practicing my spelling words while gobbling down the fried goodness. This dinner routine was pretty effective for learning spelling words, because my mom would always threaten that if I missed any words on the practice test she was about to give, that it would mean no more chicken for me. Luckily, that rarely happened.
When I was ten however, my love for dance waned. I guess, like anything, life gets “busy” and as I entered middle school, my responsibilities heightened. Life at home was also becoming more of a challenge, and so I decided to quit (this choice ranks up there with some of the worst choices I’ve made). I never really stopped dancing though. I danced in my bedroom to Taylor Swift, attempted Ellen’s Dance Dare Challenge at Walmart, and even learned Psy’s famous Gangnam Style choreography, all with good company of course. Then came college. Freshman year, while attending the fall club fair, I learned that UNL had a Ballroom Dance Company, where members learn how to do all types of classic and latin ballroom dance, such as waltz, foxtrot, cha-cha, tango, and west coast swing, just to name a few! I was informed that the company performs the routines they learn in a fall and spring showcase, and also compete and perform at various events. As I listened to the representative, I became really excited to join!!!…and then he said, “you have to audition”. Hmmm, sounds stressful, not so sure if I want to go through that.
The audition intimidated me, and I ended up not trying out for the team freshman year. My second year of college, I was for real too busy. I was taking 18 credit hours, was a teacher’s assist (TA) for COMM 101, working 70ish hours a week, already participating in two other organizations, and volunteering. After surviving that year, I knew I could accomplish anything! Yeah Life, come at me bro! Okay, so now comes my third and final year of college. I attended the fall club fair again, mainly to get a bunch of free food and t-shirts, and walked by UNL’s Ballroom Dance Company booth. I stopped at their station, listened to the representative give their spiel, and then heard the word ‘audition’ again. He told me if I was interested to write my name and email down so he could contact me for more information about the audition and the team. While I was still busy my third year of college, I was only working full time at one job and wasn’t a TA, so my schedule wasn’t as hectic and the time commitment was doable. I wrote my contact information down, still unsure whether I would show up or not.
I ended up auditioning, and at the end of it all, when the ballroom instructor held up the paper with the results, I ran up to the paper, my forehead inches from the results sheet, and read the name “Heather (not my last name)”. ...well dang. If only my last name wasn’t Wilson. I walked out of the room feeling a little defeated. I told myself that it was a worthwhile experience, and that rejection and failure are inevitable in everyone’s life. After driving back to my shack of an apartment, and sulking on my bed, I got a phone call from an unknown number. Now usually, I don’t pick up unknown numbers, but something was telling me to answer this one. Maybe I thought it would pull me out of my sullen mood. The person on the other end of the phone turned out it be the dance instructor! She was wondering why I didn’t sign the paper next to my name, agreeing to commit to the ballroom team. Apparently, my handwriting is terrible, because she thought my name was ‘Heather (not my last name)’, instead of ‘Heather Wilson’. Regardless, I was ecstatic that I made the team and nearly screamed that I would commit and definitely be at the first practice that next Monday.
I am currently dancing for the second year with the company. Even though I graduated, there was a spot on the team for me last fall, and my dance instructor said I could fill it! Our spring showcase is at the end of April, and I have decided to take on choreographing, memorizing, and dancing two solos, along with the six other group routines we will perform. Now when I say solo, I really mean my partner and I dancing together on the stage alone, so technically that’s two. The first solo I am working on, with Alex, is a slow west coast swing to Betty Who’s Missing You, and the second solo, with Raymond, is an upbeat jive to Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off. I AM EQUALLY EXCITED ABOUT BOTH! However, with taking on many dances, comes taking on a lot of dedication and self motivation. I am very lucky that I have two great solo partners, who are just as dedicated to the routines as I am. Sundays seem to be the day that works well for all of our schedules (probably because it’s a rest day for most), so that’s when we schedule our dance rehearsals. I meet with Alex in the morning at the UNL recreational center, and with Raymond in the afternoon.
This Sunday in particular was abundant with dancing because 1. Raymond and I planned to have a private lesson with our dance instructor to clean up our Jive on top of our regular practice, and 2. I planned to meet with two other friends that evening to begin working on a hip hop routine for UNL’s Korea Night. This kind of schedule is my kind of schedule, because I stayed active the whole day! Progress was made on every dance, and I knew it was a productive day because on Monday morning when I woke up, every muscle in my body was sore, and I didn’t want to move an inch. All I had to do to feel energized though was rewatch the recordings of all the routines I had practiced the day before.
In an attempt to get you energized to dance more, here is a clip of the hip hop routine my friend, Trung, and I came up with Sunday night. Enjoy!
Until next time,