Thursday, February 26, 2009

You don't know me

I apologize for A) my lack of updates and B) my incessant blogs about dance. I am being haunted by my dancing past. Last night, I dreamt Rhapsody and I were fighting…not physically, but she was so mad at me for not attending her classes and for showing up late when I did.

One thing I never did (in actual real life) was show up late to class/rehearsal…ever. I know it seems hard to believe, but I swear, it was one thing I always was on time for…actually, early for. I used to get there at least 10 minutes early…sometimes 20-30 minutes early just to watch the classes before me, to stretch and change, mingle with people, see what gigs everyone’s been working on or auditioning for. I don’t think I’ve ever been so passionate about anything else before. Dance was my life. I’d even skip work for an audition or take a day off for classes. Whatever happened to me? When did I get so tired? I get so depressed when I think about what I’ve left behind.

When I say my social life was my dance life, it is no exaggeration. The only time I ever went out was with my friends from dance, and it was almost 90% of the time dance-related. You know how in the movies, there’s a scene where people break out dancing in the middle of the club…yeah, that really happened in my life. Every night was a night in dance.

It makes me sad now that the friends I’ve made over the past couple years have no idea about this other side of me or that this world even really exists. It’s like a secret or something. They have no idea how serious it was to me. It’s like all those friends out there that I have that are in bands…how serious it is for them, is how serious dance was for me. I was trying to make it big. I danced with the biggest names in the industry. I was actually going somewhere at one point.

For the ones that do know I have this past, they’ll ask to see something and I clam up. I get all embarassed. I almost feel like I don’t have the right to show for it since I left it all behind. It’s like I don’t even know how to do it anymore. I’m so ashamed.

I’m getting really personal on this one, here.

I don’t mean to brag, but I was actually really good…better than I ever thought I could be in my wildest dreams. Growing up, I thought I’d only be a pretty good ballerina (cause that’s what I was good at) at a pretty average dance school in your average, boring, small hometown, but then…what put a fire under my butt was everybody telling me I couldn’t (dance hip-hop). Literally, my best friends would tell me that I couldn’t dance for crap and that I was way too graceful (not something you wanna hear when you wanted more than anything to be a hip-hop dancer). They told me I looked silly…they even laughed at me, and I had the nerve to join in with them. I just rolled with it, cracking the jokes, but you know what, it actually hurt.

I actually remember holding back tears…not necessarily from my own friends making fun of me, but because I wanted it so bad. I wanted so bad to be good. However, if it wasn’t for them, I probably wouldn’t have gotten as far as I had. I have them to thank.

Anyways, in college, I met a group of girls who took me under their wing. It was with Yalixa and Jeanette that actually made me believe in myself. Instead of going out like every other college kid on campus, we would be up dancing in the aerobic studio in the gym until it closed literally almost every night…and really, just for the fun of it. Yeah, we had a show each semester, but it was just what we did because we loved to do it. We all shared the same passion. Some people thought it was a waste of time, but I was having the time of my life.

Both of them introduced me to the world of New York and dance at Broadway Dance Center. Having both grown up there, they showed me the way. Yalixa and Jeanette were like older sisters to me…probably the closest to the ones I never had. They watched out after me, they challenged me,… they never let me give up. I look up to them so much, and I love those two girls with all of my heart.

Broadway Dance Center is where I really began to thrive. The atmosphere pulled me in, and I wanted so badly to be a part of it. Any extra cash I had (which is little when you live in New York) went to taking classes…trust me, they don’t come cheap. I even worked for BDC for free just so I could get a discount. I met all the right people, knew all the right faces, and studied all the right moves. It was only a matter of time before people began to notice me. One person, in particular, did.

I think about him every now and then. He told me he saw a lot of talent in me. He even asked me to be apart of his dance troupe, but I just needed a little bit more work before I got the official invitation. He had danced with everyone from Mariah Carey to Salt-n-Pepa. Though a few years younger than me, he was a well seasoned dancer. I was just so excited, not to mention honored, that someone actually thought I was worthy. Come to find out, later…he had a thing for me and I began to question if his intentions were real. Around this time, I began dating Jeremy, and he seemed to be jealous of that (maybe, I dunno…I might be reading into it too much). But he kinda stopped talking to me, and I was hurt. I was hurt because it was possible he just asked me to be a part of his crew just because he liked me and not because he thought I was a good dancer.

Anyways, when he told me about his crush on me, I got really shy around him. I got nervous when I saw him in class. I tried to avoid him as much as possible because I didn’t know how to act. Then, the day I had a really big audition…he was one of the judges, and I hate to admit it (and I don’t think I have before, but…) he totally spooked me. Like a ghost, I was totally paled. I literally blew my audition and right in front of him. It was such an awful day. I was so sure I’d get all the way to, at least, the last round of cuts, but nope, I was gone by the first round. What was even worse is when everyone came up to me looking to get ready for round two and three. They all gasped when I said I didn’t make it through. It was like rubbing it in my face. My peers, my challengers, my competition…altogether took my heart, beat it in the ground and into this gruesome bloody pulp. Of course, they didn’t even say anything offending (actually they were quite supportive, it was just how I chose to interpret it). We all talked about that audition for months prior, and here I was, a failure left standing alone…and in front of the one person (who might have actually been routing for me). I felt like I let him down. I let myself down. I was so embarrassed.

As a dancer, though, you have to have a tough skin, so I picked up my bruised ego off the floor and went right back to classes the next week (though disconcerted to see my peers). Then, abruptly coming to a halt, BDC went on hiatus. The landlord was kicking us out of our building and forcing us to relocate. This meant a 3 week vacation with absolutely no where to take classes. Some got together anyways, and I tried, but I felt like I needed this vacation. I was physically and emotionally drained from other such events in my life, I felt like I owed it to myself to take a break.

To my surprise, when the company had set up two temporary locations for us to take classes for the next 4 months while the new studios were being built, I never actually went back. I worked for free for them for another month or two…but then, just couldn’t build up this strength inside me to walk into a class. It was awful, and I didn’t know where this lack of motivation was coming from.

Despite my discouragement, I still went to another audition in which I actually got the gig. It was to tour with a new up-and-coming female R&B artist. I went to the first rehearsal in which the artist and her management was there. It went really well until later that night when I got a phone call from the choreographer. The manager decided I didn’t fit it (What? Was it because I was the only white girl?). Regardless, they told the choreographer to cut me.

After that incident, I only went to one more class at BDC (the temporary status). The classroom was small, cramped, and crowded….probably 1/3rd the size of our usual classroom. I had a new “do” and ready to start anew. I had bangs added to my look, but it irritated me how my sweat made them stick to my face. Cassie came in that night and everyone was trying to impress her. Rhapsody seemed pleased to see me and she approved of my new look (she always told me I needed to be more bold). We (Yalixa, Jeanette, and I) walked around the floor looking in at the different rehearsal spaces, wondering which places we could rent out just for our own personal use sometime (just like back in our college days). But that night, was the last night…and I’ve been haunted ever since.

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