The ICC Dance

| June 29, 2012

The car engine rumbled as Mom stopped in front of the red traffic light. In the backseat, my knees trembled and thoughts of anxiety raced through my head. Today was the big day, the day of the ICC dance competition. All year I had practiced with my dance team to prepare for this very competition, for it would be this competition that the whole world would see my dance. People from all over the state of California were coming and this event would be broadcast on TV! Millions of butterflies flew back and forth in my stomach.

“I’m gonna fail, I can just see it. I’m gonna mess up. Oh my god, I can even feel it! Maybe I should just say that I’m sick—which, with all my jitters, I might as well be—and then I’ll never have to worry about this day again. Simple!” I declared.

“No, you are going to that performance. I mean, what’s there to be worried about anyways? You’ve been on TV before, and you always get butterflies, but you do just great!” my mom encouraged me.

Staring out the open window, I tried to focus on what I needed to get done right now. I had a big day head of me: first getting to the place, putting on heavy makeup, then getting into my dance costume, getting on stage, the dancing part, and then waiting a gazillion hours for the judges to announce the winners. Then I could go home, eat and sleep. “Woo hoo, I’m gonna have a great day,” I thought sarcastically to myself.

Being somewhat optimistic worked; the day went by fast as a cheetah chasing prey on the open savannah. As time was speeding closer and closer to the time my dance would begin, the butterflies that had flown away were beginning to migrate back into my stomach.

All the butterflies in the world were at war, constantly shooting, killing, and flying around in my stomach. My dance was up next, so I had about four minutes to kill myself in great amounts of stress. Soon I was walking onstage getting into my first position. Suddenly loud music boomed in my ears.

Realizing that the song had started, my hand and legs began to move to the fast-paced music. Left hand up, down, kick, in, flip, go…” I trailed on in my mind, repeating the choreography. Soon a smile appeared and spread from ear to ear as I realized my accomplishment: I hadn’t messed up during the dance so far! If I could just keep it up, I would survive: step after step, beat after beat, I moved along until the time had come for the final pose: I would stand up on top of two people’s shoulders and pose. Successfully I climbed up while the final beats played.

Up on top of both my dance mates, I smiled at the sea of eyes in front of me. Then I trembled, realizing that there were more people than I had ever seen in a crowd. Anxiety raced through my body. I shook. At that shake, though, I lost my balance and my head began its horrifying journey towards the ground. For those couple seconds it felt like the world was crashing towards me in slow motion. In the distance, gasps filled the air.

Then a miracle took place: my fall led to me falling into my pose, except on my knees. Pain sizzled throughout my body, especially my legs, but on the way I had done an aerial, a front flip without using any hands! The moment I landed, the music stopped, making all seem like it was meant to happen, and our dance was rewarded with a standing ovation. My dance won second place in the competition, leaving both me and my dance mate elated, jumping with joy.

—Mashia Mazumder

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