I love TV. We all know this. However, summer TV is devoid of anything satisfying EXCEPT one little gem...So You Think You Can Dance. As a lover of all things dance-related, I am just slightly obsessed with this show.
This fondness of dance goes back to age 6, when my mom decided I was too shy and needed to get involved in some sort of lessons that would teach me how to not be socially awkward around anything that breathed. I was given some options and chose dance class. My first recital was the annual Christmas show, and my class did a ballet number. I'm pretty sure all it involved was some toe pointing here and there and maybe even a shaky pirouette. Scratch that, the pirouette was probably too advanced at that point. But from the first day of my first class, I was hooked on dance.
I would continue to take lessons at the same studio into my freshman year of high school- tap, jazz, ballet, a forray into tumbling that I gave up after a couple of years when I realized there was ZERO hope that I would ever be any good, and even hip hop during my last days.
There are countless recital tapes and photos of me in every single costume (and that's a lot...at each summer recital I'd be in at least 4 numbers and 2 at the winter recital. So let's say I have ammassed about 50 costumes). You only wish you could see these photos. Let's just say that if I ever get really famous and someone wants to blackmail me, these things are excellent amunition.
I'll paint a picture: Hair gelled back into a bun or pony tail with some sort of sequiny contraption around it, purple or blue eye shadow, bright pink blush that would make those tykes (or should I say, the moms of those tykes) on Toddlers and Tiaras swoon, red lipstick more befitting of a woman of the night, a unibrow, and to top it all off, pre-braces front teeth that crossed each other (these would eventually be replaced with braces, and then finally be straight in the 7th grade). Then came the costumes. Oh boy. Some were simple and not so horrendous. Some were just demonstrative of the 1990s/early 2000s. My least favorites were the two piece ensembles that showcased my pudginess and lack of a wasteline. So in conclusion, I looked reeeeaal cute.
Despite my general frightening appearance, I had FUN. I lived for getting on that stage. Sure, I was guaranteed to make at least one mistake every time (like the time during a competition when I completely spaced out and forgot an entire part of a tap routine set to "Spice up Your Life"), but it was always such a rush. And when my friends would go home after school and do nothing, I got to be active and artsy. In middle school, I even did dance AND volleyball. How the hell I pulled that off, I cannot tell you. Current times Alex is seriously impressed and doesn't understand how I wasn't skinnier during that time. But that's neither here nor there.
Eventually, I quit so I could concentrate on my studies. I went to a medical magnet school that required a lot of its students, and I was way too anal about keeping perfect grades. Plus, dance stopped being fun for me. I started seeing it more as a chore and as a stress. Many of my friends either switched to other classes or quit altogether. First I dropped the classes I had been taking for years and decided to just do hip hop for fun, but even that wasn't working out for me.
I also realized that when it came down to it, I actually wasn't that good. I mean, I wasn't bad by any means, and that's probably because I just flat out loved it so much. But I lacked that grace that truly great dancers have. Though I will say that I was indeed crowned the "leap queen" of my jazz class for having the highest and most parallel to the floor leap. Yeah, take that.
So I quit and it was hard. I wasn't use to not having an activity outside of school; it made me feel so cool to say "Oh yeah, I'm a dancer." But to this day, I still love dance and like to live vicariously through shows like So You Think You Can Dance. I also love to critique the dancers as if I actually know what I'm talking about. I mean, I am clearly an authority on all things dance.
And I certainly haven't stopped dancing altogether. Put a little alcohol in me and I will bump and grind and dance with pure abandondon like there's no tomorrow. And don't even get me started on shaking my hips around. It's not as refined as my days in the studio, but it sure is fun.