I spend over eleven hours every week in a studio dancing. During each practice I am either working at improving my technique or rehearsing one of eight routines to compete. I love traveling to different cities and competing against other dancers from Michigan, or going to Nationals and meeting dancers from all over the the country.
As we finish stretching and warming up backstage, the coordinator, with the program in hand and the headset covering her ears, walks towards my teammates and me. We have two more dances and then it’s our turn. We hear the announcer introduce our senior large group: All That Jazz. The time is now. We use everything we have learned in the past five months to show the judges our unique style, outstanding technique, and our precise unison as we dance together in our sparkly black costumes covered in rhinestones. The adrenaline rush that flows through my body while I’m dancing is the best feeling. After a little less than three minutes, we exit through the wings, race to the dressing room and change outfits to repeat the process all over again. The awards ceremony is the final excitement in each competition. All the dancers gather together on stage and wait for the results from the judges. Everyone anticipates a win, but it is no longer in our hands.
In every type of competition, whether dance, baseball, or tennis, there will always be a winner and a loser. Don’t get me wrong, it feels great to be number one, but I believe that winning is not everything.
Practicing as much as I do means spending lots of time with amazing people. Some of my best friends are from dance. Although most of us attend separate schools, I see them as much as I see other friends. Every week in class we share new stories about our lives, and we dance together because it is something we all enjoy doing. We have created a bond that makes dancing fun and exciting: win or lose. I don’t dance to win. I dance because it is something I have grown to have a passion for. I dance because of the relationships I have created with my teammates and with my teachers. They have become my other family.
Winning any type of competitive event isn’t always something that will be remembered. Twenty years from now, it won’t be very likely that I remember the number of competitions I have won. Something that will always leave a lasting impression in my life is the people I’ve shared these experiences with, the people I’ve practiced with every night, my teammates. The trophies we have won will not outlast the friendships we have made. I’ve realized that the bonds we’ve created and the memories we’ve shared are stronger than a win. I believe there is more to a competition than winning.