Have you ever made a decision, that at the time you didn’t think too much of, but it has now had changed your life around? In the 4 months I have spent away from this blog, I made such a decision, and it has put me in a position I never thought I would find myself in. That being said, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
October 10th 2015 – the day of street dance squad auditions at my university, the University of Southampton. I had been debating attending squad auditions for the past 2 years of my time at university and, with the addition of a novice squad, I finally made up my mind and decided to go and try out for the newly formed novice competition squad. Yes, I was feeling pretty nervous.. who wouldn’t? I was in a room with squad members from the previous years, and other dancers – all people I look up to – and I really felt out of place. But still, I didn’t leave; I had nothing to lose. I’m not going to lie to you, when they said ‘Novice’, I was expecting novice. I had never felt so challenged with a routine before – it was fast, and really demanding, and I was definitely out of my comfort zone. But I soldiered on. I didn’t give up without trying my best. And it was done – my audition had been filmed and now all that was left was to wait for the email.
The next day, I was emailed the good news – I had made it onto the novice street dance squad for the academic year. I don’t think even I realised how much it meant to me until I started crying in the middle of my friend’s birthday after reading the email. Nevertheless, I had made it! A goal I had set for myself since the first day I stepped into that studio for street dance classes 2 years ago; I had finally achieved it. At the time of receiving the news, being on the squad was another hobby to add to my list, another appointment I was more than happy to add to my already busy schedule. It’s not that I didn’t think much of it; it’s more that I didn’t realise how much of a difference it would make to me and my life.
Four competitions and four shows later, I feel like a changed person. I’ve learnt to watch and appreciate dance with a completely different attitude. I’ve learnt the importance of respect and team work in a whole new environment, but I now know how to apply that same attitude to everything I do. I’ve made new friends, rekindled old friendships, and have found something admirable and inspiring in all of these people. My confidence has been boosted so much through the support and faith of the people I was around, and it had prompted me to attempt things 18 year old me would have hesitated to try. More importantly, I’ve learn to love myself, and my skills. I don’t think I could have asked for a better wake up call. From putting myself down for my dance skills on a daily basis for the past 5 or 6 years, to accepting what I am capable of doing and understanding I still have room for improvement – I didn’t think I’d see the day. The thought of still having room for improvement excites me. Imagine all the classes and workshops I can attend and all the new skills I can learn.
In this semester alone, in the space of 4 weeks even, I’ve been privileged enough to come 2nd and 3rd twice in three competitions and take part in four dances for a massive showcase. I can’t thank those who gave me these opportunities enough: forever the best squad captain a team could ask for, the teachers in the street dance classes and the bhangra girls. It’s been a life changing opportunity. This time next week, I would have finished my final show for the year, taking part in 5 different performances in one night. But don’t think that’s the end of it. Now, with a year and a bit left of university, I have so many new dances I want to try, and new goals set in place. For when I come back after Easter, and after summer, I’m going to start ticking off the new dance related additions to my ‘To Do’ list.
I feel like I’ve been walking in someone else’s shoes for the past few months, shoes I’m not ready to give up just yet. When, really, they have been my own shoes all along.
And that’s what makes me proud.