So this is something dance related but I felt it was more of a life blog topic than a dance blog topic, as, to me, it’s a big step forward to have made.
Those who follow this blog, or know me personally, will know I am a dancer, and that dance plays a huge role in my life. I have never seen myself as a particularly strong dancer, and realised I am a slow learner. I pick up routines slowly and require more time than others to fix and perfect them.
I used to dance in my bedroom from the age of about 13, to K-Pop songs and not much more, but I never received proper training when it came to dancing. In some ways, I wish I had. But looking back over the years, looking over the dance cover videos I had filmed, I could see I was slowly improving. My moves looked cleaner, and I was finishing the moves a lot better. I was putting in more energy and dynamics. I could see changes, and others could too.
I started doing street dance about 2 and a half years ago when I started university. My skill had pretty much plateaued at that point. I didn’t see myself getting any better, or any worse. I didn’t like that. I wanted to get better. But I was scared to take the steps needed to improve. I felt intimidated and I lacked a lot of confidence in myself.
Over last summer, I realised that in order to improve, I needed to step outside of my comfort zone. You can’t improve by staying in the same spot, on an endless loop. The first step out of my comfort zone was auditioning for, and being selected to be part of the Novice Street Dance Competition Squad at my university. It was after this massive confidence booster that I decided to pluck up the courage and start attending the advanced class – a class I only ever dreamed of attending but was always too scared too. I knew that if I was to do well in the squad, and work my way to being part of the advanced squad, I needed to improve, and this would be one way of improving.
It was a difficult few months. I had a lot of dance related activities happening at the same time and my life was starting to become very busy. Because of this, I was eager to achieve everything quickly but I also wanted to well. I started to get very frustrated with myself because I was struggling with routines and my health, but I still stayed committed.
Though it was a slightly slow process, it did pay off at the end. I found myself doing much better in the advanced class, and I felt confident enough to sign up to and attend a workshop by my favourite dance crew. It felt great to see that I had been improving over the year, and that I was finally getting over that phase of no improvement. But it felt even better to hear it from others.
The street dance society at my university organised a dance workshop, taught by dancer and choreographer Andi Vega, which took place a week after the Quick Crew workshop in London. A friend of mine who graduated last year also attended this workshop. He knows that I am a dancer but has not seen me for nearly a year. At the end of the class, Andi picked out 5 girls, including myself, to essentially perform the routine in front of everyone else. I have never been called out before, so this in itself was such an achievement for me. The first thing my friend said to me once I had finished was “Woah! Since when?! Since when did you get that good!? That was so good!”
Just hearing the recognition from my friends, and seeing that I had improved enough to be called out made me feel so proud of myself and the progress I had made.
But if that was the icing on the cake, then here comes the cherry on top.
The day after the workshop was the Performing Arts (PA) end of year ball, before which the PA dance societies hold a small awards event where they recognise members of their societies for different achievements. These include awards like ‘Best Beginner’, ‘Class Clown’and ‘Most Improved’. This year, for street dance, the ‘Most Improved’ award was presented to me. Needless to say, I did not see it coming and was completely ecstatic and emotional. I felt so proud knowing that not only had I improved, other people, the society that mattered to me, noticed this improvement too.
It was definitely an achievement unlocked.
I have so much more to learn, and a lot more room to improve and that’s what I’m going to do.
I’m going to keep unlocking.