My sister and I just before our tap-dancing debut
I've mentioned before that I have always had an amazing dancer inside of me somewhere. What I mean by that is that I have an almost overwhelming desire to dance quite often. And in my mind, these dance numbers are beautiful and fluid and flawless. But there is something lost between the image of what I'm going to do in my mind and what actually happens when I attempt to execute a dance number. I tell you all this so you'll have a better understanding of the day I auditioned for the Modern Dance Company (Team? Group?) at my high school my sophomore year.
Everyone has their 'thing' in high school. My thing was music and theater. Probably a good 25% of my friends who were involved in music and theater were also involved in dance so, despite never having taken a dance class since my tap class at about 5 years old (see photo above) I thought I should unleash the dancer inside and audition for the advanced modern dance class.
I will admit to you openly that I had no idea what 'modern dance' really meant. I figured that if it was modern and, well, dance, then it would work. So I spent the better part of a week studying music videos on VH1 and MTV (This was the 80's, guys, meaning NO INTERNET. Also, it was Madonna Week on VH1.) to prepare a great "modern dance" number for my audition.
When the day of auditions came I sat at the side of the room, confused as to why everyone was just wearing cut-off sweats or Those Dancer Pants and off-the-shoulder sweatshirts when I was ready in full Madonna uniform. I remember thinking, wow.. I'm going to totally nail this! No one even dressed up!
First we had some group try-outs where the teacher would show a small group some dance moves and then we would copy her in unison while she watched. My unison was a little different than everyone else's but hey - I would definitely stand out! I knew she wouldn't forget me. I added a bit of flourish to the boring moves and tried not to watch myself in the fully-mirrored walls in the dance room.
When it came time for the individual portion of the audition I was lucky enough to go first. I blasted my Madonna cassette from the boom box in the corner and gave it all I had. I was on FIRE, people! Up, down, and all around. I'm pretty sure I covered every inch of floor space available. The music was in me and I executed each move the way I had practiced. Only I looked a LOT different in these big mirrors than I did in my head when I was rehearsing on my living room floor in front of the TV at home.
You may not be surprised to find out that I did not make the callback list. A couple of my friends told me how everyone was talking about my audition and how hilarious it was. It turns out that everyone thought I was being funny on purpose. What could I do besides roll with that?
So I owned my new-found hilarity and accepted the fact that I was just not meant to be a dancer. Or at least not a modern dancer. Whatever that means.