Dance Your Heart Out

By: 
Olivia Tompkins
Class of: 
2016

For the past few days, my hurried response when any of my friends asked how I was as I rushed past was, "I'mgood&exhaustedit'sshowcaseweekgottagobye!"

Showcase week, for those who are unfamiliar with the term, comes around toward the end of every semester and culminates in two nights of performances put on by the dance classes, soloists, and club groups. This semester, the pieces range from a circus-themed dance to a video that, when filmed, required the dancers to be in blue bodysuits, with all sorts of performances in between. The week leading up to performances has rehearsals every night and each evening, dozens of dancers can be found in and around Gulick Theatre, our home for the week. During our technical rehearsals, the front lobby is crawling with dancers in a dizzying array of colorful costumes; some are sprawled out studying, others are carefully practicing moves and tricks from their pieces, and more still are in the theatre house watching the run-throughs. I have jokingly said before that during Showcase Week, the dancers own the arts building because you can't walk into any area of the building without finding someone in costume and full hair/makeup. 

Once dress rehearsals start on Wednesday, though, we are corralled into the downstairs dance studio, Griffiths 40 (which I may or may not have sold my soul to this semester for the sheer amount of time I've spent in there), and the dressing rooms. It's only when we're all gathered in the small studio that I ever fully take note of how many different students participate in program: there are PCA majors, Bio majors, and entirely undecided first-years, people who have danced their entire lives and others who took a dance class for the first time this semester, dancers who have fine-tuned a fearlessness for all the dangerous moves and others (like myself) who still struggle to do a split without crying in pain. But we all have one thing in common, and that's how much we all want to be there. We all have varying levels of skills and different reasons for being there, but every single one of us has spent a long semester working hard on the piece we're putting out on stage for the whole campus to see. We all want to do and look our best and show off our hard work. 

The realization of this shared desire has hit me halfway through Showcase Week for each showcase I've participated in since the very first semester of my first year. And there's really not a feeling that quite matches the sense of pride radiating throughout the stage when everybody lines up for our final bow. That "Wow, that went so incredibly well and I feel amazing!" feeling. That feeling is why I have danced for so long and why I push myself to partake in the dance showcase every semester, despite the fact that doing so does put me in a "I'mgood&exhaustedit'sshowcaseweekgottagobye!" state. It's all for that feeling at final bow, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.