Kate Northway Photograph


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Let's Turn Up The HEAT!

January 31, 2010   A couple of weeks ago, my friend Eva and I were discussing our pasts as dancers. We both were committed to ballet and jazz dance until about halfway through high school. Right around then I started becoming more serious about dragon boating (that's an entire other post!) and I had gone as far as I could with dancing without dropping out of school, moving to New York City and spending my life on the stage.

So when we received an e-mail last week indicating that there would be tryouts on Sunday for the campus' coed Hip-Hop Dance group, HEAT, Eva and I jumped at the chance to start dancing again.

At 2 p.m., we showed up at the dance studio in sweats, ready to show the team what we could do. On the outside, I was smiling, making conversation and laughing — but on the inside I was a bundle of nerves.

Over the next hour and a half, three HEAT members taught us 30 seconds of choreography that we would perform at the end of the session. Without a hip-hop background, the only thing I had going for me was a history of learning choreography over and over again — fast.

After the time was up, I was dripping sweat and ready to give it my all. The music was blasting and one of the team members counted down, "A 5, 6, 7, 8..." I was pumping my arms, rolling my body, jumping up and down for 30 seconds and smiled as I landed the last move with a snap of my fingers.

It was OVER!!!! Eva and I felt great about the tryout and started to put our shoes on and head for the door. Unfortunately, Emma, a HEAT member, called after us: "Wait! Let's try freestyling for a couple of minutes."

Uh oh...as trained dancers, Eva and I had no experience "freestyling" or improvising. The six of us stood in a circle and bounced to the music. One by one everyone stood in the middle and did some crazy moves. 6, 5, 4, 3, 2...All of a sudden I was the only person who hadn't "strutted my stuff."

While my "moves" in the middle of that circle were not at all memorable, I was proud of myself for stepping up to the challenge, having the courage to just put it all out there, and NOT be embarrassed!
As I grow up, I always worry I am getting too set in my ways — never trying new things or experiencing the unknown. Who knows if I will make it into HEAT this semester, but I will never ever regret trying.