26°F & Clear 7 day forecast Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Grand Valley State University's Beacon Since 1963, Allendale, MI
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Stages are intimidating.

That moment when the lights are about to go on, the audience cheers and the music starts is like no other. You have this urge to make sure that your straps are still where they should be, to practice one last time, and knowing that time will continue on and you’ll be forced to perform, you wish that you weren’t so nervous.

Dance Troupe, the largest organization on GVSU’s campus, had their three shows this past weekend, and although I am a biased source, I have to say, they were wonderful. The people, the dances, the music, the amounts of make up covering everyone’s faces and the nerves: it was all a part of an amazing experience that is almost indescribable.

I was always one of those kids that danced wherever I could, the most well known place being the kitchen. Over the years, I cheated loss of limb and death, twirling around knifes and ovens, leaping four feet forward when I really only had three feet of space. I was always bribed or shooed to leave the room, especially after the Thanksgiving incident of 2009 (there’s still a bit of gravy stain on the ceiling). I thought that I needed more room, but I worked with what I had.

Practices in Dance Troupe were most often in racquetball courts, and although they might seem big with only one person dancing, when there are 30 to 40, it’s not quite so roomy anymore. But, it was comfortable: the only difference was the missing kitchen utensils and the lessened chance of injury.

Getting on stage was a completely different picture. Walking on alone, you have what seems like miles of space, standing in the dark, waiting to be revealed to an ever-judging audience. Is it the right music, is my costume on right, do I have lipstick in my teeth, do I really know this dance? And then suddenly the lights come up, blinding, only silhouettes and outlines can be seen, all positioned so that they can stare right at you. At first it seems like a form of public humiliation. But then you turn to the side in order to leap and you see a line of friendly faces, all smiling out at the once-threatening audience, as your sanity slowly but surely returns.

And then, in an instant, the stage is what frees you, the people around you are only thought of supporters, and there is nothing more to do than smile and dance. Stages are intimidating. But the thought of letting both yourself and your fellow dancers down is worse.

sschoch@lanthorn.com



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