12 Things You Know To Be True If You Were On Your High School's Competitive Dance Team

12 Things You Know To Be True If You Were On Your High School's Competitive Dance Team

Competitive high school dance isn't like any other high school sport.
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Being on your high school's competitive dance team is an experience unlike any other. You aren't quite a studio dance team, but you aren't quite a "normal" high school sports team. You don't have games, you have competitions. You don't perform on a stage, you perform on a gym floor. This hybrid sport gave me some of my best experiences of high school, and I'm sure many other high school dancers feel the same way. Here are 12 unique sentiments that only former members of competitive high school dance teams know to be true.

1. Even if you aren't a sports fan, you know the names of all of the lines on a high school gym court.

Basketball and volleyball lines are essential for spacing in formations. You also know there is an imaginary line running horizontally in line with the basketball hoops.

2. It always came as a shock every time you heard your team got to practice in a gym.

Even though your team relied on the lines in the gym as much as any other sport, you were typically forced to practice in some unused corner of the school that was just big enough to fit your team. Getting to use a gym felt like winning the lottery.


3. The janitors loved your team, simply because you did so much of their work for them.

So much choreography involves floor work, and no one has any desire to roll around in the dirt that has been tracked into your practice corner all day. Therefore, practice usually began with sweeping and/or mopping and continued with your clothes gathering any dirt you missed.


4. You constantly had to battle to prove competitive dance is a sport.

Just because there wasn't a ball, doesn't mean you weren't active in a competitive sport in high school. There were winners and losers every weekend at competitions.


5. You got so excited when you landed each new trick.

For me, it was a headspring. For you, it may have been anything from a leap to a lift. Either way, you know the feeling that I'm talking about.

6. The worst thing that ever happened was someone quitting the team or being unable to perform.

Visuals like this take hours to perfect. Losing even just one person threw the whole routine off and meant that you had to reblock (aka live out your worst nightmare).


7. You can still hear the announcer say "*insert school name here*, the floor is yours for competition."

This short sentence meant it was finally time to show the judges and the crowd what you'd been working so hard towards for almost a year.


8. Because your sport doesn't follow the typical postseason path, no one ever understands how difficult it is to qualify for state.

My team competed in two different organizations. In one, you had to score an 80 out of 100 at any regular-season competition, and in the other, your team had to place in the top six teams out of 15-20 teams at one sectional competition. Both of these tasks are extremely difficult and are challenging to explain to someone who isn't used to dance competitions.


9. Really, no one understood how dance competitions work period.

Dance competitions are not dance battles you see on TV! They involve executing stylized routines in front of a panel of judges with score sheets. No matter how many times you tried to explain this to your non-dancer friends or family members, they never managed to grasp quite how it worked.

10. Nothing beat the rush of your music starting on competition day.

I have very little recollection of ever actually competing because my adrenaline level was so high. I'm getting butterflies just thinking about it.

11. You live for your team's crazy competition day superstitions.

My team put little pieces of paper in our shoes with encouraging quotes on them (s/o to the mom that printed them every weekend), said a little prayer, and did our team cheer before taking the floor every weekend. None of us could imagine dancing before doing these things.

12. The bond with your teammates is absolutely unbreakable.

You may have fought off and on, but that was just because you spent nearly every waking moment together during competition season. A year later, I still cheer for my teammates from afar because without them, my high school experience and success wouldn't have been possible.


Cover Image Credit: SJO Dance Team

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To The Girl Who Isn't Graduating On Time, It Won't Feel Any Less Amazing When You Do

Graduating is something to be proud of no matter how long it takes you.

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To the girl who isn't graduating college "on time,"

I promise, you will get there eventually, and you will walk across that graduation stage with the biggest smile on your face.

You may have a different journey than the people you grew up with, and that is OKAY. You may have some twists and turns along the way, a few too many major changes, a life change, you may have taken most of a semester off to try to figure your life out, and you're doing the best you can.

Your family and your friends don't think less of you or your accomplishments, they are proud of your determination to get your degree.

They are proud of the woman you are becoming. They don't think of you as a failure or as someone any less awesome than you are. You're getting your degree, you're making moves towards your dreams and the life that you have always wanted, so please stop beating yourself up while you see people graduating college on time and getting a job or buying a car.

Your time will come, you just keep doing what you need to do in order to get on that graduation stage.

Your path is set out for you, and you will get there with time but also with patience. The place you're at right now is where you are supposed to be. You are going to thrive and you are going to be the best version of you when you graduate and start looking for a company that you will be proud to work for. Don't look on social media and feel less than, because at least you're still working towards your degree that you are finally passionate about. You will be prepared. You will be ready once the time comes and you cross the stage, move away, and start your journey in whatever field you're going into.

Don't question yourself, and be confident in your abilities.

With love,

A girl who isn't graduating on time

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Goodbye School, Hello Real World

I'm ready for ya!

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It's starting to hit me.

I've been in school, year after year, since kindergarten. Maybe even pre-school!

Now, I'm about to graduate with my bachelors in communication and I couldn't be more proud of myself. I'll say it. I often sugarcoat it or suppress it but d*mn it. I'm going to applaud myself. It was hard work. It took a lot of motivation, determination, (caffeine), and willpower to get to where I am today. I worked my ass off.

That being said, I can't help but think... What is life without due dates? What is life like without scrambling to turn in an assignment that's due at 11:59 PM? What is life like with actual sleep? Sleep? I don't know her.

Like I keep telling my boyfriend and my parents, I don't have it all figured out. At least not right now. But I will, and I'm in no rush to land my dream job right now. If anything, I want to take a year to myself. I want to travel. I want to sleep in if I d*mn well please! I want to read as many books as I want. I want to write till my fingers fall off (OK, maybe not that).

You get the jist.

I'm free. I can do and be whatever I want. And you know what? That's terrifying.

I'm lost. I've followed this structure for so long. Now what?

I don't have all the answers yet. But for now, at least right at this very moment, I'm so thankful to have been able to receive such an amazing education. And to be able to say I'm graduating with my bachelors in communication at 21 is an accomplishment in itself.

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