35 Things That Made Us Competition Dancers On Competition Weekends

35 Things That Made Us Competition Dancers On Competition Weekends

Remember all the hairspray, makeup, rhinestones, weird rituals, hotels, memories, smiles and tears that we all had as competition dancers? Yeah, we wish we could get that all back...
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Whether you competed nationally or regionally, fives times a year or five times a month, dance competitions were the biggest struggles and greatest memories of your dance career as a kid. Competing with my dance family is one of the things that I miss most from my studio dance career. Let's take a trip down memory lane and recall what REALLY made us competition dancers on those competition weekends:

1. Wearing your company jacket to school the day before a competition.

2. Judging any other dancer wearing a studio jacket that's not your studio...they obviously weren't as good as your studio.

3. Practicing your dances in your seat at school...and sometimes getting yelled at for "tapping" too loud.

4. Packing your bags for the competition weekend.

5. The feeling you experienced as you pulled into the hotel parking lot.

6. Meeting up with all of your friends and going to the hot tub.

7. Waking up bright and early Saturday morning to start a full day of classes... Ballet to start the day...why do the convention gods hate us?

8. Picking out your perfect convention sports bra.

9. Walking around the hotel in spandex and a sports bra...we quickly find out that that is only allowed on competition weekends and not your normal family vacations.

10. Taking class from some of the best choreographers out there... "Travis Wall just got another Emmy nomination, yeah I've taken class from him."

11. Shoving Panera or Subway down your throat during the 45 minutes they gave you to eat before afternoon classes.

12. Trying not to throw up that food you just ate during the rest of classes.

13. That 20-minute nap you crammed in before you had to start getting ready for competition.

14. The craziness in your hotel room as you try to get the perfect stage hair and make up.

15. Packing up the garment bag, costume rack and dance bag to move into the dressing room.

16. Eyeing every other dancer as you walk around with your dance fam to go watch some of the competition, and support your junior dancers.

17. Stretching before you have to head to the check-in area.

18. Listening to your "pump-up" playlist.

19. The pre-stage huddle with your teachers.

20. Waiting backstage...why do we all have to pee now?

21. Not watching the dance before because you're doing your pre-stage rituals that no one else understood but your group.

22. Hearing your number and song name announced as you step on stage...here comes the adrenaline.

23. After you walked off stage, you tasted blood in your throat as you huffed and puffed, feeling as if you just ran a marathon.

24. Getting rushed by the crowd of teachers, parents, and younger dancers when you finally got back to the lobby area.

25. Running back to the dressing room to get ready for your next dance.

26. Repeating numbers 18-26 until you've finally performed your last dance.

27. Anxiously waiting for awards to start.

28. How time stood still as your fate as a dancer was determined by whether or not you received “high gold” or “platinum” for your dance.

29. How excited you were to go to bed after a long day, just to get up in the morning to take classes again.

30. How bittersweet the "faculty wrap-up show" was, because that meant the weekend was over.

31. When you had to pack up your garment bag and say goodbye to your dance family for the weekend, even though you would be in the studio the next day with them.

32. Falling asleep on the car ride home.

33. Rocking your new sweatpants and convention gear at school on Monday, as you try to answer the question, "Did you win your competition?," from all of your non-dance friends.

34. Going back to the studio Monday night just to start preparing again.

35. Doing this all again very shortly.

Let's be real, all of these memories may sound crazy, but we really wish we could have another crazy competition weekend with our dance family...

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Andy Ruiz Jr. May Not Look Like The Typical Boxer, But It Doesn't Make His Victory Any Less Deserved

Andy Ruiz Jr. just proved that dreams can come true.

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On June 1, boxing fans witnessed something special as Andy 'Destroyer' Ruiz Jr. defeated Anthony Joshua via TKO after going seven rounds in the ring at Madison Square Garden in New York City to become the first ever Mexican-American heavyweight champion of the world. Ruiz Jr. (33-1) was a heavy underdog (+1100) heading into the match-up with Joshua (22-1) but ultimately flipped the script to hand the British fighter his first professional loss ever. Surely the fight will go down as one of the greatest moments in sports history.

Some members of the media and fans have been quick to label the fight as a 'fluke' and 'rigged' which in the end is no surprise to me. That always happens in the sports world. Many did not believe we would get this result yet failed to remember the one rule of sports -- expect the unexpected. Over the past week, I've been coming to the defense of Ruiz Jr. in the wake of others choosing to call him a joke.

I was shocked and surprised to hear two of my favorite sports analysts, Stephen A. Smith and Shannon Sharpe, make fun of Ruiz Jr. and frame him as just a guy that looked like 'Butterbean.' When I viewed their tweets on social media it honestly made me upset. Sure, Ruiz Jr. may not have fit the mold of what a professional boxer should look like, but they simply should not have just judged a book by its cover.

Personally, I thought it was disrespectful for Smith and Sharpe to throw shade at Ruiz Jr. in the way they did. I felt like they should have done a better job of acknowledging the winner considering the result of the match. Yet choosing to bash someone because of their physical composition appeared like a low blow. The very foundation of sports allows people of all shapes, sizes, genders, races, and backgrounds to compete -- that's why most people follow them in the first place.

Smith was open behind his reasoning for his tweets in which I'd like to shed some light on. Smith was upset about how boxing time after time contains elements of corruption with fans having to wait years until promoters schedule big fights. He along with other followers of the sport were looking forward to the highly anticipated yet potential future match-up between Joshua and fellow heavyweight Deontay Wilder. Smith believes that by Ruiz Jr. beating Joshua it essentially diminished the chances of that fight ever happening with the same amount of buildup, but that still doesn't provide any excuse for mocking the new heavyweight champ.

Ruiz Jr. was there for a reason and ultimately seized the opportunity that was right in front of him -- that's not his fault for getting the job done. Just because someone doesn't look like the part doesn't mean they don't possess the same qualities and characteristics as their counterparts. The following pair of videos display the amount of talent Ruiz Jr. does have in the ring. Even fellow boxer Canelo Alvarez and former UFC lightweight/featherweight champion Conor McGregor acknowledge that and have come out to say something on their behalf.

Unfortunately, I don't expect much to change because most will stand their ground and continue to behave the same way. All I'm saying is I did not enjoy some of the top figures within sports media stereotyping Ruiz Jr. based on his looks. I would think that we would be better than that and recognize that anyone can accomplish something great in this world. It all just starts with a simple dream.

I understand and respect other people's takes on this subject, maybe I'm looking into things deeper than what they are, but it struck a chord with me and I felt the need to say something about it.

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