Not Forgotten! Honoring Spring Dance Concert 2020

It was my III Form year's Spring Dance Concert (SDC) when I tore my metatarsals, three days before the show.

It was my III Form year's Spring Dance Concert (SDC) when I tore my metatarsals, three days before the show. I remember sitting on a table in the trainer's room the following afternoon. All I could make out was my blood rushing up to my temples, the frantic pulses thumping at the groove of my neck. Bags of ice rested on the back of my right foot, but I had retreated too far in shock to be able to react to the chill that settled. After alternating between icing and trying to rotate the bones, the trainers came to a conclusion. For a minor fracture, resting was the simplest way to recover, but as long as the pain and the pressure was manageable, I could carry on with the performance. That evening, I cried in the arms of a close friend, not out of pain or distress, but a shameful sense of frustration, hopelessness, and despair. For once, despite all the lessons Lawrenceville teaches us to be skillful and adaptable, I was without options. There was a show in two days, and dammit, I was going to be on that stage.

In the grand scheme of things, a fractured metatarsal isn’t a horrible injury. But being a dancer at Lawrenceville, SDC is perhaps the only time of the year when we are truly celebrated. We don't have weekly games or historic rivalries. We don't see ourselves featured as Athletes of the Week or see our names etched onto the walls of the Lavino Field House. We rehearse, practice, and train in our little corner on campus. But that all changes for one weekend, when the hint of summer spreads across campus and the Kirby Arts Center (KAC) lights stay illuminated as the night falls. For two nights, my wish for the arts to be appreciated by our community is answered.

Throughout my few years at Lawrenceville, I have both physically and mentally dedicated myself to promoting performing arts. I was the SDC Representative my IV Form year. Think of me as the person who wrote the emails, scheduled meetings, and coordinated public relations elements. I had a hand in every step of the administrative process. Being the SDC Representative brought me closer with Director of Dance Derrick Wilder, who revealed to me a new side to this production. It was tiring, but I loved it. It helped me understand why we love this event so much, year after year. As a production open to all members of the community, it is inspiring to see people from a variety of backgrounds come together. You don't need to be a trained dancer to participate. From the moment you step into the KAC lobby during audition nights to the final bow as the red curtains fall to a close, SDC welcomes you to its family.

The dance community is small on campus, so being able to share our passion with others is gratifying. As a dance team captain this year, I learned to navigate the intricacies of a team dynamic. The times we spent together quietly let me forget the pressures of Lawrenceville, even if it was for one short hour. That is the beauty of dance.

I don't know when I'll dance again. When I came home to Vancouver two months ago, I turned to dance because I needed to remedy the emptiness that I had experienced. However it felt so wrong, dancing alone in my carpeted basement to my SDC song playing softly from my phone. So I stopped. I don't have any plans to pursue dance further when I head to college, as being a professional dancer isn't a dream of mine; however, the lessons I learned from dance, from SDC, and from the people who created this brief haven are lessons that can't be taught around the Harkness table. My experiences prompted a source of dedication, a drive to persevere, and a sense of humility. For that, I will be eternally grateful to the teachers and friends who made it all possible. This pandemic took away things from all of us, and for me, it was the celebration of my journey with dance. Perhaps the greatest gift that SDC 2020 could have given me was one last chance to enjoy the spotlight.

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