Nicki Anyanwu '22
Picture this: a freshman at the National Cathedral School is running down the hill to the athletic center with an unnecessarily heavy book bag propelling her forward. Her waist-length box braids are laced about a bright, ghastly yellow duffel bag, and she’s wearing PINK leggings. When she suddenly stops to tie her white Converse at the bottom of the hill and looks at her phone with fear in her eyes, it is obvious that she is dreading her first Dance Team audition.
Surprise surprise: that anxiety struck 14-year-old was none other than yours truly. I entered the athletic center, sprinted down the steps (for early is on time), and began to stretch on the floor of a studio that was soon to become my favorite place on campus.
With mirrors and ballet barres lining every wall, a closet stocked with random hygienic necessities, and an impressive array of lighting choices, the north studio may seem too good to be true for any dancer. Something about the north studio just makes it perfect for bonding. The carriage house or any other dance studio in the athletic center would not suffice. North studio is where I feel most comfortable dancing, eating, laugh, and even studying throughout the school year.
Now, picture this: You’re looking at Maurice, your amazing coach, and choreographer, on your laptop. It’s time for a hip-hop dance class, and as he signals for everyone to start the core workout, you realize that Dance Team will never be the same again. There will be no more flips, “blade” hands, poses stricken, or team photos in uniforms. There will be no more senior nights or team trips to Starbucks. Instead, you watch Maurice start to break up mid-Rihanna choreography because of your atrocious wifi. Stewing in anger, all you can think about is how Dance Team does not have to be this way.
The athletic department often neglects Dance Team, and that’s unfortunate for every girl on the team who gains self-confidence, friends, and a bomb workout from each practice. Students are on campus for tennis, soccer, and even cross country, but the Dance team must remain in a virtual setting. We’ve been spreading six feet apart at the beginning of each practice before “social distancing” was a thing. The studio is huge, there’s a fan in the corner, and we have less than 10 members this year. Being in a room lined with mirrors for hours on end could quite possibly make anyone self-conscious or even vain, but when you’re surrounded by people who love you and bring you joy, it takes away your insecurities. I needed the Dance Team and the confidence it brings as an underclassman. I may not need it as much now, but Lord knows that I want it. Other students get to serve, dribble and run to their hearts’ content on campus, but I’m not allowed to dance with my Dance Team family. That hurts, and it makes my junior year all the more despondent.
To add to that despondency, most of my friends made through dance are seniors now. I’m supposed to accept that I’ve had my last choreographing sessions with Mekhi Love ‘21 and Nia Brown ‘21; never again shall I scream the lyrics to “No Hands” with Isabel Hohenloe ‘21. These people, along with many others involved in dance, made my high school experience memorable. We should be able to keep making memories if we have the proper facilities to do so. We deserve it. We lift each other up when the weight of the world seems too much to handle, and I can’t afford to lose them just yet. I simply can’t.