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Essay about the influence a dance competition had on me (CA Personal Statement Prompt #2) - critique

vardaan2708 1 / -  
Nov 13, 2022   #1

dance competition experience

"I umm...I kinda like you", my 9th-grade crush confessed.

Despite the chaos of 100+ dancers frantically preparing for our imminent dance competition, her words sounded clear as day. As a flurry of emotions ran through my heart and my brain attempted to reply to her confession coherently, I heard my name being called. Before I could blurt out a response, my partner's calloused hands were dragging me towards the stage. With "a-one, a-two, a-one-two-three-four-", the performance began.

My body was breezing through the notes of the music when suddenly, something felt fishy. I had reached out my arm to grab ahold of my prop, but to my surprise it wasn't there. At that moment, I realized the chaos backstage had made its way onstage. We had started our dance routine in an orientation that was completely opposite of what it was supposed to be.

Just when I thought things couldn't get worse, my foot slipped off the front edge of the stage and I landed right ahead of the judges' table: trust me, there's no worse fate to befall a dancer. I felt naked as a hundred pairs of eyes exploited each of my flaws. As we approached the end, I tried to move my legs to the rhythm of the music, but they hung as dead weights, paralyzed and rigid. An uncontrollable terror gripped my being as I made my way out of the auditorium; a terror that would proceed to stick with me for a very long time.

Ever since that performance, I feared dance. I avoided it whenever I could. When I was given the opportunity to perform at a state-level art fest, I instantly concocted a fake story about an aunt of mine getting married to get out of it.

My dance guru, who had known me for 7 years, was able to see through my sorry excuses. In an attempt to break me out of my funk, he enrolled me in a national-level kathak dance competition without my knowing. It felt as if someone had pushed me into the deep end of a pool without a life jacket on; I couldn't hide now. The practices began and the terror returned. Every time we rehearsed, my mind would find itself in front of the judges' table yet again; stark naked, limbs frozen, and face numb.

One morning, as I was half-heartedly performing the routine, the music stopped. A reassuring hand came from behind and lightly rested on my shoulders, as if it knew exactly what I was feeling. "Sir, I can't do it. I don't have control over my body anymore", I confessed in the moment of vulnerability. "Listen, the problem's not in here", he implored, gesturing to my exhausted legs. "It's here", he said tranquilly, pointing to my fear-filled heart.

Practices continued, and I gradually started to feel like myself again. As we went from making new hand postures to performing the tatkaal to fine-tuning my chakkars, I remembered the joy that dance gave me. I could feel the lost part of my puzzled identity fitting back perfectly, as it was always meant to. Thus, day after day, a new performer was born.

I'm still not perfect though. I still get a tingling stomach every time I give a performance, and my hands still get clammy before I go onstage. But now, I do not live a life paralyzed by the fear of something that is a part of me. I will not spend my life being afraid of encountering new experiences, which is why when I got the opportunity to direct, organize and star in my school's first-ever musical (When the Lights Went Out), I didn't shy away.

And as fate would have it, the event ended with me performing alongside my 9th-grade partner again, but this time in front of a crowd of 700 people cheering us on.
Holt  Educational Consultant - / 13,410 4391  
Nov 13, 2022   #2
The essay does not open with the correct focus point. Rather than a performance mishap that could have influenced your love for dance, it appears more that the applicant was troubled by an unrequited love, one coming from the dance partner towards her. Sure it was said before the performance but that is not enough reason for the rest of the errors that occurred. It appears as if the writer is trying to turn in a Hallmark love story rather than an event that had a powerful impact on her interest in dance. It would be better if the writer does not open with a love angle in this case since it does not really relate to the rest of the proceedings / developments. Rather, open with the chaotic way that the routine was set on stage, leading to the trauma on the dancer's part. Try to evolve from that point and be more contemplative in the recovery. The simplistic way the dance instructor simply solved the problem does not offer any insight as to how the negative events were used to create an eventual positive outcome.

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