The lights dim, the audience starts to cheer, and time seems to slow to a stop. A thick red curtain is the only thing separating me from their screams of support, or total silence. I wiggle my toes inside my tap shoes and readjust my costume. I run my tongue along my teeth, doing one last lipstick check. The thick smell of hairspray still lingers in my nose from the dressing room. I roll my neck, feeling the full weight of my thick hair rolled in to a small bun. You can still hear the piano recording of “Another Opening, Another Show” fading in the background.
I take one last big deep breath in and wait for the music to start. Before I know it, the nerves melt away and I’m in the center of the stage. All I can hear is the music. All I can see is the bright lights from the top of the auditorium, and my friends dancing alongside of me. Everything feels just right.
I spent my whole life at Cabarrus Dance Academy. It seems like such a stereotypical thing for a little girl to dance. I loved every minute of it. I loved the creativity it brought to my life. My teachers challenged me to think of new ways to move my body in order to tell a story. Little did I know, storytelling would end up being the very thing I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
Dance teaches you teamwork. You have to be aware of how other people are moving around you, and take initiative to learn the choreography so you don’t let the rest of your team down. It builds up your confidence. It allows you to tap into a side of yourself you may have never known before. The side of you that throws a wink to the audience at just the right time in a dance. I would never wink at someone in real life. However, the stage version of Madison Forsey is a completely different person.
Dance knocks you down a peg just when you think you’re really getting the dance, or when you think there isn’t anything more your teacher can help you with. You inevitably mess something up and realize you aren’t as good as you thought. While humbling you, dance also teaches you how to take a compliment. It shows you that you should never doubt your abilities. Accept the criticisms, and say thank you for the praise.
In college, I’ve had to find different ways to pursue my passion for dance. My first year at UNC I felt a pretty big hole in my life without it. Even though I don’t dance as regularly as I would like to, I credit Cabarrus Dance Academy for so many parts of who I am today. Dance gave me confidence. The same confidence I didn’t realize I would be channeling every week of this past year as I stare down the lens of a camera for a live-shot. It made me creative. It also gave me some pretty incredible friends. And no matter where I end up in life, I know that Cabarrus Dance Academy will always be home.