Thursday, February 26, 2009

Chloe Waldrep - All for a bathroom break

If you've ever been to a basketball game, you might have caught a glimpse of a halftime show as you were getting up to get food. If you've ever even seen one on television, you may have seen the show behind the announcers who were summing up the first half of the game. For most basketball fans, the show is simply a bathroom break.

For the dancers who rehearse for it for half a year, it's a pretty big deal.

All of our 72 competition dancers were completely excited for a full three months before the performance: rehearsing our own bits over and over every waking moment of the day.

When the actual game day began, it was very hard to believe it was here.

It felt like a normal day until 5 p.m., when I transformed from average me into...sequin-clad, clown-makeup me. Although we all look like little blobs from the audience, us dancers spend hours finding the brightest red lipstick, applying false eyelashes, putting mascara on the false eyelashes, and applying enough eyeshadow to completely cover our faces if we wanted.

We'd had at least an hour a week to work on this dance, but nothing prepared us for the experience leading up to halftime.

The dancers, teachers, and parents had all been sectioned off into a certain area of the arena, where each individual group of dancers formed their own rows. All the dancers got there well over an hour before the game and we chatted together and tried to figure out which way we were supposed to face when we dance, a process that was not helped by one of our teachers, Rob Perry ("Well, if upstage is behind the W, when the W is upside down, which way are you facing?").

As soon as the first half is finished, we all run as fast as we can down at least three thousand flights of stairs, and in what seems like several circles, until we are in a cement, warehouse-like backstage. Several tour groups pass us with funny stares and lame jokes. We all line up in a very thin line right behind the North Tunnel curtain while security guards and CIA-like men talk into walkie-talkies and freak us out.

Checking the clock every five seconds, we all feel the excitement building, and as soon as that buzzer rings, we all run onto the very slippery court and make our carefully rehearsed formations, not unlike secret agents.

Our hearts are pounding, we all try not to fidget, and we have never felt more excited and nervous in our lives.

As the music starts, I am reminded of this blog I have to write and all of my happiness is replaced with one thought:

"All of this for a bathroom break?"

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