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This summer — my sophomore summer — I did something I never thought I would ever do.

Something so radically insane, I still can’t believe I went through it.

Even my mom still thinks it’s a joke.

Yup, that’s right.

I joined a performance dance group.

I know, I know. That’s not the groundbreaking thing that you expected, but hear me out. I have immense stage fright. As a kid, I loved to be the center of attention, but as I got older, I shied away from the spotlight.

However, everything slowly changed as I spent more time here at Dartmouth. My freshman fall, I stuttered my way through my Writing 5 final presentation. My sophomore spring, however, I had the guts to run for summer president of my sorority. I’m not sure what happened in the time span between those two things, but boy am I grateful for it.

Coming into sophomore summer (for me, 17X), I knew I wanted to try something new. I know I’m not speaking for myself when I say that sophomore summer gives people a renowned sense of vitality in a way. During the first weekend of 17X, many of my friends were trying out for summer versions of performance groups; dance, a capella, and improv being the most popular ones. With less of a time commitment and more members, these groups give people who would normally not try out (AKA me) a chance to try something new.

Trying out for a dance group was definitely a rash decision I made. I texted a few friends to join me in auditions so I could see some familiar faces as I struggled to keep up with the choreography we learned. The last time I learned choreography I was about 20 inches shorter and could barely tie my shoes. I’m still not sure if it was my dashing good looks, my enviable rhythm, or maybe the fact that anyone who auditioned got a spot on the group, but momma I made it!

Suddenly I was part of this sector of campus I never even realized existed. The dance community embraced all the bright eyed and bushy tailed “dancers” with open arms. “Sorry I can’t, I have practice,” became a staple in my vocabulary. Sarner Underground, one of the main practice areas, became my second home. That is until I realized that a PERFORMING dance group, you know, PERFORMED. I know, I was as surprised as you are.

But I did it. I sucked it up and I danced in front of people, TWICE. The first was at the Sophomore Parent’s Weekend showcase and in complete honesty, it was horrible. I froze up every time my eyes met someone else’s and I suddenly forgot what legs were and how to use them. That didn’t stop me from performing again, though.

At the end of the term, all four summer dance teams performed at a parking lot show near one of the greek houses. Thankfully, the lights of the two cars lighting the groups made it impossible for me to look directly at someone and freeze up.

And you know what? I had the time of my life. Sure, looking back at the video, I can see the (many) times I messed up, or that one time I almost fell on my face, but I smiled the entire way through. There’s a metaphor for sophomore summer in here somewhere, but all I know is that, although I am officially retired from dance, I would do it again in a heartbeat.