So I wrote my college app essay about Irish dance..
And since I’ve already sent it in and committed to a college I thought I’d share it on here 😊
The Big Bang
I defy the principles of physics on a regular basis. Just give me a tune, and watch as my lightning-fast feet make a million little “taps” and “clicks” with the help of my scuffed up leather dance shoes. I spend countless hours in the dusty studio on the corner of Fourth Street. I practice until the skin on my heels blister, and my body wilts under the heat that fills the room. I push my body to its physical limits, all while challenging Newton’s law of gravity for two minutes of dancing on stage; I’m an Irish dancer.
That morning in mid-June started out the same as any other competition day I’d experienced since age four. I rolled out of bed at half past five, ate my usual breakfast of granola, and then proceeded to the bathroom to pile on pounds of gaudy, glittery make-up and hairspray. After I’d done myself up to resemble a cross between a pageant queen and a clown, my mom drove me to the downtown convention center where I would make my grand solo debut.
We entered the chilly ballroom. I hastily stretched to Alt-J’s album on my iPod. Every muscle fiber in my body shook with excitement. I grabbed my elegant gold sequined costume and disappeared into a sea of curly hair and rhinestoned dresses, ready to dance my Irish heart out. When I walked out onto the gleaming black floor, I immediately scanned the room for my mom and coach to find a friendly face. Legs still trembling, the accordion began to play and BANG! Off I went. I executed every movement as if I was flying across the stage and even flashed a few cheesy grins at the panel of straight-faced judges. My performance had almost concluded when, BANG! I fell flat on my backside.
In a blink of an eye, my worst nightmare became reality. The adjudicators scribbled down their scores, docking points for the catastrophic finale. “Why me?” was my first devastating thought. I had given up Friday nights and weekends, missing parties and social events, just to fit in a few more hours of practice time. After pushing through injuries and setbacks to get to the highest championship levels, ending the competition with a substandard placement hurt.
I choked back tears as I trudged backstage to pack up my gear and head home, when I noticed a bright-eyed little dancer happily running through her steps in the corner of the room. Our eyes met for a moment; she smiled and I could tell she looked up to me. I was reminded of when I was one of those beginner dancers, still learning how to point my foot properly and keep my arms straight down at my sides. It also made me reflect on how I longed to be just like the bigger girls with their sparkly dresses, able to dance with power, poise, and confidence.
I realize now that I serve as a role model for others, like that small dancer. I have come to understand that my results and placements are such a minuscule part of dancing. Performing and competing gives me so much joy, adrenaline, and excitement, and teaches me life lessons as well. The memories that I have made, and the privilege of knowing that younger girls look up to me as an example make me reluctant to stop Irish dance. It is what I live for. The discipline I learned through dance is something I have carried over into other areas of my life. I hope to incorporate dance into my studies and continue competing through college, and it won’t be a surprise if my feet are approaching the speed of light by then.