In pageant trenches: Dance practice bruise ego, beat feet

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My feet feel pulped.

After a relaxing spring break, I thought I was completely ready to take on the D-Queen choreography workshop. I’d looked at the practice video the organizers sent, halfheartedly swished my arms in a couple attempts to try the dance, and then figured I could simply learn it on the spot and gave up.

I was terribly wrong.

The evening started enjoyably. I was wearing “comfortable” heels  aka the most bearable level of discomfort I’ve experienced when wearing 4-inch heels  and Dean of Students Del Beatty came in to our practice to organize us and teach us how to do our stage formations.

If you have no idea what formations are, it’s OK, I had no clue either. However, it is fairly straightforward; formations are literally how we are lined up on stage and how we will be conducting ourselves. I thought it would be a simple hurdle to cross.

In reality, coordinating movements and syncing the timing of a group of women in high heels is no small task.   We spent about an hour and a half tottering around the room, but by the time Beatty put music to our steps, I felt like we had accomplished a huge task.

Then we attempted to add the choreographed dance and it all fell apart.

Since I am still short in 4-inch heels, I am in the front of one our formations, which made it painfully obvious I hadn’t practiced and plenty of the others had.

Not to say it was smooth sailing all around me and I was the shipwreck; people were twirling the wrong direction and most of us had completely lost our timing.

At this point, the pageant director Madison Bronstrom, an adviser for general education as well, took over and said we weren’t leaving until we learned the choreography.

And something great happened.

No, we didn’t have a magical musical moment where we could suddenly all dance perfectly in time, but something I felt makes this pageant so unique.

Everyone was still so kind to each other and encouraging, even to my obviouslymessingup self. But even while we were wishing for dinner, and complaining about our feet, there was still plenty of smiles and little jokes about getting our step count in.

The feeling of camaraderie more than anything  well, and the possible shame of messing up on stage  got me committed to practicing the dance so I can nail it next practice. So even though my feet have blisters, I will be practicing nightly.

I only get one more official group practice, one dress rehearsal and then it’s showtime.