Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Pet Peeve: Decisions, Politics, and Drama

Making decisions is a really terrible, hard part of life. Sometimes you make good ones, and sometimes you make bad ones. The worst, though, is when there isn't a clear difference between the good and the bad.

When I was a sophomore in high school, I decided that dance was going to be a big part of my future. I wanted it to be a double major or minor in college (which, by the way, it is part of my double major/dual degree now). I went to an extremely academic college prep, and there are only so many hours in a day. I had to decide how to most wisely spend my time dancing: at school, or in a real dance studio. I was spending over 15 hours a week dancing, but less than half of that was training at a studio, and I needed to progress faster if I wanted to dance in college.

So I had to make a decision: stay with the high school dance team, have the opportunity to choreograph and be one of the "best" dancers, and become team captain my senior year while not improving my technique, or spend more hours in my studio honing my skills and possibly joining a studio group. The clear choice for my future was to quit my school team.

But nobody quits the school team. Everyone expected me to become team captain and choreograph for our annual dance show, and being on the school team was an unspoken contract to stay until you graduated. I was basically a local celebrity. All of my friends were in the school team, and there was no way to leave without there being bad blood. And I liked the school team, I didn't know many girls at my studio. I would have to burn my bridges to do what was right for my future, or stay with what was fun and comfortable and risk my future.

I made the hard decision: I quit the school team and spent more time at the studio, and I'm so grateful to my younger self that I did. My relationship with all of the girls on the team was never the same: one girl still won't speak to me or acknowledge my existence to this day, many years later. Even my teacher didn't approve, she didn't let me choreograph my junior year (but she did my senior year) and I wasn't cast in as many pieces in the annual show. Also, joining my studio team so late meant that I never really fit in the two years I was with them. It wasn't exactly fun, but I learned so much.

I hate politics, but for some silly reason, it isn't possible for dancers to live without drama. Even now, in my college dance department (which is possibly one of the least cutthroat and internally competitive departments out there), there's so much unnecessary political drama that even the teachers get caught up in it.

In the end, do what's right for you. Always consider others and the possible ramifications of your actions, but remember that you don't owe anybody anything and that your life is the most important thing to you. You shouldn't ever sacrifice your own future for anybody or anything. The most rewarding decisions are sometimes the most uncomfortable to make, but they'll be worth it. Look at the decision from all angles. It doesn't matter what they'll say about you in the weeks to come if more people will look at you and applaud in the years to come. The easy decisions rarely amount to anything, and the best decisions are never easy.


  1. What else did you get out of the experience other than just getting a very solid technique?

    1. For me, the school team dynamic just wasn't great. I didn't like the girls that much and didn't fit in as well as the rest of the girls did. I also ended up joining the team at my studio, which helped me fit into my studio a lot better too.

      But really, what I got out of the experience was maturity. I had to make a decision to either stick with the fun, opportunistic, but political team or train harder in hopes of making it into a college program. I also didn't handle leaving the team in the most mature fashion (email evidence was brought in against me, my parents were called - but granted, my teacher was strange and over-controlling). I lost a few friends as part of the deal, and in hindsight, it could have been a clean getaway if I had been smarter.