It was back during the spring of 1984, when I was in the 8th grade. I auditioned for a dance number to accompany the vocals of the middle school choir. I’d never done anything of the kind prior to then. To try out, students had to learn choreography. Whether or not a student was selected to be one of the dancers depended on how well they did in choreography. My friend was auditioning, but felt uncomfortable trying out by herself, so she asked me to try out with her. I only auditioned so my friend would be more comfortable.
I never expected to be any good. Following the auditioned, the two students who were teachers for the routine called everyone’s name who passed the auditioned. I started walking away, because I only auditioned so my friend wouldn’t be nervous when she auditioned. To my surprise, the two teachers said to me, “Kiki, where are you going?”
“I’m going back to the class room to study my music,” I said while I continued to walk away.
“But, Kiki, honey, you passed,” the one teacher said while holding her notebook in her hand.
“What are you talking about? I don’t understand,” I said with a bewildered look on my face.
“She means you passed the audition,” the other teacher said with a smile on her face.
“What do you mean I passed the audition? I only participated so my friend wouldn’t be nervous while auditioning.”
“That doesn’t mean a thing. The point is, you tried out, put forth your best effort, and passed the auditioned fair and square. However, your friend didn’t fair so well, although she gave a valiant effort,” the first teacher said while making some notations in her notebook.
My friend graciously congratulated me, saying, “You did well, Kiki. Even though I didn’t do so well, I’m proud of you. And you should be proud too,” as she hugged me.
We practiced every day during first period when no one else was in the cafeteria. I had choir for first period, so in addition to learning the dance routine I was learning the music we had to sing.
When the time came to perform the routine for the entire school, my stomach was in knots. I felt like I had to vomit. My nerves tightened, as fear consumed my heart and my entire body. A girl standing next to me advised, “Take a few deep breaths to calm you nerves, Kiki. It won’t be so bad.”
When the music began, I averted my eyes from the students and faculty, and picked a focal point on the wall, moving my eyes from the center, to the left to the right, and back to the center, repeating the process throughout the routine. I figured since this method helped me a great deal back when I was giving a speech for my language arts class back when I was in the 7th grade, it could help me again. To my surprise, it worked.
© Copyright, Kiki Stamatiou, 2015