Follow Ava Riegle on Instagram @avamackay1
Photo - Brittany Lynn Photography
During my first few years of competitive dance, I dreamed of the day I would do a solo. Last season I was ready and couldn't wait, but at the same time I was very nervous. I was used to having my teammates there with me on stage so this was a whole new experience. I chose jazz and my dance teacher/choreographer worked really hard to create an entertaining routine that would also challenge me. And challenge me it did! It was hard and fast and had elements that would push me to be my best. I worked really, really hard and then it was finally time to compete it. I was nervous, but I think my mom was even more nervous because she knew how much this meant to me. I remember walking out on the stage and not being able to breath, but the next thing I knew I was finished and walking off the stage. It went by in a blur, but I had done it! My confidence increased, and I couldn't wait for the rest of the season.
The second competition came, and I was still very nervous, but I felt confident and this time I wanted to really get into the dance and use facials and not my dance thinking face. It started off amazing, and I let go and was living my solo. Then it happened, that moment every dancer is afraid of...I blanked out. I had no idea what came next. This had never happened to me, and I didn't know what to do. I froze and then ran off stage. Then I realized what I had done and began to cry. My dance teacher, a few teammates, and my mom were all there to build me up and encourage me. I am not sure I would have gotten through that moment without them, but I did. My teacher worked it out so that I could go again. This was the scariest moment of my life. What if it happened again? What if I wasn't cut out for doing solos? I wanted it so badly, but I was scared to fail again. When I walked out on that stage, I took a deep breath and danced. This time, I did the entire dance. That moment wasn't about how well I danced, it was about facing my fears and not giving up. I learned so much that day.
The rest of the season was a learning experience. What if it happens again? I had that thought in my head every time I walked out on stage, but I kept walking out there. Each time it got a little easier, and I danced better. Looking back to last year, I realize how important that solo was to my dance career. It taught me so much. I know now that there are times when I will fail, but it is how I respond that matters and makes me a better dancer. This year I have so much confidence in my solo and my abilities to perform it. I know that as a dancer things will happen, but as long as I have my teachers, teammates, family, and my love for dance I know I can get through it.