The very day I saw Sussex Street Troupe performing at the Chinese New Years’ Spring Gala, I just knew I had to be part of the team. Their swag, their sass, their everything was just so enticing and captivating. I approached a dancer named Jordanna who’s just the sweetest thing and started fangirling about how amazing Street Troupe was. Anyone who knows me knows that I always give credit where rightfully due, but I never gush. Like ever. However, this was a rare case. She asked me how long I would be at Sussex for and I told her I was nothing but a mere exchange student here for the term. Unfortunately, that crushed my chances of being part of the team. -Sigh- Oh well, the thought was nice. Little did I know, that small dream of mine would become a big reality sooner than I thought.
Yak It To The Yak
I figured since I couldn’t join Street Troupe, I could take street classes instead. I would much rather gain experience and be happy than just sit and sulk like a brat. Fortunately, my first street class was where I met my partner, Michel’Lee. My luck was beginning to turn! Not too long after, Street Troupe had announced that they were having open auditions for their next performance: Sussex Got to Dance Competition. How funny? I was auditioning to compete against myself in another performance. I remember the day of my audition being hectic. I had classes all day, then on top of that, I had a virtual interview for a summer internship position and immediately after, I had to shower and run to troupe auditions. I encouraged Michel’Lee, my buddy Anthea and my friend Teresa to come out to audition because I knew they had a passion for dancing just as I did.
Now, I bet you’ve been wondering why I’ve titled this post “Love Potion No. 11”. Well, the answer is simple: my audition number was 11. I’m not usually one that’s big on auditions. I psych myself out and the voices in my head tell me that there’s no point in me trying because there are people better than me and more deserving who will get the spot over me. There have been moments where I’ve walked out of auditions because I was so nervous and intimidated. Not this time, though. I brought everything I had in me to those auditions. I even managed to pull out a trick I probably shouldn’t have…
Funny story. I auditioned for troupe and we had approximately four counts of free style at the end of the dance. I could’ve done a cute little shimmy or a hair whip or something of the matter that was cute, yet effective.
Let me tell y’all what I did.
Adrenaline and dopamine are some hell of a natural drug. A lot of it was released once it was time for us to go into our little individual groups. My extra self decided to bust out in a split. Now a split sounds like a good thing to do, right? If you got it, flaunt it. However (comma) I haven’t busted a split in two years. I don’t know what in the actual world possessed me to do such a criminal act. Yes, everyone was cheering. Yes, I went down rather easy. But, my legs were on fire. When I tell y’all that I paid for it in the morning…
Every waking moment, I was refreshing my emails to see if my results had come in as of yet. I couldn’t even pay attention in class for two long because I kept checking the Sussex Dance Society Page and my Sussex email AND my personal email. When I least expected it, I got a message on Facebook from the captain that read as follows:
Hey D’Shonda!! Hey hun 🙂 I hope you’re okay and not too sore from Monday haha..I just wanted to say a huge well done in the auditions – You really impressed me and T and for that reason we are very excited to offer you a place in the street troupe!!!!!! 😀 😀
Of course, I was excited about fulfilling a goal that I had set for myself, but I did feel rather bad that my friends didn’t get it. However, they were nothing less than happy for me and encouraged me to bring it at every practice that Street Troupe had thereafter. I’m so lucky to have supportive friends. Now, it was time for the real work to begin…
Street Troupe rehearsals are always so fun and lively. Don’t get me wrong, we get down to business, but everyone is so chill and funny and….so lovable. We practiced multiple time per week so between balancing troupe rehearsals and rehearsals with Michel’Lee, I had a lot to do and even more to remember. I had to keep reminding myself that by the end of all this, I would be summertime fine and my body would be amazing!
I officially felt like one of the team once we got our jumpers (which is what they refer to as crewnecks and sweatshirts) and shirts. Usually, I’m not one for flexing *NO FLEX ZONE*, but once I got my troupe kit, you couldn’t tell me not a damn thing. Of course, I had to take pictures. My name on the back says, Shondeezy, my name in my squad back home in Atlanta. I don’t care if I flooded timelines once I got my kit. In my best Rae Sremmurd voice, shout out to the haters; God bless ’em.
Make It Look Easy, That’s The Way
I don’t know where to start, honestly. This experience with Street Troupe reminded me how much I love being part of a team. It’s not about being in the front and stealing the spotlight, but it’s about working and coming together. Before this experience, I was Me Phi Me, the sorority of myself. But, I had to tell myself…
To Tahlia and Jeyda,
Where do I begin? Thank you, ladies, for pushing me as a dancer and challenging me in ways I’ve never dreamed. Thank you for seeing something in me the day of the audition that I haven’t seen in myself in a long time: the potential to be a star. Both of you are amazing dancers, incredibly sweet people, and dope captains.
Jey: You’re so sweet and maternal. Probably one of the sweetest people I’ve met since I’ve been here. Your visions for this dance were amazing and I was so happy once they came to life on that stage!
T: First and foremost, your hair is to die for. You’ve inspired me to try out so many new hair colors when I get back to the states. Secondly, you’re hilarious and I can see the amount of drive in you just by looking at you.
Your choreography and performance levels are top-notch and I aspire to be as talented as you two. I cannot thank you two enough for bringing me into this family called Sussex Street Troupe. I’ll definitely miss you all once I head back to the states in a month, but never lose your passion for dance. Not T, not Jey, not Sarah, not Lynda, not Echo; none of you. You are all incredible dancers and I wish you nothing but the best in your journey to becoming the best dancers you could possibly be.