My nerves are tingling with anticipation, anxiety, excitement. My palms are sweaty and gooseflesh covers my arms. I can feel adrenaline running through my veins, excited for what comes next. This happens every time I prep to perform. It’s part of the thrill but also the fear.
Dresses, suits, and shoes swish around me. Laughter echoes through the room, mingling with the music. Colorful pairs grace the floor, their bodies becoming the music. It’s pure life and beauty. I want to be like them, full of life and wonder. Cheers and applause erupt, and the moment pops like a bubble, a new bubble already forming.
“Ready,” My partner asks me, hand out stretched. Am I ready to step into that bubble?
“Yeah,” I say nervously. I don’t know if it’s true but it’s time. I’ve been working for this. This day, this opportunity, this experience. I’m as ready as Ill even be. I rest my hand in his and he squeezes encouragingly. He spins me before we walk hand in hand to wait for our call.
“Don’t forget to smile,” he grins. He knows me well. I giggle and smile shyly. His ease seeps into my hand, travels to my chest, and hugs me. I feel powerful, capable, beautiful wrapped in his presence. I tighten my grip in thanks as I lift myself up.
“Heat Number 27,” the announcer calls and I take a deep breath as we step onto the floor. One hand nestled safely in my partners, the other outstretched. He places me on the floor and I reluctantly let go of him. There’s a painful pause as we wait for the music to start. Norah Jones’ “Come Away with Me” shivers through me, smoothing my nerves just enough. I sigh, the moment taking shape around me, the bubble rising. I sweep into my partner’s arms and we rise, shimmering like gems. I’m lost in the patterns, the spins, the momentum. My music is sweeping me away. Suddenly, our bubble pops. My partner is spinning me out, I curtsy, he bows, and we’re off the floor. My breaths come quick, my nerves are tingling again.
“So how was your first dance in your first competition?”
“Magical,” I sigh, blood fizzing pleasantly.
“Good,” he smiles.
Photograph by Mariah Renae Photography