Opinion: What it is like being first runner-up

By Cailyn Zanylo, MHS reporter

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Competing gives me a rush of adrenaline that is like a drug. I must have it, I must take it, and I must fuel my addiction. My everyday dose has now become an insufficient amount, and my body needs more. That’s why I started competing in the Mid Atlantic Dance Masters Chapter 17 title competition.

This competition crowns four individuals in different age groups, at the end of two days observation. The first age group is called petite. Ages range from 7- to 9-year-olds. The second age group is called junior, and their ages range from 10 to 12. The third age group is called teen. Their ages range from 13 to 15. Lastly is a group called miss, and their ages range from 16 to 18.

Contestants are judged is multiple areas. These areas include: interview, audition classes and solo.

During the interview, the contestant must be dressed in professional attire and have a resume of their accomplishments, dance experience and interests.

Audition classes are the hardest part of the title experience. The dancer must have a solid black leotard, pink tights and their hair in a bun. They must also complete a ballet, tap, jazz and modern class taught by the judges. Throughout the classes the judges take notes on who can pick up choreography, who is respectful and who can perform in every style.

The solo is the last part of the entire competition, leading up to awards. It is a piece performed by the individual contestant that is prepared beforehand. First they perform only for the judges (this first solo run is not judged, but gives the judges insight on who the frontrunners are). The second solo run is performed during a “pageant,” where an opening number is performed, followed by each contestant’s solo.

The score of the interview, two highest class scores, and solo score are combined to create the contestant’s final grade. Awards are presented during a ceremony with all of the contestants on stage in floor length dresses. Individual contestants receive awards for the highest score in certain categories, and one contestant wins the overall award (meaning they had the highest score after their interview and audition class scores were combined). They then announce the contestants that were in the top half of the competition, then the most talented non-finalist, the finalists, and, finally, the winner who becomes the reigning Petite, Junior, Teen or Miss Dance of that year.

This year when I competed, I was first runner up to the winner in the teen group. I also received the ballet and interview awards. At first, I was so excited because I had never scored that high before. The only downfall is, I am now upset. All of my hard work leading up to the competition seems to be wasted because I didn’t win.

Being so competitive is sometimes hard, because I don’t get to experience the joy other people feel at dance competitions. Some people are happy because they are having fun, others are carefree, and I am worrying about winning. The constant thoughts of winning and out scoring my competition consume me. I can barely sleep the night before, due my thoughts focusing on the trophies and awards.

There is also the idea of what it would have been like to win. The sash that I would wear with my title stitched in blue thread. The crown I would wear upon my head, embedded with jewels and sparkling rhinestones. Finally the confidence I would walk with wearing my winning armor. Just thinking about the what I would wear makes me upset, but thinking about how hard I worked to come in second, makes me devastated,

Next year I will move up to the group Miss Dance. I fear that I will work so hard again and not win. However, I guess I won’t know until I try.

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