Failing Big: No relevant experience required

Tufts Dance Collective (TDC) applications are terrifying in a way that other, more normal applications are not. Getting rejected from groups with skill-based application processes hurts because it’s them telling me that I don’t have what it takes; getting rejected from TDC says that they just don’t like me as a person.

Is that being dramatic? Yes. But what other conclusion is there when none of the questions focus on dance backgrounds or musical inclination? It all comes down to if I picked the right “booty tooch” to submit or if my dating app horror story was terrifying-yet-humorous, unique-yet-relatable. Every TDC submission feels like sending a text to your crush that just says “I’m funny, I promise, you’ll like me once you get to know me” and hoping he’ll take you to the prom. It’s a lot of pressure packed into one Google form.

The night that applications opened, I applied for five separate dances with a wide range of topics, hoping that one of them would strike a chord with me — or at least the funnier version of myself who I pretended to be on those applications. After being rejected from the three I had applied for last year, my hopes were not high, but I dutifully wrote a fictitious Bachelor bio instead of working on homework.

A week later, I heard back: three rejections and two acceptances. A 40 percent success rate might not sound great, but I was over the moon. I picked one, per new TDC restrictions, got pumped throughout the week, and then missed my first rehearsal … sorry, Nath and Amanda.

But luckily I was reassured that a lot of people couldn’t make it to the first rehearsal and that I wouldn’t be far behind in the choreo. So, I showed up a week later to Jackson Dance Lab, ready to learn and meet new people. That’s easier said than done when you’re moving around the room for the first 15 minutes, trying to look fierce but also like you know what running is. No one really wants to talk to the girl who is basically copying the slow-motion Baywatch run but with zero sex appeal in a heavy, New England-weather sweater.

But at that rehearsal, we all sat in a circle and shared our worst/best middle school dance stories. I personally shared the time that I jumped up and down all night (because that’s what White kid middle school dancing is), but then couldn’t walk the next day due to what my dad diagnosed as a painful build-up of lactic acid in my calves, so I had to stretch through tears to fix it. Who wouldn’t want to be my friend after hearing that?

Will this TDC dance be a new community for me? Probably not, due to the nature of its single semester, once a week schedule. But it may open doors for new friendships, and that’s all I can really ask for.

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