Afro-Caribbean piece from my first year at Conn. Peep the fro? That's me.

It’s my theory that growing up in an urban environment causes people to have an inherent connection to music and dance, although not everyone is blessed with the rhythm to match. As a result, while I may walk and run with stiff, questionable posture, I can bust quite a few unexpected moves on a dance floor. It could also happen to be in my room, kitchen, a hallway, while running on the treadmill; anywhere I can listen to music doubles as my shameless stage. Generally, I avoid doing so in front of large groups of people, but last weekend I had to power through my anxiety to audition for Eclipse, the largest student-run dance show, for my final year at Conn 

This will be the 42nd year that Eclipse will sell out Palmer Auditorium to showcase cultural music and dance not often represented on campus. This includes music ingrained in my body such as hip hop, step, and West African as well as others I haven’t been exposed to such as Irish step, contemporary, modern, and bachata. This is perhaps the most anticipated dance show on campus because the ethnic diversity of the cast reflects the diversity of the musical styles. Despite getting nervous dry mouth just thinking of the auditions, I repeated to myself the mantra “Show up and show out,” which means that since I dragged myself out of my room, not an easy thing to do, I better put in werk (not misspelled) and show people a thing or two. Although I danced dangerously close to the edge of a panic attack at certain points during auditions, I must have masked it well because I was cast in five pieces! Although I love lying to myself, I’ve been forced to realize lately that I have limits, so I chose to be in just three of them. Don’t worry though, reducing my participation has not reduced my hype, so I still plan on slaying while on stage.

Having participated in Eclipse my first year here, I find it fitting to bookend my experience by doing it my senior year as well. I’m hoping that by moving my bits in front of 1,200 people the dancing gods will give me the confidence I need to show up and show out in the career world as well. It’s pretty crazy to notice the changes that have happened to my life and character in those four years, but fortunately I can say that I’m happy with most of them. That’s at least average, right? While I may sometimes question how I’ve managed to survive to this point of college, I’ve never dared questioned the ability of my hips to gyrate, and it seems to have paid off. This event not only highlights and celebrates underrepresented cultures, but also re-affirms the existence of students who belong to those groups. I hope that by sweating my way across a stage, I can encourage others to showcase their talents and take pride in what makes them different. While humans have a history of suppressing groups seen as different, this dance show is it’s own act of necessary defiance, and I hope to see you all there!