“I’m Going to do it,” I announced to a small group of friends as we huddled around a bulletin board liking at the weeks activities.
“No your not,” one of my friends snapped.
“That’s so awesome,” remarked another.
Remarks like this echoed throughout the group, but I was serious, I was going to try out for the dance team.
The dance team was an all girl team but the y had no rules about guys trying out. But no man had ever attempted the feat. I would be the first.
As the day passed I was amazed at how fast news traveled. By the end of the day the school was chattering about how I was going to try out. That’s were my troubles began.
The next day as I was walking down the hallway, I felt a tap on my shoulder.
“You are trying out for the dance line?” a voice rang in my ear. As I turned around I saw a young girl dressed in a shimmering pink outfit.
“Yes, yes I am,” I remarked.
“No, seriously you are trying out for the dance line?” I could see her eyebrows start to bunch up and a fierce glow started to show in her eye. I could tell she was starting to get worried and a bit frustrated.
“Yes, I believe I am going to try”
She stumbled off dazed and confused.
Through out the rest of the day I felt as if I had caused social unrest through out the school. Every one was talking about the fact that a guy was going to try out for the dance line. Some were angry, some were excited, and others were just plain confused. Luckily for me, I had most of my sister’s friends on my side all on with some of my other friends. The only ones who didn’t support me were the rednecks, some of the dance liners, and the girl in the shimmering pink out fit. The rednecks and any one who opposed the fact that I was trying out for the dance line called me names like “Gay,” or “Fag,” but I just shrugged it off knowing that they didn’t have the balls to do what I was doing.
As Friday approached I found out that a rumor had started that I was just joking round. I laughed at it. No one believed that I was serious. Even my dad didn’t believe me. He didn’t even support me. By the end of the day my anger level had grown to five times the normal. That’s when the girl approached me again.
“Ian you better not be trying to make a fool of the dance line by trying out.”
Her black beady eyes stared me down and sent a chill down my spine. I could tell that she was devastated.
All I wanted to say back to her was, “You incarnation of the frozen soul of the ice queen! Does this really affect you so much? Does it wreck your perfect little world where everything revolves around you? I pity you, that all you see is your self and the people who give you attention and obey your every command.” But I couldn’t, so I said, “Ok.”
When I went to sign up for the tryouts I almost chickened out, but Sarah and Melissa helped me through. At first the rest of the girls were just like the girl who had approached me, But most of them warmed up to the idea of a guy liking to dance.
Now it turns out that someone was worried about their world changing, and the rumor had got to their coach. So after sign up she pulled me aside and explained to me that even if I made it on I would still have to go through the school board to even be able to perform. This was only because it was an all “girls” team. Talk about sexism. I mean if girl can play football, then why I can’t dance.
As the night passed I began to feel nervous. The butterflies swarmed in my stomachs. The nauseating feeling kept me up all night. I don’t remember when I fell asleep but when my alarm clock went off I just stood up and threw on my athletic clothing. As I made my way to the gym a sudden burst of energy flowed through my body.
I knew from the start that it wasn’t going to be easy. I had only taken some ballroom and tap but those were months behind me and I had know idea of what to expect. We started off stretching. This could have been hard but luckily I had been stretching for track since March. When we were done we started the kicks. This was new, and as far as I could tell I am pretty sure that male dancers never actually have to do kick lines. We worked on keeping our legs straight and toe pointed for quite some time. As soon as we had got a handle of that we learned an eight-count pattern that we repeated for god knows how long. When the kicks were done we started working on the choreographed number. This is where my lack of dance classes started to affect me. We started out by going across the gym doing weird jumps, leaps and tumbles. These were different falling to the ground in to a roll didn’t sound fun to me, but I kept going strong trying not to make to big of mistakes.
As the day progressed I soon came to realize that no matter how many rimes I tried to dance like the others, I just couldn’t do it. There was no way that I could even start to compare my performance skills to theirs. I quickly came up with a move that I thought would match their skills. This I came up with partly by watching the others, partly by my self. When I had executed the maneuver the music stopped and the coach’s voice rang out over the gym floor, “ Remember that you are high school students and that you should act like them. Make sure that you are not crossing the line between appropriate and inappropriate.” I knew that she was using subliminal messaging to really say this to me but not to the whole group. I felt a rage start growing inside of me.
I thought to my self, “ Who is this women to decide what is appropriate, and inappropriate? Who is she to say what high school students are supposed to act like? I mean that move that I did didn’t compare to the moves that the rest of the group was doing. I mean I know some of them did dance like a second hand slut. But there were those who would roll around on the floor and spread their legs. So if my move was inappropriate, that would make their moves like crossing the barrier that separates the moral, and those who aren’t.”
As the break for lunch began Sam, Tesia, and I went to Lucky Seven where we chowed down on the worst food imaginable. With in fifteen minutes we had down a monster and a few pieces of really crappy pizza. We returned just in time to practice the routine a few more times before the judging began.
Now this is when I started to notice that the tryouts were made so that not only the best got in but only the ones that the coach had wanted. She had said at the beginning of the day that to ensure that the tryouts were fair, that she would not be coming to them. But she had been there the whole time. She had also said that she would be getting judges from out of town so that not only was she not as acquainted with them, but that we didn’t know either. The judges she picked were some of her friends that not only she knew but we also knew. Not only were did we knew them but they were all female. Which means no male view on it. One word rang out in my head “SEXISM”.
They sent us out to the hallway to wait for the time when we would be called to perform before the judges. When we first got out we sang “Happy Birthday” to Sam and ate cookies. But things started to take a turn for the worst when I started talking to a group of the dancers.
While we exchanged words about how the day was going one of them approached me and offered me some lemonade. Mid-sip they announced that it was I mixed drink. I was shocked. I half coughed up, half spit out the concoction into a near by garbage.
I was furious how could the girls be drinking at tryouts. It went against all of the reason to be in a sport. In shock I drifted to a corner and practiced the routine.
We were called in by pairs, so when I was called so was Janice Mostar. We started by doing kicks, and then moved into doing the routine. In the middle of it I glanced at her to see if I was doing it right. But to my surprise she had stopped dancing and was just standing there. She didn’t even finish the routine. No I know this sounds harsh so I have to admit I also forgot part of the dance but I found my place and continued.
So I was sent to the hallway, all the stress that had been on my shoulders disappeared and I felt a thousand pounds lighter. We sat around talking about life for quite some time. When the finely started calling us in they brought us to the judges one by one. I was one of the first.
When I reached the panel of judges I was very unhappy to see that the coach had broken yet another one of her promises. She to was part of the panel. She was the one who got the final say, “ Ian, I have never had a boy try out for….”, she went on about how I was the first boy that she had ever had try out and how that it had surprised her. Hearing those words I grew hopefully, maybe this contest wasn’t as rigged as I thought it was. “ …But I am sorry you didn’t make the cut.” What she said after that I don’t remember what she said after that. I mean I knew that I wasn’t the best but I also knew that I wasn’t the worst. All I could think was how she had deceived us all. She had broken promises that I was sure she was going to keep. In my opinion she was a dead to me. She was worse than the devil him self. She had a tarnished reputation and could not be trusted. In a daze I walked to the exit.
When I left the door I slumped against the wall. My whole idea of being the first male dancer on the dance line had been crushed. Like a fly be flattened by a fly swatter. I could not believe my eye as I watched the rest of the girls come out. Every one of them had made it.
Even today there is a part of my heart that is still hurting from the let down. But I have to come to realize that this world isn’t all fun and games. People are cruel and will do anything to climb the rungs of the latter of society, even if that means being sexist, or listening to rumors.
Now I know I may sound like I am bashing the whole existence of dance line but I am not. I think that some of the things that dance line does are amazing. But the fact that the coach could be sexist really guts my goat. Now the coach never came up to me and said that I didn’t make it because I was a boy but when they told me that I didn’t make it I caught a hint that it was because of my gender. The second thing that really got me mad was that the girls were drinking at they tryouts. This is going against the rules set up by the school and state. There would have definitely been more cuts if the school found out about the drinking. But alas that was the past and I must move on into the future and leave this problem in the dust for another to pick up.