Dance like Everybody’s Dancing with You
We talk a lot about inclusiveness and about community. Queen’s Law prides itself on being welcoming, open, and supportive. This year more than most, we’ve been given reason to question our commitment to those ideals.
I had the opportunity – scratch that – the privilege to choreograph the 1L dance for this year’s Queen’s Law Cancer Society Cabaret for a Cure. I’ll admit I was terrified. I’d never choreographed a large dance before, and I’d never met half the people that signed up for my dance. I never went out in first semester and really only spoke to people in my small section or from my Orientation group. I was intimidated and incredibly nervous.
I’m going to try to avoid making this piece really emotional and heartwarming. It would be easy for me to say that the first rehearsal eased all my fears and that everyone bonded immediately; that there were no struggles and I never felt frustrated. It would be easy, but not entirely truthful.
What I will say is that I have absolutely no regrets.
I don’t know how many of you saw the 1L dance, but the only thing more amazing than their performance was the trust they had in me to make it happen. As nervous as I was to teach them, they must have been much more nervous to learn. Many of them had never danced before, let alone danced on a stage in front of their peers. On top of that, I made the boys dance to “Anaconda,” and they never questioned me. Not once – and I wouldn’t have been surprised if they had.
Week after week, the 1Ls tolerated my ridiculous choreography. I probably broke a record for the amount of times “shake your butt” was said in a two-hour rehearsal. I got more comfortable with them, and even though I was stressed about getting everything finished in time, I started to look forward to my weekly hangouts with the dance crew. I started saying hello to everyone in the hallways and sitting with new people in class. I didn’t notice at the time, but my list of friends had grown about 20 people longer.
When we got off stage, I was nearly in tears. I don’t know that I’ve ever been as happy, proud, or adrenaline-fueled as I was when we all ran backstage. Yet, what hit me the hardest was seeing that every single one of the 1Ls there felt the same way.
I’m not trying to shamelessly plug Cabaret (or am I?). I just think that it’s really easy to focus on the negative. Twenty of my peers trusted me enough to let me choreograph a dance about their butts. I didn’t know them, they didn’t know me, and most of them didn’t know each other. Everyone took a massive leap out of their comfort zone just signing up for the dance! It wasn’t always easy, but putting yourself out there for other people to judge never is.
We’ve had reason to question our commitment to inclusiveness. A lot of us 1Ls have had reason to question the truth behind the Queen’s community. I used to feel like I didn’t quite fit.
Don’t “aww” just yet.
QL, you have an amazing capacity for trust, openness and support. I’ve seen it, and I’m lucky to have experienced it through Cabaret. It would be easy for us to focus on the negativity that we’ve all heard, but the best (and most bootylicious) things are never easy.
A choreographed dance is not going to appear out of nowhere. It takes time, practice, and commitment. It takes vulnerability, honesty, and a lot of courage. Well, so does our community. We have the time, so let’s get to work.
You can “aww” now.
Rachel Mester (1L) is a contributor to Juris Diction.