This past Thursday, my 4:30 PM Oral English class was completely empty- I freaked and thought I accidentally went to the wrong room, when I remembered the morning class telling me there was a dance competition in the afternoon, at the north campus. With this in mind, I took a brisk walk over to see what the fuss was about.
Sure enough, there was a large crowd of a thousand or so students sitting on the bleacher steps watching over the group dance contest. It wasn’t as much dance as cheerleading, with the crop-top shirts, miniskirts, and white sneakers giving the teams a coherent look. The teams were divided by College Major. From afar I see my English kids waiting for their turn in the spotlight, in red and blue uniforms. I walk over to greet them, some of whom are unrecognizable due to the amount of glitter and silvery, white powder brushed over their faces.
Some songs I instantly recognized that were used by the various teams- Avril Lavigne’s Girlfriend, Nicki Minaj’s Starships, and Tao Cruz’s Hangover (lyrics: I got a little trashed last night / I got a little bit wasted/ I got a little bit smashed last night/ I got a little shit faced’ed) which is hilarious, because I doubt any of the freshman up there dancing have come remotely close to being wasted/ shit faced’ed, but whatever…
Anyway, soon it is time for the English majors to do their group routine. I am given two smartphones to take photo/ video with, and rush to the front to get a better view of the students. Their cheerleading choreography was very post-2007 Britney: a lot of hand/ arm waving, some marching in place, (no hair flips, unfortunately) – a good effort overall but lacking the enthusiasm and hip movements that would take this event to the next level. Im interested in taking over the role of choreographer next year. And costume designer. And makeup artist. Triple threat!!
The scores are announced shortly after the music ends. The highest and lowest scores are removed and the rest averaged together. A high score of 98 was taken out, the “low” score of 92 was also eliminated (how can the lowest score be 92?!? Is there room to even improve if everyone gets a 95 average for their performance?) The kids shriek in excitement and hug each other.
The Dance Majors also do a routine. They are easily the most talented of the bunch (I’ve seen their rehearsals and shows, they are phenomenal performers, when it matters) but they glaringly did not bring their “A game” to this event. In the same way that I limit myself to a third grader’s vocabulary when holding conversations with recent public school graduates who have zero, real-life experience, “Cater to my audience!” (as they say in polite circles / teach at $70k-a-year MBA programs!!) – the Dance Majors assessed their peers and only put in a marginal amount of effort to meet the lackluster competition.
Basically, they just combined a bunch of watered down choreography from previous dances and clobbered something together last minute with only cartwheels and poorly timed backflips stitching the program together. Nonetheless, the crowd is impressed and everyone applauds, as they were one of the few groups that ventured into choreography beyond jumping jacks.
In the end, the English majors come in third place. We are super excited. The Dance Majors win as expected.
Disclaimer: All opinions shared in this blog are the author’s own, and do not represent the views of any outside organization, including but not limited to the United States Government and the Peace Corps.