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My First Dance Competition

by TheBlueCat


A/N This is an autobiographical narrative written for my English class so I had limitations, so it is not a good as I would have liked it to be, but I had to write it, so I figured you guys would enjoy reading about my experience anywyas!

My mom, my sister, and I were lost in the city, and late to the competition as well. We were in the city of Pittsburg, PA, or as I like to call it, the city of bridges. My class was going to perform in a dance competition, but I had never done any sort of competition before, so it was unsurprisingly nerve racking. “Wait! It was over there. We should’ve turned right!” I groaned. We turned around for at least the fifteenth time, and drove back into the mess of the city.

We had gone over one too many bridges, and were circling a lot of our previous paths. Once we finally got to the site of the competition and found some decent parking, we rushed inside, my costume and makeup in hand. It took many squirmy minutes to try to apply my super annoying makeup and itchy blue sparkly costume, but then came the waiting game. I might as well be last for how long this is taking! I thought. The makeup was itchy and hot, and so was the costume, although they were pretty, so it was really hard to sit still and not touch anything. We sat for a very long hour and watched to other dances, waiting for my dance to be near, and me trying not to complain.

About ten dances before mine, I was finally called back to wait yet again for my turn. We waited at the side of the stage behind the makeshift curtains. In minutes, we would be performing. I couldn’t share my classmates’ excitement; too many butterflies danced in my stomach. I fiddled with my dress and watch the dance before ours, hardly registering what they were doing. As our music started and we glided onstage, I found my nervousness melting. The judges smiled at us and I found that my feet knew the dance perfectly.

All too soon, we glided back offstage in the warmth of applause, I pranced happily back to my awaiting family. After yet another long wait and a ton more dances, all the dancers were called back onto the stage for the awards. Sitting with my classmates, we joked around quietly, less need to be nervous now that our dances were done. Not paying a lot of attention, I was surprised to hear our dance be announced as the winner of our category! Unfortunately, the studio was the one to keep the trophy, since our class had more than 2 students, but I was still excited and a little shocked.

Thinking back, I will probably not do a dance competition ever again because of how stressed and hurried it was. It was a little too much for my laid-back and introverted personality. Nonetheless, it was definitely an experience to remember. I learned that practicing can sure pay off, and I got to watch many other dance forms, some of which I had never seen before. I also got to show the beautiful person I am, and dance my heart out for the first time, like I now do for all my shows.


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Thu Nov 16, 2017 3:33 pm
Radrook wrote a review...



Interesting description of what you considered a very harrowing experience. Not pleasant being nervous, itchy, and then getting lost and circling. Then having to wait while a host of others do their thing. What makes it even harder is when we aren’t extroverted. So you are to be commended for your determination and having overcome all these things. The conclusion of the essay seems to indicate that you now enjoy performing.

About the technical aspects of the essay itself, I will just make a general recommendation. Please note that teachers who read essays are on the lookout for padding. Padding is the needless repetition of words, phases, or the same ideas just to meet the number of words required. Essays get a lower grades if padding is used. So I would proofread the essay for padding.

https://www.thoughtco.com/padding-compo ... rm-1691474




TheBlueCat says...


Thanks! :D I've already turned in the essay, but thanks anyways!



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Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:50 pm
BluesClues wrote a review...



Hi there!

So I don't know how helpful this is at this point, but here I am nonetheless. I won't go into the nitpicks, since DarkPandemonium covered those pretty well.

I don't know what precisely you were supposed to cover in this essay, but I would have liked to have seen more of your time onstage. We basically got one and a half sentences here:

I found my nervousness melting. The judges smiled at us and I found that my feet knew the dance perfectly.


But then it was done in the next sentence, and I would have liked to get a little more of your experience actually dancing. It sounds as if you enjoyed it and maybe forgot where you were and why you were nervous, but I'm left guessing as to whether you were more excited or focused/concentrating or calm while dancing.

I feel like the fourth paragraph could focus more on that and the bit about your team winning could be lumped in with the fifth paragraph, while the rest of the current fourth paragraph could be trimmed down. I also thought this line was a little out of place

I got to watch many other dance forms, some of which I had never seen before.


because earlier in the essay you talk about how you were too nervous to really pay attention to the other dance acts!

Hope I got to this in time, but if not then I hope it helps you out with future essays!
BlueAfrica

Image




TheBlueCat says...


Thank you so much! Yes, you did get this in on time! xP It was really hard to write about how I felt during the dance because honestly, I don't remember it that much! I will use your advice wisely fellow knight!



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Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:04 pm
Panikos wrote a review...



Hi, TheBlueCat! Pan here for a quick review. I'll point out my nitpicks as I read and close with some general thoughts. Let's get to it!

Nitpicks

My mom, my sister, and I was lost in the city, late as well.


1) This should be 'were' rather than 'was', as you're talking about more than one person.

2) There's something about 'late as well' that just feels awkward to read here. Do you mean you were late for the competition or or that it was late at night? It's not clear. Maybe rephrase it and make it into a separate sentence so it's easier to follow.

We had went over at least one too many bridges, and were turned around completely.


1) It should be 'we had gone', because the past perfect tense is formed by taking 'had' plus the past participle. It might be worth googling the past perfect, because it's one quite a lot of writers seem to trip up on.

2) 'At least one too many' seems like a contradiction, because 'one too many' implies an excess but 'at least' suggests that it's a limited amount. I'd just keep it as 'one too many' on its own.

3) I'd also change 'were' to 'had', because 'were' isn't really grammatical in this context.

We sat for at least a very long hour


There's the same thing here as in the last nitpick. I think 'at least an hour' would sound much better, because having 'at least' next to 'a very long' just doesn't sound right to me.

Waiting on the side of the stage behind the makeshift curtain made of sheets, our dance the next one.


This isn't a complete sentence. Maybe have something like:

We waited at the side of the stage behind the makeshift curtains. In minutes,
we would be performing.


That's just an example - toy with it as you wish.

I couldn’t share my classmates’ excitement, I was way too nervous.


This is an error called a comma splice, which means you've connected two independent clauses with a comma rather than a full stop, semicolon or coordinator. I'm strapped for time so I can't go into the ins and outs of comma splices right now, so I will have to refer you to this great topic. It's super helpful and definitely worth a read.

For now, I'll just suggest that you swap that comma out for a semicolon. That'll solve the problem.

I will probably not do a dance completion ever again


Do you mean 'competition' here?

because of how much stress and hurrying it caused.


There's something about this bit of expression that's strange to me. Maybe change it to something like:

because of how stressful and hurried it was.

I also got to show the beautiful me I am, and dance my heart out for the first time


1) I don't think 'me' works here, though I see what you're getting at. 'The beautiful person I am' would be fine.

2) You don't need the comma after 'am'.

Overall Thoughts

1) It's a pretty nice piece, and for the most part it's structured well and easy to follow. You need to be careful with your expression sometimes, as it can be a little clunky. It feels like you don't always think about the best way to construct certain sentences. On the whole, though, it's fine.

2) As for your concerns about showing and telling, I think you could get a bit more into the description of your nerves and the place that you were waiting in before the performance. I understand that you were limited on word count, but good description doesn't have to be lengthy. Take this bit:

I couldn’t share my classmates’ excitement, I was way too nervous.


Comma splice aside, this sentence is telling. You tell us you were nervous rather than actually describing how the nerves made you feel. Was your stomach tight and jumpy? Couldn't you sit still? Were your palms sweating? You only need to describe one of these sensations, but it will make the moment a lot more engaging and easier to empathise with.

The same goes for the other parts of the piece. I'd like a few more notes of description about the actual waiting room and such. Tell us what it smelt like, what you could hear, what you could feel. It just lacks a bit of texture for me at the moment.

3) That said, there are some lovely bits of description in the piece. I love the phrase 'many squirmy minutes' - just three words, but it captures something that I can really identify with and picture. The second paragraph is definitely the strongest part, because I think it taps into the senses more than the other four.

I seem to remember that you said this was due for homework today, so I'm sorry if this review is of limited use! Nevertheless, I hope it's given you some general advice for your future writing. In summary: watch your expression and pay attention to the senses. Also, check out that comma splices topic. It will help.

If you'd like me to expand on anything I said in this review, don't hesitate to ask!

Keep writing! :D
~Pan




TheBlueCat says...


Omg thanks you so much! This is so helpful Pan! I love how even though we have gone through a lot of the grammar rules recently, and I can find them in everything else, I still use them in my writing! xD I was difficult to 'show' in a lot of the cases because this was a while ago, so my memory of this is a little faint. But thanks again! This really helps a lot!



Panikos says...


Glad it helps! Honestly, if you can't remember, just make it up. People won't know the difference. :)




They laugh at me because I'm different; I laugh at them because they're all the same.
— Kurt Cobain