Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Community (Reverb10, Day 7)

December 7: Community
Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011? (Author: Cali Harris)


I can't talk about community without discussing the group of friends that I have known for going on twenty years. My roommate, many close girlfriends and the artist formerly known as BF all met in grade school and have been linked ever since. This year we've grown especially close as we finally segued fully into adulthood. In the end, thought, I don't think I could ever do a better job explaining what these people mean to me than I did on the worst day of our collective friendship.

Another community that has become especially important to me over the past year is my dance community. As you may know, I am a dance team coach at my former high school.

The MN dance community is notoriously tight-knit, but our school one-ups that stereotype. Of the eight coaches leading the Varsity, Junior Varsity, and middle school team, seven are alumni. Six days a week, five months a year, we return to the dungeon gym we once danced in to teach teenage girls how to kick, turn and leap their way to a first-place finish.

Having alumni coaches widens an already large net. Over the course of the season, I meet current dancer's parents, grandparents, and especially their little sisters who tell me how many years it will be until they're on my team. At competitions, I see other alumni dancers - some I coached last year, some I danced with, some who were on the team 15 years ago that have to explain to me who they are. All are equally enthusiastic, all sport team colors. I get texts and emails and Facebook posts from other alumni across the country who watch videos on YouTube to stay up to date. One mom whose daughters were on the team with me ten years ago grills me for details each time she checks me out at Gap, and I willingly oblige.

It might look like we're just kicking to the high heavens for a solid four minutes, but the truth is that this sport is intense. It requires immense dedication and talent, and for most it will be the culmination of a lifetime of dancing. This team was fundamental in my growth as a dancer and as a young woman. I coach not only because I know how to fan kick, but because I know that the confidence I have now can be traced back to the lessons of dedication and perseverence I learned in my years on the team.

My two communities, I guess, are equally crazy. I've known many of my closest friends since I was eight. I spend my weekends trapped in gyms where moms talk to me about rhinestoning patterns and music tempo.

I wouldn't have it any other way.

If you're wondering what the eff dance team is, anyway, here's a video of my gals last year at the state tournament.


Greta said...

omfg...i freaking LOVE that video!!!!

Gina Marie said...

THX Gret! I love it so much too. Just wait until you see them this year :)

Jamie said...

I love when you write about coaching! It sounds like A LOT of fun! What a neat experience. I'm totally envious of your connection to your home state.