1. I started tap dancing at the age of 4, and competed from ages 5-12. I also did competitive ballet for 6 years, and a year of pointe, but tap was a thousand times more fun, and I didn't suck at it.
  2. My dance studio was called Rockit Performing Arts Center. Miss Tracey was the head of our studio. I loooooved her.
  3. By the age of 5 I knew how to put on stage makeup. No five-year-old should be wearing that much lipstick.
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  4. My best friend and I thought we met at camp when we were 11, but it turns out we were in the same first dance class in 1995. Here's a picture I found at our recital, paired with a recent photo from Christmas 2014.
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  5. Some of these costumes were so bad. Here's Bare Necessities, because apparently those necessities include a 5-year-old's camel toe.
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  6. Our first big scale competition piece was with "Yer Beautiful Baby" from Thumbelina, which is kinda creepy in retrospect. At our first competition, my shoe came untied during our performance and with one fateful shuffle, my shoe went flying off into the audience. Right by the judges' table. It was mortifying, but thankfully didn't affect our score.
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  7. In addition to a gold in our category, we also won a special personality award across all age groups. That was pretty neat to 6-year-old me, especially since I was nearly traumatized.
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  8. Then they put us in these ridiculous costumes for "Conjunction Junction." I've never been a fan of that many sequins.
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  9. I have fewer pictures from ages 8-12 because I got significantly less adorable.
  10. In those years, we started competing several times a month. It was exhausting.
  11. I watched the girls from the other studios and I can confirm that Dance Moms is real. But my studio wasn't like that.
  12. I knew their tricks. Hairspray, Vaseline on their teeth, all things 7-year-olds shouldn't be subjected to. We were way more chill.
  13. We danced at the White House several years in a row for the holidays. One year it was to "God Help the Outcasts" from Hunchback of Notre Dame, but I was mostly just thankful that we were dressed warmly as homeless people since we were performing outside in December.
  14. I didn't know how to smile like a normal person because I had my glued on, huge competition smile so far ingrained in me.
  15. In 2002, when Miss Tracey closed our studio, I opted not to continue at another, where the vibes were way less chill than at Rockit. I wasn't that serious.
  16. It did help me out getting parts in shows in high school though, since tap dancing is akin to riding a bike (or so I hear. I don't actually know how to ride a bike).