Dance is my passion. I started taking class when I was 3 years old and I haven’t stopped since. What draws me to dance is it allows me to express myself, it keeps me in shape, it expands my mind, it lets me be creative and, let’s face it, it’s fun! But dance is not as easy as it looks and it is always unpredictable.
When I was in middle school I was performing an acro routine at a local competition and accidentally kicked my best friend in the face mid-dance. She had a black eye for months. Ironically the song we were dancing to was “Kung Fu Fighting.”
When I was 18 years old I was performing a tap solo in the talent competition at the local fair. Right at the end of the dance my foot got stuck and I fell flat on my face. Needless to say, I didn’t win.
When I was 19 years old I received my first professional dance job. I was selected to be part of the Buffalo Bandettes, a professional dance team. One day our team split up into two groups to go over choreography. At one point my hair got stuck underneath my left foot and I ended up ripping out a chunk of hair. I thought my “rookie mistake” would have been my first and last unpredictable moment with the team. I thought wrong …
Last year, my third season on the team, we were getting ready to dance at one of the Buffalo Bandits games at First Niagara Center. Not long before we took the field our coach told us we would be wearing the players’ jerseys for one of our routines. I was excited — I would be wearing the actual jersey of one of the Buffalo Bandits! All of us girls grabbed a jersey, put them on and made our way out to perform.
The dance started as planned; the energy was high and the music was loud. At one point in the choreography we were leaning forward with our hands on the ground. As I went to stand back up a second later, the oversized jersey I was wearing made its way over my head. I was completely blinded from everything happening around me.
There I stood in boots, booty shorts, a sports bra and a jersey over my head mid-routine in front of 16,000 people. I tried to move the jersey … it didn’t move. During what was supposed to be a hair flip I tried moving my head to get the jersey to go back down … it blinded me even more. I had two choices: stop and fix the jersey or keep dancing. I did what I’ve been trained to do since I was 3 years old, and I kept dancing. Muscle memory kicked in and I completed the dance, which included a formation change. The jersey finally came off for the end pose, but of course my hair then covered my face, making me look like “Cousin It.”
So many thoughts ran through my head as I ran off the field: Did anyone notice? Were my tights sticking out of my shorts? Is my coach mad? Did she even see what happened?
I didn’t know if I wanted to laugh at the situation or cry from embarrassment. As I looked up at my friend’s faces, I knew laughing was the answer … especially because half of the team laughed so hard they were laying on the floor. We even took a group photo of all of us with our jerseys over our heads. Luckily, my teammate Mandy wasn’t dancing that game and brought my camera on the field to tape the routine. I was able to see for myself what happened and re-live the moment.
After watching the video on my camera (multiple times), my coach and teammates asked me to email them all the video so they could watch it again and show their friends and family members who weren’t at the game. The video was too long, so my coach gave me permission to post it on YouTube.
What I thought was going to be a video for just my team and I to enjoy became a viral video. JukinVideo shared the video and the number of views climbed. Six hundred views … 1,000 views … 150,000 views … 500,000 views … 1,000,000 views! My video/wardrobe malfunction was talked about on ESPN, E! Online, The Soup’s Facebook page, the homepage for AOL and MSN, Deadspin, Reddit, Huffington Post UK and more. It was amazing to see how one tiny moment in my life became an international viral video!
Today is the one-year anniversary of when the video was posted on YouTube and I am still in awe of how much enjoyment my embarrassing moment has brought to its 2,957,892 viewers and counting. I’ve learned a lot from this experience but the most important thing I have learned is when life throws an obstacle in your face (literally), keep going!
Life is full of unexpected twists and turns, but take those moments and cherish them. One small moment in your life could make the world go round!
If you’ve never seen the video or would like to see it again, here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjzGR3dT97o. Enjoy!