After two weeks of nonstop practice and three full performances, I laid in my bed at 3 a.m. on Sunday with a wave of relief, pride and emptiness washing over me.

Photo by Cheddar Arias / North by Northwestern

On Friday and Saturday, Fusion Dance Company put on its 15th annual spring show,“The Feud.” The show’s choreography drew inspiration from life conflicts such as romance, fear and courage. Both veteran and new choreographers prepared ten set pieces, including five shorter transition pieces and three freestyle sets. We learned all of the choreography during Winter Quarter and spent the first two weeks of Spring Quarter making the dances show-ready.

The last two weeks of rehearsals were undeniably exhausting. On top of adjusting to new classes, we practiced from 6 p.m. until 11 p.m. almost every day, fitting in around two full runs of the show per night during the second week. Needless to say, we physically pushed our bodies to do the most, making sure we “went H.A.M.” when we were practicing full-out. But through the tiring practices, we grew as dancers and developed strong bonds with each other as teammates.

Fusion creates a space for creativity, exploration and growth; it’s a safe place to fail and pick yourself back up to create again, according to Artistic Director Connor O’Doherty. As a first-year choreographer, I collaborated with another first-year. We both went into the choreographing process not knowing what exactly we wanted but managed to establish a common goal for our piece.

It’s surreal to see the friends you love so much and upperclassmen you look up to making your vision come to life on stage. I couldn’t help but feel proud and grateful to my cast that I was blessed with this opportunity.

Photo by Cheddar Arias / North by Northwestern

What’s unique about being part of such a close-knit dance team is that our love for dance connects us all, regardless of where we’re from or who we are. We all took on the responsibility of taking care of each other, ensuring that nobody was left behind. By the second week, despite the bruises on our knees, blisters on our feet and pain in our shoulders, the positive energy and passion we shared for dance pushed us to overcome our fatigue.

When we set ourselves on stage for the last performance, knowing that it would be the last time we all performed together, my stomach dropped. I was overwhelmed by bittersweet emotions and endless gratitude for all the seniors had done for the team. Fusion had become my family, and I realized that my time with the seniors, who I considered my mentors, was coming to an end. I can surely say that the Fusion spring show gave me confidence, hilarious memories and friendships that will last a lifetime.