“And 1, 2, 3, and 4. Any questions?”

By Leanne Park

There were a couple murmurs, but no one raised their voice.  It was a warm August night, way too warm for the 50 or so of us to be learning a hip hop dance on the third floor of a parking structure and yet, there we were.  With sweat dripping down everyone’s faces, everyone seemed focused on learning the audition piece, but no one seemed particularly frustrated.  Everyone except for me, that is.

Brows furrowed and lips pursed in irritation, I probably did not look approachable by any means.  I had danced all throughout high school, even performing at pep rallies in front of hundreds of students, but, at the time of this audition, I hadn’t danced for two years and it was hitting me pretty hard that my skills had turned rusty. Even though it was the first of three audition days for USC’s competitive dance team, Chaotic 3, and we had two more days to practice the dance before the actual audition,  my heart sank as unflagging doubt seized and took over my initial hopes of making the team.

I contemplated not going through with the final audition.  I discussed it with multiple people, complaining about how hard the piece was, and voicing my doubts.  However, something told me not to give up that easily.  I was a transfer student who fought for my admission to USC and I was determined to make the most of my two years as a Trojan.  In my head, I imagined myself being on a USC dance team and I knew that I would hate myself forever if I didn’t at least try.  So for the next two days, I practiced the dance feverishly, watched the video of the choreographer a million times, and performed it in front of any and every mirror that I came upon.  I wanted to impress the team more than ever.

When it came time for auditions, I was a nervous wreck.  It was even more intimidating considering that all of the old members on the team were so nonchalant and confident. Of course they were; they had a guaranteed returns on the roster.  They had us perform the dance twice in groups of 4 in front of everyone else and then there was an optional choreography showcase.  Though I performed my heart out, I STILL left the auditions feeling as if I wouldn’t make the team.

To my surprise, however, there was an email in my inbox the next day welcoming me to the team.  My hard work had prevailed!  Despite my doubts, I had officially become a member of Chaotic 3.  Fast forward to a year later and I am now in my fourth semester on the team as a member of the executive board.  Because of this team, I have had the amazing opportunity to perform in front of fellow Trojans and to compete on the same stage with dancers I admire and work to emulate.   Recently, we placed third in a dance competition called Ultimate Brawl amongst teams that have inspired us for YEARS, and that is definitely C3’s biggest accomplishment to date. Check out the actual performance here!

I have also made some of the best college memories with my teammates.  Although a lot of us come from different cultures, backgrounds, and even countries like Korea and China, our mutual love for dance has brought us together and the team has become like a second family to me.  College is centered around academics and preparing us for the future, but Chaotic 3 has taught me about perseverance and responsibility more than some of my classes have.  It was a challenge to pass the auditions and there were multiple times when I wanted to quit, but I know the struggle was ultimately worth it.  When I look back on my time at USC, Chaotic 3 will honestly be the greatest extracurricular I ever became involved in.

Raised in Los Angeles, Leanne is a 2015 USC graduate who studied Communications with an emphasis on the entertainment industry. Nothing makes her happier than singing and dancing, so in her spare time you can catch her recording covers of her favorite songs or practicing for hip hop competitions as an e-board member of the dance crew, Chaotic 3. She also has a passion for eating and shamelessly loves to take pictures of her food.