When I was a youth, I had the opportunity to participate in a Dance Festival and it was honestly one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. There were 9,000 LDS youth from all over Southern California that danced in the Rose Bowl in front of 90,000 spectators to celebrate America’s Bicentennial in 1976. Everyone danced in the opening and the finale and there were a number of dances in between. It was a sight! We practiced for months, made our costumes (and they were complicated), and shared a once in a lifetime experience. I’ll never forget how I felt running through the tunnel and down the stairs and onto the field of the Rose Bowl. I was so happy and excited! My cousins and some good friends were in it too (I did the western dance and they did different dances). There was another Dance Festival four years later and I went with my parents and my youngest brother Chuck. When the kids started running through the tunnels onto the field I started bawling. It was the first time I had ever had my emotions take over like that. I just cried and cried remembering what an amazing experience it had been for me four years earlier. I remember Chuck saying, “What’s wrong?” and not understanding that I was overcome with emotion–and not sad or hurt. The next time there was a Dance Festival, I was in charge of the all-girls dance for my stake which was so much fun. I’m not a dancer (really, I’m not!) but I’m a good organizer and made sure the girls learned their dances, got their costumes (that year they were professionally made), and were ready for the final performance. The girls did a dance to “New York, New York” complete with top hats, black tuxedo dresses, and canes.
I know I don’t look very excited in this photograph, but it was the most memorable experience I had as a youth!!