MEGAN BROWN ‑The last two months of my life have been a whirlwind as I rehearsed and performed the role of Rosalia in West Side Story with Vancouver Opera. It was an experience unlike any, mainly due to the fact that I was the only non-pro dancer in the entire show, who had to dance. Needless to say my body felt pain in muscles that I didn’t even know existed. Every day consisted of 8 hours of choreographed bootcamp. Dancers never stop; they arrive early to warm up, they perfect tricky bits during breaks and then they go to hot yoga after rehearsal. My first moment of dance rehearsal consisted of meeting my dance partner, and him nervously looking around in fear then saying, “this must be wrong, why did I get put with you? You aren’t a dancer”. From that moment forth it was my stubborn determination to prove to everyone that I was a dancer. I danced every move in every single rehearsal like it was the last step I would ever take. Unfortunately my mental strength outweighed my physical strength and I dislocated my knee. One week of sitting out of rehearsal was tough, but it gave me an insightful perspective on all aspects of the show. Once it came to performances I was healthy and living a dream. I have never felt so challenged physically in my life, but I wouldn’t have changed it for the world. All the hard work paid off and now I am constantly reminded of that fearful week in January, when I had a daily panic-attack worrying about the much talked about West Side Story DANCE audition! It would have been too easy just to label myself as a non-dancer and be done with it, the fear consumed me. But it was that fear that drove me to the audition, helped me dance the audition and proved to be a strength rather than a weakness.