I walked into Tripoli Studios on Friday, the night before the Launch Party, not entirely sure of what to expect. Honestly, the dress rehearsal didn’t look much different than a regular class day. In the hallway, one girl stretched her leg almost completely vertically as three boys reviewed the popping choreography, not quite arguing about whether their hands should be up right or face down. A few other dancers sat in a semi circle with giant cups from Subway, checking text messages and joking around between numbers. Choreographies were reviewed and placements were adjusted to avoid having dancers hit each other as they passed around the makeshift stage created in what will soon be Adonnics Gym. The room was filled with the calm chaos that follows the inevitable realization: now we have to get it done.
I left around midnight, shortly after the last of the dancers went searching for a fast food place that might still be open. I came back around 4:30 the next day, with my dress and heels in a bag and a list of details to help complete before the doors opened at 7:30. The mood was still calm chaos but there was a sense professionalism in the air. Costumes were set out, stretches were completed, movements were perfected. While stuffing programs into the goody-bags, I watched the final run-through of the show, including a sound-check for up-and-coming recording artist Sammy.
Then the doors opened. Then the countdown to the launch began.
I grabbed a seat beside my family (in the back right corner of course) and let myself feel the excitement of the night. For the past 24 hours, and in fact the past 6 weeks, I had been surrounded by people who were already acquainted with the multi-colored floors of Tripoli Studios: those who had been coming to class or who have helped with the set up of the studio. As I sat in my sparkly dress, I was surrounded by those who were meeting the studio and agency for the first time.
The first part of the evening consisted of a 30 minute performance showcasing everything from ballet to house, group numbers to solos. The talent in the room was undeniable. Each dancer seemed to have his or her own moment to shine. And every single one of them did.
Excellence requires two very important factors. Sure it helps to have talent, drive and passion. Those elements will get you far. But having them doesn’t actually guarantee that you will excel at what you do. Excellence comes first from having someone believe in you and, therefore, push you to reach your potential. Sure, this can be self-imposed. But, in my experience, no one has ever used an acceptance speech to thank themselves for their own support. Second, excellence comes from having a security system in place. It’s a lot less scary to leap towards the stars when you know there’s a safety net below you… just in case. Everyone on the Tripoli Studios staff, from dancers to choreographers, graphic designers to DJs, was truly at their peak Saturday night. The environment bred the delicate balance that allows people to step up to excellence within their own craft.
After the show, we all filed into the studio area. As people filtered into the changing room which had been transformed into a photo booth, the small studio which housed Rags-to-Remix clothing, wine and cupcakes or the large studio which had been converted into a club, I watched people take in what Giulia’s dream looked like in building form. But of course, Giulia doesn’t dream in steel beams and dry-wall… that’s more her father Carlo’s thing. Giulia dreams in dance.
Six weeks ago Tripoli Studios opened its doors to the world. Teachers were scheduled, logos were printed and, most importantly, walls were up. August 6th, 2012 marks the birthday of the studio. That date will always hold significance to the Tripoli Studios family. But on September 15th, 2012, we were celebrating ourselves; we were celebrating dreams; we were truly celebrating excellence.
And let me tell you something that my aching feet learned around 3:00 am Sunday morning when I crawled into bed… No one knows how to celebrate in better style.