Picture it: You’re 12 years old, and your mom just dropped you off at your latest dance convention (one of six this year, including Nationals). The ballroom you’ll be dancing in is roughly 65,000 square feet—yet somehow it’s filled near bursting with a sea of talented young dancers in neon clothes who oscillate between deafening chatter and intense focus. In the next two days you will learn roughly seven different combinations, in seven unique genres, from seven different choreographers (each of whom you have spent your young life worshiping). Between classes you will compete in 10 numbers, including your standard team pieces, a solo, small group, extended line and trio. Each dance will be done in front of a row of pursed-lipped judges (many of whom set the choreography on you in the first place), at both unreasonably early and unreasonably late hours. The results of their assessments, along with the results of the scholarship audition you will participate in, will tell you how you fare against your peers—forcing you to navigate feelings of intense pride, or crushing insecurity.