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Reporter Braves the Cha-Cha

For WaPo‘s Travel cover piece on Sunday, Nancy Trejos did something she once found harrowing: She attended Dance Camp in Las Vegas and ultimately performed the cha-cha in front of an audience of 375.

It’s not “Dancing With the Stars,” but it gave her a small taste of what stars must go through. The experience wasn’t pretty for Trejos. Her feet swelled. Her timing was off. She knocked into fellow dancers. She got scolded. She felt stupid as she “glued” a smile to her face. And by the time she got to tango class she had a full-blown migraine. “I glided backward down the ballroom, pulling my partner too hard,” she wrote in her first-person story. “So hard that we almost fell.”

As the week wore on, she conquered fears and made close friends. “I’m so glad I performed the cha-cha in front of so many people because I conquered a fear, and I didn’t give up as much as I was tempted to,” Trejos wrote FishbowlDC from China, where she’s vacationing and trying hard not to work. “And in the process, I actually learned a new dance and became a better dancer.”

As for “Dancing With the Stars,” she doesn’t think she’s 2010 winner Jennifer Grey just yet. “I didn’t spend quite as much time training as those ‘Dancing with the Stars’ contestants do, but I was exposed to the same pressure and tension they must feel before they perform,” she wrote in an email. “Still, I only had to do it in front of 375 people. I can’t imagine how I would have handled knowing that millions of people would be watching on TV! I give them credit for that.”

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