I was five when I started to dance. I think that when I started, everyone knew it would be something I would continue for a long time.
Going to school at any grade level can be stressful, and dancing was a way to use that emotion for something beautiful. Dance is known to reduce stress and tension in the body, and that’s exactly what it did for me. As a dancer, I learned to connect with the music, convey my emotions to the audience, and make them feel something when they watch me dance.
Dancers are disciplined, focused, and high achievers who tend to be successful students and hard workers. Growing up as a dancer, I learned discipline, patience, and teamwork, which helped me to be a better student and person. When I perfectly land my turn sequence for the first time, or leap so high I feel like I’m flying, I remember all the time and effort I put in to complete that flawless performance and I feel proud.
To be a good dancer, you need the same skills required for any other sport: endurance, flexibility and stamina. Competitions and recitals show off how strenuous it is to be a dancer. Recitals include days of big hair, crazy makeup, and itchy costumes. Put together, these can put on an amazing show.
Dancing on a stage in front of people, performing dances I’ve been learning for months, hearing the applause in the audience as I finish my last move with toes at a perfect point, that’s when the muscle pains and endless rehearsals finally seem worth it.
Dance competitions consist of all the same things as a recital, but they become so much more important when there’s a prize to be won. I am nervous before I go on stage. Despite the butterflies that flutter in my stomach, I know that I’m ready to charm the crowd with my technique and emotion. Every toe needs to be pointed. A smile never leaves my face as I parade around the stage trying to convince the judges that my dance is the best.
When I was five I didn’t think about my future with dance. I never imagined that 10 years later I would be at the same studio continuing to learn even more about my favorite sport. My toes will go into a natural point when my feet leave the ground. I’ll remember everything dance has taught me. I’ll remember all the friends that I have made at the studio over the many years.
Memories of spotlights and applause will be forever in my mind.