My memory comes back to me in fragments. There were many times when I wasn’t sure how much dance would mean to me; it’s my entire world now.
I remember being pulled out of my Kinder class to show the director my shuffles in the hallways.
I remember being told I was going to join the big kids. I had to step up when I got to the new door way- I was used to just walking in. The kids were taller than me. I think I cried. They took me back to the other room.
I joined their group right before competition was supposed to start. I was eight. They all knew each other, but they would soon become my best friends. And later my worst enemies.
I got a jazz trio my first year. One of the girls got diagnosed with Meningitis. It became a duet. We did a hip bump, J. always tried too hard so one time I tried with all my power to knock her to the ground as revenge. I was just a wee little thing.
I was diagnosed with Activity Induced Asthma.
My ballet teacher got mad at me for having an asthma attack. She said I wasn’t used to working that hard.
I excelled in Acro.
They moved me to the Senior Acro class when I was barely 10.
I learned to love the back corner.
Years passed. Dance was great and horrible at the same time. I had to fight for the front because I wasn’t a naturally aggressive child. I have great memories from competitions, my friends, and exceptionally great/fun classes. We were a strong team. I got the chance to work with amazing guest choreographers. I travelled more than my school friends. I was humbled, but knew what I was good at. I loved performing onstage, but ask me to perform in class and I wanted to bite your head off. Dance gave me confidence. Dance gave me strength. Dance gave me confidence with my body when so many others worried about their weight. Dance gave me a release during hard times and a place to celebrate the good things.
I had ballet trios and solos that always had an aspect of my acro roots.
I went to high school and majored in dance. I hated my dance teacher and was terrified of her. 4 years later she became my biggest inspiration and greatest role model.
I hated improvising. Now I can’t imagine my life before it.
I learned to choreograph. I quickly became one of those people who would hear a song and need to choreograph it in order to go on in life. I often spend summers and weekends choreographing pieces that may never leave my room.
Dance became my life. There were times when I wanted to quit; times when I left the studio in tears; times when I yelled at a teacher after putting up with their crap for years. But there was also the time that I did quit Senior year, and couldn’t last longer than 3 months before I joined every dance group at school and switched studios to learn more technique.
I never thought I’d still be competing while in University, but here I am. After all that, I wouldn’t have it any way, because asking me to stop dancing is like telling me to stop breathing. ❤