Dancing – in all of its different art forms – has been a part of my life since I could walk. I still remember the fluffy pink tutus, the black jazz shoes, the hairsprayed-back, tight as hell buns, the all-night dress rehearsals prior to the big shows. I have vivid memories of spending my Saturdays at the studio, of practicing hours on end until we got the moves just right, of lacing up my first pair of pointe shoes, of attending summer dance competitions with my troupe. I also remember the sacrifices made, the moments of pure exhaustion, the mounting desire to quit – and I smile. I smile because each of these memories, each of these instances, each of these milestones has helped me in my life in more ways then I can count. And I am thankful – thankful for the lessons learned, the sacrifices made – because without having dance in my life I wouldn’t quite be the person that I am today.
Being a dancer has touched all aspects of my life. It has helped me with my coordination, with my balance, with the way I hold myself. It has also helped me to express myself, to free myself of negative energy when the world seems to be fighting against me. It has also taught me to be patient with myself, to understand that what seems to be limiting at the moment can in time be overcome. Being in tune with my body has shown me that what seems impossible can be possible if you give yourself time and the commitment to making things better. For example, my ability to go deeper into a yoga pose, or go deeper into a squat, is possible because of my flexibility garnered from my years of dancing, from my years of understanding how I can move my body in a way where I am not fighting against it, but am instead working with it. Dancing has also taught me to be open to trying new things, to be comfortable enough in myself to trying something without the fear of failing. When I dance, I do so as a way to express myself, as a way to connect with myself emotionally and spiritually, and it has taught me how to connect with others.
When you speak to others who have danced, there is a common understanding and acceptance of one another. It is pretty much a universal language that makes people laugh, smile, cry, rejoice. No matter if it is a choreographed routine or a spur of the moment flailing of your body parts, when in movement you feel free, weightless, limitless. The music starts to pump through you and your body releases whatever toxins it has been holding on to and suddenly, your mind is clear, your heart is happy, and your body is tingling. I highly recommend turning to dance if you’re in an emotional rut or have had a stressful day. Let the music run through you and simply move to the beat. Don’t think of anything, don’t let your perceived ideas of what is wrong in your life fog your moment of joy. Go to your bedroom, lock the door, crank up the music, and DANCE. By the time you are done, you will feel amazing and your body will tingle. Hold on to the joy and let it course through your veins. Then wipe of your face, throw back your hair, and re-enter the world re-energized and full of energy.