This I Believe

Meghan - Elmira, New York
Entered on April 30, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

As I walked out onto the Clemens Center stage, underneath the bright lights, I could feel my legs trembling and my heart racing. It was the scariest moment of my life. The music started, and somehow I made it through my tap dance with my classmates. When we were finished, the audience clapped and we exited the stage. My mom and dad met me backstage and I sat down with them to watch the rest of the recital.

As I watched the other dancers perform, each number progressively more difficult than the previous one, I began to feel insignificant. My simple tap dance seemed worthless in comparison to the other dancers. The experience was overwhelming and I began to cry. My mother comforted me and told me “You can be that good someday, too.” So I kept practicing. I took dance lessons for over ten years and continued to work harder to become a better dancer. Each performance became slightly easier but the fear inside still existed, that I would make a mistake or forget my steps. I made a few mistakes but I kept taking the risk of getting out there and performing. I told myself, I must keep practicing.

Some may wonder why I would continue to put myself through the agony of a recital. After performing, I realized that success could only be achieved by hard work. Now, when I perform, the moment when it is over is the greatest feeling in the world. There is no moment like the one when the audience applauds my precise time steps and wings. As I take my bow and the people clap, I realize that all my practice was worthwhile. No feeling is greater than the feeling after a successful performance. When I received my letter from the academy that I had made their competition team, I realized I had reached my goal.

Dance has taught me so much that has molded how I view life. After my first recital, I learned that to succeed at something you must work hard and experience a few mistakes and fear. I realized if I want to make a difference in the world and make a contribution to society, I’m going to have to have persistence and determination, similar to my dance classes.