Dancing To Life
I go through the same routine every morning. I pull my hair pack into a tight bun and put on my neutral colored tights, black leotard, black ballet skirt, and black, knee high leg warmers. Then, I go through the traditional self-warm ups: fifty crunches, fifty push-ups, and twelve sets of relevés (a French ballet term that means to rise up on the balls of your feet) held for about ten seconds each. Once class starts, my teacher puts on the same classical ballet music and leads us through a series of warm-ups on the ballet barre. Oh, how I hate that classical music. Afterwards, feeling exhausted and sweaty—yes, dancers sweat too!—we all go to one side of the room and wait for our teacher to show us the combination we will be doing across the floor. “Tombé, pas-de-bourré, double pirouette, glissade, jeté, glissade, assemblé,” she says while showing us the combination. Oh great, not only is the music bad, but now I have to reenact this combination that I will never in a million years be able to do perfectly—but let me tell you something…I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Have you ever heard the saying “Dance like no one’s watching?” Well, no offense to whoever came up with that quote, but I say, “Dance like EVERYONE is watching.”
I’ve been a dancer for as long as I can remember. Through the years, I have come to realize that dancing isn’t simply an art form; it’s a way of life. My life, outside of dance, is completely different. I never tell people what goes on in my life. Call it depression if you must, but the truth is I’m just a simple, laid-back teenager. Despite all the criticism of “You’re not good enough” or “You don’t have the body of a dancer,” I still dance. With or without music, the sensation is overwhelming. Dancing is my getaway, a chance to feel free to be me, or even a chance to do something I never thought I could.
The stage is my home away from home. It’s the one place I can address people with a “Hey! Look at me!” attitude. As soon as I step on stage, I can demonstrate beauty and gracefulness though ballet, sassy attitude through jazz, boldness and flexibility through modern, or pure craziness through hip-hop. Whether I am having a good or bad day, I know I can always dance on that raw emotion.
I believe in the way that dancing makes me feel. I am not just dancing as a pastime. I am dancing to that feeling of accomplishment and achievement of pure happiness. I am dancing to express individuality. I am dancing in order to let myself be known and heard. I am dancing to my dreams. I am dancing to life.
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