I Believe in the Power of Dance

Danica - Merrimack, New Hampshire
Entered on April 16, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in the power of dance. I believe in the ability to free the spirit the instant one hears a beat drop, a drummer pound, a pianist strike, a hand clap, or a heart sing. I believe in the expression of a mood through the twists of a torso, the extension of a leg, and the turning of the head and arms.

I believe in the strength of a dancer. I believe in bearing the pain while wearing a mask of effortless grace. I believe in the exhale, the stretch, the reach, the hold. I believe in shifting my weight to the correct position for a balance that displays the perfection and poise of a ballerina while the blood slowly seeps through your shoes. I believe in the floor burns on my shoulders and neck from pushing through my freezes and split rolls, along with gripping my muscles to hold in positions that would impress Martha Graham.

My beliefs are in the long, hot summer days at the studio, the sweat dripping off my face and the blisters stinging my feet.

More than anything, I believe in letting go of this pain, the stress that surrounds my life, and the questions that crowd my head and heart. I know they will all be waiting for me as soon as the music stops. So for right now, I am going to dance. I am going to move, leap, extend, and bend as I feel I should. I am in control. I believe in the music, the music that pounds the floor and shoots through my veins, as naturally as the blood it mixes with, until it is pumped into my heart. Filled with the sound that holds the key to my soul, all of my inner emotions are unlocked, released, emptied out into the surrounding space, either for me to use or others to admire.

At the same time, I believe in overturning, slipping and falling on my face. Bruised arms and floor-burned skin are not signs of failing to accomplish something, they are proof that I am trying, I am pushing, and I am dancing. I have completely let go of my worries and have simply forgotten that the floor was underneath me.

To me, dancing is like an escape, and without it, I am not quite sure who I would be. I think the sole reason that dancing is this important to me is that when I dance, I dance for myself. I do not aim to please others in my performance. I find it easier when I do not put myself up against others. If I do then it becomes more about the competition and less about what makes me feel good. Living without that freedom of movement would be like being shut off from a beautiful world of color, laughter, control, and strength. This I believe.