I believe in dance as a release of my spirit. My dream to be a dancer started when I was three years old. I would prance about the house leaping and tumbling, as my mother would say, “Be careful, Rachel, you don’t want to get hurt.” My mother’s words seemed to go in one ear and out the other, as the only thing I could hear was the music playing in my head. For me dance has always been my release and the one place where I can truly express myself. In high school, I danced six days a week and would be at my dance studio every day after school for about five hours. Others may wonder how this is possible, but I could not picture anywhere else I would rather be than at dance. Dance is my escape from the world and a time where I can just be me.
My love for dance and passion to continue dancing would not be possible without the support of my family. Ever since I was a child I had idolized my aunt Nina who I perceived as the greatest dancer in the world. I would watch her with awe in hope that one day I could become a dancer as talented as her. My aunt helped me practice and corrected me when I made mistakes. In addition to my aunt’s encouragement, my Nona has been one of my biggest fans throughout my life. She was the one who always told me that I could be anything I wanted as long as I believed. My Nona pushed me to be better and work harder than I ever thought I could. She attended all of my dance shows and always cheered me on.
However in June 2007, my Nona passed away from breast cancer. She had suffered from cancer three times before this and was able to defeat each one, although this time it was different. The cancer had spread rapidly throughout her body and before I knew it she was gone. With this loss, I felt like a part of me had died. My Nona was my light, my guidance, and my inspiration to become a dancer. I know that every time I am dancing my Nona will be watching over me and cheering me on as if she was still here. In every dance class, combination or performance I dance for her. Each day, I wake up and recall the conversations I held with her. I remember the words that constantly drove me to reach for the stars and to never settle for anything less than my full potential. And now I know more than ever that dance is in my blood, it is not just something I do anymore, but it is actually a part of me. I believe that dance is what I was born to do and I know that with the continuous support of my family, one day my dream is going to become a reality.
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