Sharing the Gift

Jillene - San Fernando, Trinidad & Tobago
Entered on January 27, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: creativity

Dance is an art form that transcends formal communication and breaks through the constraints of words. It has helped me through some of the most difficult times in my life. It has opened doors that would otherwise have been left shut to me. That fact that I am even in college is a testament of the power of dance.

After finding out that there is no dance degree being offered in my native country of Trinidad and Tobago, I realized that I would have to seek my undergraduate degree elsewhere. This realization also meant that my family would have to foot the cost of a foreign college education, which was by no means an easy task. However, being a person of faith and persistence, and having the invaluable support of my family, I was determined to make my dream of earning a degree in dance a reality.

The summer before coming to college, my dance group and I held a dance concert in aid of raising funds for my cost of education. On the first night of the concert, the hall was barely half full. The idea of an all-dance concert was not by any means a popular event in my native country. By the second night however, due to word of mouth about the quality and purpose of the event, people were standing in the aisles because there were no seats left available. Weeks after the show, people who were present at the concert, and even those who were not, were still making donations.

Dance, in essence, paid for me to come to college. It was able to free me from my financial bondage and release me into a world of new opportunities. I have seen dance open doors, heal injuries and change lives, including my own. Movement has become the healing balm that sooths my aching body and weary soul.

It is my dream, rather, my mission to help others experience the healing power of dance, regardless of their circumstances (financial or otherwise). Dance is an extension of the soul, so a life without dance is a life half-lived. It is not just what I do, it is who I am. Dance is a gift, my gift. I am going to share it.