Dancing My Way Through Life

Categories: ArtDanceLove

Since I was three years old, I have been a dancer. At eight years old, I decided to explore a higher level of difficulty and seriousness by dedicating my time to a competitive dance team, doing so all the way through my senior year of high school. Looking back, I now realize how essential dance was during those formative years, playing a pivotal role in developing me into the individual I am today. How different might I have been, had I decided to take a different path and turn my focus elsewhere? Would I be as confident in myself? Would I be as creative? Without a doubt, I know that dance has influenced who I am, and through this essay I am going to share how.

I was homeschooled from preschool through twelfth grade. My mother understood how important it was to enroll me in activities that gave me a social and physical outlet. Basketball, tennis, gymnastics, 4-H club I tried all of these things without any of them sparking my interest.

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It was obvious to both myself and those around me that the dance studio is where I truly shined. Every day, I looked forward to entering the studio to see the smiling faces of my teammates, knowing these would be lifelong friendships. As a team, we practiced ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, contemporary and my personal favorite, acrobatics. In time, we collectively created an environment in which we knew that it was safe to share and grow in our art together.

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With this came a raw trust that couldn’t be faked, which is crucial since I find authenticity is one of the most important elements a dancer can translate to their audience. This sense of honest teamwork taught me to work hard, not only for myself, but for my peers. Creating a balance, and along the way a sense of freedom which led to us becoming our best. I’ve found this quality exceptionally useful in my everyday life and I’m forever grateful for the opportunities that working with a team has brought me.

At this point, the reader may be wondering how competitive dance differs from recreational dance. The main difference comes from the process of being judged and ranked based on overall execution, technique, performance quality, and even appearance. Being able to step onto a stage where professional judges will critique one’s every move and breath takes a great deal of confidence and self-assurance. The competitive dancer’s job is to make a three-minute performance represent years of hard work. Explained like this, I can understand how it could make going under the bright lights of the stage seem quite scary. Trust me, it definitely is at first, but after years of experience, I understand how beneficial it is to feel the accomplishment of persevering through these circumstances.

Therefore, it has helped in overcoming any self-doubt I may have had. Working through stressful situations has taught me techniques for coping with my social anxiety. Any time I would find myself in a new situation that I was uncomfortable with, my hands would tremble, and I would barely speak to anyone making me come off very unapproachable. Which is why it was so shocking to everyone around me when they would see me on stage, It was like watching totally different person up there! It was confusing to me how I could go on stage and perform for hundreds of people and not be able to look them in the eye as soon as the curtains closed. I wish I could tell you there was a specific age or life changing moment where it finally clicked for me, but I can’t. It was the feeling of self-worth from the affirmation I would receive when I knew I had done my best. Gaining this confidence was the biggest step in becoming the person I am today. I was doing my best, and over time, understood that was enough.

In addition to dance opening the door to my confidence, it also opened the gateway to my creative freedom. Becoming more comfortable with myself allowed me to be more aware of everything around me. This prompted me to broaden my artistic perspective and find new passions. The most rewarding newfound outlet being film. I believe my love of film and photography has always there but was left untapped, because I never had the courage to pursue it. A lesson I learned from dance is that if you dive deeper into the art, you’ll find it has much more meaning than what is shown on the surface. This opened my eyes to see that I loved not only film, but all of the small things that go into it. The precise editing and cinematography, all the way down to the type of lens you use for a certain time of day. This inspired my interest to create films, with the goal to possibly change someone’s perspective the way that my favorite filmmakers have changed mine.

Furthermore, dance has introduced me to the art of contortion. I’ve participated in acrobatics and gymnastics since I was two years old, but it wasn’t until I was eight years old when I understood my potential of being a contortionist. Over the years, I’ve accepted many national judges’ awards for my solo performances. I will never forget the time I was sitting at the awards ceremony and was called off stage by a judge who was a former Cirque du Soleil performer. I really admired him, because it has always been a lifetime dream of mine to audition for Cirque du Soleil. He told me how inspired he was by my performance and that it reminded him of the beginning of his journey. This encouraged me to keep going on my path and never give up. We also talked about the feeling of how contortion is something that will never leave you, that even when your body isn’t able to do it anymore, the love and passion will always stay with you. That night he gave me the The Human Pretzel award. I’ve also received many other special awards such as, “Where is your spine?” and the Human Gumby Award. My parents still joke about the fact that I was unaware of who gumby was. This led to me immediately looking up the green, bendy character following the acceptance of the award.

Through these life experiences, I’ve learned that any art form I choose to pursue will always connect back to my love of dance. The unforgettable feeling of walking through the studio doors and seeing the smiling faces of my teammates, to the contrast of the blood, sweat, and tears that went into perfecting each movement. These images and feelings are imprinted in my mind for a reason and even though I may not see dance as a long-time career, I’m thankful for it pushing me towards the future I will choose. It is also comforting to know that dance is something I can always go back to, my true north my first sense of having somewhere to belong.

In conclusion, I believe we all have pivotal moments in our lives. These decisions guide us into becoming who we are meant to be. Sometimes we may not even notice how life changing even the small choices are. Whether they are as big as moving to a different state, or as small as joining a new after school activity, these choices are morphing us into the individuals we are meant to become. The decision is always ours. Over time, my youthfulness may fade, but the bond I’ve built with my teammates, the feeling of self-worth, and the growing passion for numerous art forms never will. Because of this, I will always have dance to thank.

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Dancing My Way Through Life. (2019, Nov 23). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/dancing-my-way-through-life-essay

Dancing My Way Through Life

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