What Being a Dancer Has Taught Me

What Being a Dancer Has Taught Me

I have been dancing for almost a year and a half. I started small, with one hip-hop class per week, I then added ballet (something I’ve wanted to try since I was a little girl). Over the course of the following 8 months I went from dancing 2 hours a week to dancing 7 or more hours a week, with multiple ballet classes, hip-hop, character and even a little bit of jazz. It wasn’t until several months into taking classes that I actually began to call myself a dancer. I must admit, at first, I thought it would just be a fun hobby and a way to keep myself in shape. I’ve since realized that dancing has taught me many things that extend beyond the studio.

Pain isn’t always a bad thing. Whether you’re stretching in dance or letting go of something you’ve held onto for too long. It may be difficult, it may hurt like hell, but in the end you will be better for it. That’s not to say pain can’t be bad; there are different types of pain. There’s the kind of pain that is going to make things better in the long run, or the kind of pain that can cause damage; the trick is being able to tell the difference.

Just keep going. I can’t tell you how many times one of my dance teachers has told me ‘the audience doesn’t know what you’re supposed to be doing, if you mess up just keep dancing.’ Now I’m not saying it’s okay to mess up, I’m saying don’t let it show on your face and absolutely do not stop in the middle of a routine because you forgot the next step. This applies to everything, don’t give up just because things get hard, or because you have made a mistake. Everyone makes mistakes, that I can guarantee. No one is perfect.

It never hurts to be supportive. I only ever played basketball as a sport, I was always part of a team. When I began dancing I first thought of it as a solo activity, unless of course you’re dancing in a group. However, the dancers at my studio are so kind and supportive, we’re not just a team, we’re more like a family. We laugh together, we cry together and we dance together. The dancers themselves are not the only ones that are supportive; their parents and siblings are just as caring and encouraging, not only with dance, but also with life outside of dance.

Hard work pays off. Now this is something I’ve always known, but dancing has really emphasized it. With hard work and a lot of determination an awkward 5’7″ girl who trips when walking can glide gracefully across the floor in ballet. It’s what got me into the best shape of my life and it’s what will continue to make me not only a better dancer but also a better writer.

Always finish. It doesn’t matter how good you do if you give up before the end. In dance we always emphasize that when you finish it should be a statement. Everyone watching should be able to tell that you are done. Giving up partway through is never an option and honestly I don’t know why anyone would want to. There is a certain sort of satisfaction that you achieve after finishing something, it’s a great feeling that not many others can compare to.

Dancing has made me much more confident and taught me to take pride in everything I do. Through it I have come to know some amazing people and had the opportunity to be a role model to some of the greatest kids I’ve ever met. They daily inspire me to be a better dancer and a better person.

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I’m Okay Now

I’m Okay Now

I don’t usually like to put the personal aspects of my life out in the open for people to speculate on.  I prefer to keep certain things about myself private and only share with a select few friends.  However, I’ve been noticing things about myself recently.  Up until this past November I was in a nearly three year long relationship, I mentioned in an earlier post that it ended pretty badly.  At the time I did not see how I could possibly ever be okay again.  This boy had been such a huge part of my life for so long.  I’d spent all this time letting him love me and loving him that I did not remember how to love myself.

I went to a very bad place both mentally and emotionally for quite some time.  To be perfectly honest during the last five months of the relationship I was already partially in that bad place.  Somehow it got worse once it actually ended, even though it was a long time coming.  I tried so hard to get him to stay with me, that in and of itself was damaging.  I let him walk all over me all in an attempt to make him happy.  I didn’t value myself, I didn’t think I was worth anything without him.  It took several friends, many months and removing him from every aspect of my life for me to get to the point I am at now.   Continue reading “I’m Okay Now”

This is My Art

This is My Art

“Never apologize for your art.” Someone once said this to me after I read some poetry that I had attempted to write.  I’ll be honest, it was not very good, so naturally I apologized for the poor quality.  It was a complete stranger that said it which made it all the more powerful.  Since then I have been doing my best to take ownership of my writing.  Because, it is my art, it is how I express myself, and without it I would be lost.

One of my best friends recently told me: “The world needs your words.”  He has been extremely supportive of my writing, almost everyone has.  From friends to family to complete strangers.  So why is it I have such a hard time supporting my own writing?  I have had so much encouragement, both with my blog and with my novel writing.  Why can’t I see it as more than just a thing I do?  Maybe if I believed in myself a little more I would put more effort in and finally finish the book I’ve been working on for almost three years. Continue reading “This is My Art”

Thirst for Adventure

Thirst for Adventure

I like to think that I’m up for trying almost anything.  I’m the first one to jump at an opportunity for any kind of adventure.  I plan to see the world and have all sorts of amazing stories to tell the kids I will one day have.

I used to say I was born in the wrong era, and that there were no more adventures to be had.  That was before I realized that anything can be an adventure, the only thing that matters is the way you look at it.  I’ve been categorized as a dreamer and a hopeless romantic.  I am proud to agree that I am both of these things.  Sometimes a certain song, or a movie, or even a quote will give me an ache in the depths of my chest.  This overpowering yearning for something…more.  When that happens, I usually get this intense urge to simply hop in my car and start driving, or a buy a ticket on a plane bound for somewhere far, far away.  I suppose this could explain why I’ve been to New York City and even England…twice. Continue reading “Thirst for Adventure”

Take Me Back

Take Me Back

I honestly can’t remember when I decided I wanted to travel, but I think it was probably about the time when people started asking me what I wanted to do when I finished high school.  My friends all had great answers like: “I wanna be a social worker,” or “I’m going to join the military.”  My answer? “I just want to see the world and write.”

I’d say I’ve done pretty well with actually doing both of those.  This was my second trip to England, its been less than a year since my first one.  How many 20 year old’s from America can say they spent their 20th birthday in England?  I’ll admit they’re pretty cool bragging rights, but that’s not why I keep going back.  Continue reading “Take Me Back”

Big, Bright Future

I can’t tell you how many times I get asked if I’m in college. Sometimes I wonder if that’s all that adults care about. I may not be in college, but I’m working two jobs, I’m taking dance classes, I’m teaching myself how to play guitar, I’m writing and I’m figuring out what I really want to do with my life. I don’t understand the pressure put on teenagers to choose a life path directly out of high school. I was originally only going to take a semester off. A semester turned into a year, which turned into two. Here I am, finishing my second gap year, finally ready to begin my college education.

I’ve been told by so many different people, that if I put college off for too long, I’ll never end up going. What they don’t seem to understand is that I’m the kind of person who goes after what she wants. I set goals and I push myself to not only meet them, but to surpass them. Continue reading “Big, Bright Future”

My Happy Place

My Happy Place

People are always telling you that you need a good job.  But what defines a good job?  Most people would say how much money you make, but to me the best job is the job that makes you happy, the one that gives you the best experiences.  One of my favorite quotes is: “If you find a job doing what you love, you will never work a day in your life.”    I have had numerous jobs over the course of my life thus far.  But not a single one of them has come close to my summer camp job.

I first learned about this particular camp when I was about 7 years old.  It was the camp my father had gone to when he was a boy scout, and then worked at once he turned 14 or 15.  I am the youngest of four children, my sister, the eldest of the four, is 7 years older than me.  She began working at this camp when she turned 14.  Each of my brothers did the same once they came of age.  For 6 years at least one member of my family worked there. Continue reading “My Happy Place”