Maybe she was the girl you stood next to at the barre in your first baby ballet class, or the girl you teamed up with when your instructor said "pick a partner" at a summer dance intensive. Maybe she was a rival of yours, and one day you decided to bury the hatchet and start anew. Maybe she was one of the first dance majors you met when you were excited and nervous to start dancing in college and making a career out of your passion. No matter how you met, every dancer deserves a Best Dance Friend.

Sometimes, your best friend and your Best Dance Friend are one and the same, but oftentimes, your best dance friend is someone special. Your BDF understands the problems, struggles, and triumphs unique to dancers. She knows the difference between a tendu and a battement. She'll help you sew your pointe shoes, wrap your ankle, and style your hair in a perfect bun with decorative braids. She'll give you a massage and neither of you will think it's weird. She'll share her snacks, Band-Aids, and bobby pins. She'll feel your pain when you complain about blisters or callouses. Most importantly, she'll listen to your dance dreams, and genuinely believe in you and encourage you to pursue them, because she knows what it feels like when people don't do that for her.

I've been blessed with an incredible BDF who's been by my side since we met. She's seen me at my best and worst, she witnessed my achievements and failures, and whether we're feeling energetic or sore, she can always make me laugh. In this open letter to my BDF, I'd like to thank her for everything she does for me.

Thank you for helping me remember the combination before class, and for learning the left with me.

Thank you for doing my hair, giving me makeup advice, and tying or zipping me into my costume.

Thank you for being my nurse when I was injured.

Thank you for listening to me vent during our Starbucks runs.

Thank you for going to dance concerts with me (and dinner beforehand.)

Thank you for sharing your Bio Freeze, Advil, deodorant, Bath & Body Works body spray, and snacks with me.

Thank you for whispering "Merde" to me in the wings right before we perform.

Thank you for being there for me when I was crying on the floor, and helping me remember why I dance.

Thank you for helping me get over my insecurities, and encouraging me to follow my dreams while we eat ice cream at midnight.

Dear Best Dance Friend, I can't thank you enough for everything you do for me. I'm so blessed to have a friend, dance partner, and teacher all in one person. You push me to do my best everyday, and I wouldn't be the dancer I am today without you. I love watching you improve and progress as months turn into years, and I'm proud of how far you've come with your technique, performance, and artistry. I wouldn't want to grow, learn, laugh, and dance with anyone else.

I love you, BDF.