To The Dance Studio That Taught Me More Than Dance Lessons

To The Dance Studio That Taught Me More Than Dance Lessons

Five, six, seven, eight...
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As a little girl, I peeked through the windows watching the older girls in ballet class. I looked up at the stage waiting for the day I could dance my senior solo. As much as I loved dancing, I wanted nothing more than to take my final bow. Now, I wish I could go back to that day and relive it a million times. They always say, "You don't know what you've got till it's gone," and I understand that all too well now. I didn’t realize what an impact my studio had on my life until I graduated.

My feet are permanently stuck in a pointe. I stand in first and fifth position without even realizing it. I walk on my tippy toes day in and day out. I have a dance choreographed in my head for every song that plays on the radio. I still bend my feet and crack my toes when I get nervous. I casually stick my foot out in tandu position when waiting in line.

My dance teachers were my family. They were always going to be there. They pushed me. When I first came to this studio, I was a really shy, awkward high school student who was scared to try anything and scared to speak up. I can thank dance for changing all that. Dance brought me out of my shell. It taught me how to perform in front of people, which helped in social settings. It taught me a smile was a girl’s best feature. Now, I’m known as the girl who’s always smiling or laughing. My dance teachers helped me with everything. When I say everything I mean absolutely anything I needed help with. Whether it was dance related or not, I could always count on them for some advice.

The girls I danced with were my family. They were friends when I didn’t have anyone else. I could always count on them and trust them, no matter what. They saw so much good in me and knew me better than I even knew myself at times. Most importantly, they pushed me to be the best version of myself. I was not only inspired by them while watching them dance, but seeing the hard work they put into school inspired me to be better.

Most people are lucky enough to say they grew up at the studio. I was different. I joined my studio during my sophomore year of high school. Before I knew it, I was hanging out with the girls outside of dance on the weekends, and hanging out in the sewing room with the teachers while waiting for my ride to pick me up. I felt like I did grow up here. I found myself here. This is where I was meant to be. Right away, this studio felt like home to me. Shortly after, I didn’t feel like the “new girl” anymore. I felt like I found my best friends right away.

There is absolutely no way in the world I would have become the dancer I am today if it wasn’t for each and every person at the studio, so thank you. When I see others dance, I see a beautiful story being told. I learned to dance like no one’s watching. I learned that if you do it full out, it looks better.

Dance is not only a way to express yourself and your feelings, but is a way to connect to people that absentmindedly become your best friends without you even knowing it. For some reason performing on stage together brings you closer than ever. Those late Thursday night practices along with those early morning Saturday rehearsals bring you so much closer to the people you never knew meant so much to you.

The special thing about dance isn’t how many cute costumes you own, how many trophies or medals you win, how many pirouettes you can do without falling; it’s about the people who shaped you into the person you are now. For me, those are all the teachers, dance moms, old girls, and younger girls… The ones I spent every week with.

It got to the point where I would come hang out at the studio after school even if I didn’t have practice. I came so I could see the people that mean the most to me. I came because I wanted to be surrounded by the people that love and support me. I came because I wanted to love and support them. Whether I was helping by picking up Starbucks for everyone or if I was helping organize the fabric room, I wouldn’t have wanted to spend any of those days doing something different.

Spending countless days and countless hours at the dance studio mindlessly becomes a huge part of your life. It felt like, in the blink of an eye, I went from falling on my face in the closing number, to performing my senior solo at recital, all around the same people I started with. Before you know it you’re competing your last senior solo, last duet, last trio, it’s your last everything.

The people at the studio become a part of your life; the teachers, the young girls, the recreation kids, and even the moms and the girls you dance with. Not only did I find my best friends, I found my second home. Watching my best friends graduate the year before me was so hard. I now understand what they meant when they said, “I can’t explain how much these girls mean to me.”
Even if I was having the worst day of my life, coming to the studio made me forget about it; all my worries were put on hold for the time being. All these reasons I loved coming to the studio, made dancing in the studio mean even more to me. They taught me to live by the beat of life.

The studio was the hardest thing to say goodbye to when it was time to go off to college. Now when I come home and visit, I’m not wearing my leotard and spandex getting ready to dance, I’m just watching. Maybe every now and then I’ll participate in across the floor or Saturday tumbling, but it’s still not the same. Although, when I come back to visit, the overwhelming amount of love and passion from all the teachers and moms makes me grateful to even have these people in my life. You forget about the fact you don’t get to spend every day of the week with them, you forget that you miss out on the hilarious moments at practice, you forget that you aren’t in the group chats anymore. There’s always a part of you that will remember them as your best friends, no matter what life throws at you.

Throughout the years we have built a bond that is unbreakable and indescribable. When my dance career came to an end, I honestly did not think it would be as hard as it was to say goodbye to all of you. Walking that stage to give my senior speech at recital, still, to this day, plays in my head. I miss every second of it. Even though we are all slowly going off in our own directions, I can only hope that one day our paths will cross again.

I miss how a few days away from each other felt like weeks.

I miss breaking out in the hip hop dance we learned the night before, whenever the song would play, no matter where we were.

I miss wearing matching T-shirts at competitions.

I miss the false eyelashes and lip-stain.

I miss frantically running around in the dressing room, all trying to get dressed in time for our next number.

I miss sitting backstage watching everyone from the side of the competition stage watching the girls perform their hearts out.

I miss the uncontrollable laughs that lead to wet pants and teary eyes.

I miss conditioning. I miss how we don’t get to spend endless nights in the studio together. I miss going away to competitions and not only enjoying dance but enjoying each other.

Thanks for helping me discover who I really am in this crazy world and thank you for being you. There was never a time I felt I couldn’t be myself. You all accepted me for the goofball I was, and still am. You guys have been with me at my absolute best and at my absolute worst. Thanks to dance, you guys have seen me the way the people I went to high school with never did.

I love you all and I don’t know where I would be without any of you. Thanks for everything.

There are so many things I could thank my dance teachers for and so many things I haven’t had the chance to. Even as an alumni, I know I will always have a place there. Thank you for teaching me what drive and ambition is. Thank you for teaching me to follow my dreams. Thank you for teaching me structure and to follow directions. Thank you for teaching me about art and creativity. Thanks for teaching me about life.

Dance was more than tap, jazz, ballet, and hip hop. It was about so much more. Every action in my life will be a constant eight count, and every action I take from now on will grow me into a better person, just like my dance studio did.

Cover Image Credit: Pinterest

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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.
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Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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10 Places From Movies And TV You Can Visit In Real Life

It's like stepping into Hollywood!

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I am constantly so enamored by the world of Hollywood and by going to visit places I have seen on screen. It's always such an unreal feeling to see where my favorite pieces of entertainment were shot. Here are 10 places from some of our favorite movies to see and visit in the real world!

The High School from "10 Things I Hate About You"

If you have ever wanted to dance on the same stairs as Heath Ledger or just stand in the same courtyard as Julia Stiles then you're in luck! Along the water in Tacoma, Washington, Stadium High School is located which was used both inside and out as the high school from one of the greatest teen movies of all time. This school is massive and so beautiful it's almost Hogwarts level stunning.

Pacific Coast Academy from  "Zoey 101"

Growing up I always dreamed about going to Pacific Coast Academy and being best friends with Jamie Lynn Spears and one of those things can (kinda) become a reality! Located in Malibu is a beautiful campus called Pepperdine University and it is the school they used to shoot scenes of Zoey and the gang at PCA. It is a christian based college and is prestigious in it's own right so if unlike me you are smart enough you can live out my dreams.

Central City Police Department from "The Flash"

Have you ever wanted to show up to Detective Joe West's place of work? Well head to the Vancouver City Hall in Vancouver, Canada and you will recognize your surroundings as the Central City Police Department! If you are lucky enough to show up on a filming day, you might even seen the man himself — Barry Allen.

Forks High School from The Twilight Saga

Personally, I am more invested in Bella and Jacob but for all my Team Edward ladies (and gentleman) you can visit the real-life school where Bella and Edward first met and their love blossomed into whatever obsessive weird thing it was. They also used the parking lot at this school to film the infamous scene where Edward saves Bella from getting crushed by a car. The school is called Kalama High School and is located in Kalama, Washington

Max And Dani's House from "Hocus Pocus"

Anyone with taste loves the movie Hocus Pocus — that's just facts! And I have some good news for fans of the film...you can visit the infamous Denison house! Located in none other than Salem, Massachusetts you will find this beautiful home where my favorite siblings once lived.

Silent Hill from "Silent Hill"

I will say before talking about this place that visiting it is EXTREMELY dangerous as just like in the movie the town as been burning from below for years and years. This small town is called Centralia and is located Pennsylvania and has a roaring population of about four people.

Hobbiton from "Lord Of The Rings"

I am personally not a fan of Lord of the Rings but I know a lot of people are so I wanted to include this super cool place on the list. If you ever find yourself in New Zealand you can visit Hobbinton from the movies and spend a day living like your favorite characters.

Platform 9 3/4 from the Harry Potter Series

Now this place will unfortunately be packed with muggles of course but you can find it at King's Cross Station in London! If you are anything like me and are obsessed with these magical movies this is a dream destination just don't run too hard at the wall if you're a muggle it will probably end in a concussion.

East High from the High School Musical Saga

Located in Salt Lake City Utah is the real life East High that was used in the filming of all three High School Musical movies. It is my absolute dream to attend this high school and walk the halls of the greatest high school of all time. They used both the outside and inside and the school so every inch of the school will remind you of these great teen movies.

Gus and Hazel's Bench from "The Fault in Our Stars" 

If you ever wanted to visit the site of this kiss between star crossed lovers you're in luck! Located along a canal in Amsterdam is a bench that is clearly marked by all the fault in our stars graffiti. Recreate this cute picture with your significant other and use a quote from the movie — then you'll just win in life.

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