I started dancing at the age of two and by the time I was ten years old, I was at the studio five or more days of the week. Every day I would come home from school, get into my dance clothes, and go to class, sometimes for three or four hours. And I absolutely loved it. Even when I was tired and sore and didn't feel like going, I would always feel so much better once I got there and started moving.

Dance has always been my passion and I know my great teachers influenced me in a way no one else could. I grew up under the same studio director for most of my life and had most of the same teachers, too. In some cases, I watched these girls dance at my studio and when they graduated, they came back to teach and I could finally learn from the women I spent years looking up to.

All of these women guided me throughout my dance education. They taught me proper technique, created beautiful pieces for us to work on and perform, and were always there to give me criticism but also to support me. By my senior year of high school, I had grown so used to seeing these women every week and talking to them about more than just dance. They had become my friends.

I would like to take some time now to thank them for all they have done for me.

Ms. Toni, thank you for providing such an amazing studio for me to dance at and making it feel like a family. I am so incredibly grateful for all the hard work you did for us.

Miss Rebecca, thank you for being the very first influence of my dance education and for being part of the reason I fell in love with it. Your tough love showed me how much you care about us and how much you wanted us to succeed, and I love you for that.

Miss Danielle, thank you for being there for me since I was literally nine years old and teaching me so much about dance and life. You could always make me smile even when I felt down and I still feel like I could talk to you about anything and you will always care. Not to mention being so incredibly inspiring as a beautiful dancer and human being, as well.

Miss Kelsey (weird because I never call you Miss), you really have grown to be one of my best friends, even though it's not a conventional friendship. You have taught me so much about dance, work ethic, and passion. I know you are always there for me and even though I'm a former (and still kinda a current) student, I am always here for you too.

These are just a few of the amazing teachers I have had over the years. I am grateful for each and every one of them.

Dance has taught me what it means to work hard for something you love and how to be a strong, independent woman. These women have influenced me to be healthy and strong, to work so hard for my dreams, and to care wholeheartedly about the people around me.

You have given me more than I could ever imagine and I will never stop looking up to you. Thank you.