My Dance Teachers Were More Than Just Teachers, They're My Mentors And Friends

My Dance Teachers Were More Than Just Teachers, They're My Mentors And Friends

My dance teachers not only taught me how to dance and helped me better my technique; they changed my life.

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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.

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11 Great Books For People Who Don't Like Reading

If you don't like to read, this is the article for you.
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I’ve mentioned it before, and I’ll say it again, I am no reader. My twin sister, on the other hand, is a huge curly-q bookworm.

I always see her flying through novels for pure pleasure. I'll be honest, the sight of it makes me cringe. My body won't stay still after I get through 20 pages (unless I'm hooked). You can consider me the girl who doesn't finish anything (like Professor Calamitous in Jimmy Neutron...I even have the short stature down).

Maybe my dislike of reading stems from teachers force feeding us excruciatingly boring summer assignments.

1984? Straight up diarrhea

Fahrenheit? Vomit vomit vomit.

Animal Farm? Excruciatingly yuck.

The only thing I enjoyed about Animal Farm was laughing at how awful the movie was. On the other hand, give me a young adult novel, and you can count me in. I guess I have Vikas Turakhia to thank for introducing me to J.D Salinger and provoking my drive to become a better writer--after he made me cry and gave me a B- for a report regarding a book about Polenta. High-School was a time... amiright?

Anyway, even though I am not a big reader, there are still a few books that have stuck with me throughout the years. Here is a list of novels I highly recommend to those who associate reading with chores...this time it won't have to be.

1. Looking for Alaska

"Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words–and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet Francois Rabelais called the “Great Perhaps.” Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny, screwed-up, and dead sexy, Alaska will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps." -JohnGreenBooks.com

2. Eleanor and Park

"Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough...Eleanor.

Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises...Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try." -Goodreads.com

3. City of Thieves

Written by the writer and producer of Game of Thrones... enough said. Another book that I was forced to read thanks to Vikas Turakhia and one I will never put down.

4. Paper Towns

"Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life–dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge–he follows. After their all-nighter ends and new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues–and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew." -Johngreenbooks.com

5. Franny and Zooey

"FRANNY came out in The New Yorker in 1955 and was swiftly followed, in 1957 by ZOOEY. Both stories are early, critical entries in a narrative series I'm doing about a family of settlers in twentieth-century New York, the Glasses. It is a long-term project, patently an ambiguous one, and there is a real-enough danger, I suppose that sooner or later I'll bog down, perhaps disappear entirely, in my own methods, locations, and mannerisms. On the whole, though, I'm very hopeful. I love working on these Glass stories, I've been waiting for them most of my life, and I think I have fairly decent, monomaniacal plans to finish them with due care and all-available skill." -Salinger

6. The Catcher in the Rye

"The hero-narrator of The Catcher in the Rye is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caulfield. Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days.

The boy himself is at once too simple and too complex for us to make any final comment about him or his story. Perhaps the safest thing we can say about Holden is that he was born in the world not just strongly attracted to beauty but, almost, hopelessly impaled on it.

There are many voices in this novel: children's voices, adult voices, underground voices-but Holden's voice is the most eloquent of all. Transcending his own vernacular, yet remaining marvelously faithful to it, he issues a perfectly articulated cry of mixed pain and pleasure. However, like most lovers and clowns and poets of the higher orders, he keeps most of the pain too, and for, himself. The pleasure he gives away, or sets aside, with all his heart. It is there for the reader who can handle it to keep.

J.D. Salinger's classic novel of teenage angst and rebellion was first published in 1951. The novel was included on Time's 2005 list of the 100 best English-language novels written since 1923. It was named by Modern Library and its readers as one of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. It has been frequently challenged in the court for its liberal use of profanity and portrayal of sexuality and in the 1950's and 60's it was the novel that every teenage boy wants to read." -Goodreads.com

7. The Westing Games

"A bizarre chain of events begins when sixteen unlikely people gather for the reading of Samuel W. Westing's will. And though no one knows why the eccentric, game-loving millionaire has chosen a virtual stranger - and a possible murderer - to inherit his vast fortune, one thing's for sure: Sam Westing may be dead... but that won't stop him from playing one last game!" -Goodreads.com

8. Milk and Honey

"milk and honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. It is about the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. It is split into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose, deals with a different pain, heals a different heartache. milk and honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look. " -Goodreads.com

9. Room

"To five-year-old-Jack, Room is the world....

Told in the inventive, funny, and poignant voice of Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience - and a powerful story of a mother and son whose love lets them survive the impossible.

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another." -Goodreads.com







10. Replica

"Two Girls, Two Stories, One Book"- Goodreads.com

11. Mother, Can You Not?

"In Mother, Can You NOT?, Kate Siegel pays tribute to the woman whose helicopter parenting may make your mom look like Mother Teresa. From embarrassing moments (like her mother’s surprise early morning visit, catching Kate in bed with her crush) to outrageous stories (such as the time she moved cross country to be near Kate’s college) to hilarious mantras (“NO STD TEST, YOU WON’T BE GETTING SEXED!”), Mother, Can you NOT? lovingly lampoons the lengths to which our mothers will go to better our lives (even if it feels like they’re ruining them in the process)." -kateesiegel.com
Cover Image Credit: 123RF

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8 Things The Girls Who Grew Up Around Cars Know And Love

I'm not just a dumb girl who pretends to know things about cars, I actually know things about cars.

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Every man in my life has loved cars and taught me what I know today. My father has been a mechanic probably since he was born, and my current boyfriend loves cars and works as a mechanic also. There has not been a time in my life where I went without knowing or learning something new about cars. I learned how to do my first oil change when I was probably ten or eleven and these past two summers I have been around while my boyfriend has rebuilt an entire car. I don't think I will ever get bored of it.

1. You, for some odd reason, can tell what car is driving by just because you heard it 

I have been able to guess correctly almost every car that has driven past me just by the sound of it. It gets funnier when I can tell you exactly whose car it is. There comes a time where you learn every cars sound in your neighborhood and can confidently say, "Oh Laura is leaving for work."

2. Hanging out while people are working on cars never gets boring 

The willingness to learn everything about the cars your friends are working on is endless. You want to know everything because having that knowledge seems useful to you. It is also really cool to see the different things all of your friends do with their cars. Literally, no two cars are the same.

3. You get excited about stupid things that nobody understands 

I remember when my boyfriend got gaskets in the mail for a car he has been working on for years and I cannot explain the excitement I felt when he said they arrived. I remember getting so excited when that same car started for the first time. There are so many little things that mean so much to someone who likes cars.

4. Friends always come to you when something is wrong with their car 

I can't fix it, but I can surely tell you what I think is wrong. I had a roommate last year and her car was making this awful noise and I told her that it was a probably a belt that had gone bad and later that day she called me from a shop and said that I was completely right.

5. Dad's love you 

Not many girls can keep up a conversation about cars but I know I sure can and dads LOVE it. They will talk my ear off because their daughters don't care and I know exactly what questions to ask. They also love me because they know I will watch out for their kids' cars.

6. You actually enjoy reading news about cars 

I can't tell you how much pointless news I know about cars just because I like to check up on things that are being released and I also like reading reviews.

7. You have that one dream car that everyone thinks is obnoxious 

I cannot tell you how many times I have bookmarked a car that I have wanted. I have always dreamed of getting and building my own car one day and hopefully being able to race it!

8. You don't know everything, but you want to 

I could tell you exactly how much boost my boyfriend's Saab can produce but honestly, I can't tell you what a radiator looks like. There are some things I have learned and so many things I still have to learn.

The most exciting things about cars is that they are always changing and you never know what is going to come with the next one that comes out.

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