Somewhere in your house, there are 15 years worth of old costumes, just sitting there. Somewhere in your old studio, there is something that you left behind that you will never go back to pick up. Somewhere there is a little girl who saw you on stage and looked at her best friend and said, "I want to be like her."
Walking away from dance doesn't change any of that, and it doesn't take any of the countless hours of work you put in at that studio away. The thing is, you will be a dancer for the rest of your life. It doesn't stop the second that you close your dance bag for the last time, and it's not even over after your car finally stops smelling like rotten dance shoes.
Being a dancer will never end because the lessons that you learned in that studio stretch a lifetime's worth. You learned how to take a compliment, but you knew that you could always do better. You learned how to take constructive criticism, and how to come back from a loss. You learned that it is OK to take up all the space that you need and to not ever apologize for giving it your all. You were taught how to stand up with your chin held high even if your heart is sinking low. Those things, they can't be taken away from you.
It wasn't easy to grow up in a room that pointed out every flaw. It wasn't easy to push harder when it seemed like you weren't getting better. But more than that, it wasn't easy to walk away. Dance is the one thing that taught you that there is beauty even in the ugliest of things. It proved that actions speak louder than any words ever could. It was the one constant that no one could take from you -- it is also the one thing that no one told you how much you would miss it.
Walking away wasn't easy, but it was a choice. All those years, all those hours, all those lessons, they didn't lead to this moment, they lead to the rest of forever. While the studio tuition bills and costume fittings are over, the spirit of it really never dies. You will carry those years with you every single day for the rest of your life, and that's what it is really about.