When I was two years old, my mom wanted to put me in an activity so I would have something to do. Little did she know that I would fall in love with dance before I even understood what I was doing. I haven't stopped dancing since and I don't think I ever really will.

I basically grew up in the studio. I started competing at five and starting taking more and more classes as I got older. I loved walking into the studio every day in my leotard and tights, becoming completely immersed in what I was doing. I never wanted to be anywhere else. Moving my body in ways I never thought of, connecting to music and the people around me, forming bonds with my peers and teachers that will never break. It was all something that I only could have hoped for as a child.

Dancing makes me feel free. I don't think about anything else when I dancing and I am fully present in my body. Its a feeling I could never achieve in any other setting and a feeling I have learned I need in order to be sane. It is my outlet for every emotion I ever feel. I dance and suddenly, I feel better.

Of course, training in anything is never easy. I was basically always sore, had so many injuries, and got frustrated a lot. It always presented a challenge, which is necessary to improve. But I only ever wanted to get better and I would endure anything just to have the opportunity to dance. Even now, after 16 years of constantly taking classes and performing, all I want to do now is dance and hone my craft.

Now, I am in college (not as a dance major unfortunately) and no longer in the studio every day. I have been helping out at a dance studio in the area as an assistant teacher and taking some tap classes. But it's not the same. Every day I long to dance and feel that feeling again, the feeling only dance gives me.

As I wait for the dance minor program to open again at Temple, I am making it my mission to keep dancing and finding opportunities on my own. It has been difficult while I was adjusting to this new environment but as a new semester approaches, I want to make it a goal of mine to make time for dancing. Dance is my passion and I want to incorporate it into my career in any way I can. It helps me grow as a person, as well as an artist, so it should be a priority of mine always.

I encourage all of you to never stop doing what you love. Don't let life get in the way if you are passionate and dedicated. I have a connection to dance that I will never have to anything else and I want to keep nourishing that connection forever. Everyone should keep that connection strong between them and their passions. It makes life worth living.