Dear Dancer on Your Final Recital

Dear dancer,

It's the day of your final recital of your high school dance career. For some, it's been a day 15 years in the making. For others, it's a moment that arrived only a few years after you started dancing. Either way, it's a day dancers dread. You're probably pretending that you're okay, but the reality is, this is going to be a hard day. Your parents may cry, your teachers might cry, you and your friends will cry.

My final recital weekend went by incredibly fast. It seemed like one minute, we were walking onstage for our first rehearsal, and the next, we were in our final poses on the last day of the recital. After each dance I finished, I remember thinking about everything being "the last." I remember wanting to cherish every moment and go back to the beginning of the week, when we were just starting rehearsals.

It was surreal. For 9 years, I was in the same studio for hours a week. I did the same warm-ups, danced with the same friends, got excited for the same recital week. It seemed like it was over in a heartbeat. It was as if the past few months of dance morphed into a single second.

I miss learning. I miss the laughter. I miss the role models. I miss improving. I miss my friends. I miss the music. I miss that feeling when you finally nail that killer move. I miss supporting my fellow dancers. I miss my teachers. I miss recital week. I miss being in my second home all the time. I even miss the crazy costumes. I miss making making memories.

But, here's the thing: your dance career is just beginning. You'll find that those dance teachers gave you an incredible foundation to build upon in a new dance environment. The reality is, dancing in college is completely different than studio dance, especially if you've been dancing with the same people for almost a decade. Yet, each time you're in class, you'll remember your friends and teachers, and realize that dance is something that you'll always have with you.

Your high school dance studio will always hold a special place in your heart. The memories will make you smile for years to come--as will driving past the studio. Walking into the studio will give you huge nostalgia, but you still do it.

I feel lucky to have something that is so difficult to say goodbye to. From my first dance, "Bouncy the Clown", when I was only three, to my final moment onstage when I was 18, being a studio dancer was one of the best decisions I could have made.

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