If dance has taught me anything, the two most important qualities that I have taken away from it all is to always stay focused and disciplined. In a constantly moving world, these are two things that I personally think are hard to do sometimes.

After going to the studio or practice after a long day at school, or even a long weekend five hours away at a competition, there was never an excuse to be made. This is something that I will carry with me forever. The days I don't feel like getting my butt out of bed to go workout, I still do. The days I would rather take a nap instead of doing a homework assignment or writing a paper, I get my work done first, annnnddd then still nap after. Nonetheless, staying focused and having my eye on the many prizes that have come my way, has made it all worth it in the end. There have been many times where procrastination and hitting the easy button was, well, easier, but knowing that I persevered and still got it done, even if I didn't want it to, made all the difference.

In my last article, I had talked about what it meant for me to be an introverted extrovert, and I think this next aspect of what dance has taught me, perfectly explains this quality of my personality. Dance has taught me to be independent, but also work well with people. Dance, like anything in life, you are always going to have a singularity aspect and a unity aspect to whatever you are doing. Dance has taught me that I have to work on myself and put myself first in order to better myself when I have to then work with others. Whether this meant in dance itself, a school project, or even in my friend group, by taking the time, and putting in the extra hours, of just you, yourself, and your focus, the outcome of the group work is that much stronger.

This next aspect I don't think I can say loud enough. To put it in perspective, here it is in all caps: SUCCESS COMES FROM HARD WORK. There is not one successful person in this world that did not work their butt off to get where they are today. This means staying disciplined through the long hours of practice, the late nights studying, and getting up and doing it all over again the next day. Whatever it is, there is always going to be a storm before there is sunshine, and there is always going to be effort given for success in return.

Finding your purpose in life can be a difficult concept to try and think about because many people don't actually think about their purpose, why they do things the way they do, why they wake up every morning and do the same things, day in, and day out. Dance has taught me to be purposeful in everything I do. A couple of weeks ago I saw a quote, that was meant in a literal manner, but I thought it really applied to my life it a figurative way, as well. It said, "When your coach tells you to 'walk with a purpose' almost every day, you really start to walk everywhere like you only have an 8 count to get there." All joking aside, this is something that really reminds me of why I am here, and it should remind you, too. Everyone on this earth has a different purpose, but it's a meaningful one, so if we all don't 'walk with a purpose', and live out that purpose every day, then what's the point to the meaningful lives we are all meant to fulfill?

Good enough isn't enough. This is one of the many ideals that dance has taught me that truly brings out the perfectionist in me. This is something, however, I feel is important to understand, especially now that I'm in college. It's amazing how many times I spent in the studio or at practice going through the same breakdown section over and over again, how that discipline to perfect just one minor detail, carried out into my everyday life, but I will forever be grateful for it.

Lastly, something that dance has taught me, and something EVERYONE needs to have is to always be confident. After all the years of getting up in front of thousands of people and performing, confidence is something that I give all the credit to dance for instilling in me. Having confidence in yourself, whether it results in success or failure, will build the foundation for you to feel unstoppable in anything you do.

These lessons are something that I hold near and dear to my heart, and after all these years of dancing, and being so blessed to still be dancing to this day, a big huge thank you is in order to every coach and teammate I have had along my journey- not only has dance taught me these things, but so have you, so, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.