I have been dancing since the age of five. If I am completely honest, I used to not like dance so much when my mom made me go. I felt like I was bad, I felt ugly and fat in costumes, I was jealous of the competition girls, I did not feel good enough; just a hot mess. In my teen years though, things started to change. I realized I was improving over the last through years with the help of my teachers.
Then tenth grade, and I was diagnosed with a nerve disease that caused me to have a physical disability. I was devastated. I wanted to try out for the competition team and take as many classes as I could from tap to ballet, to jazz, to lyrical, to hip-hop. But I couldn't as I was super weak and the leg braces I had to wear to walk were a huge mess as well.
I really thought I was going to have to quit dance until my dance teachers encouraged me to stick around and take jazz and hip-hop, two classes in which they accommodated me in greatly. I am so happy I did because I was able to gain back some of my grooves over the years. Although I did not fully gain back all of my technique, I still had this energy inside of me wanting to burst out.
I realized in college that I wanted to teach dance for a dance club, but for people with disabilities. Dance has given me so much joy since my disability and helped me cope in so many ways. I wanted to express my emotions in dance in which I started taking dancers in beginner dance routines to give everyone a shot to experience the same joy in dance as I did.
After taking more classes and assistant teaching for some time after college, for the first time this year I taught my first four classes and made up my own routines. It was sure challenging.
I won't lie, but seeing my finishing pieces up on stage was the icing on the cake for me to make me remember why I love being a dance teacher.
I love the costumes, the movements, the emotion, the swag, the stage, the lights, the people who perform my routines; just everything about dancing makes me burst into joy as cheesy as that sounds, but it is true.
There are days as a teacher where I just do not feel like going in. I am tired and human. But then when I see the finishing dances I put together and the cuteness of the kids, I remember it is all worth it.
When mother's come up to me as well praising me for teaching dance with my disability and being more inclusive of others n dances, that also makes my heart truly melt. I teach so everyone who has a disability or not has a shining chance to show their talents on stage through dancing.
I may not be able to teach next year due to interning for school but I plan on taking classes and teaching in the future. Dancing is truly in my blood and in my heart.
"You've gotta dance like there's nobody watching,
Love like you'll never be hurt,
Sing like there's nobody listening,
And live like it's heaven on earth."
― William W. Purkey