I Quit Dancing And That's When I Found Where I Belonged

I Quit Dancing And That's When I Found Where I Belonged

It was the best thing ever... until it wasn't. And then it was again.
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I began my dance career at the age of two.

When I first started it was because I needed an activity to help build up my strength. I began dancing at Stephanie's School of Dance. But It wasn't until about third grade that my passion for dance really started.

My sister had just transferred to a new studio at the time, the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. When I went with my mom to pick her up one day, I saw these girls wearing a blue and black unitard and stage makeup. The Preludes.

I wanted to be one. I changed dance studios that year and in 2010 became a member and got my first pair of pointe shoes.

For me, getting my first pair of pointe shoes meant everything. It meant I could dance with the big girls in the company and try company roles.

While I was never a company member, I was a Prelude for 3 years and learned a few of the Nutcracker Act II dances that if the music came on I would still potentially know how to do today (although many of them have been changed over the years).

Despite all of this, it was not until high school that I started to appreciate dance in a different way.

December of eighth grade was my last complete year of dance. It was getting to the point where something I once loved was turning into something I was dreading doing.

So, I looked for something else to do and that is when I found where I truly belonged.

That year, instead of trying out for Nutcracker I volunteered for quick change and I believe it was one of the best decisions I had ever made. It made me happy. Not only that but it gave me something new to do.

That same year was also the year I started as an assistant in rehearsals. My first one was with the rats in scene II of the Nutcracker and I remember being so excited.

I was a rat for about 3 years while I had danced as well as doing other parts in the scene so I felt like I knew it pretty well and for the next few years up until I graduated High School that is what I did. It gave me a new purpose.

Over the years my working backstage and in rehearsals transformed.

During rehearsals, I often times ran music and other things when I wasn't assisting.

In shows, I learned the technical side and became experienced with how to do spotlights and did that several years before I worked in quick change. I even learned how to control mics and sound during a few musicals and did so during the live shows.

So. Yeah. Dance didn't work out for me but through it, I found something greater.

And, yeah, there were times where I missed it and sometimes still do, and that feeling of performing and being onstage and everything that come with it never goes away, but I wouldn't have changed my choice to quit for anything.

I will be forever grateful for all the important discipline and balancing skills it taught me.


Cover Image Credit: Lauren McCally

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.
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I fell in love with the game in second grade. I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone; it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach: Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off" and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake; I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself; not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, you turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It’s about the players. You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won’t have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time


Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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New York Dancer ‘Sai’ Rodboon Opens Up On The Struggles of Being A Fulltime Artist

Dancing as a career is no joke, and she knows best.

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Napat 'Sai' Rodboon is a professional dancer from Thailand and she's about to make dance her bi(o)tch (excuse my French). She has the face of an angel and a body of an Instagram fitness model, what's not to like? She is also incredibly talented.

As she and her sister were both trained in all disciplines of dance, Sai started to dance at the Aree School of Dance Arts, Thailand's leading dance school and continued her education in college at Chulalongkorn University; she graduated from the Department of Dramatic Arts with honors. Sai, as well, was trained and worked alongside Thailand's respected theater director and playwright, Pawit Mahasarinand, the director of Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, Assoc. Prof. Pornrat Dumrung and Dangkamon Na-pombejra. She then decided, she wanted to continue her education in the arts, so she flew half-way across the world and found herself in New York.

In 2016 she joined the Broadway Dance Center, New York and joined The Ailey School. Sai is now a professional dancer for a Modern dance company; Elisa Monte Dance, New York. She is the full effin package. Did I also mention she is a fabulous photographer? The list goes on and onnnn.



Sai opened up about the struggles of being a dancer and a daughter away from home (and home to her is approximately 8,651 miles away).

Q: How many hours do you practice in a day?

Sai: I rehearse with the company 5 hours a day but it's only 3 days a week. But then when I have days off I go take classes of different dance styles. I try to go learn from different teachers because you can't stop learning.




Q: Ever since moving to America, what do you find different in the dancing world in America compared to your home country, Thailand?

The first thing is that there isn't a conservatory dance school in Thailand. There is no full-time dance school. There's a dance faculty but the intensity is not the same. Most of the time you just go out to dance studios and take more classes wherever you can, whenever you can.

Another thing is that in Thailand, there aren't that many dance companies. Therefore, there aren't that many opportunities. There are some opportunities for commercial dancing but contemporary, modern, ballet, there's no scene yet.

In New York, every [category] dance has its own whole world. If I were to categorize myself as a modern dancer, then there would be no opportunities at all [in Thailand] and that why I had to come across the world to find opportunities here.

Q: Have you dance anywhere besides the US and Thailand?

In college, I went to Singapore and Taiwan that [Chulalongkorn University] did with different universities in Southeast Asia. But I haven't toured, and I would love the opportunity. On top of traveling, I think it's important to share your art with different groups and different cultures. So I think that's on my bucket list, touring as a dancer.

Q: Are there any disadvantages in being an international dancer in America?

Yes and no. I feel like there was a disadvantage but I'm trying to get over that because being from Thailand, we have a different culture. We're not as aggressive, it's frowned upon. So when I got here I didn't want to be in the first row, I didn't really speak up but then I discover that in performing you can't be in the back. You have to show what you have, you have to be hungry and I changed my whole mindset in getting what I really want

My friend told me once, "You're in America and you need to act American" as an international dancer I have to adapt to whatever works here.

Q: What's the hardest part of being a professional dancer?

I think the hardest part is missing home and believing that you're good enough. Sometimes you can get discouraged because it's not a 9-5 job, it's unpredictable and you don't know when your body is going to give out.

But the missing home sucks. I'm half-way around the world and living in New York is exhausting. I'm here alone. I can call my family and tell my mother how my day went but it's different from having your family physically here.

Just remember why you're here, remember that your family is proud of you for being here.



Q: What is something that you think people should know before going into dance as a career?

I feel like you need patience and work hard. A lot a lot of patience and you just have to believe that you can do it because when you start to believe in your abilities then it will just show in whatever form of dance you're doing.

Dance is hard but you find joy in what you're doing. You might hear dancers say stuff like "I'm dying. My body is breaking" but when you see them on stage you see them living their best lives.

We would be on stage and we'd be like "OMG I WAS LIVING"

If you're going to be a dancer, push through your handwork and [have discipline] because there is no other experience that will give you this feeling. Once you're on stage all the tiredness and pain will be worth it.

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