Dear Dance Studio,
I don't think that I started doing my growing up until freshman year of high school, when I dove into dance, or at least a new dance studio that was. Everyone says that life is about finding yourself, while the smart ones say that life isn't about finding yourself it is about creating yourself. This dance studio is where I created myself, from what felt like scratch.
I came into dance nervous and quiet, two traits many people that know me would say poorly describe me. With that being said, that didn't last too long. Everyone there was warm and welcoming, and for the first time ever I felt like I was liked, welcomed and part of something.
High school isn't an easy experience — the tests you endure go much farther than the ones on paper. Some people have extremely positive experiences, but for me college was a period of just waiting to go to college — or at least, until I started dance; once I stepped into that studio I was given something to miss, and that scared me more than anything.
Walking up the staircase to the second floor studio I also knew what to expect and that was a surprise; a positive surprise that was. There was never drama, there were always smiles, and always people around me that made me happy.
The windy fall nights I found comfort in the poorly lit studio, while dancing around in leg warmers and seeing the moon replace the sun. In the winter I sought happiness from the snow with constant sounds of nutcracker music, and being able to finally wear my favorite black long-sleeved leotard. In the spring I was reminded of the joys in life when looking at the sparkly floor as we prepared for our upcoming showcase. In the summer I was filled with confidence as I felt my body covered in sweat because I was pushing myself harder than preceding summers. Seasons in out this dance studio filled my heart. Seasons in and out, I was given a home.
Many would say that it's just a sport but many days I felt as if this sport, this studio, and these people saved my life. There were so many days when I felt like my life wasn't going as planned and like I was a train about to derail and everyone surrounding me kept me going on the right tracks, whether they knew it or not.
Dance and everyone there gave me confidence that I never had before; there was always room for improvement and as I accomplished my goals I wanted nothing more than to set another. That is not to say that there were not days that I didn't struggle and didn't feel good enough, but on those days I had those around me to remind me that there was always tomorrow. When everything in my life made me feel like I wasn't good enough, this studio always reminded me that I was.
This studio provided me an outlet. If I had a terrible day, I would dance it out. If I had a great day, I would dance it out. If my blood sugar was a little high, dance would bring me back to target. If my blood sugar was low, I would stop and watch all of the beautiful dancers around me.
This studio taught me trust, and how to properly act like a role model. After my four years there was done I came to realize that there wasn't a single person there that I did not trust. I did what I could to be the best role model to all those younger than me but they taught me lessons that those my own age never could. I was given the worlds best role model and one of the easiest people to confide in, I met someone that helped me through every struggle I could have imagined, and someone that pushed me to be a better person everyday, she taught me more than that—she was truly the most amazing teacher I have ever crossed paths with.
Four years later, I can say this place was the building blocks of who I am today. I can honestly say that if it weren't for the dance studio and those within those walls I don't know where I would be. Four years later, and I still miss it everyday. Four years later and I still feel so lucky, and hope that others find the same things I found in my safe haven.
So thank you, for making me more me than I ever thought was possible.