To The Dancer Who "Retired" Early
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To The Dancer Who "Retired" Early

"I do not try to dance better than anyone else, I only try to dance better than myself." - Mikhail Baryshnikov

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To The Dancer Who "Retired" Early
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Do you remember that time in your life when you did almost every after school activity you could think of in order to find the one activity, you liked most and wanted to keep doing? Because I do. Growing up, I remember my mom always used to tell me that I can’t say I don’t like something until I’ve tried it. So there I was playing sports, learning to play instruments, camping with girl scouts, and many more activities until I found my one true love, dance. Ahhhh…dance. The one activity almost every girl has done at least once in their life but never continued with it.

I fell in love with dance because it came easily to me. I never once complained about having to go to class or rehearsals, even if they ran for hours on end. To me, it was all worth it. The feeling I got whenever I danced, was a feeling no other sport or activity could replicate. A sense of peace and serenity flowing through my body making me feel like nothing else in the world mattered than grace and passion I put into my dancing. Coming from a girl who danced for 15 years of her life, that feeling is hard to forget, even after you stop dancing. Sometimes that feeling reminds me of the good times I had throughout my dance career, and other times it makes me wonder where my life would be at if I would’ve stuck with dance as my full-time career.

For the longest time, all I wanted to do when I grew up was dance professionally and travel the world performing in front of audiences. Later on in high school, my career goals changed slightly and I dreamed of having my own dance studio and could easily picture everything about my future. It wasn’t until my senior year of high school when everything changed. In one ear I was being told to go to college and get a degree, and in the other, I was being told to follow my dreams and become a dancer. Deep down inside of me, I knew that my chances of becoming a professional were far behind me. With such little time to decide, I trusted my gut and decided to go to college and continue my education leaving dance behind.

After high school, I still continued to take classes and stay in shape, but it wasn’t the same. I found myself walking further and further away from my dreams which is the opposite of what I had hoped would happen. Looking back now, I realize that I let other influence my decision and I wasn’t listening to the one person’s opinion which mattered most: myself. Only you can decide what you want to do with your life. No one else can make those decisions for you no matter how hard they try. It’s up to ourselves to choose what’s best for us and what we think will make us happier.

For me, dance is everything, but I got scared to continue dancing because I got discouraged that I wasn’t able to make my passion my career. To have a passion for something means that you love it and it makes you feel happy. If you’re going to take anything away from this, take this, dance because you want to, not because you’re pressured to. Don’t stop yourself from doing what you love simply because it’s not the career path you want to take. When you dance nothing else in the world should matter only you, your happiness and your love for the art. From one “retired” dancer to another, have the grace to never give up on your dreams and continue to do what you are most passionate about, and that is dancing

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