Years of costumes. Years of memories. Years of recitals. Years of competitions.
Somewhere in between, you still hold a place in your heart for dance. Whether you stopped dancing due to an injury, preference, or graduating, you definitely share this one thing in common. You have to admit you probably start dancing around when you hear your recital song from when you were 5 years old, just reminiscing on those times.
Somewhere in your old studio lies a piece of you that cannot be replaced. You probably have cried tears, sweat buckets, and achieved many goals within that room. Dance is not just a sport. Dance is not just an art. Dance is not just an activity. It is something that cannot be categorized.
Countless hours at practice. Countless lessons learned. Countless friendships made.
Somewhere in your home lies the good luck tap shoes, puffy pink ballet tutus, rainbow hip-hop sneakers, and hangers of costumes from years ago. You probably have had many memories from all of these and traveled to many different places in them. The lessons learned from being a dancer is something that cannot be taken from you for the rest of your life.
The smell of worn out dance shoes, sweat, and hairspray sticks in my mind forever.
Somewhere in that room lies the "dancer" part of me. The countless leaps, turns, and kicks. The number of formations and transitions practiced. The stereo set in the back corner. The ballet bar on the wall. The place I was for most of the week, every week.
Do you remember the last time you competed?
Competing for years was an amazing experience. Learning how to take a compliment, but always knowing there is room to improve. Knowing when you fail, all you can do is try again. Being taught at a young age that you do not always win, sometimes you lose. Learning when your body is tired or just being lazy. Taking criticism and using it to improve.
Lessons were being learned each and every day.
Some people will never understand. Being a dancer requires strength, perseverance, and patience. Getting up in front of an entire auditorium and expressing yourself through different movements is definitely not for everyone. Having the confidence to dance solo at times in front of judges critiquing you takes strength.
Having the mental strength to keep going even if you mess up during the middle of the routine. Having the physical strength to dance with injuries, yes accidents happen! Perseverance is definitely important as well. Dancers could be working on one specific trick for over a year or even years at a time.
Practice makes perfect. The more we practiced and bonded as a team, the better we performed. Dancers in my world were a unique group of girls. Dancers love to be themselves. Dancers love to immediately step on the dance floor. Dancers love to travel together as a team.
This sport was not just about the recitals, competitions, or dances. Dance teaches young women the power of being yourself. When you step out on to the stage, you are creating a piece of art by moving your body to the music.
Having young women constantly encouraging one another to do their best was an amazing aspect of many teams. Bonding as a whole was vital for success on the dance floor.
Being a dancer is something special. We all have had those "I'm sick of this" moments. But hey, that comes with any sport. Thinking back on my years of being a dancer, sometimes I'm not sure if the "dancer" part of me is really gone.
5, 6, 7, 8!