I wish I could actually put into words how much these girls have impacted my life. I grew up dancing. Not just for fun, I competed. I competed hard. Dance was a sport and I wanted to win. I wanted to work harder and smarter than the other kids because I wanted to spend my life making a living from this art. It was so important to me. Dance kept me going.
When I graduated high school I reluctantly went to college. I say reluctantly because I wanted to skip the college scene and go strait to auditions. My parents were SUPER against that and were very persistent on me going to school. Being the great daughter I am (lol sike) I decided to go to school. Not just any school. I gave up a spot in a dance program at one college for a school that didn’t even have dance as a major (was I dumb or what)
I say this often, but when I was in the process of deciding what direction I wanted to take my life, I spoke with several people who “made” in the dance world teachers, performers, students, and one man’s advice has rang in my ear ever since 2011. “If all you do is dance, that’s all you’ll know. You’ll have nothing to influence your art”. WHAT? My world was ROCKED.
I was determined to let my experiences influence my art, but I was miserable. I HATED school. I was experiencing a lot of personal battles my first year of college. I was a fish in a cornfield. I did NOT feel at home. I found a job at a local dance studio and it was my get away. I had a dance family to be a part of again. They were lifesavers and they kept a fire alive in me.
Shortly after, Alston asked me to teach her a contemporary solo. She was 14. I was so excited. Someone believed in my art and wanted me to be a teacher. It finally clicked. I taught a solo that had everything to do with my current situation and poured my heart into choreography. My situation influenced my art for the first time, and people understood it. I couldn’t have been happier.
That solo marked the beginning of dozens of solos, duets, and group dances that my heart has been poured into. I was able to let dance become a direct reflection of my life, the good and the bad.
I say all this to anyone that feels like doing anything other than your passion makes it worthless. For me, living a life separate from dance has made the biggest impact on how I teach and move. It’s more realistic and literal. I can enjoy life AND enjoy dance and sometimes when the stars align, I enjoy them as one. Go for your dreams, but don’t forget to LIVE!
A special shout out goes to these girls. I grew up dancing at the same studio. When I was in the senior group, they were junior. You can imagine the big/little sister relationships we had. We laughed and cried and spent years dancing together. They are gifts and I treasure them with my whole heart!