Lately, it’s been ice cream, Netflix and face masks. I’ve needed a change…
So earlier this week, I walked into my first dance class after almost three years of no ballet, no contemporary, no hip-hop, no movement, no nothing. Having taken dance classes my entire life (I was very passionate about it), I’ve come to wonder why I ever stopped in the first place. Not only was it so much fun (awkward at first) but such a release. I left class feeling sweaty and energized – with a bounce in my step. I felt like me again.
Although dancing added stress to my life (referring to the period when I danced professionally), it also somehow was an escape for me. I would concentrate so deeply on what I was doing that I would literally lose myself in movement and forget about my worries. I remember feeling the urge to dance whenever life would get difficult. After I stopped dancing, I tried replacing that urge with working out at the gym but it wasn’t the same. You can’t compare running on a treadmill to that adrenaline rush you get from dancing in front of your peers or on stage.
Yes, I know… exercising does amazing things for your body and your mind. I’m not discounting that at all. I exercise on a regular basis. But dancing is different. Dancing gave me confidence. Why? Because I felt like I could express myself everyday through my movement. I felt like I was honing my craft. I felt connected with the music. I felt proud of what I was doing. I also learned how to overcome challenges like picking up choreography under pressure, learning to accept my body and its limitations and working with big personalities. Overcoming those challenges led to more confidence, a healthy dose of humbleness and understanding my quirks better. It also instilled grit, perseverance and discipline.
As a young girl, I loved taking dance classes. It wasn’t until I was sixteen where I started taking my classes seriously and training to become a professional. That’s late. Most dancers start training to become a professional when they’re twelve. Not sixteen. So, I guess you could say I was a bit of an unlikely ballerina. The odds were stacked against me. I was short, didn’t have a lot of turnout (rotation of your hips) and experience. Not a lot of teachers believed in me (a few did, not many). But I was determined to make it… and I did (although a short lived career, I managed to somehow make it despite my many limitations) and take so many life lessons from it.
Dance is hard. Even if you’re born with the most amazing body and natural ability, it’s still hard AF. Dancers have to sacrifice years of their youth to make it. It’s blood, sweat and tears until you reach your ultimate goal of dancing in a professional company. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from dancing, it’s that life is so great when you’re truly passionate about something. Having a passion keeps you going when times get tough. Whether that be your art, relationship, job or hobby, it’s important to pursue what you love.
I wasn’t exactly ready to take dance classes again this week. Truth be told, I was nervous as hell to walk back into a studio again. I didn’t know what to expect. I also wasn’t prepared to deal with the past couple of weeks. However, I have to say, the greatest moments in life are the ones that force you to grow beyond your comfort zone and push yourself, whether you’re ready for it or not…
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