As I prepare for this week’s dance performance, I thought It would be appropriate to talk about my love for dance and what it has meant to my life.
It sounds pretty funny that an activity like dance can really mean that much to me, but it does. I only hope everyone has something in their life that can bring the joy and fulfillment that dance does for me.
I guess it started when I was a little girl. Being in a somewhat dysfunctional household, it seemed like one of the only activities I did on most weeks that really made me happy. I loved learning how to tap dance, how to master jazz and how to look like a professional ballerina. What girl at 7 wouldn’t want that?
I have to say it was devastating when I had to stop dancing. I am not sure why that happened and it doesn’t matter now. Those memories of my dance recitals at Gaillard Auditorium will be imprinted in my memory forever and I will always dream of being that bumble bee or ladybug, or whatever I was back in those days. I felt then that I could do anything if I practiced and worked hard at it.
So when I dreamed of what I wanted to do for a living it was not a surprise that my first inclination was to dance professionally. I was serious. I could study it at college and then go and work in New York as a dancer. Janet Jackson was my hero at the time and I was convinced that she would hire me as a dancer, maybe even a choreographer.
Then I realized that dance was not really a viable option for me professionally (without years of training it would have been hard to master the skills I needed, plus you did not really want to pay for college if I was studying dance. I get it). I am glad that I still took several dance elective classes, even one year taking 3 hours of dance a few times a week. I instantly remembered why I loved it so much.
Dance allows you to get lost in it. You can be anything and anybody you want without people judging. You can be passionate and express things in ways that words do not allow. You can be free, fun and freaky all at once. You can just be.
The early years of getting back into it, I was too worried about if I was doing it right. I always let my weaknesses overshadow my successes. It became harder to dance without being frustrated and defeated. But I never gave up. If anything it made me try harder and I tried things I never imagined. Like trying out for the Orlando Magic and trying out to be one of Disney’s characters. I did not get either part, but I tried. And I am really proud of that.
So when I moved back to Charleston, one of the first things I did was find a dance studio. It had been a few years but I wanted that feeling, that love for something again. It was fun but being the oldest in the classes was not something that worked well for me. When my dance partners would talk about going to prom, I knew it was not a perfect fit for me in my mid twenties! I was then determined to open my own studio on King Street that would appeal to older, more professional women. I even had a business plan started. I was serious. But then the best thing happened for me. A studio opened that was everything I wanted and more. DanceFx was that place and owner Jenny Broe Price has been that perfect teacher.
Thanks to Jenny, I dance better than I ever have. She taught me to love the dancer I was, not what I wanted to be. She helped me build confidence and really just taught me to love each move regardless of if it was right or wrong.
I really live to dance. When I have to skip a week, I am bummed. I would dance daily if time allowed. It gives me focus, clarity and reminds me of who I am. Being a dancer allows me to just do it, and to give everything I can to me. I love those two hours of not focusing on life, stress, issues or to-dos. It is such a release and my body has never felt better.
So as I get closer to my 39th birthday, I am more excited about taking my dance to the next level and taking on challenges that I have never imagined.
Here’s to a great recital!