The Circle of Dance

At the young age of three I waltzed into the Karen Bernard School of Dance not knowing that it would become my second home for the next fourteen years and have such a great impact on my life. While my older sister danced because it was something fun to do with her friends, I found myself dancing in a room full of strangers simply because I loved it. Many of these same strangers are now my closest friends that I spend seventeen hours a week with, supporting and inspiring one another, as we perfect our techniques and synchronize our movements. It hasn’t been without bumps and bruises along the way though.

I have most always been in class with girls older than me. I have taken great pride in this because my teacher recognized my hard work and commitment even at a young age, and allowed me to challenge myself by joining the older girls’ classes. What I didn’t expect was the sheer heartbreak Junior year, when I was not selected along with them for the Elite Company as I had always dreamed. I was seemingly penalized for diversifying my interests in high school by playing field hockey for 3 years, which required me to miss the first 8 weeks of dance classes each year. Aren’t I supposed take advantage of all of my opportunities, try new things, and excel?

I was crushed and frustrated. My friends were “moving up” and leaving me behind. The decision was unfair because I knew that my commitment and passion had not waivered, and felt that I had earned it. But, I knew I had two options. I could either spend my year complaining about my disappointment, or I could take the high road and embrace the opportunities before me. So throughout the year I continued to work hard, and focused on improving my techniques and being a leader. This year I made the difficult decision to end my field hockey career and completely focus on dance. I could not be more delighted with my decision, as I was selected as one of only seven dancers for this year’s Elite Company. I followed my heart.

While dancing six days a week leaves little free time, there is nothing I would rather do. I have been so blessed with inspirational role models at the studio. Now, I am the older dancer that the young aspiring ballerinas look up to. I get to share my love of dance with a class of fifteen six year olds. I assist the teacher who inspired my passion for dance and get to inspire others. It is more rewarding than I ever imagined.

As I move on to the next chapters of my life, I will always carry the gifts that dance has given me. From the confidence, poise, and grace, to the courage, self control, commitment, and work ethic. I look forward to using these gifts throughout life. I hope to continue dance in some way as I move on to college, because nothing compares to the feeling of taking that one last deep breath before stepping out on stage into the spotlight and presenting yourself to the audience.

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