Step One: Prepare. The strong yet whimsical force of a simple port de bras, or the power with which a dancer delivers an entire performance, begins with the dedication of the dancer to commit countless hours practicing, learning, observing, trying, failing, succeeding, and preparing. My parents entered me in a dance academy as early as age three, where I spent every Saturday afternoon learning the first five positions and how to do a grand jete. By the age of around 7, I grew an overwhelming passion for dance. Saturday afternoon classes turned into Thursday/Friday/Saturday classes, and soon I was at a competitive studio developing my technique nearly every day of the week. I struggled for some time with feeling I wasn’t a good enough dancer. The competitive atmosphere lead me to have moments of low self-esteem and doubt. In class I wasn’t the girl with the perfect turnout nor could I do ten continuous pirouettes. However, for every performance my class did, I found myself front and center. I later discovered that what my instructor saw in me as a dancer was something much more forceful than mere technique. Although I had ‘a nice pointe, and legs which extended my height by five miles’, I also delivered every dance piece with true desire and inspiration which bled through every arabesque and battement.
Step Two: Warm Up. 2008 was a bad year. My parents dominated the High School process. They came to a decision, and their first choice school was my last. That year, I struggled with rebellion. I was angry that such a significant part of my life had been decided for me. Dance became backseat to school for my parents, once my grades began to show. I lost motivation and found myself surrounded with people who had lost theirs as well. I was naive and felt as though my world had ended. I felt no need to try, and as time passed I began to lose everything. My parents took me out of dance. The passion which once fueled me to at least endure the six hour school day, looking forward to the five hour dance day afterwards, was gone. My grades were dirt, and so did become my reputation. I was in a hole which only made itself deeper with every report card. I embraced every negative situation. One extremely rainy May afternoon, I had to walk home from school. I took the shortcut passing downtown providence, my favorite area. I got a little lost, but despite the downpour, I didn’t mind spending some extra time in the scenic area. Fifteen minutes later I was still walking, but slowed my pace as I approached PPAC (Providence Performing Arts Center). I saw on the window an announcement for an upcoming event. “The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater” was bringing its dancers to this stage to perform. I literally felt warmth from the passion I had lost, returning into my shivering body. When I returned home, I sat in my room for hours with my re-found inspiration, and became more and more absorbed with every minute spent. In that time I came to a realization. Dance is my warm up for life. Instead of having rebelled, I should have faced every negative instance I had been dealing with in high school with the grace and strength of the dancer that I was. I knew what it was to sacrifice time, to endure sweat and tears, to dedicate countless amounts of effort to reach a desired goal. The morals I learned in the studio, behind ballet bars and in front of mirrors, were the same I had to apply to reach my maximum potential in school and in life.
Step Three: Approach the stage with confidence and grace. That year I finally became balanced. I continued to grow as a dancer, and strengthened my role as a student. I presented myself with assurance and used difficult situations as warm-ups for things that still lay ahead. I watched my accomplishments stack up and account for the opportunities I had lost during my lower times. I stopped regretting my period of self-destruction, because those moments are what lead me to so strongly implement the art of dance into my daily life. I now have a vision for the future. Every effort I make is working towards my prize goal, acceptance to Fordham University/Alvin Ailey BFA program.
Step four: Deliver a unique, unforgettable and heartfelt performance which inspires the audience to connect with their inner artist. Having to persevere my way through a great fall has built me into a strong, dedicated dancer and student. The details of my life provide a lesson that is my own, and have given me a place from which to grasp wisdom. Seeing my life from a negative place gave me the understanding perspective to share with others the importance of finding a source of motivation and passion in their lives.