How Dance Has Affected Me If I had to give one reason why dance has changed my life, I would say that it’s because it gave me so much within the numbered dance we had together. When I was 5 years old I asked my mother if I could Join ballet. I had been growing obsessed with it for the past year of my life. I loved to watch videos of ballet recitals that my cousin Lucy had performed in. I was extremely Jealous of her. She was tall and thin and she looked regal and poised while she was running around in her tutu. My mother agreed and I was enrolled in a class later that week.
I loved ballet, I was cstatic walking into the room and when we did our exercises I did them with obsessive enthusiasm. Dance taught me respect for myself and respect for others. I continued with ballet for 6 more years, and I learned many things about myself and the world, now that I look back on my experiences. Although I loved dance and how I was able to freely express myself, it did come with some negatives. Dancing can take you to an incredible high, but can brutally crush your ego as well. As a child I took gymnastics, cheerleading, and ballet.
All three are very physical activities that definitely wore me out and all three were competitive. Any competitive sports (yeah I count them both as sports), are expensive, and putting yourself out there is frightening. You are vulnerable to other peoples comments about something that you have been trying to perfect for months. The whole week was consumed with my activities, I usually went to my first class right after school and I did not leave the building until 7 or 8 pm which is very exhausting for an 11 year old. Additionally, I also started to gain a very negative view on my body.
I was shorter than the other girls and I was a little bit chubbier. I was refusing to eat, making excuses that I had a ig lunch, or that I was tired to eat. I was getting scary skinny and I was getting the body I wanted. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. From that moment on I was (and am still) very self conscious about how I look. I am starting to be healthier than I was in order to get the body that I want. I used to go days without eating Just because it was drilled into my head that I should be perfect and for a ballerina perfection is practically unattainable. It was hard to have those thoughts, especially at my age.
It did help me mature faster, and understand my actions and the actions f the girls around me. I was certainly not the only one with body image issues. The girls in my other classes expressed the same sentiments to me, and I didn’t feel so alone. My mom noticed I was tired all the time and I was growing more irritable. When I fell asleep on the playground by the monkey bars at school, my mom knew that all those activities were getting to me. She sat me down when I got home and I thought I was going to get in trouble for falling asleep at school. Instead she told me, you have to pick two activities you can’t do everything all at once.
She gave me a week o think about it. I had no idea what to do, I was at a crossroads. It seemed to make more sense that I drop ballet and stick with gymnastics and cheerleading, as they are most similar. I asked my friends for their advice, and they didn’t think it was that big cheerleading with me so of course they did not want me to leave them and gain new friends. Even though I loved ballet very much, I loved cheerleading and gymnastics a little bit more. I told my mother my decision, and she said that Thursday would be my last day at ballet. On Thursday, I started my stretches and I looked around one last ime at the room.
I knew I was going to miss the class very much, not only the subject but also the people I had met and my instructor. When the class ended She came up to me and gave me a huge hug. I almost cried but I kept my composure because I had gymnastics next, and I did not want the other girls to think I was a baby. Thinking back on my experience with dance, I see how truly stressed I was. I definitely felt the pressure to be perfect with dance, maybe because my instructor was very hard on us. Now I realize that I always enjoyed social dancing more than the primness and erfection dealing with ballet.
Dancing without rules (not modern but not as strict as ballet) is so much more exhilarating and you feel free. You feel like you can touch the sky with no immediate need to come back down. Slowly I also quit gymnastics at age 13, and then right after I was forced to stop cheerleading as well because of too many foot injuries. Dance still represented a lot to me, I felt free whenever I danced. Dancing is also Just plain fun. Theres so many different things that you can incorporate into dancing. There are may types, ballet, Jazz, contemporary, swing, salsa.
Dance can also express so many things, from sorrow to happiness to silly and anger. With cheerleading, the only emotion we were allowed to convey was a huge smile on our faces. With gymnastics, our routines required the most concentration I had ever used in my life so usually my brows were furrowed and my face had a frown. Dance helped me a lot with cheerleading, since we incorporated a lot of moves from ballet into our competition choreography. Dance and cheer also shaped me into who I am today, a determined, stubborn, obsessive perfectionist. True, my feet did not fare well because of dance, cheerleading, and gymnastics.
My ankles always hurt when it’s cold and my back is always uncomfortable but I wouldn’t have traded anything about dance for the world. Even now so many years later, I still find myself getting into first position involuntarily while in the grocery line. When I bend down to pick something up, my body turns into an arabesque. I still want to do dance, because I miss it terribly. I want to try Jazz and maybe even hip-hop. I want to get back into the ridiculously good shape I was in and be the pretzel I was when I was 13. Even if I have a million cuts and bruises, it won’t matter because it’ll mean that I inally accomplished what I wanted to do.
I want my perfect splits and leaps back, and the feeling of accomplishing something that not everyone has the gift to do. When I have children, I will definitely encourage my child to take any kind of dance class. Dancing is not only for the young anymore, it is also for the middle age and even the elderly. All the different types of dance allow people to express themselves without fear of being ridiculed and mocked for wanting to try something new. Dance is a thing that should be enjoyed, and pursued, throughout your life.