My heart, pounding like a million drums in a parade, twists my stomach in anticipation. Nothing but silence all around as the lights go down and nothing else at this very moment is more important than going out on stage and giving it your all. Minutes later the sound of applause fills the theatre and a sense of achievement overwhelms each and every person on stage. Dance, to some a sport to others merely entertainment, to me a passion, a hobby and a time consuming part of life. There are two strong opinions that have been discussed forever. Is dance important? Or was dance invented just to see a group of people get up and wiggle around. Everyone is entitled to speak their mind. But to ask a dancer what dancing means to them, well that will come a little later.
It seems like only yesterday I was standing in my pink leotard and brand new pink ballet shoes. Anticipating what this new hobby was going to be like. Although I was young, over time ballet became slow moving and unappealing. It was time to think of something new. TAP! That was it! Unknown yet highly interesting to watch. After each and every practice I couldn’t wait for the next. I just couldn’t ever seem to get enough. The sounds and the intricate movements of the feet amused and lightened my spirits as well as those who watched it. The thing thought that caused everyone to enjoy tap so much was the way our unique teacher taught. Being 75 and having the mind set of a drill sergeant is an odd combination to some people. But to see how in every way she touched each and everyone of us, well you never seem to forget someone like that. Time went on and our teacher was forced to move because she needed to be with her family. This brought a horrifying dilemma… quitting tap was a reality I wasn’t not ready to face. When I look back now I truly do believe everything happens for a reason. Quitting tap caused me to broaden my horizons and enter a whole new magical world of dance. So many types, so many movements, I soon would learn what “my kind of dance” would be. Hip hop is fast paced, energetic, not to mention a great workout. Jazz, Lyrical, Swing, Salsa. You name it dance covers it. Every type of culture you can imagine. Ballet being the root of my experience with dancing has opened my eyes. Ballet is no longer boring it’s now knowing that each class is building my technique and my confidence.
Which brings us back to that very important subject, “to ask a dancer what dancing means to them.” The answers are endless. May you be black or white a beginner or an advanced Broadway dancer all dancers have one thing in common. “Passion.” The passion to do their best and work hard. The motivation to strive for achievement. You may be shy and terrified of standing in front of a crowd, but dance teaches you to have one thing. “Confidence.” The moment you step out on stage confidence and the passion to move set in. Dance is a sport, a source of entertainment and an unexplainable positive influence. Whether it be dancing with a family member in your living room, dancing with friends in the street, competing with a team, taking a few classes for fun, dancing to become a performer or being a famous choreographer, dance in every case brings happiness to those who do it and to those who watch. It may not be saving the world from world hunger or creating peace over world nations but it is a way for somebody to make friends to be happy and to have fun. I once read a book by an author who was a professional choreographer when she was young. After talking about how time consuming and busy her schedule was, she went on to explain how dance of any kind, can effect the people who try it, she called dance and the music you do it too, “the universal movement for the heart.” It’s about bringing new culture into the world and creating diverse communities for everyone to share. Of course when I get older I wish to donate thousands of dollars to foundations all across the nation, but for now while I am still young, I just want to focus on the now and do something that brings a little bit of relief to my everyday teenage related drama’s. All it really comes down to is the fact that I simply love to dance, and I strongly wish to express to the world that dance can have an amazing effect on your life, I know it has made an effect on mine. Sure, it may sound corny but how will you ever know unless you try it.