There are times in life where you encounter a transformative experience; those times are rare and sometimes you don’t realize until later the extent of their impact. My latest encounter occurred two weeks, at a summer dance intensive called ArchCore40, 2013. It was school on how to get your life together if you really want to make commercial and/or concert dance your career. If only I could experience that week again… and again. It is no exaggeration to say you experienced EVERYTHING a working dancer experiences or you got to talk to people who are making waves in all areas of dance life- therapists, agents, choreographers, videographers and photographers. Being around that creative energy not only helped me go to a very vulnerable place in my own choreography, which I presented in the showcase, but also helped me realize that art reflects life, life reflects art and art is my life.
After the intensive, I feel prepared to whole heartedly dive into dance and all of its possibilities. Since starting dance training in high school (yes, I did do baby ballet when I was three, but that does not count), I have always had to prove myself; prove that it was worth taking a risk on an inexperienced dancer, prove that I can do more than social dances and be strong yet graceful, prove that I have the confidence to captivate an audience. So I was no stranger to stepping into another situation where I had to prove how bad I want to dance. When you dream dance, eat, sleep and breathe movement, you know you were meant to move.
My relationship with dance during my high school and undergrad education did not include summers spent on dance retreats and intensives, taking class, going to workshops, exploring movement, and communing with creative individuals. For the most part they were spent in labs and hospitals to gain valuable experience to use toward my degree in Neuroscience and Behavior and future goal to be a Physical Therapist. For quite some time I was afraid to claim dance as my job, my career, for its lack of practicality or simply because I thought I should use my undergrad degree as more than just a conversation starter. I feared that not working toward an impressive set of letters after my name would mean a waste of four years and a whole lot of money. But college is more than the degree you earn, it’s the individual you become and the preparation you do for the road ahead. This has been quite a winding road, with some pit stops and speed bumps, but what is a life if not for the challenges that develop character?
Dance allows me to fulfill my purposes in life- to help people, live creatively, and promote the mental, physical and emotional well-being of every individual. Most recently, though, I have gained clarity in my path and choices in life thus far. My purpose in life, the reason I am where I am, living the life that I do- dancing and promoting health and fitness, is starting to become clearer. I am a dancer. I am a mover. I want to share the joy of movement with others.
So I leave you with some final thoughts… for now at least.
This life we live is too short to apologize for living to your fullest extent. Declare to yourself and those important to you what you have chosen as your life path. Some people will stick with you, others may not, but when your mind is clear and your goals are set, nothing can stand in your way.
And do not be afraid of change… it is inevitable.
Open yourself up to the best of possibilities and gain strength by learning from the worst of opportunities. Allow yourself to love yourself and where life has taken you; enjoy your journey.