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I'm a dancer. I will teach dance, choreograph dances and perform dance throughout my career. I'm about to venture out and begin this career, which is both exciting and completely terrifying. Upon learning that I'm a dancer and an artist, most people assume that I've been pursuing dance since I was a young girl. But I haven't. My first technique class was not until I was 28 years old. Say what?! Yep.
Let's back up a few years. I have always loved to dance. I inherited dancing genes... I have memories of my dad teaching me how to dance to oldies rock 'n roll in our kitchen. My mom loves to get down with her bad self. Wedding receptions were just big dance parties. I really don't remember ever not dancing. But I never was enrolled in formal dance classes as a little girl. We just didn't have the money. I played soccer instead. I loved soccer and was good at it, but oh how I wished to be a ballerina, too.
Fast forward: I graduated high school and started college. I signed up for extracurricular swing dance classes offered by the university's recreation department. Those classes were my initial launch into the dance world. Of course I wasn't content with simply learning and going out social dancing, so I busted my butt to join a troupe and began teaching and performing. Getting paid to do what I loved was amazing and surreal and a dream come true. But it was still just a hobby - a time-consuming hobby, but a hobby nonetheless - and nothing I seriously considered to attempt as a career.
Fast forward: it's summer 2007 and I was back in school trying to figure what to do with my life. I was quasi-following So You Think You Can Dance. I think it was season three or four. I don't really remember. What I do remember is one of the dancers. Her story completely caught my attention. She was on this show, yet she had only been training for about four years prior. Something inside of me turned on. I thought to myself, wait a minute, if she can do this, why can't I? I was a good dancer, I knew that in my heart. I also knew my passion for it. It was (and still is!) my heart and soul. I am absolutely happiest when dancing. So I made a decision to take a leap of faith. The next day I met with the head of the dance department to request to be a dance major. That fall, I donned my first ever pair of pink tights and black leotard and took my first ballet class.
Several of my friends thought I was crazy. I don't blame them. Starting ballet at age 28 is crazy... dance years are like doggie years and 28 is old! But I was determined. I needed to at least try. I would rather try and fail than not try at all and never know.
You know what? I didn't fail. I'm still here. Sure, it's been a very tough road. There has been plenty of blood, sweat, tears, ice and ibuprofen. But every minute has been worth it. And while I'm ancient in dance years (I'm now 33), better late than never, right?
One of the most important life lessons I've learned during this journey is that we are so much stronger and more capable than we ever give ourselves credit for. Just when we think we've reached the boundary, if we have just a little courage, even a tiny flicker, we discover that our limits are flexible and can be stretched to a new place. Little by little, inch by inch, we learn how much we can truly do and BE. Go ahead, try... there's nothing to lose, I promise.
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Thank you for letting me share my story. I have been inspired by each of the stories that have been shared so far by the other Blog Hoppers, and I have a feeling you will be, too. Go visit Brigitte's blog to read some inspiring stuff!
And while you're at it, what's your story?