Dance.

It was an ordinary Saturday in 5th grade and I was at my friend’s house. Her favorite show at the time was Dance Moms. She was watching an episode when I came over and I thought it looked interesting. The following day, I found the first season on Amazon and I’ve been hooked ever since. I binge-watched it all summer and by August, I decided that I wanted to take dance lessons. In the fall of 2014, I began dancing at Dance Destination. The funny thing is, I thought I was good. Thanks to five years of gymnastics, I was fairly flexible (which means I could do one split), but dance flexibility and technique are so different from gymnastics. However, even with the initial hardships, I began to fall in love with dance, slowly, but surely.

Now let’s flash forward to December of 2015. I had just joined my first lyrical class with less than eight people and a new teacher. The first day of class, two girls ran towards me excitedly and told me, “We are going to be BEST friends.” After that, I was a little freaked out and was going to tell my mom that I didn’t want to join the class, but then realized that it would be a good opportunity to get more practice time. As the year went on, one of those girls actually became one of my close friends, and the following year, we made the dance competition team together.

Eighth grade was a good year. After two years of working hard, I was so excited to make the competition team. The team required a whole new level of commitment and dedication. I went from dancing two hours a week, to dancing about 9 hours a week. That year, Chloe (the friend in my lyrical class) and I made a new friend, and the three of us have stuck by each other ever since.

Not only did I have amazing friends and great dance instruction, I also had the best teachers. They’re sweet, hardworking, and always believe in us. All of this put together has made my dance experience incredible. Those of you who are on any sort of team know how stressful it can be when you’re competing. At one of our competitions, we were backstage and one of the girls in my dance realized that she forgot her costume. Immediately, she started panicking, called her mom, and left to go get it. My teacher was also extremely stressed and was scared that she wouldn’t be back in time. Unfortunately, the girl didn’t come back in time for the dance and she felt so guilty in the moment, but now we laugh about it. Unforgettable memories and experiences like these make it all worthwhile.

Lastly, this year. This year has been the most hectic year ever. I added even more hours to my dance schedule, more difficult classes, and many new clubs. Despite my packed schedule, I have continued to love dance, and I hope to do it for many years to come. A few days ago, the girls at my studio found out that the owner was moving and we were shocked! Later, we understood why, and we are very happy and excited for her! However, the shock still hasn’t worn off, and it has made me realize how much I cherish the dance community. A community I am fortunate to be apart of. In the next few months, many girls from our studio, including myself, are on a search to find a new studio.

This new studio will never replace the first one, but now it is time to start a new chapter of my dance life.