How Dance Got Me Through My Toughest Times

For as long as I could walk, I’ve always loved the idea of dance. Watching it. Actually doing it. Living it. I was enrolled in dance classes at a young age and would go every week and practice ballet, jazz, and tap. I had big dreams of one day being a dancer on Dancing with the Stars, which to an elementary school kid’s mind seems attainable. My biggest regret however, was abruptly quitting when things had become difficult. I had so much potential, yet felt that I wasn’t going to succeed. 

Prior to coming into college, I was struck with a lot of extremely stressful situations: the idea of moving away from home, balancing financials by myself, and trying to balance pretty much everything else in my life. I remember crying for nights on end worrying about the tiniest of things. When I had went to my doctor and explained to her what I was feeling, I was given medication that would help soothe my anxiety. Paired with counseling, I had realized I needed to find my niche that could help me get my mind off of the stressors in my life. Going to the on-campus organization fair, I had wandered for about an hour before I found a dance club. Little did I know that this organization would become the one thing that keeps me going.

It has now been three years that I've been involved with dancing again. Every time I am able to go to the studio, I put my entire heart and soul into every little combo learned. I had soon realized after a while that contemporary pieces helped me express life's deepest sorrows. Heartbreak. Loss of a loved one. Mental health issues. So many things that I as well as my fellow dancers would bring to life in showcases and small student ran classes. Really being able to connect yourself with the music and rhythms in order to form something so intricate and beautiful is something almost theraputic to me. Recently I had choreographed my first ever piece for a showcase. It told the story of me coming out and basically showing that no one can tell me who I can and can't be. My hard work did not go unnoticed and so many people supported me telling my story on stage. It felt really good to get up there and just pour everything out I had been feeling. The crowd also loved it which made things so much better.

In the grand scheme of things, this organization as well as dance itself has saved me from so many dark and intrusive thoughts. Excercise in general has been proven to help with stress and depression at times– and dancing has been the one thing keeping me going throughout college. I find myself occasionally choreographing or just dancing to music around my room in order to calm myself down. There are just so many emotions music and dance can convey, it's just how you the dancer want to interpret it. With the right people sticking by my side and rooting for me offstage as well as on, I have never felt more at peace and happy than I do now. If you have the opportunity to ever do anything that involves dancing, please give it a try. It may be something you've never considered before and can be your next creative outlet.