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I have danced for most of my childhood, having been enrolled in ballet, tap, and jazz classes since before I could remember. Rhythm always came naturally to me; anytime music was heard I was definitely dancing. Every wedding I was at, I stole the show on the dance floor. Because of this, no one ever expected me to quit dance. 

I was in 7th grade when the question arose. I had tried out for the cheerleading squad and got it, the only problem was I had to choose between cheer and dance. At that moment the answer was easy. My dance teacher was very stereotypical when it came to how she felt about body image. There were a lot of slimmer girls than me and my teacher took a liking to them. I was always sent to the back of the formations, looked unflattering in all the costumes, and wasn’t even considered for the competition team. It was always like she was plotting against me; granted I was 13 at the time and it felt like the world was out to get me 24/7. I quit without a thought in my mind, and it took about a year for me to regret it; dance was something I just couldn’t shake from my brain. I even made up dance routines in my room in order to keep dancing in my veins. 

I graduated high school, took a year of soul searching, and started school at IUP. I knew at that moment I wanted to join a club to fill the void between classes. I looked at the list of clubs and found a few pertaining to dance. It was like a calling. I had to join a dance group. I tried out for one dance organization, and as I learned the dance for the tryout I knew it wasn’t the place for me. While at that tryout, I saw practice for an organization on campus called Dance Theater. I knew at that moment that the next year I would try out. 

I tried out the fall of 2019 and got in with the lucky number of 13. The fear of not dancing in so long really got the best of me in some of the practices and I’d come home and cry, worrying I wasn’t going to be good enough. I was wrong. I did so well and my dance instructor made me feel so empowered and loved. Dance has been such a positive influence on my life and I would’ve kept going if the instructor hadn’t retired. Dance will always have a place in my heart and even now without a stage. I will keep moving until my legs can no longer go.

Brooke is an English education major at IUP and plans to graduate in spring 2022. Alongside Her Campus, she has also performed with the IUP Dance Theater and is part of the Kappa Delta Pi honors society and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).
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