What 15 Years of Dance Has Taught Me

When you decide to dedicate your childhood and adolescence to endless dance classes and competitions, you end up learning a few life lessons along the way. Most children get involved in a couple of sports or after-school activities while in grammar school in the hopes that that child will find what they love to do. As a 3 year old, it was hard to tell what I was going to be interested in. My mom decided to enroll me in ballet and tap at a local studio near my house. I am beyond grateful for her making this decision. 

Not only did growing up a dancer give me valuable life lessons, it opened new doors for me, allowed me to express myself in every way possible and gave me everlasting friendships. 

 

Time Management

The most important lesson that dance has given me has been knowing how to balance my time evenly. As I grew older, I became more and more involved in dance. By the time I was in middle school, I was at my dance studio for 10-12 hours a week and spending close to 6 days a week dancing. 

Being able to manage schoolwork and an intense activity for that many hours a week without a doubt prepared me for what I came to experience in college. Especially studying nursing, the number one skill to possess is time management. To this day, I will thank dance for forcing me to learn how to balance homework, projects and papers, dance classes during the week and dance competitions on the weekends as well as attempting to have a social life in my high school years. 

Time management will be a skill that you need for almost anything in life. Through school years, through whatever career you jump into and even in family life. Balancing the amount of responsibilities that come with caring for many people can only be done with time management skills; and thanks to dance, I already have this. 

 

Sacrifice

I cannot even count on all my fingers and toes how many big events in my life I had to miss because of my dedication to dance. There were countless high school football games, parties, hangouts, family events, the list goes on and on. “I can’t, I have dance” was an expression I got used to saying often. There was even the year that my religious confirmation was on the same day as a dance competition and I had the immense stress of fitting both into my schedule in one day. Frustration doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt when I had to miss out on so much in high school. 

But, what I put into dance all those years and all of those sacrifices I made, all paid off. I learned the ultimate knowledge of sacrifice. Sacrifice is not something that can be taught through words or lessons, only through experience and dance has surely given me this. 

 

How Much Your Parents Love You

My parents sacrificed so much as well allowing me to participate in dance. They selflessly drove me to and from practice for years and years, paid dance tuition bills, competition fees and for costumes. Most of all, they were the biggest supporters at every single performance. My parents cheered me on, were there for me when I cried tears of joy and disappointment, and even gave me their own constructive criticism because they knew how important it was to push me to be the absolute best that I can be. 

By being such supportive parents, I know that they sacrificed plenty of aspects of their own lives over the years for me. This is a debt that I can never repay them for. The fact that my parents stood by me through everything with dance only pushed me harder to become even better in order to make them as proud as I possibly can. 

 

Self-Confidence 

When you go on stage in front of hundreds of strangers at recitals and competitions for years on end, you learn to gain loads of self-confidence. You end up believing in the fact that you are you and there is nobody else on this Earth like you. You also come to learn that embarrassment is in your self-control. Meaning that things are only embarrassing if you think that they are and you let them embarrass you. So when you make a mistake in a dance, you know that it is only an embarrassment if you allow it to. One of my teachers always advised me that if you mess up in a dance, you have the rest of the dance to perform that much better to make up for that mistake. This is something that has stuck with me since that moment and I use it in everyday life.

In addition, once you get up in front of everyone and all eyes are on you, you learn to work well under pressure which is always useful in a career setting. If something goes wrong like one dancer forgets a move or their spot in the dance, it is up to the other dancers in the performance to think on their feet and make that mistake look as if it wasn’t. Thinking and doing something last minute requires self-confidence in the way that you must be confident in whatever you decide to do and go through with it fully. 

 

Self-Discipline 

Without a doubt, after 15 years of dance, I walked away with self-discipline to last a lifetime. Through dance classes, I learned that I cannot nail a step or a skill from doing it once or a dance routine will become perfect overnight. I know that each and every practice I am working towards something bigger and better. From a very young age, I understood the concept of self-discipline and determination. 

In addition, you are taught the importance of respect for others and yourself. A dancer always has tremendous respect for their teacher and teammates. These are the people who are always there for you through it all and they push you to be a better dancer. 

 

In the end, there is no question that a childhood of dance class has allowed me to become the person that I am today. I am forever grateful for all of the teachers, instructors and teammates in my dance career that have been in my biggest motivators, supporters and friends. Every experience I have had through dance has shaped me into who I am and has taught me lessons that I couldn’t learn anywhere else. 

 

Thank you, dance.