I’ve been a dancer since I was three years old and while English is my first language, I consider dance to be my second. That may not make a whole lot of sense, but when I dance, I can express what I am feeling or thinking, sometimes much better than I can with words. Words must be chosen carefully or not said at all in fear of them stinging too prominently. With dance there is no limit. You can express full anger, rage, sadness, happiness, any emotion you are feeling through only a few movements.

The audience may be shocked by one that is much more intense than the other, but they don’t know who it’s about because it’s personal; your movements are a code that only you will ever fully understand. It’s easy to give an overview of what a dance is supposed to be portraying, if anything at all, but never will someone know exactly what you are feeling and how you are interpreting those feelings. Sometimes, when I am improving, my body takes me to places I didn’t know I needed to be exploring and sometimes my movements are meaningless; they are simply just what my body feels like doing with no deep meaning at all.

The long, restless nights of dancing back in my hometown, Kalamazoo, were tough. They weren’t always fun and were completely draining, but when I look back on them almost a decade later, I’m so grateful for the memories of competitions, long nights at the studio, running around the hotels and so much more. Dancing is embedded deep within me and there’s no shaking it and thank goodness that’s the case because when times get tough I always have it to turn to and ease my racing mind.