Thanksgiving break meant returning to my hometown to not just visit family and friends, but also visit my dance teacher. Because I have known her since I was in elementary school and because I am no longer her student, having coffee with her felt like reconvening and reminiscing with an old friend. This blog has given me ample opportunity to reflect on my personal dance experiences, but I wanted to find out what the dance process was like for someone else. I took this opportunity to pick her brains about being a dancer.
When did you start dancing?
I can’t remember not dancing. I must have been three or four years old when I started classes, but I bet I was dancing in my mother womb.
Why did you start dancing?
It’s all thanks to my parents who enrolled me in classes.
Then why did you keep dancing?
At first it was just out of habit, something familiar for me to go to, but then I started wanting to go to classes. So, I started taking more and more classes until dance was my life.
Did you see dance as a career?
I saw it as a lifestyle.
What does that mean?
That means that to me I didn’t decide to dance because I needed a career. I dance because it embodies my feelings and it challenges me and it is my muse. For me dancing is just living, so I kept “living” until it became my career.
Was there ever a time you wanted to give up?
When I was young, in high school really, I felt I was missing out because if I wasn’t at school, I was at dance class. I felt I was missing the social aspect of high school, but I never doubted that dance was what I wanted. So I never stopped.
Did the professional world scare you?
Yes, until I realized they were just as scared as I was.
What do you mean by that?
I mean that, yes, professionals have confidence and grace but they are humans with the same worries as me, such as trying to eat right or getting nervous before interviews. Also every professional dancers started the in the same place as I did, in class learning what a plié is.
What’s the best part of being a dance teacher?
It’s rather nostalgic. I love teaching kids because it reminds me how it felt to be a young, eager dancer. I just want to bring that same joy I felt as a kid to my students.
If you weren’t a dancer or dance teacher, what would you have been?
I wanted to be a doctor when I was little, but then I found out the sight of blood makes me faint. Hahaha, that quickly changed my goals.
What is your favorite type of dance?
Communal dances. You know, like square dances or dancing at weddings. The types of dances where you don’t think and instead you just move to the music and feed off the mood of those around you. That’s the most rewarding and most fun type of dance because I get to do it with the people I love.
If you could give any advice to someone starting to dance for the first time, what would it be?
I would tell them not to be concerned with society’s standards of what is “good”, such as tricks and flips. Dance is about personal standards such as testing your body’s limits and expressing your emotion. Focus on those things and the tricks and flips will come thereafter. Just start dancing.