Nothing breaks my heart more than to hear a tale of someone’s dreams being halted, stopped, squished or shattered. My whole adolescence, all I wanted to do was be a famous dancer. Dancing is what I do best… I was dancing before I could walk and growing up, I never met a dancer that was better than me. No, I’m not cocky or arrogant… I truly never came across better dancers. I had this incredible natural talent to feel the music in my soul and let it take me. I could watch someone demonstrate a movement once and I could then execute the same movement, with little to no error. It is what I do best, make no mistake… Sadly at 35 years old, I am considered “old” by dancer standards and not in the same shape I was when I was 15, studying dance 3-5 hours 6 days per week.
My father has shared with me, in my adult life, two regrets he has…. 1. that he did not raise me bilingual…. truth be told my Spanish-speaking skills are poor and 2. that he did not allow me to join the New York City Ballet when one of their creative movement instructors showed up at his job asking him to please let me audition…. (I was 8 years old at the time and the instructor had given a workshop at my elementary school)…. sigh….. that ship sailed and my dream of being a ballerina (albeit a short one) was gone…. LOL
While I acknowledge the fact that my degrees and work experience have shaped me into the person I currently am, and I’m pleased… I do often wish I was encouraged more to follow my dreams. Fear of failing, fear of being a dime-a-dozen dancer, and fear of being washed up by the age of 29 were all contributing factors in both of my parents always allowing me to dance as a hobby but not as a career choice.
I tell all young people I have the opportunity to speak with, and that actually is a lot since I work at a commercial gym full of high school and college kids, “You’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to change your mind. You’re probably going to second guess yourself at some point in your studies and career… Listen to your heart and follow your dreams. I wish I was encouraged more when I was your age.”… I am one of the lucky ones…. because now, I am doing what I want to do… and no one can tell me differently. I’m stubbornly fixated on my dream, but open-minded as to how I get to that milestone. If you have dreams, don’t let anyone shatter them, including yourself.