FitbyTiana life

To Dance or Die

My number one love in life has always been dancing. As far back as I can recall, my body would sway, bop, bounce, jump, tap, shake, whatever you can imagine… to a rhythm pattern, a sequence, a song playing in a car passing by and even commercial jingles on TV. Movement… it’s always been about movement. Show me once, I can mark it… show me twice, I can perfect it… then please give me space so I can do it full out. For my dancers reading this, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

I had this incredible ballet teacher at one point that would not allow us to practice in the perimeter of the room while other dancers were working in the center. We had to sharpen our minds and be fully engaged in every word, nuance, and breathe. We would even have to listen to how she instructed the accompanist to play, for it would affect the speed of the sequence.

I started ballet at the old girl age of 15… that’s very late in dancer years, but better late than never for me! Prior to starting ballet, I was at a dance school that focused heavily on the end of the school year recital. We would spend most of our time learning and practicing one tap number and one jazz number. After 2 years of this, and a minor bullying incident with a teacher that hated my enthusiasm and love of dance, I asked my mom if I could find another school where I could learn technique. I didn’t understand (at the age of 15) why it would take some students an entire school year to nail a routine… but when you went into the schools in the city (NYC of course) you learned a new routine at the end of each class. (Mind… blown!)

So one Saturday morning, my mom took me to a new school… We felt like we were cheating on my original school, but we knew something needed to change. In the interest of me first trying the school to see if I liked it, we stuck with Jazz. I was in way over my head, the teacher used all sorts of terminology I had never heard before… the class moved at a very fast pace… some students doing quadruple pirourettes (I was lucky to get around once lol).. and I kept my game face the whole time. I sucked… I held in my tears… and I knew that this was where I needed to be. Don’t get me wrong, I really hated it in the moment… but what happened at the end of class, I will never forget. The instructor came over and asked me (and my mom) how much ballet training I had. When I said, “none”… the look on his face was priceless. He said, “So everything I just witnessed was raw talent and no formal training? If that’s the case, you have an incredible gift!” and my mom said, “that is correct and that is why we are here.”

I finished my year at the original school and performed in the recital… even though I started training at the new school. That was the first time my mom realized she needed to listen to me a little more. I knew what I needed to grow and to improve. I’ll never forget that day that I was way out of my league in the studio. I gave it my absolute best. I have always been ALL HEART. My point to you is this, don’t keep ignoring that voice inside of you telling you to try something new, or to pursue a new goal or dream. What do you have to lose?

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