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The Life of a Dancer

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The lights are on me. The very first move is the one that counts. One through eight are the only numbers that matter when I hit the stage.I take this very seriously. Dance is an art, a passion even, yet to common people it is just an entertaining set of movements to an upbeat song. I am a dancer.

I have been dancing since I was three years old. A little brown girl among a class filled with girls of a pale white skin tone. I danced within the walls of Bonnie Cokinos School of Dance for at least four years. I always knew that I had the potential to be a great dancer, yet I was intimidated by the girls who had the silky blonde hair that was always in a perfect ballerina bun. While I was the girl with the slicked back ponytail, too scared to even speak to the other girls.

One day I came home from school to find out that I was no longer going to be attending Bonnie Cokinos School of Dance. I cried so did my sister, for she was as passionate about dance as I was, if not more. I sat at home and thought about why I was no longer able to dance inside of those walls of the studio, and I didn’t understand until my mom told me that money was tight. Money could not be spared on the dance classes that my sister and I had loved to take, so we had to deal with that.

A few months after unenrolling from Bonnie Cokinos, I joined the school dance team, the Charlton-Pollard Showstoppers. I was introduced into a new style of dance I had never experienced before. Here I was surrounded by girls that looked like me, ranging from their hair, to language and most importantly, their skin color. I made friends with girls who looked like me, accepted me, and embraced me for who I was. I did not feel different at that moment when I walked into the first practice of the year-round season, I felt confident.

Over the course of the next four years I climbed my way up the ladder. From dancing in the back row my first two years, to dancing in the second row when I made Lieutenant, and ultimately dancing front and center when I made Captain my last year. Who would have thought that this little brown girls uprooted from ballet would have been the leader of a hip-hop group of over 60 girls? Because it wasn’t me.

As I ventured into middle school, dance was not available to me. I cheered my sixth through eighth grade years. Sixth grade I was the leader of Odom Academy’s Pep Squad, but that only lasted a year until I moved to Houston the summer before seventh grade. Starting school at Harmony School of Innovation really threw me for a loop when I was exposed to the diversity they had there. Blacks, Whites, Hispanics, Africans and so many other races and nationalities that I can’t even list them all. When I wanted to join the dance program, I was faced with the bad news that there wasn’t one. I cried to my sister and mom, but they were already three steps ahead of me. My sister had created a cheer program for me to join. Trying out for the team was the hard part. There was one set back. I had never cheered before. With help from my prior dance experience, I was able to make the team and score high enough to be named Captain. Even though I had been appeased with the creation of a cheer team, I still knew that there was a void in my life that was not being filled. That void was dance. I pleaded to my mom to let my enroll into a dance studio near us, and she finally gave in.

Coincidentally after getting a flat tire, my mom pulled into a small strip of buildings which just so happened to have a dance studio inside of it. I went in, talked to the principal choreographer and began taking classes that night. I was a team member of Xtreme Level Dance in 2014, Captain in 2015, and a  student teacher by 2016. Alongside being a member of Xtreme Level, I was also a dedicated member of the Bellaire Belles for my first two years of high school. I am now a proud member of the eMotions Dance Company and an incoming Captain. Juggling the many different practices is not easy, but it is the choice I made when I chose to dance. I never would have realized that dancing is the thing I love most if I had not had been exposed to all its different styles.

I have been dancing my whole life and I do not plan on stopping any time soon. I dance because of the way I move people with my body. Whether it be with its elegance for a ballet routine, its hardness for a hip hop routine, or its sharpness for a kick or pom routine. Ballet buns, tutus, harem pants, jazz pants, sports bras and spandex, you name it I have it. The ripped tights, knee braces, and the endless amounts of bobby pins is ridiculous. But all of these things are the foundation of who I am. I am a dancer, an all-around dancer who continues to shine. I shine on the stage at competition all the way to the auditorium stage for pep rallies. Dance is an escape, yet it is also an opportunity, an opportunity to show who I am and what I work hard for. I am a dancer and that is something that can never be taken away from me.

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The Life of a Dancer