What Dancing Looks Like for Me

I have been dancing for nearly ten years now, and while I’ve had my ups and downs, (you can read about those in my previous 2 posts about ballet and contemporary) I’ve always enjoyed it. Now, as I’m starting a new chapter in my life I’m facing the fact that I probably won’t be able to access lessons all the time. I’m heading into university where my transport will be limited and my studies will take first priority.

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I’ve always said I will never stop dancing, and I know that this change will not affect that, but it will mean it is harder for me to dance as regularly. I will write a post all about my transition into university life, but what you need to know is I’m moving from my 8 year home in South Africa to my childhood home of Canada.

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The dance studio I’ve been with for eight years has been like a home for me, and I could not have enjoyed my time there more. My teacher has always been encouraging and the atmosphere is joyful and relaxed. Knowing that I have to leave has been a real struggle for me because I don’t know if I’ll be able to find somewhere else that I enjoy as much. Dancing, especially ballet, can be very strict and stuffy at times, but where I have been, it has always been lively and joyful. I actually don’t know if I would have stuck with ballet if not for the atmosphere I found myself in.

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I have grown immensely as a dancer and a person, and I want to continue on the path that I set out on eight years ago. The question is, how?

The great thing about dance is you can do it just about anywhere. You don’t need a fancy studio with a full-length mirror and a barre to have a good time or work on your technique. With ballet, there are a few more requirements, a smooth floor for example, but dancing is about so much more than that.

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Sometimes around the house, I’ll just randomly do a posé turn or step into a penché or put my leg up into a wall split. Dance stays with you and will follow you wherever you go. When you’ve done it for long enough, it starts to become second nature.

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The thing about dancing is it teaches you about more than just steps; it teaches you about life, about patience, about perseverance, and about awareness of others. The kindness and commiseration you feel with fellow dancers is extraordinary because you know you’ve made it this far together.

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Some people think ballet is all about pointe shoes and tutus, but I’ll have you know that the first time I put on a tutu was last year… after 9 years of dancing! The time shown in these pictures was probably my 2nd time wearing a tutu to show some kids at a local daycare school about ballet. The looks on their faces when I went up on my toes was absolutely priceless! Even the parents were amazed, it was really quite something. Ballet captures some of the beauty of life, and I am honoured to be an ambassador of it.

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So… what next? I’ve told you about my journey with dancing, and shared my passion, but how will I continue doing it when I’m supposed to be studying?
All I have to tell you is a dancer will find a way.

If I can’t get to a studio, I’ll dance in my room, if there’s nowhere to practice, I’ll stretch in the gym, if I start losing my strength and balance, I’ll do it anyway because there is nothing like being able to express yourself. It’s kind of what I’m all about here on my blog; expressing yourself in whatever way suits you, and expressing yourself to the fullest. It’s something you can’t fake.

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I’m not the best dancer in the world, but that doesn’t stop me from always doing my best, and trying my hardest. Even though my foot may be sickled, at least I tried and had fun doing it.

If you’re struggling with self-esteem in a field where you feel insecure, I would say to not do it for anyone else. If I based my dancing off of having to perform perfectly for other people I probably would have been killed by the pressure. The beauty is, in the art world, you only have to do it for yourself. If you’re wanting to make a job out of it or get an opportunity to pursue it full time it may be different, but ultimately you have to love what you are doing, and that doesn’t come from any outward recognition or praise.

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The dance has to be inside you. It’s what drives you to do more and be better. Don’t worry about what other people think; take their comments in stride and never stop pursuing what you want to achieve.

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~Abby

Xx