Hello, I’m a dancer. I didn’t start my life as a dancer though. I wasn’t born with the ability to do crossbody leads or with the knowledge of how to lead someone into a double underarm turn. I became a dancer somewhere along the way while traveling the road we call life.
At some point in my life (I believe I was 18 or 19 years old at the time), I was walking down a straight and narrow path. It was an easy path but it was also directionless and had absolutely zero scenery or color. Suddenly though the path that I was walking on led to a T-Junction and I was given a choice. I could either take a left and keep walking the directionless, colorless path that, while boring, would’ve been easy and the path of least resistance or I could take a right which I could see from the beginning was filled with beautiful, vivid colors and tumultuous music that I knew would stimulate my soul in a way that it had never experienced before.
Lured in by these new sensations and feelings, I turned right and took the first step towards the path that would eventually turn me into a dancer. What I didn’t know at the time though was that while the path that I chose was beautiful at first, it soon became rocky and jagged. There were times when the road became so spiky that my feet hurt, there were times when the cliffs that I was hanging onto by the tips of my fingers and plateaus that felt like they would never end made me want to turn around and go back to that easy path that I had passed on months or years earlier.
All along the way there were clearly marked exits which would’ve taken me back to that path of least resistance and while every so often I was tempted to take one of those exits and go back to my easy, directionless life I pushed forward past them. I kept climbing those sharp cliffs, I kept walking forward across the endless plateaus and now, almost two decades later, I can look back on the path that I chose to walk and say that I wouldn’t change a single thing about it.
Every time a new student signs up for one of my group classes or private lessons, I look back on the rocky road that I had to walk and think about how they are now making the choice to do the same thing that I did. While no two people will ever walk the exact same path, take exactly the same journey or even take the same amount of time to get to where they are headed; they are still all headed towards the same destination and goal: to be able to say that they are dancers.
The image that I chose to go along with the words of this post aren’t meant to discourage anyone from starting down the road of dance. Quite the opposite in fact, it’s meant to encourage you. The words that I’ve written were chosen very carefully because I want everyone to know that tough times are going to be waiting for you. You too are going to have to climb cliffs and cross seemingly endless plateaus. There will be times in your dance career where it feels like you’re making absolutely zero progress and those are the times when it’ll be the easiest to take one of the previously mentioned exits that will take you back to the path of least resistance.
Nowhere in the ‘dance instructor’ job description does it say that it’s my job to blow sunshine up your ass and tell you that becoming a dancer is the easiest thing you’ll ever do in your life. Become a dancer is hard and yes, sometimes it means pushing your body, mind and soul beyond its limits. As someone who has walked that path before you and reached some of the higher peaks that are awaiting you let me tell you that it’s worth it.
The road that leads you upwards towards becoming a dancer is not an easy one and I will never lie to you and tell you that it is. What I will tell you though is that once you climb those peaks and get past those flats, the view that awaits you is absolutely worth it and you’ll be glad, perhaps even proud, that you made the hard journey. Believe me when I say that once you climb the mountain, it will completely change your perspective of the world around you and that, my dear friends, is what life is all about.