I’m a little late but International Dance Day was a few days ago so I’d like to write an appreciation post because dancing has given and taught me so much over the years. I’ve been training ballet for over a decade and it’s been a tough but exciting journey with many many ups and downs; but looking back at it has made me nothing but thankful. I feel so blessed being able to dance professionally after years of training. There has been a lot to learn and there’s so much more I have yet to experience, but these are a few of the many things I’ve learned thanks to dance.
At a young age I’ve had to learn to put certain things above others. I skipped dance classes every now when I was starting out because of exams, family outings, track training and competitions etc. But as I grew older I realized how I had to prioritize dance in order to improve, see results and grow as a dancer. Dance classes slowly became just as important as school. Education has always been very important to me so I made sure I worked as hard in my studies as I did in ballet classes and rehearsals. I’ve had to juggle “normal” life and dance life because homeschooling didn’t appeal to me and it was never either one or the other. I used to do my homework in advance during the weekends because rehearsals would run from after school until late at night. There were lots of sacrifices to be made but it’s all so worth it now. I’ve learned to prioritize what matters.
If you truly want to succeed you got to act like it, right? Ballet in particular is not only a sport but an art form as well. Difficult yet beautiful. Painful yet graceful. What dancers portray on stage can be deceitful because most people don’t understand how much effort it takes to be able to do what we do. It definitely requires discipline, focus and diligence. I had a teacher who’d go on and on about there being no miracles in dance. I believe in miracles, but I’ve got to agree with her on that one. Only working hard (and smart) will bring me closer to achieving my goals in dance. Day after day dancers push themselves, sometimes more than we can handle. Not only physically but even mentally for some. It is exhausting. But in the end, dedication always pays off. Nothing has taught me to really give everything I’ve got like dance has. It has showed me what diligence, discipline and hard work really is and what it means to truly want something, as that definitely applies to everything in life.
I’ve also realized that it all comes down to ourselves. You can’t achieve what you desire without putting any effort. I am responsible for my actions and no one else. Whether I decide to work hard or slack off is entirely my decision. Dancing really helped me mature in that sense and slowly but surely made me more and more independent. When dance would get tough I’d run to my parents, but in the end my decisions determine my actions. Anyone can give you advice, give their opinion, guide you, and even tell you what to do… but at the end of the day our present are results of each and every choice we make. Big and small decisions determine our future. That’s something I know now because dancing has taught me to become independent not only in the moving-away-from-home and grow up type of way. But in terms of taking responsibility of the things I do as well. Working hard when the teacher isn’t watching, doing exercises outside of school/working/rehearsal hours, being wise about the activities and things I do when I’m not dancing and so on. Our life, our choices, our responsibility.
There’s a lot of things I’m grateful for and dance is definitely one of them. I’m sure these things are lessons people pick up throughout their lifetime. Dance just happens to be one of my greatest mentors and biggest life lesson. I’m extremely fortunate to have grown up in this industry.
*Belated* happy International Dance Day!