A Look Back in Time
I had a great childhood. I was a little blonde pipsqueak who was stubborn and goofy – a Daddy’s girl with my mom’s determination. I guess some things never change, right? I was never super “girly”. I have two older brothers, so that wasn’t really an option. I got stitches in my right knee from chasing them around the house. I have an adorable pin with my c-ball picture in it from following in their footsteps. But when I was 6, my parents decided that I should do something completely for myself, so they put me into gymnastics.
I hated gymnastics. I did it for a day, perfected my cartwheel, and left it for good. Not long after that, I found myself in a dance class. I can honestly say I didn’t know that my parents’ decision to do that would change the course of my entire life. How could I have known? I was only 6. But I also can say that my parents didn’t know that would be the case either.
I didn’t immediately fall in love with dance. I enjoyed it, sure, and it was really fun, but it was an after-school activity. However, when I was 9, that all changed. I was offered a wonderful opportunity that allowed me to see more of what the real dance world was like – I had more performance opportunities in more locations, and my love of dance grew. It became a passion for me. My life had changed. I knew what I wanted to pursue in life.
I originally wanted to major in dance, but WV didn’t have a dance major anywhere in the state at the time. I auditioned to numerous dance programs in various states, but the out-of-state tuitions were too expensive, and I couldn’t commit to that kind of financial decision. I hesitantly decided to attend WVU. Not that I didn’t love the school – once a Mountaineer, always a Mountaineer. But I naively thought that not majoring in dance would crush my dream of becoming a professional dancer.
I decided to major in Exercise Physiology and minor in dance. My major made the most sense for me, as it allowed me to learn about the body in depth. As a dancer whose only instrument is their body, I truly appreciated this and soaked up every piece of knowledge. I went to chemistry and biology during the day, and spent almost every evening in a beautiful dance studio. But these two worlds made me happy. Eventually, I realized that I was going to be happier that my degree was in a health-related field. I always knew I couldn’t dance forever, and I’ve always had a love for helping others, so when I discovered dance therapy while writing my senior thesis, everything seemed to make sense. I would pursue my dream of dancing professionally first, then I would continue using dance as a tool to help others.
Throughout college, I knew that when graduation came, it would mean packing my bags and heading to NYC. It wasn’t even a question in my mind, and my parents were extremely supportive about it. It started to become more real as graduation crept closer, and everyone on earth asked, “What are your plans after graduation? Grad school? PT school? Do you have a job lined up?” Actually, I’m moving to NYC to be a professional dancer. No, I don’t have a job there already. No, I don’t know who I’m living with yet. Yes, I know dancers don’t make a lot of money. But a girl has to follow her dream right?
So in September of last year, I packed up my bags and my cute ogre of a cat, and made my way to NYC. Two weeks in, I got a job at Dylan’s Candy Bar. I actually had to audition to get the job, and of course I did a cheesy tap dance to “Lollipop.” A few months later, I decided to find something where I could use my degree, and got a job at a physical therapy office. Here, I met the most amazing friends and had absolutely wonderful experiences. But, I couldn’t work a 40-hour week and dance as much as I wanted, so I had to pursue something else. I now work as an executive assistant, and things are going extremely well. All in time.
As for dance, the first dance class I took upon moving here was of course a Taylor class. But I wanted to take from many different teachers and explore new options; I just didn’t know where to start. Simonson technique had been recommended to me, so I found one that I could go to after church on Sundays. I fell in love with the class, and it kind of holds a special place in my heart, as it eased me into the dance world here. I continued exploring new teachers and classes, and I have found classes I absolutely adore, and attend those as often as possible. I’ve also taken some classes on accident that I probably shouldn’t have been in – such as a hip-hop/housing class – but needless to say, I gave myself (and everyone else in the class) a pretty good laugh.
It’s hard to believe that this time last year, I was still unsure of where life was going to lead me. Yes, I knew I’d be living somewhere in NYC, but I had no idea where, or with whom, what kind of job I’d work, who I’d make friends with, what classes I would take, which auditions I would go to. And looking back over the course of these past few months, I can’t believe where life has taken me and the experiences I’ve been able to have. Sometimes I take my opportunity for granted – just as we all do with our lives – but I try to always take a moment and realize what I’ve been given, and remember the support I have from so many. And of course I can’t forget that little girl who decided almost 15 years ago that she “wanted to be a dancer some day”.