Ever since I was three years old I have been in love with dance. I have been dancing at Cary Ballet Conservatory for the past 12 years. I started out doing both ballet and jazz. I was in all “pro” levels throughout these years. In 8th grade I was leveled up in ballet, and was no longer in the same level as my friends that I have been dancing with for over 10 years at that point. Ballet is a very harsh style of dance. It’s really hard to make it in the ballet world. You have to be a certain body type, which is usually very, very skinny.
During my 8th grade year I took ballet 4 times a week for two or more hours each, and jazz twice a week, so I had a total of six classes a week. I was in love with ballet, I loved performing. The practices were rough to the point of bloody feet and tears but it was all worth it to me. I didn’t realize until after that year how much ballet affected my health. I was so busy with it I barely had the chance to eat, sleep, or worry are bout school at all. In my mind dance always came first, in front of anything else in my life. After realizing this, I figured going into high school I definitely could not handle even more dance then my 8th grade year, plus high school work. So I made a really hard decision to quit my pro ballet journey. Instead I decided to stick with jazz, contemporary and modern.
My freshman year of high school I joined the CBC jazz company and made the “3D company”, the highest level. I have continued with that and pro jazz ever since, and I love it every single day. At first it was really hard, I felt as if my body got “worse” after quitting ballet and watching my friends from ballet keep getting better and better, some of them going to professional companies now. It was hard to accept that my physical and emotional health was much better off without in my life, but I could still continue to express through different styles of dance. I dance 3-4 days a week, along with Green Hope Dance Team which is three times a week. A total of about 15 hours a week. I think it is very important to do what you love, but also always put your mental and physical health before anything else in life. Its important to find something you love to do. For me, dance is an escape, after a long day of school or any kind of stressful day, I can always count on going to dance at the end of the day and I always end up walking out more content then when I walked in. Im so thankful for the opportunity to be able to do what I love, and for all of the friends I have made during my journey, and I know not to take one minute of it for granted.
This summer (2016) I had a stress fracture on my foot from dance. I spent 3 months not dancing and it really made me realize how much I appreciate dance, and how thankful I am for the opportunity to train at CBC with amazing teachers and get better and better each day. I think it is important for every girl to find something that they love to do, and that makes them feel good about themselves and love themselves. Self love and self confidence is one of the most important things in life, and dance definitely helped me find that!