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Leaps to Progress

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Throughout all the events in my life, one in particular sticks out more than the others. As I reflect on this significant event, a smile spreads across my face. As I think of this person, I feel loved and grateful more than ever that God could bless me with such a teacher, such a friend. Because of her, I evolved into the person I am today, but the mostly, the dancer I am today.

Eleven years of dance and going on twelve that year. I suspected it would end up like any other year: stuck in any empty spot that needed filling, forgotten, and without the belief of any teacher or friend that I really had the potential to achieve greatness. Little did I know this one year would change everything. That year, I made the decision to work with Shanda, a young, talented choreographer, for my solo. I looked forward to working with her. I concluded I would have an okay dance, but I never expected my year to have such an impact on my dancing the way it did. The moment I walked into the marley-floored, wall-to-wall mirrored rooms, I already felt like Shanda had faith in me. She influenced me to work to the best of my ability, pushed me to keep going when I wanted give up, and showed me the real importance of dance.
Throughout our hard work and dedication, not only did my ability to dance grow, but my friendship with Shanda grew as well. Shanda became more than a teacher to me, but a close friend that I could turn to for anything. Always there to pick me up when I got down, Shanda gave me strength and wisdom when I needed it the most.

As the year quickly came to an end, everything that I strived for paid off. As I walked to a backstage filled with other dancers warming up and anticipating their performance, I prayed for a good performance that would convey my improvement. The performer’s music before me rang in my ears. I waited anxiously for my turn. Finally, after what seemed like days, the loud speaker announced my name. Butterflies automatically filled my stomach as I took trembling steps onto the big, illuminated stage. Excitement and nervousness ran through my veins, overwhelming me. But, with the overpowering determination to succeed showed me I could not give up. The music started and I began to dance, showing just how vigorous I worked all year. All my troubles and nerves melted away as I danced my whole heart out like I never had before.

Shanda taught me more than better moves and better technique. She taught me the true love of dance. As I walked up to the judge to receive my first place glistening, gold trophy, I realized that dance is not about becoming the best. It was about loving dance for dance itself, a get away from all my problems in the world, and a get away from reality. Shanda showed me that you could let everything go and just dance what you feel in that moment. After all the doubt that people had in me, I believed in myself and did not care what others thought. As long as Shanda and I, myself, had strength in me, I knew I would make it. Denis Diderot once firmly stated, “Only passions, great passions can elevate the soul to great things.” Thanks to Shanda, dance became more than a love of mine, but a passion. I feel like I owe everything to her. Thanks to Shanda, I became the dancer I am today. After eleven years of feeling hopeless, God had finally answered my prayers; he sent me Shanda, someone who influenced me greatly. She has forever changed my life.





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