Four pairs of smooth, leather jazz shoes, two black and two tan, are tattered and worn. Holes are present where my toes should be covered, but I have worn my shoes to the point of the leather ripping. Two pairs of black tap shoes, faded from doing endless toe stands. One pair of of ballet slippers, a dirty pink canvas that is broken in from countless hours spent at the ballet barre. One pair of lyrical shoes, that helps me dig deep inside myself to reveal my emotions. One pair of Irish hard shoes that has caused numerous broken toenails and blisters. My dance bag is my prized possession, it is part of my life. It has helped me become they advanced dancer I am today.
The black tweed fabric is faded and frayed from all of the constant rubbing and carrying. I run my fingers over my name embroidered in sunshine yellow thread. The ripped edges expose the internal structure of my bag. I listen to the light humming as I gracefully unzip my bag. The zipper has broken off many times, yet after each repair, it works just like new. The aroma is strong and slightly unbearable. The small lavender air freshener cannot manage to mask the gross smell. The stench of sweaty feet makes some people want to gag, but for me, it reminds me that I am working my absolute hardest.
The vibrant colors of the dance studio bring light and happiness to my life. Hot pink, baby blue, highlighter yellow, pumpkin orange; such bright, inviting colors. So many memories been made here and so many friendships have been developed. All of my worries melt away, like an ice cube on a hot day. Any worry, doubt, and sadness escapes my body when I walk into this colorful happiness. New feelings and emotions engulf my body and mind, telling me that this is where I belong. My second home is always welcoming me with open arms. This is the home that I can always count on to make my bad days good.
I walk into the dance studio and can’t help but notice my bright-eyed, smiling dance teacher, Miss Lori. The spunky, strong, red-headed woman, who I am lucky to call my second mom, walks over to me with open arms. She encases me by giving me a warm, loving hug. Miss Lori never fails to put a smile on my face. She asks me how my day was; always putting others before herself. Miss Lori has battled breast cancer twice. Even then, she always put her students before herself. I can’t help but think how grateful I am to have this amazing role model in my life.
My dance bag may seem like an ordinary duffle bag that just holds shoes to others, but to me, it’s much more than that. I have had it since first grade when I first started dancing competitively. It carries all of my tools, like how a tool belt holds all of a construction worker’s necessities. It has become a part of me through many journeys and it will forever be a piece of me as I progress in my dance career. I have gained so much knowledge along this journey and I hope you do too as you grow as a dancer. From one dancer to another; dance is everything!