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What Dance Class Taught Me

Glittery girls who smell like hair spray fill the stage, not only can you smell their presence; you can feel it too. They smile like pageant girls and fly like hummingbirds, leaving you in a state of disbelief and happiness. They move with grace and assurance, but execute their moves with a machine like precision. Beautiful, strong and talented, they move through the world in a flawless sense of rhythm.
Well, at least the good dancers do.
Dance, next to cheerleading is one of the most underappreciated sports in teenage society. Although music videos are filled with dancers, no-one thinks about the years of training needed to do those moves. Training that probably started when the dancers were still in school. For most girls, dance is the one time a week you put on tights and bear through an hour of perfecting passable choreography. For guys, it’s often perceived as a gay guy’s hobby. But for others it’s a way of life.
As a grade school kid I most definitely fell into the first category. I went once a week and smiled as I sashayed across the floor, but thought of the company dancers as girls who just wanted an excuse to wear too much make-up, and get off campus p.e. But as I took more years of dance i learned company dancers can be the most committed of athletes, and a 20 minute dance warm—up always got me sweating more than any gym class ever did.
As a chronically clumsy child, my mom decided that dance would solve both my balance issues and my self confidence issues. So at the age of five, I was thrust into a tutu and tossed into a nauseatingly pink room, where I would spend every Tuesday for the next 10 years of my life. After roll call on the first day we spent an hour perfecting our first and second positions, during which I fell twice. You could only imagine my horror when we started moving. But I stuck it out, and slowly I gained inklings of grace and a dash or two of talent.
Dance classes and dance itself teaches young girls all sorts of things. For me it taught me perseverance and commitment, as I struggled for weeks to get my splits. It taught me to perfect even the easiest things, including to always, always, point your toes. It taught me the correct way to do a sit up and a push-up, and it taught me strength, because a strong core is the key to strong dancer. It taught me how to stand on my own two feet, and how to look pretty even when I fell. It taught me how to smile like I meant it and how to take criticism without getting offended. It proved to me that repetition was the key to success, and the endless recitals taught me how to apply makeup and hairspray. But most importantly, dance taught me to be confident and believe in myself. Dance taught me something years of smiling and schooling never did. It taught me how to move like I meant it, and how anyone could succeed if they just kept trying.
Although all these things are important in dance, they also apply in other things: perseverance and dedication to my schoolwork, core muscles for other sports, how to take criticism in my writing and confidence for anything else I do. Dance is not just the one time I wear tights anymore; it is a chance to get stronger both morally and physically. It is worth the sores and recitals and even the itchy costumes, because even though I’m not the greatest dancer, I still love to do it.
Glittery girls who smell like hair spray fill the stage, not only can you smell their presence; you can feel it too. They smile like pageant girls and fly like hummingbirds, leaving you in a state of disbelief and happiness. They move with grace and assurance, but execute their moves with a machine like precision. Beautiful, strong and talented, they move through the world in a flawless sense of rhythm.
But they are so much more than that too.




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