I started dancing when I was three years old. I took four classes a week and I never got tired of it. When I was eight years old i was invited to audition for the competitive dance team at my studio. I vividly remember this time; I was filled with anxiety and excitement. After a long day of auditioning and an even longer week of waiting for the results I was on the team. When I heard this news I remember the sense of absolute elation that filled my heart. That summer I began dancing every day of the week and I spent most weekends at competitions or conventions. Over the next five years I had the opportunity to study under some very famous people in the dance world, such as Idina Menzel and Greg Russell. Dancing was my passion and I wanted to spend the rest of my life as a dancer.
Then in 8th grade everything changed. The dance studio I had danced at for 12 years shut down. The owner’s mom had been diagnosed with cancer and she was selling the studio and moving to Wyoming to take care of her mother. I was devastated. That place was my second home and the people there were my family, but there was nothing anyone could do about it so my mom found a new dance studio. It wasn’t bad but it just wasn’t the same. I didn’t know anyone there and the teachers just weren’t very good. But I had to stay for at least the rest of the year due to the company contract. I made the best of it, and although I wasn’t a fan of most of the teachers but I was able to find some classes I could enjoy. My favorite was probably musical theatre because it challenged me and I was always learning new things.
One day I went to my musical theatre class and we had been working on a complicated partner move. It was essentially a backflip with a partner. As we began warming up I was thinking about the flip. I thought maybe I was ready to do it without help but I was nervous. When warm up was over my teacher, Carson, asked who wanted to try the stunt first. No one volunteered so she picked me to go. It went smoothly the first few times until all of the sudden I was lying on the floor in immense pain. I had gone to do the flip when my foot slipped on the wooden floor and Mrs. Carson, who was supposed to be spotting me got distracted. The next thing I knew I was staring at the ceiling while what felt like a hot knife went through my spine. I laid there as tears streamed down my cheeks and everyone hovered over me with concerned faces. I laid there for what felt like hours willing the pain go away. Eventually someone helped me up and I sat out the rest of the class. The rest of the time I watched the others dance while trying to put on a strong face because I didn’t want to seem weak. After class I walked to the parking lot where my mom was waiting and I began sobbing. I was in so much pain and I felt so embarrassed. She waited for me to calm down and then I told her what had happened. She said she could take me to the ER if she needed to but I insisted on going home, refusing to believe I was greatly injured.
The next morning I woke up and I could barely walk because the pain was so bad. I couldn’t go to school and my mom insisted on taking me to get an x-ray even though I just thought a day of rest would fix it.
After hours of x-rays and waiting we finally got the results. I had fractured my spine and I would be lucky to not need surgery. When I got this news I couldn’t believe it but it didn’t fully sink in until the doctor said I wouldn’t dance for at least a year and maybe never again. As he said those words I felt all of my hopes and dreams die. I cried for hours and even days after. I didn’t know what to do with myself if I wasn’t able to dance.