A love letter to dance

It was Dec. 16, 2021. My friends and I were in the dressing room, putting on our makeup and applying hairspray to our hair as the nerves bounced around like fireworks in our stomachs.

It was a good kind of nervous — one that we had been preparing and anticipating for for months now. It was that feeling where we had to pinch ourselves to believe this was actually happening. So many weeks of hard work in the making … just for this.

I’d felt this feeling before. But every time, there’s something different, something new.

Smaran Ramidi / DFP Staff

In my head, I was constantly rehearsing the moves. Step out on count three. Jump on count four. I couldn’t mess that up.

When our group was called, my team and I stepped out onto the stage in the darkness. I closed my eyes and just took a breath. My heart was racing, but my mind was more focused than it had ever been.

The music started. The lights turned on. And I just went for it.

In case you’re not already aware, I’m reliving my dance show from last semester. It’s something that’s worth reliving because even though I’ve experienced performing on stage dozens of times, that rush of euphoria I get the moment we start dancing is one I want to feel for the rest of my life.

When I’m performing on that stage, I’m able to tune everything out. The audience doesn’t exist. Not even my teammates are on my mind. It’s just me, the music and an overpowering urge to get lost in this reality.

At that moment, I’m not really forcing myself to move — it’s more of an adrenaline rush. It’s that feeling you get when you’re screaming down a rollercoaster. It’s that happiness you feel as you reunite with your loved ones who you haven’t seen in months.

It’s freedom.

Those three minutes of nothing but pure passion and warmth make all those long, hard practices worth it. Suddenly, I couldn’t give less of a shit about my broken toenails or my hideous bruises on my legs or the plans I had to cancel in order to rehearse.

This is what I’ve been chasing for for so long, and if it means I have to sacrifice a portion of my free time to experience it, then of course I’ll do just that.

Falling in love with dance has been as easy as breathing. There’s a special kind of connection because I’m not dancing for anyone else but myself. It’s a time to explore how I’m feeling, especially when words fail. It’s such a grounding experience that can simultaneously make you feel like you’re flying.

There are days when I hate it, of course. There are times when I walk out of a dance audition after getting rejected, and I want to cry. There are moments when I’m literally limping into a classroom because my muscles are a pile of goo.

There can be some intense lows, but doesn’t that apply to everything we do? Whether it be an art form or sport or academic subject — we’re bound to feel like that once in a while. And I think it’s important we embrace the disappointment and sadness we feel because at least that means we care.

Dance has slowly molded me into the person I am today — someone who loves that messy ponytail look because it means I worked my ass off in the studio and someone who oddly finds a weird satisfaction when I walk down the stairs with sore legs.

I don’t see myself doing dance professionally in the future but that doesn’t mean I plan on stopping anytime soon. However, I’m so excited to perform again at my upcoming dance show at the end of this month. And you should totally come watch it. This isn’t a shameless plug or anything.

Dance is a part of me now, and I’m determined to keep chasing that high for as long as I can.

I hope you do the same for whatever makes you feel the most alive.

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