Dance has been a part of my life, off and on, for as long as I can remember. I have always loved to dance. When I was a small child, our physician suggested I take ballet lessons to help develop my arches. As a child, I would play music – and free my body to move however the music spoke to me emotionally.
Even traveling around in a military family, I was able to continue ballet into high school. However, I did get mixed messages from my family. Around age twelve, I mentioned my dream to become a ballerina and my father’s response “too bad you didn’t focus on piano, at least you can play the piano at parties and social events.” When we moved to Japan, I had to stop lessons and put aside those childhood dreams.
In college I got my first taste of ballroom dancing, but I wasn’t thrilled as ballet was still my first love – and I didn’t like changing partners every few minutes.
I have been blessed to marry a man whose love for music got him on his feet dancing. As newly weds we went dancing as often as time allowed. As a young mother, with his support, I played around with other dance forms such as belly dancing. Always the focus was on simply moving my body to music.
Life takes over and worthy pursuits such raising children, pursuing careers, furthering education compete for one’s time – and dance fell by the wayside.
And then years later, after all those other goals had been accomplished, my husband and I started taking ballroom dance lessons. Originally we began lessons as a fun thing to do together while getting some basic exercise.
In the beginning the exercise was great, learning new steps together was fun and our social network expanded as we met some fabulous people. Some time during that first year of lessons, my focus shifted – I discovered the joy and the fright of performing – and challenged myself to become a better dancer. Within two years I was competing on a regional level and improving technique became my primary goal.
During this journey, I also realized that dance was more than just a physical process for me. Dance was the joyful breath that banished concerns, brought tears to my eyes and opened my heart. Dance fed my spirit and touched my soul.