This week I am going to get a little personal. I have recently had an experience that has changed me and made me appreciate who I am as a dancer and artist.
First and foremost I want to say, you have to dance for yourself. If you don't do it for you, there's no point in dancing. For many years I felt free, liberated, confident, and danced because it made me happy. However, for about the past year or so that mindset was tainted and darkened. I found that I was dancing to please my professors and do what they wanted no matter how uncomfortable or unsatisfying it was to me. For too long I was unhappy and unsatisfied with myself. I had never before felt this bad about my dancing, myself, and no part of me could understand why so many of my professors dismissed me when, in the past, many others helped and believed in me. Where did I go wrong? When did my dancing change? I asked these questions daily and was haunted day and night by the harsh comments and notions made by my professors. I could not wrap my head around the reasoning for their distain, yet forced myself every day to go through the motions to please them. I felt artistically trapped. They stole what I loved most and crushed it. I felt like my spirit and passion had died. I tried different approaches, I tried changing my mindset...their distain only grew.
I felt hopeless. I hated the environment I was in. I hated my dancing. I also hated myself for not being able to satisfy my professors.
It wasn't until I hit rock bottom from all the stress that I realized I could not continue like this. I could not allow these professors to have that much control; that much power.
After much deliberation, I decided what was best for me as an artist, dancer, and person was to move on from this place and follow a different path.
I am currently rejuvenated and taking steps to get back into a good, healthy mindset. I learned a lot about myself and who I wanted to be as an artist and this program unfortunately did not fit that ideal like I hoped it would. I am by no means discrediting the program or saying that all the professors there are bad. It was not the right fit for me as an artist, and ultimately I have to look out and worry about myself.
I hope this story helps anyone who is going through a similar situation or feels like they're stuck. I promise it does get better. It may seem hard not to follow the instructions of our teachers who influence us so much, but only you know what is best for you. Remember that you love to dance and anyone who limits that love is someone you do not need to be around.