Connect with us

I Never Left The Stage

FEATURES

I Never Left The Stage

Illustration by Alyssa Maziarz

When bright lights would hit my face, I felt at home. Thousands of people have probably watched me dance, but it feels more normal than you would think. For 12 years, I performed under a microscope, my every move recorded. I sometimes wonder how different I would be without my extensive dance experience, but I do not think I would trade it for anything. 

Photo Credit: Molly Heideman

I started dancing when I was six years old. My parents noticed how shy and quiet I was and wanted to get me out of my shell. It kind of worked, but more importantly it gave me an outlet for expression. I turned into a different person on stage, which my parents would probably argue was exciting and new to see.

As I got older, I started jazz and tap and began to advance my skills. In fifth grade, I joined the competition team for both my age’s jazz and tap group. Traveling around Ohio with my friends was a really great experience and gave me friendships that lasted through high school.

However, added pressure became more apparent as the years went on. I am a type-A person and a perfectionist at heart, so I would practice my routines for hours during the week and would run through routines in my head, especially when I got bored in class. For every song I heard on the radio, I would make a routine up in my head, sometimes going through the motions with my hands and feet, a habit I still can not kick. 

At the height of my dance career in middle school, I was at the studio for about six hours a week. While this might not seem like a lot, I attended two to three dance classes every other night that usually went late into the night. I stayed up late to work on homework and study for exams. 

Photo Credit: Molly Heideman

One memory stands out to me: I was working on math homework at a dress rehearsal for my recital and was crying to my mom, because I did not think I would be able to finish it by the next day’s deadline. 

This was a common occurrence where I became incredibly overwhelmed by the amount of high expectations I had to meet. The pressure made me feel like I was an experiment, seeing how much life could push me to be better and do more when I was already at maximum capacity. 

With expectations came self-doubt. I began to compare myself to everyone; my jumps were not high enough, my turns were sloppy, I was not thin enough to be a dancer. This self-critical talk still torments me, and I have not danced since my senior year of high school. Now as a senior in college, I have been reflecting on how dance shaped me into the person I am. 

Being a dancer changed the way I viewed myself. Often, dancers are imagined of a certain “type”: lean, clean and sharp lines. I never quite felt like I met that type. I often was put in the back because of my height, even though I sometimes felt I deserved to be in the front because I knew the routine and perfected it. 

By nature, being a dancer made me my harshest critic. While I worked through years of trying to be more empathetic towards myself, it is still ingrained in me to want to be the best at everything I do, even when I am not capable of doing so. 

I want to love myself, and I think most days I do, but having a rigid perspective of what I should and should not be is something I learned through 12 years of trying to be one thing. Dance provided me with the opportunity to learn about myself and to find growth in myself. If anything, I found a balance of knowing my worth and accepting myself for who I am. 

I will be frank, I miss the attention and feelings I got when I was dancing. I felt seen as someone I was not sometimes, and it almost felt euphoric. I still run routines through my head and show off my dance tricks at parties to impress people, as some old habits die hard. Maybe I will get back into it when I graduate, but for now, it is just a good memory. 

SUPPORT STUDENT MEDIA

Hi, I’m Sara Crawford, a senior journalism student from Cleveland. I’m also the editor in chief of The Burr and the opinions editor for KentWired this semester. My staff and I are committed to bringing you interesting, humorous and hard-hitting stories that tap into current events, trends and the lives of those who have made a home in Kent, Ohio. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

More in FEATURES

Facebook

Trending

Staff Playlists

Playlists

Playlist: Heartbreak Songs

By February 27, 2021

Playlists

Playlist: On Our Radar

By February 13, 2021

Playlists

Playlist: The End Of An Era

By December 12, 2020

Playlists

Playlist: The End of The World

By December 5, 2020

Playlists

Playlist: Moments In Movies

By November 14, 2020

Recent Stories

Greetings from the Burr Magazine

Black Lives Matter: Moving Forward

By April 7, 2021

Celestial Conversations

April Forecast!

By April 6, 2021

GUEST BLOGGERS

Kent Love Blooms Every Spring

By April 5, 2021

Picture Books Aren't Just For Kids

“Charlotte’s Web”

By April 1, 2021

Real, Good, Human

Feed Your Soul, Feed Your Pocket

By March 31, 2021

A Step Forward

A Step Forward #5

By March 30, 2021

Celestial Conversations

What Do The Planets Represent In Astrology?

By March 23, 2021

GUEST BLOGGERS

Coffee Connoisseur

By March 22, 2021

Talking With Taylor

Ways I Relieve Stress

By March 19, 2021

Talking With Taylor

Ways I Relieve Stress

By March 19, 2021

Picture Books Aren't Just For Kids

The Books of Roald Dahl

By March 18, 2021

A Step Forward

A Step Forward #4

By March 17, 2021

Real, Good, Human

New Beginnings and Old Memories

By March 17, 2021

FEATURES

Can Totemism Save The World?

By March 15, 2021

FEATURES

Maya Angelou: The Mattel Doll

By March 13, 2021

FEATURES

Thrift Store Gentrification

By March 12, 2021

GUEST BLOGGERS

(Almost) Legally Blonde

By March 12, 2021

Entertainment Analysis

Entertainment Analysis: Fight Club (1999)

By March 11, 2021

The Art Outlet

Everyday Art

By March 10, 2021

Celestial Conversations

Zodiac Signs And What They Represent

By March 9, 2021

GUEST BLOGGERS

Terry And Reality

By March 8, 2021

Talking With Taylor

My Typical Day At Kent State

By March 5, 2021

Picture Books Aren't Just For Kids

“Holes” By Louis Sachar

By March 4, 2021

A Step Forward

A Step Forward #3

By March 2, 2021

Season of Justice

Five Women Serial Killers

By March 1, 2021

Playlists

Playlist: Heartbreak Songs

By February 27, 2021

Entertainment Analysis

Films That Defined The ‘2000s

By February 25, 2021

The Art Outlet

The Art Of Self Care

By February 24, 2021
To Top