WHAT DANCE DID FOR ME

When I was around 12 I joined a dance school just to do some after school activity. I took Jazz and tap dance. Apparently the school I went to have a professional dancing career and my classes seemed very strict and intense, so as the months went by I began to take it more seriously until a point where I considered studying dance. When I was 16 I joined the pre-musical program that was a combination of different disciplines such as singing, theatre and dancing. Back then I used to be extremely shy and had really poor self-confidence so it didn’t go as expected.

I continuously had excuses for not participating in an act, or singing in front of everyone. I would stay at the back of the dancing class because I didn’t want to be seen. It was kind of a contradictory thing because on one hand I loved this world… I loved to dance, to sing, to interpret some character, etc… but on the other hand I didn’t want anyone looking at me. I couldn’t loosen up myself to feel what dancing was producing inside me. Instead it just made me feel more insecure each time.

When I finished this program, the final results were okay except for theatre. I failed! It was a big drama back then but I knew I wasn’t going to quit. When I graduated from school I told my parents I wanted to continue to study dance, no matter what. Inside I always felt that even though it was an issue for me because I was too timid about showing myself moving or singing, it was the perfect way for me to open up myself to the world.

My parents told me that I could study Dance with the condition of I also had to go to University and finish my Psychology degree in the 5 years it took. I checked Unis in Spain and United Kingdom and ended up in Madrid. I went to Dance school every morning and to University in the evenings. I spent 4 years with the same routine. The first two years were still not working for me. I saw everyone in the dance school so much better than me. They worked so hard, and improved impressively. I just felt like a total failure and worthless. I suffered from anxiety and health disorders, thinking I’d never be good enough. Yet, I kept visualizing myself becoming a professional dancer so I continued. I struggled for a while, cried all the time after class, thought about leaving it several times, but something inside kept me going.

On my second year I took my course’s Jazz class and also a year ahead’s class. I realized that I did better in the 3rd year course than in mine because I wasn’t being observed and evaluated. The pressure of being graded blocked me and didn’t let me release myself. I felt so much better in the other class, no pressure in trying to be perfect. I knew I didn’t have that level, but whatever I could do, I did it and after a few months what I couldn’t do before, I could then and it felt so good. I took it easy and was enjoying every class more than my course, which produced so much anxiety because I just felt blocked.

In my final years, something hit me. I thought to myself, I’m either all in or it’s not going to work for me as a professional dancer. I said I was going to believe in myself becoming what I’ve always imagined me to be. One of my teachers that year had massive trust in me, and transmitted security and confidence. She constantly gave us inspiring speeches combined with hard workouts. I decided to change my mindset and vision about the career. I was going to dance for myself, improve for my own satisfaction, no need to prove anything to anyone. That year things changed. I began to feel really nice things while dancing. I began to build self-confidence and that security in myself got me offered to be part of a Dance Company. I didn’t get paid at first but it was a huge dose of energy and strength to keep fighting for my dreams and all sorts of positive emotions. So I had rehearsals every weekend for about 8 hours or more. At that moment I had so many things going on at the same time; final year at dance school, University, my driving license, practicing Psychology at a hospital, the Company, etc. I sacrificed so much those final years in Madrid. But I felt so vivid and happy. I felt productive and the most important thing is that I began to enjoy what I was doing!

I began to benefit from that pressure I received in my ballet class every morning; I could see the change in me. I didn’t become a great dancer but I began to feel beautiful things while I was dancing and see that others had confidence in me and those feelings made me work harder each day. I loved it and thought I was prepared for auditions. I went to a few, sometimes I was out in the first round, others I reached to the final phase, but never really got any long lasting jobs.

Nevertheless, I never quit. I kept receiving lessons, kept growing as a dancer and one day I auditioned and got accepted! I packed my bag and went for it! There I felt I was a actually a professional dancer, when I got there for rehearsals I was so scared though. I thought I wasn’t good enough or capable of doing everything they asked for, like complicated portés or acrobatic positions. I then told myself to think that I am better than I actually am. Just believe you can do it even though you have never done it before! And it worked! When the show was already running, I began to enjoy what I’ve always imagined, being on a different stage every night, with different crowds, all type of energies flowing around. Some nights I created stories in my mind and danced accordingly, other nights something hit me and I felt so overwhelmed. I felt wonderful! I enjoyed the public, the applauses, the music, everything! I even had goosebumps and cried because I felt so much. I spent so many years hiding my feelings feeling so insecure, shy and unsuccessful. I had repressed emotions and feelings, and it was all coming out.
I never wanted the show to end because it felt so good. I loved that adrenaline. That’s when I was glad I never quit dancing. I was happy that I finally got the opportunity to feel.

A few months later our group was asked to have some diverse shows, such as a fire show, walking in stilts, some performance show, and so on. It was the first time I felt “okay, I don’t have many resources, but I can learn and do something with the skills I know. Just go for it.” I felt that I was becoming versatile. I felt professional and powerful about everything I was learning. I was actually surprised I could do all of that and learn so fast!

It was an amazing experience and has now helped me become more self-confidence in what I like doing. I am currently receiving dance lessons from professionals and I am trying other disciplines such as aerial silk. Those months there, dancing every single day produced things inside me I’m not sure words can explain. But it felt amazing; I felt vivid, confident, improving and learning. I had so much positivity inside me, I allowed myself to feel! That adrenaline and physical activation produced all type of emotions in me that for a long time I hid or didn’t know how to expose them. I never quit trying until I reached the point where I released myself and opened up myself. I now use this experience dancing gave me to live out my feelings and emotions.

With my story, I want to encourage others struggling…Do not quit! Keep going if that’s your passion. Work hard and go for it, you will be surprised to look backwards and see your journey to success!