I’ll never forget that minty blue-green leotard and the magic it encapsulated. It was about the same size as would have fit a small Chihuahua. It had little pink satin bows on each hip and it symbolized my future “big girl” self. I visited my grandmother, who now dances from above, before we headed to the studio my older sisters seemed to live in, Vickye Lewis Dance Company, and the day was what every three-year-old little girl has ever dreamed of. (Minus Cinderella making me the long lost Disney princess and living in a castle with my invisible friend Amy.)
I began my dancing career that day nearly 18 years ago, and it began my love of movement and the power only expressing oneself can give. I truly believe this passion of mine paved the way to a creative talent I share with you today—writing. Through movement and an open flow of creativity and ideas, I can express to others what I can’t always voice.
The way a poetic melody paired with a compelling lyric made my toes flutter and my heart pound was intoxicating. It was as if the music moved through me. My brain didn’t need to equate or calculate. I didn’t have to think of anything but the next positioning of my feet. It was a beautiful escape.
After 15 years of some interesting dance concepts on my part—I recreated the infamous Tom Cruise in Risky Business scene as a solo performance, spiked a beach ball at someone in the audience and wore a costume that made me look like a glittery pickle—I packed up everything I had ever known and moved to college. And without my reliance on my parents, my dancing fell to homework, meetings, fest seasons and college boys. The stress a new environment, group of friends and priorities bottled up inside me with no way to physically escape.
I have learned to incorporate dance and creativity into my schedule the hard way. And when I fail to do just this, my mood tends to show it. So, here is a note to the present and future me: As time will tell you, the movement that removes you from the chaos is sometimes difficult to keep up with. But remember that little leotard and the look on your loved ones face when they saw a future for you before you created your own. There’s a reason you were given that talent. It is your ticket to sanity and a world your three-year-old self could have only dreamed of. Brush the dust off your oxfords, lace up your ballets, and sweep the floor with sounds of your taps. Never let go of the one thing that fueled your need for adrenaline, your hunger for success and your craving for creativity. The movement is in you and you are the movement.