Never give up. Trust your instincts.
I used to love playing Nintendo64 games with my older brother back in the day. One of the characters in the game Star Fox always said “never give up, trust your instincts!” throughout the battle. We probably spent too much time in front of the TV back then, but it was during one such gaming session that I remember telling my brother I wanted to quit dance, something I had been doing and loving for about 6 years up to that point.
My brother gave me some very practical advice: “If you don’t want to dance, just tell mom and dad.”
GASP! Tell mom and dad? No way man. They totally supported and encouraged me. I didn’t want to let them down, to feel like I was disappointing them. I didn’t even know how to begin to tell then I wanted to quit. I didn’t even really know why, except that I didn’t feel challenged.
Looking back, I’m sure that lacking feeling I had was 100% my own attitude problem, and not a reflection on my teachers. I was a kid, going through those awkward growing stages where my body didn’t move the way it was supposed to and no matter how hard I thought I was pulling up, my knees always stuck out and my legs were never quite straight enough. I felt awkward, and I felt like I wasn’t improving.
So I thought over my brother’s advice, and I never told my parents that I wanted to quit. I pushed through the rest of that year of ballet and jazz classes, and even signed up for another year.
Around this time I joined the competition team, which meant more required classes, more routines to learn in a shorter time, more hours in the studio, and thus – more improvement. My brain and my body were pushed harder than they had before, and all of a sudden I loved every second I had in the studio. I practiced at home, listened to our music over and over again, and watched the older dancers. My mom took me to see ballets in Cincinnati and Dayton. I couldn’t get enough!
The studio became my second home over the years, and I haven’t even thought about quitting once since way back then. It has been a huge blessing to be able to continue dancing and teaching these past few years. My life wouldn’t be the same without dance. Really I can’t even imagine it. Dance is such a beautiful thing, and YOU are a beautiful person for being interested in it – whether you are a dancer, parent, spouse, teacher, coach, patron, friend – thank you for contributing to the world of dance with your time, talent, support and encouragement.
All this to say – never give up. Keep working for the things you love. If you are a student going through those awkward growth spurts, never give up. If you are an adult trying classes for the first time, never give up. If you are a choreographer feeling like you’re out of ideas, never give up. I promise you can do it! Keep dancing through life with passion and grace, and never give up.