Life is full of events and setbacks that we may or may not know how to handle. As a serious dancer in the Steps on Broadway Conservatory Program, the thought of being out of commission was just not an option. About four weeks into the program, that thought became a serious reality for me. After multiple doctors visits, and umpteen different tests, I got word that I am out until further notice. As I trudged to as many classes as I could sit through with my big black walking cast, I realized that there was a reason I was put in this boot. It wasn’t because I had injured my Achilles tendon, it was so I would learn to truly appreciate my love and passion for dance.
Many of us can say that dance is not easy and it is especially not easy on our bodies. We train multiple hours everyday, sometimes up to six hours a day, and then may have rehearsal. With all this being said, injuries are extremely common. Some may disagree, but in my opinion, dancers are one of the toughest athletes out there. We have to be strong, yet so graceful, we have to make every move look as if it is so easy to nail, we must be able to dance with others, and we have to be able to perform with them and make it look as if we have been dancing together for our whole lives. Nothing about it is simple, and nothing about it is easy.
It was not until I was looking in from the outside that I realized these things. I have never in my life watched as many dance classes as I have in the past couple weeks. And I have never in my life learned so many things that cannot be taught by a teacher. Watching these classes, although I would rather be participating, I was mesmerized by the different ways that individuals learned. Watching the teachers spit out choreography at all of the students so quickly, I began to analyze how some people retain what they are learning. Not only have I been analyzing the students, I have also been intrigued by the different ways choreographers are teaching. While I am sitting on the side of the dance floor watching and taking notes, I have found myself paying a closer attention to detail, and trying to listen to everything the choreographer, or teacher wants. I can honestly say, when I learn a combination, I often find myself not paying as close of attention to details because I am just trying to remember the choreography. Something that I will try never to do again when I am back on my feet.
Along with watching intense dance classes for hours, and trying to better myself as a dancer just from learning on the side, being injured has no doubt made me appreciate how lucky I am to be able to do what I love everyday. Watching everyone hurry into class so they can get a good spot on the barre, or so they can be in the front of the room makes me want to work even harder to get back to class. Not only that but I being injured makes me think of people who aren’t quite as fortunate as I am. Luckily my injury is only temporary, and I will hopefully soon be back to dance. But there are people in this world who dreamed of one day being a dancer, but cannot pursue their dreams, for whatever the reason. The perspective from the floor into the world of dance is an amazing sight. It made me realize the joy and love that comes out of a life of dance, along with being able to better myself in ways that I don’t think I would have grasped if I were not injured and looking in.
Student, Steps Conservatory Program