Dance Like No One’s Watching

I love to dance.

I began taking dance classes when I was three years old at a community center in the area. At my first recital, the girl standing next to me during the routine literally stood next to me the entire time. She was terrified. I was in my glory. Sure the only reason I knew what I was doing was because my dance teacher was off in left stage dancing the routine for us to copy, but I still did my best to hold my own. I was shy, but there was something about being on that stage that really made me feel confident.

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I continued to take classes at the community center for a few years, and then took a couple of years off to give gymnastics a shot. I love that my parents encouraged me to try many activities, and then gave me the freedom to decide which ones I liked and wanted to continue. Gymnastics was great and all, but after a short while I knew I wanted to go back to dance.

My aunt Marie (aka my second mom) who lived just a block away from my family growing up, had her daughters Betsy and Steph (my cousins) enrolled in a dance studio in the neighborhood. I had gone into the studio to watch my cousins dance and my mom and Marie got to talking. The next thing I knew I was enrolled at the same studio!

I had to “audition” to determine which level to be placed in. All I wanted was to be in Betsy’s class even though she was a year younger than me. At first I was placed with girls my age, but talked to the owner of the studio and eventually she put me in the same class as Bets. At the studio we took tap, ballet, jazz, lyrical, modern, hip hop, musical theater, and more.

Getting into the studio was the best thing that could have happened to me at that point. I fell in love with dance. And so began the millions of memories…

  • Dance camps
  • Nutcracker
  • Recitals
  • Competitions
  • Red lipstick
  • Costumes
  • Endless hours rehearsing
  • Choreography
  • Blood, sweat, tears…

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And the best part of it all is that I shared these memories with my best friend. Throughout the years my friendship with Betsy grew stronger and stronger as we continued our dance journey together. She was always there for me to show me steps I wasn’t quite understanding, keep me focused, laugh with me, cry with me, and stand up for me.

Our friendship has only gotten stronger over time. I was ecstatic when I found out she would be joining me at Mankato State for college, she was my Maid of Honor in my wedding, and my lovey bug to this day. Whenever we get together even just to hangout in our sweats and eat puppy chow, I am just the happiest gal ever. I love that girl so much.

We continue to shake our groove thing whenever we get the chance.

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I am so lucky to have so many wonderful memories of dance and to have been able to share them with Bets. xoxoxo

So speaking of shakin’ it together when we get the chance…

On Wednesday evening I had the opportunity to walk down memory lane and take a dance class offered at my studio for alumni. I was extremely hesitant about going being that I hadn’t been to an actual dance class in about 8 years (not including Zumba, aerobics, etc.), but Bets and my other cousin Emmy had taken the class the previous weeks and convinced me that I had to join them. They said not to worry, just come have fun and I promise you will not feel silly if you can’t touch your toes or do a pirouette.

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I pulled out my leotard and dance shoes and headed to class with the girls. We jumped right into the warm up full of stretches that used to be a lot easier. Then, we moved into strides and leaps across the floor just like old times. Finally, we began some choreography. The theme for the week was Michael Jackson and we were taught a jazz dance to “Smooth Criminal.” I picked a great week to go, huh?! Love me some MJ.

I was very appreciative of our teacher (also an alumni) who took the steps very slow for us folks who were kicking the dust off of the old dancin’ shoes. I was sort of able to remember the steps and crank out the routine. What a great way to keep the mind sharp! By the end of the class I felt enlightened, nostalgic, and very sweaty. I proved to myself that I can still do it. Sure I may not be as flexible but I still have rhythm and can move, and you better believe I won’t stop dancing!

You can find me on the dance floor at every wedding, dancing around the house like no one is watching, Zumba’ing, and now, taking classes time and again at my old dance studio. Dance gives me such incredible energy and is a great stress reliever too. There’s a song for every mood you’re in. It’s powerful.

“If you get the choice, to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance.”

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I am off to enjoy the weekend! Have a wonderful day my friends. Much love to you all.

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