I have a unique perspective an artist. I grew up as the fourth of five daughters, sandwiched between my sisters, Molly and Nora. Molly, 5 years older, has profound developmental delays. She cannot talk, still wears diapers and drinks from sippy cups. Her behavior issues — volatility, hair pulling and screaming — have been demanding, to say the least. My sister, Nora, is just two years younger than me and she’s complicated in a different way. She has severe ADHD and poor social skills. She adores me, and I, her, but she’s often wildly inappropriate and embarrassing.
Growing up, my sisters were sometimes burdens, but I have learned to appreciate and empathize with their challenges and struggles. While I understand them in my head, dance was what became essential in my heart. When I dance, I feel hopeful and alive. My desire to find my own uniqueness ignited my passion for dance, and it blazed into a bonfire.
As I’ve matured, I’ve been able to appreciate my sisters as blessings. Their unique challenges continue to drive my immense passion for dance, and make me want to be someone my sisters can lean on and look up to. They have taught me what it is like to exceed limitations. Molly can’t talk, but she can access her favorite Disney movies on her iPad. Nora concentrates on sports and tries to fit in wherever possible.
My sisters have fought against tremendous odds in their lives to be better than their disabilities. I use their examples to challenge myself. I go to dance stressed out or complaining about school work and I come out feeling goooooood. I can be myself without having to worry about who I’m around or who I want to impress. I am there to test myself with how much I’ve grown as a dancer.
I know in my heart I can always fall back on the studio I attend and expect my family of dancers to catch me, figuratively and literally. Blood rushes through my veins while pushing into the ground, even with the simplest flange. From every class to every performance, I leave my heart on the dance floor. The studio is my comfort zone; the theater fills me with smiles and tears, I cannot get enough of it.
I could never imagine a life without dance. I am in love with the creativity that each teacher has to offer me. The competition in our little studio pushes me to perform to the best of my ability while leaving me completely aware that I still have room for growth. I am blessed to be surrounded by dancers who love this activity as much as I do.
First position. The foundation. Innocence. The curtain is drawn open, and I’m drawn into the music. Every turn, every jump, every slide is mesmerizing. Devoting 10 years to this art, through injuries and auditions, my passion has grown stronger and I know I have the soul of a dancer.