I hear this question often. Why do I dance? It comes to me in various tones and ways. Sometimes it's pure curiosity; How is it different from the other types of dance I used to do? Is it hard to dance having a full time job? There are people who ask why it's so important to me; why I can't be satisfied with running on the treadmill or in a Zumba class. Sometimes it's even yelled at me; why dance has to take up so much of my free time and that I should have other priorities. I have trouble verbalizing why dance is so special to me whether people are positive or negative. I often feel like the joke in Family Guy where they are interviewing a guy preparing for a bike race and after every question he goes "blah blah blah and it's a great way to stay in shape." For whatever reason I have trouble explaining out loud what dance does for me, so I figured I'd try to write it instead.
I dance because it soothes me. I will be honest, I am an anxious person. Often there are things that I can't control and that stresses me out more than working two jobs. Dance is a way to purge it. I put all my energy and focus into it. I forget about my insecurities once I enter the studio and when it's all over and I've had a really productive class I'm happy on my drive home. I'll be honest, dance is a borderline addiction for me and I probably could dance every day if I had the money (or was single because I really would get divorced if I was gone everyday) but I suppose there are worse things to crave than wanting to dance and better myself.
I dance because it's all I've ever known. While I'm relatively new to the Irish scene, I started ballet at age 7. When I quit my childhood studio my senior year of high school I missed the structure of a dance class. The dress code, the drills and exercises. I missed the friendships. I was born to be a dancer and it makes me a bit sad that it took me years to come to that conclusion and come back to it.
I dance to make up for lost time. I know that I've alluded to this before but I really wish that I had found Irish dance earlier. Sometimes I feel like I'm behind the proverbial eight ball. I was a beginner at 24 years old. I think my previous dance experience has helped me so much I still wish to become the best dancer I can be before it's too late. Now I know ladies and gentlemen who are older than me and still rock competitions and majors, but the anxious part of me that I try to hide thinks about how most people my age are starting families and I'm afraid if I take a break, I won't come back. I also worry about the physical limitations. So I figure I better dance hard now if that sort of thing ever does happen to me.
I dance because it gives me goals. Before Irish dance I never really had goals besides "Get married, publish a book someday, become a mother someday." While I have accomplished one of the big ones I had in mind, I never had anything to make me accountable to myself. None of my hobbies required a plan. After watching champ dancers or watching Jig I know that I want that experience. Call it a pipe dream, call it a long shot. Winning the Worlds would be an end all be all, but more realistically I just want to dance on that stage to reward myself for how hard I work and how much I sacrifice.
I dance because I am competitive. Who would have thought huh? At my childhood dance school I was never in a single competition. It was the promised land, the cream of the crop that got to be on the competition team and even though I danced four days a week, I never got there. We always worked towards the same goal every year. Proper technique and then recital pieces. So when I was thrown into Irish and began to understand how people became Open Champs, I wasn't sure of what to expect. Having come close several times to becoming a novice before I transferred made me want to practice really hard so that the results would show. Now that I had a successful feis in & overs, I want to work that much harder. I'M GONG TO THE OIREACHTAS NEXT YEAR. I will be an open champ someday. I will work until I get there.
I dance because it's making me a better version of me. The version of myself 5 years ago or even 2 years ago was not easily motivated. I hated working out, I never practiced anything and I was a music major for Pete's sake! Now I'm like "Go for a run? Sure it will help with my stamina! Swim laps? I'd should do some core work too! I need to practice 3 hours this week. I shouldn't eat that mac and cheese with bacon." The previous versions of myself are stunned and not as toned as I am now. What I said previously is true. "It's a great way to stay in shape!"
I dance to prove the world wrong. There is this preconceived notion that you have to stop being fun once you graduate from high school and become an adult. I want to prove to the world that you never have to stop. There's nothing embarrassing about being in a class with a nine year old, two ten year olds, three middle school girls and college girls. You don't have to stop competing because you have a job or a husband (He's the person I want to come around the most) Don't let people tell you that anything you do is strange or in poor taste. I dance for all the people out there like me who couldn't transfer or are put down for their love of dance. It's 2015 people, the world needs to be a more accepting place. I want to dance and have people recognize me and know that I'm an advocate for anyone 18+ that still dances. PUT ME ON THE COVER OF IRISH DANCING MAGAZINE! lol.
So there you go, that's why I dance. I hope that it makes more sense now. Why do you dance? Is it because it fills you with passion? Did someone get you involved with dance and you continue as a sort of tribute? I would love to know. Comment below or reblog because I will be posting this on my tumblr too!