by Devan, 18 from Pennsylvania
I’m a dancer. I danced for fifteen years. Eleven of those years I was on a competitive team. My first year on the competitive team, I was absolutely terrified. I was much younger than the other girls on the team. I was seven and the next youngest was twelve. I did not have anything in common with any of the girls. I was just starting school, while they had already been at it for a while. In the beginning I wanted to quit, but my mom was always telling me to not give up the opportunity. So I stayed in the dance class, and then it came time for the competitions. We went to the first competition and we won, first place. Just when we were getting ready to leave a judge came up to me and my dance teacher. She couldn’t believe I was seven and dancing with high school students. This ended up being a common reaction among judges at other competitions. I did not know the skills I had, and I went on to have another ten great years of dance and competitions.
I had the skill to still go on after high school, I just didn’t have the body. Dance is a beautiful art and sport, but it destroys pieces of you. I didn’t go on with dance because in the end it was a constant physical burden. I had torn the cartilage off my breast bone and in my rib conjunction, fractured my wrist several times, and dislocated knees and ankles. But dance will always be in a large part of my heart. I would do it all again if I had the chance.