Monday, 7 July 2014

Dancing, Progression and Acceptance

Starting dancing at the age of 5, my mum wanted me to learn a sense of rhythm and beat. This is why she signed me up to start Ballroom and Latin dancing at a young age at Julie Lockton School of Dance. The same dance school taught Disco, Street Dance and Rock'n'Roll, so I took these up too. Not long after joining, I began to partake in competitions, grading and shows.

[The photo above shows me winning my first ever dance trophy, a blue plastic teddy bear]

At 11 years old, I moved house to a completely new location and I stopped dancing altogether. This was until I found a new dance club, DanceVybz. Here, I started back up with Disco and Rock'n'Roll again, along with Hip-Hop. After a few months settling in, I started to compete with Hip-Hop dancing, in solos, pairs, crews and teams. And, as Hip-Hop became more popular, less people were attending the other dance classes, resulting them closing down and with me stopping Disco and Rock'n'Rock again.

[The photo above and below is of the Hip-Hop crew I was in at DanceVybz]

Moving house was a difficult transition for me. My whole life got turned upside-down, with dance being thrown up in the air and having no idea if it would ever land anywhere decent. I have to say, that without a doubt, finding DanceVybz created a new stability for me and dancing truly made me happy; whilst other dramas of changing schools and moving house were going off like fireworks around me.

However, after a couple of years favouritism, judgement and being different to everyone else was taking its toll on me. This wasn't only at dance, but also at school and home. I believed I was surrounded by idiots, bullies, demons. In fact, I was probably depressed. When I was 15 going on 16, I was in my final year of my GCSE's. This is when change had to happen in my life. Dance was becoming so stressful and pressurised, that I had to leave and concentrate on my exams. I continued my life without dance throughout my A Levels, building up amazing friendships, a stronger bond with my family and even gaining a new member - my dog, Oscar!

This 2 and a half year break from dance repaired my life and a hobby that was originally the only thing in life that made me truly happy, became the main thing holding me back. After completing my A Levels, I decided to continue my education at university and during Freshers week, I joined the dance club.

My 3rd time round of starting dance, this time at 18, I did Hip-Hop and Jazz (a style I had never tried before). I have really enjoyed getting back into it and learning a new style, as well as making some incredible friends there. And, ever since I auditioned for the uni competition teams and got through, my confidence levels have been slowly increasing. It felt like a miracle when I received the news that I had got onto the Jazz and Hip-Hop comp teams, especially as I had never done Jazz previously. Although, I now knew a lot of hard work was ahead. The number of training sessions increased, as well as a compulsory circuit training class, to improve our strength and stamina.

Fortunately, this paid off when we attended the competitions; although we didn't win anything at Northampton University, we came 2nd in Hip-Hop and 3rd in Jazz at King's College London. I am so proud of our dance club, the teams, the choreographers and our team spirit. Without this, what we achieved would have been out of reach.

[The photo above is of the competition teams after we came 2nd and 3rd! - I'm at the back left, behind Sean holding the certificate]

[The Jazz team before we went on stage - I'm at the top of the stairs]

A month after the competitions, it was time to put forward manifesto's and start voting for the 2014/15 dance committee. To my surprise, I received an email saying that I had won the vote and had become the new President/Manager of the Dance Club. This opens a new chapter for me in dance, giving me the opportunity to provide others with the great opportunities that the university dance club has given me.

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