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People often ask me if I get nervous onstage the answer is always adefinitive no Instead it is the moments offstageanxiouslydunking my feet in rosin to ensure that I dont slip and fall chantingtricky combinations aloud and spotting my partner in the wing oppositeme and exchanging a worried glancethat make my heart skip a beat OnceI am onstage my heart soars I am most content on a stage because myrehearsals and performances there energize me shape me and inspire meAs a dancer Ive sacrificed my feet and endured many a pulled muscle However the pain I feel when I am nursing an injury is less from thephysical symptom and more from not being able to join my classmates inthe next combination Dancing at my studio fills my soul withcontentment It offers an escape from the craziness in my life inspite of any stress that my other extracurriculars and academicsproduce I know that dance will always be a driving force to build meup Ive attended the same studio for fifteen years The scuffedhardwood floors motivational posters and ceramic dancer figurines thatrest above the piano may not appeal to newcomers but to me these arefamiliar reminders that the studio is my other home This makes senseconsidering I spend more waking hours at my studio than at my houseduring the school year The commitment to dance is not worthwhileunless it sets your heart ablaze To me dance embodies pure joy Reading the cast list to find that I was cast in the Oklahomachorus made me giddy with excitement When I turned the cast list overand discovered that I had also been cast in the lead dance role ofDream Lauri I started crying A milestone for me as a dancer thisrole simultaneously challenged me and gave me the confidence I needed tosucceed onstage Dancers dont always receive affirmation but thisexperience made me feel proud of
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