I’m really passionate about dancing. I’ve been dancing since I was 4 or 5. No one I knew was a professional dancer, but I didn’t need a role model. Whenever I heard music, I just wanted to move. At my elementary school I took an after-school elective in dance. It was just fun for me at the time, but my teacher had danced at the MET and said I should develop my talents and explore more kinds of dance. I had another teacher who had a group called Dance Force, and one day she invited me to dance with them, but it wasn’t the right time for me, so I turned them down. I just kept taking after school classes until middle school when I did drill team. Then I knew I wanted to dance somewhere besides school. So in high school I was invited again to dance with Dance Force and this time I accepted.
Dance Force was a great experience because they experiment with many kinds of dance so I was exposed to a wide range of styles. One day I did a performance called Dance Houston and there I discovered a hiphop group called Marvelous Motion and it was like nothing I’d ever seen. The dancers had such tight control of their bodies, and they didn’t use vulgar movements to draw in the audience. That made a huge impact on me. I ended up trying out and making the group, which was awesome. The director really took me aside and helped to train me. I came in extra just to soak up everything I could, and it all paid off. It was transformative. I was part of a group where I could dance on the back row, and it didn’t matter at all because the collective movement was so powerful.

Through all of this there were times when I couldn’t go to practice because I was too sick. That was difficult. That experience inspired me to want to help kids who are really active but are going through serious illnesses and have to miss practice. I want to create an organization for those kids that focuses on their talents instead of how often they make it to practice. I also want to have counselors in place because I know how it feels when friends make fun of you because they don’t understand your problem. I want kids to know that when this happens, it’s not because those people are terrible; they just don’t understand. The counselors would help by giving the kids in the program a way to explain to their friends what they’re going through emotionally. For me dance is my outlet. I’ve had multiple health problems but I’ve always been able to dance. It’s my lifeline, no matter what I’m going through. I will always dance, and I hope I’ll be able to inspire other kids who are equally as passionate as I am-.

By Hope, 19

Texas Chidren’s Hospital

[photo by realeoni via flickr]

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