tl;dr I got into a dance program, yay me!
11 May 2016
So. I did it. I got into a program at a very well-known dance conservatory. I’m going to spend next year doing nothing but dance (and, you know, those annoying practical things that are required when being an adult living on my own, ugh).
To be honest, it’s a pretty tiny deal. It’s definitely one of those side programs that takes pretty much anyone who applies (because money). It had no audition and I’m very good at presenting myself on paper. Technically, all that getting in says about me is that I can communicate how much I love dance.
Except, for me, it’s a huge, fucking deal. I’ve spent my life thinking of myself as a Bad Dancer. Or at least, not as good as the Real Dancers. And now I’m about to go to Real Dancer School.
This is a huge fuck you to everyone that made me think I wasn’t a dancer – the teacher that told me I would make a lovely dance critic because I thought too much to actually dance, the students that felt the need to speak to me in condescending tones as if I was such a bad dancer that they needed to teach me instead of the teacher, the director that made it very clear that I was not welcome to do anything other than what she told me to, or the Irish dance choreographers that treated me like a beginner dancer and then had the audacity to tell me my dancing had improved under their (incredibly rude) tutelage.
This is for all the people that told me that, in order to succeed in dance, I had to live and breathe dance and do nothing else. You know what? You were wrong. I might not have it all figured out now, but I can dance and study Finnish and research folklore and read French literature. An undergraduate degree in modern languages doesn’t bar me from a professional dance career, it simply takes me there on a slightly different route.
This is for every moment someone has looked at me and thought that I wasn’t right to be a dancer – all the people that told me to turn out by feet and suck in my stomach, all the side-on glances I got walking into studios, the feeling that I would never really belong, that I didn’t deserve to belong.
This is for my own self-doubt.
Because fuck anything that made me doubt myself for a second. I can do this. I did do this. I have the acceptance letter to prove it.
But this is also a thank you to everyone who believed in me when I didn’t – my Irish step teacher who’s taught me since I was eleven and has celebrated every single one of my successes with me, the ballet teacher that still remembers my name even though I see her at most once a year, the choreographer that told me to never be ashamed after seeing my work and the older dancer that then gave me a hug, and the ballet teacher that told me she looked forward to seeing my work at the Joyce someday. This is for the older dancer that sat and chatted with me when I was at the most toxic dance program ever and so close to absolutely hating dance. And the fellow student that broke me out of an entire cycle of self-deprecation simply by telling me she liked my turns on a day when I was frustrated with myself.
There are so many people who have believed in me over the years. And it’s easy to think of the people that I want to stick my finger up at. And those people have power, they are the reasons for my insecurities, my fears, my doubt, my self-hatred. But, for every awful message I’ve received, I’ve got at least two people believing in me. And I’ve held those people close to my heart as I keep pushing onward, my protection against the negativity.
And right now, I want to go screaming to all of those wonderful people. YOU WERE RIGHT! I DID IT! YOU DID IT! WE DID IT!
It might be a tiny mountain. But I have conquered that mountain.
And there are more mountains to come. But, like this first one, I don’t have to do it alone.
I did it.