Dance Like Nobody’s Watching
Sara B is a school psychologist in an elementary school by day and a WERQ dance fitness instructor for adults by night. She's been dancing on and off since she was little and plans to dance forever.
Dance has always been a part of my life in one way or another but has evolved in different ways over the years. I took dance classes at a few different studios when I was younger usually based on where my friends were taking classes. As a result, I never developed really strong technical skills but my love for dance was there. I loved everything about dance - the music, the moves, the counts - and I loved how it made me feel. I even did the showy dance competitions when I was younger with the over priced, far too sequined costumes that I’m sure my parents loved buying. When I got to high school I discovered the dance team, Orchesis, there and decided to quit the dance studios and focus solely on Orchesis. We rehearsed almost daily after school and performed at least twice a year, sometimes more. Even during high school, I knew that dance would always be a part of me but that it would not be my profession. My professional aspirations lied elsewhere. During my senior year of high school, I chose to attend a small private college that did not offer a dance program in order to focus on my chosen major, psychology. That first year of college was one of the most challenging years in my life for many reasons. One particular reason was that I missed dance so much more than I thought I would. I had no idea until dance was no longer in my life how important it had been. Before the end of my freshman year I made the decision to transfer to a college that would allow me to continue my psychology major AND return dance to my life. At the beginning of my sophomore year, I declared psychology my major and dance my minor and the next three year years of college were some of the best years of my life. At this time in my life, I never felt like I needed to find a way to balance dance and the rest of my life because dance seemed to be the best way for me to stay balanced in my life.
Once I graduated, finding a way to keep dance in my life was really challenging. Not only was it challenging to find the time for dance but it was also challenging to find classes that I was interested in taking in the area where I was living. And I had no idea how expensive dance classes were outside of college! For the next few years I tried a handful of dance studios in my area and took a variety of different dance classes including hip hop, jazz, belly dancing, African, etc. It took me a really long time to find what I was looking for. Then one day a woman I had been taking a few hip hop classes with invited me to join her for a ballet class at a new studio she started taking at. Going to take that class with her changed my life. Not only did I finally find the type of dance classes I was looking for (taught by really skilled and talented teachers) but I was also invited to join the studio’s adult performance group. This adult performance group was amazing. All of the members were like me.They had all danced at some point in their lives but had also never chosen to make dance their profession. We ranged in age from mid twenties to early sixties. We would rehearse once per week and perform a few times each year and I developed many strong relationships with some of these ladies some of which I am still very close with. I stayed with both this studio and this performance group for about 10 years. Ultimately finding this dance studio helped to return balance back to my life though not without its challenges.
In the 10 years that I was with this studio, I went back school three different times to achieve post graduate degrees. I also began my career as a full time school psychologist in an elementary school. I even expanded my interest of dance to include fitness and I became certified and began teaching a dance fitness format called WERQ. Dance was still there for me during all of those things and while it helped to keep me balanced through the stress relief it provided to me, there were often times when it was challenging to find time to keep it in my life. I found myself prioritizing the classes that were most important for me to take which was helpful. I also had help from the studio director who made adjustments to the studio schedule when my school schedule conflicted with my studio schedule. Now that I have left this studio, I find myself questioning if I should find another studioor not. I continue to teach dance fitness and I have made many friends through dance who all do a great job of sharing their experiences with new dance classes they have found. Though dance is not in my life in the same way that it used to be I know that my life would not be the same without dance in it. I even tattooed dance on me because of how certain I am that dance will always be in my life. If you’ve lost dance or are not sure how dance fits in with your life now, the best advice I can give is to just try. Buy a Groupon, ask your friends, walk into a local dance studio, just try. You won’t regret it!