From time to time I receive emails from dancers who want to improve their dance ability but, are discouraged by their size. There are also emails from those who feel they lack support of family and friends because, they don’t “look” like dancers so people find it difficult to understand why they want to dance. As a Mom, those emails always tug at my heart strings. For the dancers who have thought about quitting dance, just because they don’t fit someone else’s definition of how they should look, I want to share this with you.
We recently attended a dance competition and like most competitions, dancers and dances can begin to blend together. I was up and down, assisting my own dancer as she prepared for each dance. Sometimes, in the haste of running back and forth, you are a little distracted when you take your seat again – perhaps not fully engaged with the next number on stage. C’mon, I know I’m not the only one. Until, this lovely dancer took the stage. She was by what society would call a large or a “big” girl. Not what you see representing every studio at dance competitions. I first noticed her in her solo. Now, with solos, I know the choreographer typically shows what the dancer does best. I watched intently. She drew me in, this unexpected breath of fresh air in the midst of all those routines, in the midst of all those dancers. The quality of her movement was beautiful. The look on her face, you know that look that says, I am loving every minute of performing on this stage. The face of someone who is living in the moment full out and pushing every ounce of their body to express themselves. That look with that movement is why I could not stop watching you. Every time you took the stage, I thought oh good, here she is again. I remember looking at the other girls you were dancing with – I’m sure they are lovely girls and lovely dancers, but what you had going on, was something different and it was so fun to watch and I thought you should know that. If I had run into you at the end of the competition, I would have told you myself. In a sea of willowy and athletic dancers, you stood out – for your dancing. I want you to know how beautiful you were and how enjoyable it was to see you perform. And I hope, that if there is even one girl sitting in the audience who is beginning to feel like she isn’t “right” for dance, that she sees you and sees the light in your eyes and the passion in your movement and decides that she is “right” where she needs to be.