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The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

Change’s conflictions: the evolution of dance

I picture from a competition where I competed my first duo
I picture from a competition where I competed my first duo

I’ve always been awed by fascinating dancers. Since I was young, I could be easily entertained by sitting and watching girls dance and dreaming of being just like them. It is an art that is nearly impossible to explain except that it is nothing short of stunningly beautiful. 

My grandma told me that I was put in dance because the second music would play, I would dance around whatever area was available to me. She told me that when we went to Hawaii when I was around two, I went right up to the Hula dancers and danced my tiny heart out along with them. I grew up making dances with my older cousin, who, at the time, danced as well. Our first performance, which I remember well, was choreographed by my cousin to Demi Lovato’s version of Let It Go in the basement of our grandparent’s cottage. I’ve had numerous dance parties with myself on my personal stage I like to call my bedroom with the music provided by my pretty pink radio while I was expected to be cleaning. It is something that has surrounded me even when I wasn’t aware of it. 

I’ve never coined myself as a phenomenal dancer, but I know I’m not inadequate. I started dancing competitively in first grade, and it was undoubtedly my favorite thing to brag about to all my friends at school. In one of my first dances, I was put up front to start the dance, and I felt so proud of myself. It was a feeling of pure accomplishment for something I hadn’t realized I wanted to accomplish, and it continues to be one of my favorite feelings. I remember standing backstage with the girl next to me, who became one of my closest friends, and preparing for the stage lights and blasting music that would await us once we were called to join the stage. 

I always dreamed of being one of the star dancers. Once I was old enough to be in our annual studio production, I spent a considerable amount of time watching the older girls whose names I could never keep straight. I sorted them by looks and styles. There was a tall blond who shared her solo with my friend and me; there was a quiet, short brunette who danced right before me, and dozens more I can’t recall. I watched and dreamed of being like them or even friends with them. They were my entire world as a young dancer, and now, I barely remember their names. 

Once I was old enough to be in our annual studio production, I spent a considerable amount of time watching the older girls whose names I could never keep straight.

I pushed myself to be the best version of myself I could be. I never have been the most flexible, and one year, my friend would help me every day to attempt and get my splits down so that the class could get a pizza party. I don’t think I did get them that year, but nonetheless, we got a party. I would come home from practice to show my mom the newest skill that I had accomplished, not knowing whether I was truly doing it correctly, but giddy that I had a variation down and that I was getting closer to those girls who floated across the stage with such perfection. 

I always look forward to my days at the studio; it has become a second home and somewhere so many of my core memories reside. When we were younger, we’d set our bags to surround the vending machines. We would spend our breaks splitting our money between the machines and the 25-cent candy dispensers in the front corner and creating our very own personal buffet in dixie cups. During my first dance sleepover, we set up the mats to create a fort and had all the older girls checking on us since we were the youngest in the room. At one point in time, my friend decided it was “the thing”  to keep our bags in the storage room and make it our secret hideout; we spent the time back there climbing the ladder, making musica.lys, and breaking coconuts. Even now, every day that I am in the studio, I’m surrounded by new and old people whom I call my family and make almost every moment a great one. 

There are always the bad memories of dance. The days when nothing about myself looks quite right in the surrounding mirrors, every move feels impossible, the goal I set or the dream I dreamt didn’t come true, I feel like an outsider in the bubble of the community, and I think maybe dance isn’t something I need in my life. I have cried over my own sport too many times to count. It is such a tough community. There will always be someone better than you, or someone who gets in the better dance, or the better placement. There is always someone who can do one extra turn or jump an inch higher. There is always someone who will place higher than you, and there is always someone who looks more perfect than you. I’ve learned this over the years, but I continue to allow it to kill me more and more. It is an awful feeling that I can’t describe, and part of me doesn’t want to. 

I find myself in lows, that I’ll never be good enough, but there are always the little things that make me realize the pure, unfiltered joy that other sports and activities don’t have. 

Instead of watching the older girls dance and wanting to be just like them, which I still do, I am one of those older girls. Now I dance while the little girls in production sit on the side, watching me and my friends dance our hearts out with near perfection in their eyes. I help assist with little girl classes and get to watch them dance their heart out during disco ball and twirl in circles with them. I still do get put up front at times but still get gradually better with each technique class and rehearsal. 

At the end of the day, every season ends on a stage with bright lights and loud music, and my mind is completely tranquil. It is a feeling that cannot be beaten. When I’m dancing, all the prior anxiety, stress, and worries, are flooded away, leaving pure serenity between myself and the lights. I forget I am dancing in front of anyone, and I dance for myself. It is one of the few times my mind stops the constant swirling and turning. I can’t even fathom the thought of giving that sacred feeling away. 

So many things have changed with my dancing life. Instead of watching my perfect teachers and older teammates, I am those people. Instead of keeping my bag out in the lobby by the vending machines, I keep it in our dressing room. Instead of a vending machine buffet, I order Starbucks and Tropical Smoothie. Instead of two dances, I have 11 and a dance team. All of the changes I am incredibly grateful for. I have gained so many lessons, skills, experiences, and friendships that will stay with me forever. I have improved so much as a dancer and a person, and the walls of my studio have perfectly shaped that.

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About the Contributor
Ellerie Knowles
Ellerie Knowles, Copy Editor
Ellerie Knowles is a sophomore entering her second year on The Central Trend. She is on the FHCVDT and dances outside of school as well. In her free time, she likes to read books, go to the beach, and hang out with her dog Mocha. She joined the Writing for Publication class her freshman year and decided to continue with her writing adventure into her next years of high school. She loves traveling, and her favorite place she has traveled to that she remembers is Florida—even though it's basic. One other random fact about her is that she loves sunsets and has made her mom practically stop the car just to take a picture of it.  Favorite Color: Blue (all shades) Favorite food: Grapes One place she wants to travel to: Greece (coast) Favorite scent: Anything tropical or lavender

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    Ella PeirceJan 29, 2024 at 11:43 pm

    i love u ellerie this is so cute !!!