Why I quit


My favorite part was always the performance.

The nervous excitement in the dressing room as mothers moved to apply another layer of eyeshadow. 

Girls proceeding to pile even more pins into their hair—the fog of hairspray hanging arid under my nose.

Awaiting in anticipation backstage for the finale of applause from a previous act to climb into the high ceilings of the auditorium. 

Dance wasn’t simply supposed to be just a pastime, it was supposed to be my artistic outlet.

As a little girl, my weekdays would be filled with hours of studio time, and my weekends with lengthy rehearsals. I considered my entire identity to be dance.

And, as much as a necessity it was to have a place to express how I felt, the thick, molasses-like mixture of emotion was shoved aside and distracted by putting on all that makeup, twisting my hair up into a tight bun, and putting on flamboyant and flashy outfits. All done so in the hopes that no one individual would be able to single me out of the flock of uniform-looking girls.

I was rarely allotted any creative freedom in the sense that I had but no choice to get rid of all the negative emotions I felt inside without taking the time to understand them, or why they were there. In doing this, I allowed myself to believe that, if you ignored your emotions, they would simply go away. But, apprehending is not the same thing as acknowledging.

apprehending is not the same thing as acknowledging.”

I never really took the time to genuinely comprehend why I felt these things, or how I could work to improve myself to be a more positive person; dance was blinding.

Although I savored every tap from the metal on the bottom of my shoes on the worn studio floor, although I basked in the blaring music and let it move through every single step I took, although I felt as confident as I ever would twirling across the floor, all I was, was naive.

I never understood until a while past my quitting of dance that none of those performances were really who I am.

The beginning is simple: Hi, I am Kelsey and I am a klutz.

I have never been one to wear makeup.

I detest having my hair in any style but flowing freely at my shoulders.

The only ‘epic’  finale of my show ends with me falling on my face.

The encore stars me working from the ground up—again.

The bitterness of it all was, nobody at that studio let me be my own self, unapologetically. 

Dance was supposed to give me a voice when I was voiceless, a way to express myself when I was silenced: all dance managed to do was extinguish my creativity and pool me in with another large crowd.