Despite the hairspray, the dresses and more bobby pins than one has seen in their life time, dancers are athletes, and dance is a sport. We train, we practice and we strive, everyday. For every time the jumps are landed perfectly or the steps are in sync, there were a ton of days in the studio that these moves did not work. And while the days of dance classes are in my past, I've carried what I learned to college with me along with my shoes.
The lessons I have learned in my years of Irish dance transcend far beyond perfect turnout and how to annoy every classmate with my tapping my feet under my desk, and while it may be a thing of the past, I've carried the lessons I've learned to college with me. I have learned to appreciate the benefits of hard work, and that you get out of an experience what you put in. Yes, dance is about show, and how it looks and making the movements look effortless. But that does not mean for a second that it does not take effort. While competitive dancers may have to take into account their hair, outfit, and, for girls, details such as makeup, when it comes down to scores, that does not in any way diminish their status as an athlete.
Competitive Irish Step dance has taught me that you don’t win every time. You may work for weeks, or even months, but there may be someone who worked a little bit harder. But more importantly, it taught me that when this happens, it doesn’t mean to give up, but only a reason to keep trying. Dance taught me, not only how to lose, but how to do it with grace. And how great winning feels after you know what it feels like to lose, a lesson that has allowed me to accept rejection with grace, a valuable lesson in college.
So, thank you. Thank you to those dance teachers who pushed us far past the potential we could not see, thank you to the tons of parents who drove for hours for competition, dried our mascara stained eyes when we lost and paid for countless classes and costumes. And thank you to dance, that taught me to never give up, to work towards my goals and, most importantly, what it feels like to shine.
Lead Image Credit: Flickr