Going Through School When You’re a Dancer: Two Stories, Two Different Endings
Story no. 1
John was a funny little kid that clearly grasped the joy of making noise. He had always been an admirer of dancers, and wished to make movements so fluid and at the same time powerful on the dance floor. Some of his earliest memories involved dance. He had a family that loved to dance at family gatherings and was pretty open to him pursuing a dance career. They believed he had the talent and the ambition to make it.
John was a great student, he scored mostly A’s and only occasionally B’s on his tests.
Fast forward to middle school, he started taking ballroom dance classes. That’s when John began to be ridiculed and teased by the other children, and even teachers.
Even though the teachers could easily observe his academical progress, they simply could not accept the fact that John was a dancer. They took it as a personal affront that he did not choose a career related to their subjects. Thankfully, John was so passionate about dancesport that he kept to himself, accepted all the malicious comments while working hard at training.
In high school, things did not change much. He rarely missed school days, but when he did it was because he needed to travel to competitions.
And what’s more…
The minute he got back, instead of being appreciated for his achievements, he was told that he’d be a better fit for a sports high school (as if that would be a bad thing anyway). Frustratingly enough, the kids that actually skipped classes for fun, were not told off as much as him. Despite all the hurdles, John realized that that was just a rough patch he was going through and finished high school and focused more and more on his career as a dancer.
He’s happy now. He met his wife at one of the competitions he went to and continues to teach dance classes to others at the age of 50. He’s doing what he loves every day. He still has the passion for it, and the thrill that he had at the beginning. He always looks at his trophies and diplomas with pride and warmly remembers the memories.
Story no. 2
Ben has a similar story to John. As a kid, he had energy and a tireless rhythm. He also had a supportive family and more than decent grades. He also had classmates who mocked him and teachers who went at him for no reason. But… slowly he lost his sense of optimism and let all negativity get to him. In the 10th grade, Ben stopped going to dance classes. He didn’t want to take it anymore and gave up on dancing.
Over the years many talented young people have given up because of taunting from their peers at school.
If we think about it, in a lot of schools, ‘soft subjects’ such as art or dance or anything sport related, are seen as subjects for students that are not as intelligent. Suddenly, you’re not taken as seriously as before.
‘Dance is not a suitable career and it’s not the time to play make-believe‘, they say.
But… They do not know how hard it is to train some days for 5 hours after school, they do not know what it means to have very little free time, they do not know that the money for going out or ‘cool’ stuff is spent on dance classes, they don’t know that when their classmates get ready to go out, dancers are going to training or that when they’re ready to go to bed, sometimes we just finished training.
Some of us stopped going to dance classes and now see it as one of the worst decisions they have made in their entire life. You’ll wish so badly that you had had the strength to continue doing what you love, in spite of what other people thought.
If you need to create something worthwhile, you have to draw a line between what others expect from you and what you actually want. Over the long run, giving up to peer pressure will only make you regret the choices you’ve made earlier on.
The moral of this story is that if you have a desire to dance, just don’t let it go. If dancesport is something you truly want to experience, disregard what everyone else thinks.
Step by step, you make your way forward through the noise. Hold tight! You’re going places.
I’m hoping that both stories will raise some questions and will inspire and encourage young dancers and their parents and challenge the attitudes towards dancers in our society.
Photography: Elena Anashina
Dancing has been my passion since I was 13 and since then I've been doing things in that direction. Writing, creating and putting together the biggest community for dancers around the world!