When I was little, I thought being a dancer meant being one of those spinning ballerinas in a music box. I thought it meant following steps and moving the way you’re told to move. I thought it meant looking exactly like everyone else and not thinking for yourself.
Dance can be like this. Especially on a team, when it’s about precision and looking identical to the other dancers. I remember years of learning choreography in dance class growing up, mindlessly imitating it because that’s what the teacher told me to do and that’s what the other dancers were trying to do. I stopped loving dance for a long time because of this. It didn’t feel like it was me and the music. Like the Britney song we all know and love, it was me against the music– going through automatic motions like a music box ballerina.
When I reached middle school and high school, I finally had opportunities to choreograph, and this changed my perspective entirely. Once I realized that part of dancing was creating, the entire meaning of dance was flipped upside down. Dance was about expression, not restriction. It was about finding new ways to be able to move, not learning technique just for the sake of learning technique. It was about being confident both on the dance floor at prom and on the 50-yard line at halftime for cheerleading routines. And now, dance is both my creative outlet and my excuse for not running on a treadmill.
In Creativity class, we’re supposed to write a blog entry about a creative idea we have each week. Last week it was the notebook I started keeping to write down inspiring things I saw in daily life so I wouldn’t forget them. This week, it’s dance choreography. I was selected by my sorority to choreograph this year’s routine for the annual lip-synching competition (as part of Rockin’ Against Multiple Sclerosis, a fundraiser on campus). And I’m not about to reveal too much yet until the other sororities have revealed their songs, but thank goodness for my creative ideas this week, because it’s finally no longer me against the music.