Dating back to as early as elementary school, I remember class projects hanging around the room for everyone to see. It was either a drawn or photographed picture of yourself; followed up by the question of what you wanted to be when you were older. I recall my classmates responses consisting of things such as wanting to be like their mom or dad, teacher, doctor, astronaut, lawyer, or even someone famous. It was their young minds expressing their “dream jobs” because that’s what everyone wanted to be; without knowing the reality of what those occupations actually involved.
Although, I have been dancing since the age of five, in elementary school I did not know that my future self wanted to be a professional dancer. My young self was definitely guilty of saying one of those occupations for the soul reason of wanting to being the same as everyone else. Now, there is nothing wrong with wanting to be any of those jobs when growing older, my point is that I felt expected to say one of those occupations because they were “known” and common.
“Fear of The Unknown”
Leading into later years of high school where my classmates and I had to actually start thinking about what we wanted to do with our lives. Whether it was to apply to colleges and decide on a major, jump right into the work force, or an alternative route, nothing was set in stone. This brings in the reality of the topic, “Fear of the Unknown.”
Counteracting this topic, my situation was that I did know that I wanted to go to college and that I did know that I wanted to be a professional dancer. Thus taking me to where I am now; being in my second year of college majoring in dance with a minor in business. I don’t know too many people would expect the response of being a dance major in college. Even when asked the question there is the follow up of, “What is your back up plan?”
“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”-J.K. Rowling
The reality of it, is that no dancer truly knows what comes after dance. That ‘after’ of when human body won’t allow you to move at the peak it once did simply because of age. I plan to stay involved in dance the rest of my life whether it’s teaching or going to see a ballet in my old age. Commonly, the fear that is unknown is the after of dance, but I want to acknowledge the getting started in this career choice, it is a leap in itself.
I know of many talented people who pass up on the opportunity to continue their dream of having a dance career for the simple reason of being fearful. That being said, it is important to keep in mind that bravery is no small thing; bravery is a strong trait to have as a dancer. Especially since dancing expects you to be physically and emotionally available.
Following My Dreams
Being from Florida, I decided to go to an out of state college in Pennsylvania. The college I attend, Point Park University, has the lifestyle of being right in the city. Which I knew would be very different from the suburbs I grew up in. Although, I was fearful of being in a new environment the curiosity and excitement in me overcame that! I am able to explore new places allowing me to expand my knowledge on areas that once were unfamiliar to me.
Getting accepted into one of the top five dance programs in the country evoked a staggering amount of expectations and pre-conceived ideas to live up to. In fact, some of these expectations and pre-conceived notions consisted of the “unknown”. Regardless, what I could expect in my mind involved a world of being given the opportunity to become the dancer that I wanted to be. Here I am now almost two years in to this dance program. I am living, breathing, and dancing it because it is now my reality.
“To succeed, you need to find something to hold onto, something to motivate you, something to inspire you.”-Tony Dorsett
I want the takeaway of this particular blog post to be, don’t let the unknown dictate your life. This was especially prevalent while picking what college I wanted to attend after knowing that I wanted to pursue dance as a career. I later learned this idea and instantly made the connection. As a dancer there are many unknowns that come with it, but that should not dictate your life. Do not stress or fear of the unfamiliar and know that things work out the way that they are supposed to. Something I needed to hear before I started college was to follow your dreams, put in the work, and trust the process.