Monday, July 2, 2012

Time to move on from dance

I have had a few things on my mind for a while now...

I have been thinking about dance. If you know me well, you know that I grew up dancing. I loved it. It was my life. I was good, but not really. Haha. I was flexible and could do leaps and had passion, and had fun dancing. It wasn't even about the dancing though, it was about my studio. 

I danced at Lifehouse Performing Arts Academy. It all started when I was 10, because of, me. (really though.) I had just moved to Elk Ridge, and was in a lady named Nesha Woodhouse's ward. I got a flyer in the mail saying she would be teaching dance for 3-8 year olds in her studio in her basement. I got SO excited, because when I lived in Spanish Fork before that, I danced with Children's Visions. When we moved my mom said it was too far away for me to still dance there. I was desperately looking for dance somewhere else that we could afford and I felt like this was the opportunity! The only problem was: I was 10. Not 8. 

I marched right over to Nesha's house. I showed her how flexible I was. "Nesha! Look what I can do!" as I pulled my leg to my head while standing. Haha. I told her I really wanted to dance. I think I begged her for weeks to teach me, when finally, she said OK! She told me to get together a group of girls to take with me and she would teach us. 

I did just that. I told all the girls in my ward, and we came together to make a class. We danced in her basement and I loved every minute of it. She even let me dance for free, because we couldn't afford it. I would babysit for her in exchange and I would also clean her home sometimes. I didn't care that I was having to work to dance, because it was worth it to me. At the time, the studio was very very small. There probably weren't more than 30 dancers in the whole company at the time, and the studio was called "Klub Groove Studio's". 

As the next few years went on, the studio grew. Nesha's mission was to help dancers make others feel uplifted by our dancing and to help us dance for ourselves. We didn't compete. We just preformed. Nesha was always about serving others and dancing to inspire others to do good and live happily. I loved that it was a safe environment for me. 

I quickly became best friends with all the girls in my class. We were the first class to start with Nesha, and we stuck together till the end! Chelsea, Me, Nicole, Jessica, Sierra, and Larissa were all so tight knit together. We laughed, we cried, she made fun of eachother, we told eachother all of our deepest secrets (seriously). It was a way of life for us. Not just going to dance. But meeting with family. Learning from eachother. LEANING on eachother. We all learned so much about life and how to work through our emotions through dance. I don't know where I would be without any of them. Nesha was our mentor. We spent so much time with her. We met with her at her home many times and got to listen to her give us advice and help for anything in our life. I considered her my older sister and biggest influence in my life, and still do feel that way. 

Luckily, Nesha taught our class from day one. We later on got some different ballet and jazz teachers, but Nesha always did our choreography and tap. We were so lucky to be able to spend so much time with her. 

My Junior year I hurt my knees pretty bad, and ended up having to get surgery. My knees never were the same after that, and I ended up having to give up my favorite thing- dance. I cried and cried over my decision for a long time, but I just couldn't do it. I didn't quit because I wanted to, but I really had to. I just couldn't make it work. 

Fast forward to today. 

Nesha's studio has now grown so big that the senior company doesn't get to be taught by Nesha. She just doesn't have time to teach the older girls. She occasionally does choreograph a dance for them still but those girls never got the time with Nesha that our class did. 

That being said, this year, at the dance recital in June, I really struggled to be there. 
In the past, I have always really really looked forward to being there and to seeing everyone perform and to remember all the good times I had being part of the studio. Chelsea and I sat together (she is a teacher there still) and talked through the whole thing about which dance we liked the best or how cute the costume was or this and that. I sat there though not feeling good. I felt left out. The teachers there now besides Chels have no clue how it all started. They have no clue how much the studio meant to us, and still does mean to us. They don't realize that it wasnt just taking dance for us. It was literally a home away from home. A shelter. A place of learning and crying and growing. I do believe I was led to Nesha by the lead of God's hand. It was not by accident. I wont share specifics, but there have been times that she has literally saved me in my time of need. 

I sat there and watched the senior company dance. 
Wow. How amazing those girls are. They are extremely gifted dancers that dance from the heart and soul. They are technitions by the means of dance. I even teared up watching a few of the dances because I was touched and inspired.. 

but, I felt of no self worth. 

I suddenly felt like a super senior. 
Why was I there? 
Why was I wishing that was me on the stage? 
Why did I feel the need so badly to fit in with all the teachers who so clearly don't understand me or like me very much.. 
I felt sooo stupid. 

I talked with one of the girls after letting her know how proud of her I was and that she did an amazing job. She simply said thanks and ran off. Not that she was supposed to stand there and boast, but I got the feeling that she thought, "why do you even come to these? you don't have family in this anymore..." 

I suddenly realized that no one will EVER understand what that studio and what dance meant to me in my life from the age of 10-18. Even when I was teaching Musical Theater, I felt included.. but I took the year off to have a baby.  Now, I realize, I will never go back. I will never be a part of it anymore. I will never be an outstanding dancer. The teachers will never understand how it was when it started. It's changed so much, and believe me, in good ways. Its just not the same though. The girls will never understand what it was like to dance in two different garages before the studio was built. We started at such a different level than these girls are at because it has grown so much and they are able to dance many more hours a week than we ever did. (which, lucky them! they are so talented!) 

And honestly, I don't know if I will ever be comfortable going to the end of year show again. I don't know why I felt that way. It was almost just a silent feeling letting me know that it's okay to let go from things and move on. I need to stop living in the past and just take what I learned and use it in my daily life. 

I miss talking to Nesha every day and I miss being in the positive dance atmosphere. For some reason though, this last experience was not positive. I left feeling alone, and not talented at all. I think it was jealousy to some part of it, but the most part of it was kind of just being mad. I am mad that the older girls don't act like they understand what its all about. 

But why do I feel that way? I just can't pinpoint why I feel this way.. I just know I do. Is that lame of me? Is it dumb for me to feel like a part of me is missing every time I go? Maybe because I don't teach there anymore? Maybe because I didn't go to school to get a dance degree? Because I miss my tight knit dance girlfriends who know so very much about me? 

have you ever felt like this after leaving something behind? 

I do want to finish by saying though that I chose my life the way it is. And I wouldn't change it for anything else. I love my husband, my beautiful Mia, and my life. I really do. I am very blessed and I CHOSE to leave dance and do hair. But, I didn't choose to leave the studio or my memories and friends behind... and it feels like I have to now...


Kira said...

Gillian, I don't know if you have to leave dance completely. It may not be the way you had imagined...but you can always continue and further a passion. I think the biggest point though, is that while dance is apart of you. YOU are apart of something even bigger. Something even MORE meaningful. Being a mother and wife and raising your little family.
I can relate to your story. I love to run, and I even signed up for a race! and right now I'm injured.(right before I got to race it) I have back problems and it's frustrating that sometimes my body won't work the way I want it to. I don't plan to stop running, but I may have to re-evaluate my goals... with that being said. Running is a hobby and even a passion, but its only one part of me. Not the whole part. Same with you.
My sympathies. You're a strong girl

Britt Hanson said...

Gill, I know what you mean! I didn't dance as long as you, but I loved dancing as well. My dance teacher/company director was one of my most loved mentors as well, and I learned so much from her, from the girls I danced with, from the work you put into becoming what you want to be, from the dancing itself.
I haven't danced in a few years... In college you have to make decisions about what you are going to do - and as much as I loved dancing, I didn't have the time, or (I thought) the skill to make it big. So I stopped. I regret it at times... and at times I think I will go back to dancing. But your body can change so much in 3 years, and I just don't think I will ever be able to dance that well again. And it's sad. And when I talk to girls younger than me who are dancing and try to let them know I know what they are going through, that I've been there - I don't think they really care. They have their own friends, their own teachers....

Anyway.... The moral of this long comment is that I completely understand where you are coming from - at least to some degree.

Love you!

Joy Chavez said...


I love reading your blog, because you are so candid and real. You don't try to pretend things are different, better, or worse than they are. You are so honest about how you're feeling - I absolutely love that! Thanks!

Joy Jardine Chavez

Debbie Barr said...

I know I usually comment on your blog, but I really related to this post.

I feel this way a lot, too, when I visit Elk Ridge, my high school, or even seeing old friends. I've come to realize that this is one of the hardest parts about growing up. It means we have to leave such important parts of our lives behind us, because life is always changing.

I think everyone feels sad sometimes visiting a place that once meant so much to them. It's hard to see the changes, both in the place and in the people and in yourself. And that's okay. Just because things have changed doesn't mean that what you remember there isn't important. Instead, it seems to make our memories all the more significant and precious, because they are unique and special to us and no one else.

Hopefully that all made sense...


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