BY JESSICA ARMOUR
Pigeon toed. At seven years old my mom decided the best cure for my turned-in feet was ballet. What started as one night a week eventually consumed my life. For as long as I can remember I was enrolled in every form of dance. Every free moment I could spare was devoted to movement. I was a difficult and stubborn child, and if I wasn’t immediately good at something I would quit. I guess in that way I was lucky my dance teachers never corrected me for the first eight years of my dancing life.
Unfortunately, because I was never corrected, I learned some very bad habits. These bad habits translated into bad knees and sickled feet. I had lived in a dream world where I believed I was a good dancer. When I went to college the illusion was shattered. I was devastated to be rejected from the dance department of my university but settled on pursuing it as a minor. Slowly the realization dawned on me that I was not naturally gifted as a dancer and the reason I cringed watching myself dance was actually because I was not very talented. However, I was arguably one of the most passionate dance minors I ever knew.
Truthfully, the end of my relationship with dance came at the end of college. I simply could not afford to keep dancing. Like any break up, I tried to rationalize it. “We were too busy,” “we drifted apart.” But now I can see the truth was we were never right for each other. I loved our time together and wouldn’t trade it for anything. I learned a lot about myself and never would have met my true love, Theatre, had it not been for the time I spent with Dance.
I would love to dance again. If the planets aligned and I found myself with time and money I would definitely begin taking classes. So much time has passed I would need to begin from scratch again. And that felt daunting at times. However, recently I decided to take a chance and go to a dance audition. I went in extremely nervous since I have not danced in many years. Instead I walked away extremely proud of myself and feeling rather solid in my abilities.
Maybe someday soon I will find my way to a dance class. Dance has had a huge influence in my life and I owe a lot to it. Currently, I work seasonally as a haunt performer, and it is because of dance I am able to express so much through my body. I love to play physical characters and I find I appreciate movement and those who are able to connect to their bodies. I owe all of that to dance.
Jessica Armour currently works as a theme park employee and enjoys work as a haunt performer. She danced for almost twenty years before moving on to pursue theatre. She holds a BA in theatre acting and directing and a minor in dance performance from Chapman University as well as an MA in applied theatre arts from USC. She recently married Robert Armour whom she met through working in a haunted house.