Part One: Where Are You With Dance Right Now?

Eleven pre-professional teenage dancers were recently asked, “Where are you with dance right now?” This is the first half of their responses. They will be posed this question once a year for as long as they choose to respond, hopefully creating a chronicle of their growth through those pivotal years when young dancers have to decide if and in what capacity they want to continue dancing.

Annie, 17

Currently dance for me is a graceful struggle. I am constantly frustrated, excited, hopeful, and angry. Each day is scary because I know that I am going to suffer, which is also what I look forward to at night when I go to bed and while I am getting ready in the morning.

Realizing that the hard work and suffering never end brings on a lonely feeling. At the same time, that is what makes it such a desirable art form, the continual strive for growth as an artist and athlete.

It’s a good thing that I already established my passion for dancing long ago and that it is a permanent part of me. This is good assurance that I will never give up even on my most uncoordinated, clumsy, meaningless, painful days.

It is also reassuring to know that our passions and talents do not come from within us. They are instead gifts from the universe, a higher power of some sort, that are given to us so that we can continue to bring light into the world and into the lives of our fellow humans. As we are hosts to these gifts, we have a responsibility to take care of ourselves. Knowing this information keeps me sane.

In summary, I am currently tightening the laces on my combat boots, ready to fight for my dancing.

Though I am nervous and overwhelmed, I am also completely infatuated with my journey.

Georgia, 15

Dance. It’s pretty complicated right now.

To give a little intro to my history with dance:

I started dancing when I was 2 years old. I moved around a lot so I’ve trained a lot of different places. I moved to Utah a year ago and trained with Ballet West in the academy. I go to a school of the arts here where I take all modern and jazz classes. I have never taken a break from ballet classes over the last 13 years, although in 7th grade I had a period where I doubted what I was doing all these years but I just told myself to just keep going.

Throughout my stay at the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance I started to question all these years of ballet again.

It’s hard to figure out how to write these things.

I was incredibly happy at SFCD. I learned it’s important to do what makes you feel good.

Which made me think about all my ballet training over all these years and my time with Ballet West. I realized that ballet has never made me feel good. I’m good at it, which made a false sense of feeling good.

So I am pretty sure I’m quitting ballet after I finish this Ballet West summer intensive.

I want to keep with modern at school and a once in a while class. But also I just want to look at all other things I can do that’s not dance. Be a teenager. Do more photography.  Learn Italian. I’ve never had time to find these things out.

I don’t know.

Felicitas, 15

This past summer at the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance has really made me interested in the diversity of dance and I’m eager to learn more and more. I’m currently very invested in dance and my growth in it, and hopefully will continue that through a professional career. I would say I am totally in love with dance, and it continues to be something I want to do!

The only thing that scares me is college and dance and how that all works out.

Delaney, 15

Currently I am faced with the decision of focusing on dance or academics. We will see this year which one becomes my main focus but I am thinking dance will, since it is my passion. I have done four summer programs, (LINES for two summers, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance) and dance year round at a small studio in a small town in Northern California (Arcata to be specific). I am hoping that I can work more on my technique this year so later I am able to join a contemporary company.

Nina, 14

-I’m at a point where I’m learning what I know and don’t know; and what I can and can’t do. I plan to build on from there.

-When I know what I am incapable of, I can learn to be capable.

-Dance is my energy and motivational source.

-Dance is my base of anatomical understanding.

-Dance is a second “home base”; it is very comfortable to me, and I am comfortable to it.

-When I forget everything else, I remember what dance is.

-I am trying to figure out how move without overusing my body, and how to use it properly

-In places, I am fine-tuning old techniques; at the same time I learning the bigger picture of new ones.