My World

By Jessica B.

The lights are down. My heart is pounding. I stand on the stage, perfectly still, waiting. The curtains open, and the music finally starts. I should start, but I freeze instead. My mind is racing. "What are the steps? I should know this; I’ve been practicing this forever. I can’t mess up now." Then it happens. The music pulsates through my spine. I start dancing, escaping reality, and becoming a person that exists most vividly as I dance.

When I dance, my personality is altered. In reality, I am a studious, calm, collected girl, but on the stage, I become a vibrant, spirited, and confident young woman. I know only the character I am portraying as I perform. I become the man, singing about his fight with AIDS. I turn into the girl crying over her lost love. As my heart pounds, I repeat to myself "Watch that turn. Smile. Stretch your legs." My body becomes a piece of clay, waiting to be molded into the perfect combination of turns, leaps, and steps. I am performing, entertaining, taming the monster known as an audience; more importantly, though, I am dancing so that the other “me” may be set free. The world becomes mine for those couple of minutes, and I show the world the lively girl waiting to emerge. I can be whomever I want. Fantasy becomes reality when I dance.

The devotion that I put into my dancing is illustrated through my execution. Dancing is not just about perfecting the steps. Dancing is becoming another person in another time and telling that story to an audience. I come alive when I dance. I show my other, more courageous side. My object, my purpose when dancing is to inspire and to create. Emotions move like the wind, and I am like the leaf, twirling, dancing, and letting the emotions run through me so that all may see. I am free to show my lust, grief, anger, or bliss without feeling judged or intimidated. The stage is mine, and for those few minutes, I own the world.