By Lauren | June 1, 2015
I have danced for a huge chunk of my life, probably since I was around 5 or 6 years old. I grew up as a competitive dancer, one that danced every day of the week up until I went away to college, I used to go to the dance studio right after school and had classes all evening, with dinner and homework in between. Spending so much time in the dance studio taught me a lot to prepare me for my life, and these are just some of the lessons I learned.
1. Time management
Dancing 7 days a week, managing going to school full-time and a social life wasn’t always easy growing up, but I can thank dance for my superb time management skills I have now. I’m probably one of the most organized people, and I got that from having to manage and juggle so much while basically living in a dance studio.
Being a dancer takes a lot of dedication. It’s not all fun and games, it’s tough, stressful and I had to miss out on a lot of things growing up because of it. The thing is, I don’t regret missing high school parties and school dances, because I was dedicated to my sport, and committed to it. I always felt that being dedicated to something you love was always worth it.
I had some tough teachers growing up as a dancer. Teachers that were basically like Abby off Dance Moms, mean, bullies and sometimes I’d go home crying my eyes out because of it. But dance taught me discipline. When kids were out being wild and crazy, I’d be in the dance studio every school night and weekend. We weren’t allowed to play other sports during competition season incase we got hurt, we weren’t allowed to act like brats or talk back in dance class, and being in such a disciplined sport taught me a lot about being disciplined in life, if you want something bad enough, you’re going to have to work your butt off to get it.
There was times I wanted to give up, and I’m sure in every sport, every kid got to that point where it was just too much to handle. I worked so hard during my dance “career” as a child to finally get myself up to the full competitive team. I used to sit in “awe” and dream about the day that I could be like all the other girls instead of on the pre-competitive team I was on that didn’t challenge me. I was constantly turned down every year, but I stuck to it, and eventually when I got myself there, it was one of the best feelings in my life and I was so thankful I didn’t just take the easy way out and give up.
This is a given. Dance is an art form, and is usually what parents put their kids in when they’re super creative. I’d spend my spare time making up my own dances, still to this day there are songs that come on the radio that I choreograph to in my head. The expression of dance is so creative, and I think being in a creative hobby growing up is what led me to being in a creative profession, marketing. Dance also showed me that I thrive in creative environments, which is something I always keep on my forefront for career opportunities.
6. Team work
Yes there are solos in dance, but mainly you’re going to be working with a team or group, so learning how to work with those people is basically crucial to your success. You have to be a team player to succeed! Learning how to dance with so many different types of girls growing up, from drama queens, to those that were favourited, to those that just weren’t very good or didn’t care about dance at all, taught me a lot about how to deal with different personalities and work with different types of people. Something I do every day in my career now!
7. Overcoming fears
Hey, it takes a lot of guts to go up on a stage in front of an audience, all eyes on you and you’re being judged by a panel of professionals. Dance was always about overcoming fears, whether it was going on stage each time, or trying out a new trick or move. Learning the positives that could come when you do overcome your fears, and how great it could feel, is really what pushes me in my every day life and career choices now. The scariest things are usually the most rewarding.
8. Stress management
Dance can be a lot on a kid, on top of juggling your school work, you’re constantly at the dance studio training, leading up to competitions, and performances which will either make or break your success that year. Learning to deal with the times that I was super stressed in dance, have prepared me for dealing with real life stress now. I’m now one of those people that don’t wear my stress on my sleeve, and someone who knows how to relax and take a step back when I’m feeling overwhelmed, overworked or stressed out.
It’s hard to be so committed to something without passion, and dance for sure taught me that. Spending all my spare time dancing or at dance competitions wouldn’t have been worth it for me if I didn’t absolutely love it. I loved the feeling I got the moment I stepped on stage, or when I learned something new and nailed it. Dance showed me how important it is to do things that you love and are passionate about, because if you don’t, you’re going to live your whole life never as happy as you could be.
10. It isn’t always fair
With dance, people got chosen for solos and special parts that maybe you felt didn’t deserve it, you’d work your butt off in the summer when everyone was on vacation to hopefully move up to the next level, and you wouldn’t. Dance didn’t always seem fair, but life isn’t fair and even though it’s a hard lesson to learn growing up, I think dance is what really prepared me for it down the road.
So with those 10 lessons I leave you with this, thank you dance, for making me the person I am today. You taught me more about life then any person ever could, and for that I am blessed.