Life transitions often lead to sacrifices, and mine was dance. College offered many incredible opportunities that no longer led me to dancing consistently, so it was time to move on from that very significant chapter in my life. Those of you who have stopped dancing understand that this is not an easy thing to do, and there is a long list of things we will always miss.
1. The adrenaline.
There is no feeling in the world like doing what you love in front of a huge crowd. No matter how many times you had done it, dancing in front of your peers and your loved ones gave you a certain kind of rush nothing can replace. Once you've stopped dancing, it's difficult to find this same feeling in other aspects of your life.
2. Those weird dancer habits.
Remember when we used to watch TV in the strangest positions, and our families never understood it? Remember counting “...5, 6, 7, 8" before we would begin anything or cracking our hips in class? There are certain things dancers do subconsciously in everyday life that scream, “I'm a dancer!" We never realized they were there until we found ourselves doing them less and less, because habits fade and so do those pieces of us.
3. The chaos.
Sounds odd, right? Well, it's true. Being pulled out of our naturally chaotic schedules consisting of practices, rehearsals and performances with back-to-back dances was a huge adjustment, and they become something worth missing. At the end of the day, the craziness was always worth it.
4. The escape.
Although dancing added stress to our lives, it somehow also took it away. It was always a trance I could lose myself in without having to think about anything. Whenever life was just too much to handle, dance was always something that let us escape from reality, and now we often feel lost without it. It's difficult knowing that we don't have dance class later tonight and that we now have to find other ways to cope with our busy lives.
5. Being flexible.
Remember effortlessly kicking your face and sliding into the splits? Years and years of stretching and training gave us the ability to be flexible, and we are slowly losing that ability. As time goes on, and we dance less and less, our muscles long to remember what it's like to bend in that ridiculous way again.
6. Waking up sore.
There is no workout like completely engulfing yourself in a dance or a performance and losing yourself in the music. We will forever miss waking up in the morning being sore in that certain way that always reminded us that what we did was worth the pain. It was always a good kind of pain.
7. Costumes and stage makeup.
Dance was the one excuse we had to wear flashy outfits and way too much makeup, so now what? We miss the fake eyelashes, the undying smell of hairspray and the sparkly costumes that cut up our armpits. We don't know why, but we loved all of it.
8. Dancing next to your best friends.
Whether it was a dance team, dance company or dance class, our friends from dance understood us in ways other people never could. They understood the pressure, the struggle and the passion behind dancing, and we got to dance next to them every day. These were the people we grew up with, the people we trusted in ways we could not trust others, and the people we shared infinite amounts of crazy early mornings and late nights with.
At least we cannot miss the memory of dance, because we will have that forever.