How Dance Classes Helped Me Survive High School

Dance Got Me Through High School

The summer before my first year of high school, actress Willow Shields was featured on the show Dancing with the Stars. Being a huge fan of The Hunger Games, I decided to watch the show. The idea of taking dance classes was one that had been floating around in the back of my mind since childhood. Watching this show inspired me to take the dance classes offered at my new school. Little did I know that these classes would help me get through the stress of high school.

  • Physical Activity

Incorporating movement into a daily routine is good for both the mind and body. Dance was a fun break in my schedule where I could forget about studying and just exercise. The music happened to be a pleasant bonus. I had participated in sports when I was a kid, and those dance classes required far more energy than my old practices.

  • Outlet

At the beginning of our dance classes, we would often stretch with the lights off. It was incredibly relaxing and helped to unwind after taking a test or giving a presentation. If I was feeling frustrated after a class, I knew dance class was a place where I had people to talk to and plenty of activity to keep me occupied. This was the class I always looked forward to, even when we were learning a challenging piece of choreography that was sure to leave me with bruises. 

  • Expanded Comfort Zone

I had always been terrified to get on stage in the past. The idea of hundreds of people watching me thoroughly freaked me out. When I started dancing, the idea didn’t bother me as much. I was excited to challenge myself. If I got through the performance without making any noticeable mistakes, it was a huge win for me. Dance taught me how to keep moving forward, even if you mess up. If I tripped, I could find a way to play it off as part of the dance. 

These classes also forced me to collaborate with my peers. For the first time, I was excited to voice my ideas to the group. Even if the choreography looked difficult, I wanted to give it a try. Dancing was a lot of fun for me and I wanted to get as good as possible. 

  • Friendships

I met some of my best high school friends in those dance classes. Partnering with people and having them lift you in the air is a quick way to start building trust. When I look back at my high school career, I think of the times I spend laughing with my friends in the dance studio. 

  • Creativity

Dance was so new to me that every turn and every combination was exciting. I looked forward to seeing what costumes we would be wearing on stage and what the lighting would look like. Choreographing a dance was a lot of fun. I still cannot listen to music without imagining how I would choreograph it. Telling a story with only movement was challenging at first, but quickly became second nature. 

I will never come close to being a professional dancer, but I would love to take classes again. Even without tests and study guides, life is full of stress. If you have the opportunity, I would highly recommend giving dance a try. 


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