Smile pretty, pointe your toes, and never forget to put on your lipstick.
For as long as I can remember, my mom has reminded me of these three things before every dance recital. I used to get annoyed that she was trying to intervene while I was warming up to ready myself for the stage. However, now, I anticipate these words at every performance before it even leaves her mouth. Today, I realize that this message pertains to more than the whirlwind of hairspray, sequins, and flying bobby pins that occur at our biannual dance recitals, but the professionalism, and elegance that one should carry throughout their everyday lives.
From singing at benefits to tap dancing on stage, my mom has never failed to emphasize the importance of pursuing your passions. Now, as a Senior in high school, I have slowly begun to prepare myself to reflect upon my dance career at Kennebec Dance Centre.
Ten years ago, in Studio A, I filmed my first video audition for a professional production. At only eight years old, I was empowered by ambition and performance rather than technique. As a result, throughout my audition my instructor continued to remind me to point my toes, utilize my plie, and stop letting my tongue flop out of my mouth like a dog. Today, I stand in Studio A, again, filming my final college audition video. Without hesitation, I remember to point my feet, utilize my plie, and keep my tongue in my mouth when concentrating — with the occasional reminder, of course. Despite this, throughout my time at KDC, I have learned more than how to become a responsible, employable dancer, but how to follow a path fueled by hard work, and passion, vital to any field in life.
The life lessons, discipline, and passion illustrated by the experienced faculty at Kennebec Dance Centre has fostered a deep-seated love for the arts within me. As a musical theatre connoisseur, my passion for the performing arts roots from my fascination with storytelling. Every person has a story. This idea of storytelling through song, dance, political affiliation, gender, and religion has confirmed my interest within the arts. From hip-hop to ballet classes, I have learned more than just the proper technique to use for each step, but the art behind the question why?
Why do we keep our hip down and pelvis tucked under in a la seconde turns? Why do we warm up before we do static stretching? Why is it important to emote on stage?
As dancers, we tell stories with our bodies by using the space around us, but at KDC I have learned to tell stories with my body and soul fueled by the love for my teachers, friends and the art form itself. Kennebec Dance Centre has equipped me with the work ethic, communication skills, and passion for the arts that will carry me through my life.
Torn between two worlds, expectations and reality, I find peace within the arts. When I feel that the world I live in isn’t listening, I turn to the touching lyrics of artists who offer the same profound hopeful messages that ring true to me. I place myself within the mindsets of different characters and styles to find empathy and understanding of others. Dance affirms that there are other people who see life through the same lens.
Dance also reminds me that there is a time and place to act upon my intentions. At times, I feel unheard and alone — this is primarily the source of social injustice. Entire groups of people are deprived of their voice. However, musical theatre and dance gives me a voice. I find comfort, control, and hope in this universal language. I strive to give those who feel unheard a stage for their voice, too.
Now, as I participate in my last few weeks of KDC Zoom classes, I can safely say this is not how I pictured saying goodbye to my second home. However, the countless hours of dance, laughter, tears, and love that KDC and its faculty has fostered for both me and my fellow seniors throughout the years is unmatched by any other experience.
Words cannot begin to describe how grateful I am to have had a safe haven like KDC throughout my life. KDC has always been a place in my life where I knew I could go to be my most true, authentic self and dance my heart out. Nothing has changed. I hope that in years to come I can return to KDC to support the current dancers and faculty — just like they did for me all of those years.
The art of dance empowers the meek, informs the ignorant, and unites the audience. When I am dancing at Kennebec Dance Centre, I know that I am home.
Written by Katherine Boston