By Mendy Harris, Jamie Gilbert-Fitzpatrick, Maddie Mason

Pictures by Jamie Gilbert-Fitzpatrick

Beads of sweat dripping down the face, arms burning, feet worn out, eyes focused, and heartbeat as strong as ever, this is the life of a dancer.

“I joined dance because I was horrible,” junior Josh Bristow said.  “I was a lead role in The Wiz and I can remember it like it was yesterday. The quartet dance required a pirouette, and I didn’t even know what it was.  I asked Mrs.  Haynes what I needed to learn and she had me sign up for her dance class.  I’ve been involved and in love with it ever since.”

Other reasons for students partaking in the art include a family history of dance.

“I got involved in dancing because my mom used to dance at Southern Strutt and my mom wanted me to try it,” freshman Aaliyah Blocker said.

Nerves before, during, and after performances play a big role in a dancer’s mindset.

“Even though I been dancing all my life, I still get very nervous to dance in front of a  crowd,” sophomore Jordan Furtick said.  “I tend to second guess myself sometimes and question if I remember my choreography.  But it’s also very exciting because I get to show others my talent and share my passion with them.  Hearing the crowd yell and scream for you is worthwhile.”

Support from the audience whether from family, friends or complete strangers motivates dancers to keep pursuing their dream.

“It’s exhilarating.  Being on stage being able to show everyone your art and passion and have them appreciate it is one of the most gratifying experiences that anyone can ever dream of,” junior Albert Green said.  “Knowing that you’re being accepted by doing what you love allows you to not worry about what people may think.  I don’t think I could ever get tired of that feeling.”

Diversity is a key factor in the set of skills a dancer must acquire.  Due to this diversity, dance shapes many people into open minded thinkers.

“Whether it’s hip-hop, jazz, ballet or even if someone likes the way you dance or not,” Jordan said.  “As a dancer you have to appreciate the different styles and accept the different thoughts and criticism that come with being a dancer.”

Pure sacrifice and dedication are apart of every dancer’s life.  Whether it is not being able to hang out with friends or not getting home until late every night, this is the dedication it takes to be a dancer.

“I spend almost everyday of the week getting home late, studying and completing homework, Aaliyah said.  “Also it is very expensive so I don’t get to do as many things as I used to do before I started, but it is something that I love to do so it doesn’t bother me sacrificing things for dance.”

Dancers expressing a passion for an audience creates a connection that can never be lost.

“I’m just surrounded by good people that want to see me be challenged and overcome those challenges and with that behind me I’ve been able to tackle things that I couldn’t do before,” Albert said.  “Dancing has opened so many opportunities and lessons that were never available to me beforehand.”