Save The Last Dance: How It All Began

Save The Last Dance: How It All Began

Here’s a little back story…

I wasn’t always a good dancer. In fact, I was terrible, to say the least. Shocking, right? I had no rhythm at all, it was embarrassing. But I was about 7 years old when I saw someone do something different. The dance, I got to find out later on in my life, was called ballet. I saw it in a movie called ‘Save The Last Dance’. This lady called Sara, a ballerina, danced so beautifully that I was hooked. So I thought to myself, “Valerie doesn’t know how to do this oh, I should learn it”. Valerie, my older sister, was a good dancer. She beat me in every single dance competition we had at home. And we had a lot of those growing up.


So I made up my mind, I was gonna learn it just so that I can win one of those dance competitions. If I was going to beat Valerie, I had to do something she couldn’t do. I remember seeing the ballerina on her toes and twirling a lot and that was enough for me. I would lift my arms up, go on my toes and begin to twirl and twirl. In my mind, I was the best dancer and I was winning the competitions so I would plant a huge smile on my face and imagine that I was dancing in front of an applauding audience who couldn’t take their eyes off of me…

Unfortunately, I never did get the chance to show off my new dancing skills cuz not long after that Valerie went off to boarding school and my mom gave birth to her fourth and final child (but Valerie, I’m ready now for our dance competition). My mum was always busy so I had to help around with the baby which led to me losing interest in dancing. However, the idea of me dancing haunted me once in a while but I always brushed it aside and coincidentally, I never saw another dance movie or music video again… until my early teens. My siblings and I came across a show called ‘Dance Evolution’, a dance competition for kids and teenagers. Back then, I couldn’t tell the difference between ballet, contemporary and jazz. If you did a high kick and could spin, it was all the same to me. On the show I saw these two girls who not only were really flexible but could do amazing tricks and right there and then, I made up my mind to learn everything I saw them do even if I had to teach myself. Normally, things like doing the splits or turns needed supervision from a trained professional but I went ahead anyway cuz I didn’t have anyone around to help me out. All I needed was what I had. I had my bed and a pair of socks for me to slide down the floor easily. I would hold my bed and slowly open my legs to get into my splits. Most days I cried but when I finally got it, it was the most satisfying feeling. I would practice for weeks and months. by the time I was ready for university, I knew how to averagely do 4 things; splits, high kicks, leg hold and a turn which I found out is called a pirouette.

I’m on the journey to get my middle splits for the third and, hopefully, the final time!

When I got to the university, I auditioned and later joined a dance group named SALT Dance Ministry. They became my family throughout my stay in the university. I learnt so much and grew a great deal just from watching and experiencing how passion drives a dancer. It was my encounter with these people that fueled my quest for knowledge in dance. I started watching tutorial videos on YouTube because I saw them do that. I owe a huge part of my decision to become a professional dancer to them…

From my time in the university till now, watching videos online and teaching myself has been the most exhausting yet rewarding thing. In the words of Misty Copeland,

“You have to remember why you do it. If you don’t love it, you won’t survive cuz it is hardwork”

It is often said that you have to have a lot of passion for what you’re doing because if you don’t have that passion, the rational thing to do is to give up.

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