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Since the age of seven, I’ve embraced a multitude of dance styles. My experience began with traditional Russian dancing which advanced to ballroom, ballet, modern, hip-hop, jazz and contemporary. My love for dance traversed the Atlantic Ocean to prosper on two different continents during the most difficult time of my life, my immigration to the United States. After years of classes, countless auditions, challenges, competitions and losses of inspirational teachers, I stayed strong and never gave up or quit on my passion for dance. Although pain, sweat and tears clouded many of my lessons, the smallest improvements always made the biggest difference. Advancing from twelve to eleven inches away from the floor during a split in just one week made each tear well worth the effort.
Growing up in Belarus, my parents emphasized exposure to various sports allowing for my further development and progress. They took me to piano classes, signed me up for knitting, allowed me to draw and sing, introduced me to ice skating and other sports, all in hopes that over time I would be able to choose desirable activities of my own and continue them. However, at the age of ten I joined my family in the US to continue my education at an American institution. They deemed my maturity level acceptable to understand the importance of a successful future and higher education. Unfortunately, this came with a price. Many of my most fond extracurricular activities ceased with the emigration due to their high costs in America. I challenged myself to enter a completely new environment in which the community, traditions, languages, people and culture were utterly different. Yet, there was one constant that I wasn’t willing to give up. On the contrary, I used it as the key to open up the door into this new lifestyle and find my path through it: my passion for the art of dance.
With my perseverance, I excelled in dance and began to love the way my body molded into various figures to form a well-structured performance. Similar to the path of solving life problems where you may encounter strange solutions for the beautiful final solution. The attitude taught to us along with the energy required to put into every single step are skills that I still possess today. Dance did not simply serve as a physical activity, it was the outlet for my frustrations in this entirely new culture. With dance I also found an outlet for emotional expression, creativity and social interactions. I gained so much more than just education, I obtained discipline, self-development and self-admiration. It lead me to become part of a different community where my linguistic barrier didn’t matter. The only language spoken flowed through the body with expression in movement.
Count five is preparation and the analysis of the problem. Count six is the plan of action. Count seven is me using every single cell of my body to try over and over again in order to achieve and perfect my results. Count eight is the big picture- the final formation. Count eight is the understanding of how important dance is to me and how it helps me to deal with absolutely any challenge coming my way. Count eight is the smile on my face and the confidence in my soul that justifies all the hard efforts and makes every mistake worth it. Count eight is the satisfaction from a successfully solved problem and a brilliant performance.
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