I have had many failures when it comes to my dance career. I was looked over year after year for the role of Clara in The Nutcracker, I was never any good at doing fouettés en pointe, my piece was rejected from a student choreography showcase, I failed my dance MTEL on the first try, and I'll never be able to do a split. I don't have any trophies or crown to show that I was ever any good at dancing when I was younger. Nobody shares videos and photos of me online because they're in awe of me. I have been beaten down (metaphorically speaking) to the point where I was ready to quit dance altogether. Ironically enough, today I was cleaning out my house and found an old rejection letter from a dance program.
We are so quick to equate these superficial signs of "success" to the value of our dancing. We treat the glorious as the gods of dance, while we brand the less fortunate or less successful as wannabe dancers. The second we walk into a ballet class, we identify the good and the bad, while trying to find our place at least somewhere in the middle. We get envious of those that can show off their incredible flexibility in photographs. We don't skip that third class of the week in order to keep our teachers, dance moms, and classmates happy. We even perform to get the crowd on their feet in roar of applause. So much of what we do in dance is for someone else.
As I have gotten older and have taken a step back from performing and training as rigorously as I did growing up, I have had this fear of not really being considered a dancer anymore. Yes, this sounds crazy, especially considering I've been studying dance at BSU for the past 3 (going on 4) years, but I no longer have these outward attributes of a dancer. I don't have a show to rehearse for or a new move to nail. But I still have dance in me.
Last week I took a ballet class for the first time in a year. Even though I've been taking other styles for the past year, I could definitely feel that I am much less flexible than I was in the past. I was definitely one of the least advanced in the class, but I still felt like I belonged there. The familiar feeling of tights being stuck to my legs on a hot July day had not been forgotten. My technique was still there, and it felt like I had never left. Ballet had not left my body just because I had left the barre.
Dance is mine. It has been mine since I was three years old and I took my first ballet lesson. It was mine when I found out I was genetically predisposed to being less flexible than the average person. It was mine when the girls I went to school with made fun of me for doing ballet productions instead of dance competitions. It was mine when I first became injured and had to come home and ice my knee every night. It was mine when I fell into a deep depression because someone in my life discouraged me from pursuing my dreams of becoming a dance teacher. It was mine when I choreographed my first musical with my best friend, and struggled to just get my dancers to master a jazz square. It was mine when I cried at my first big audition because I got cut halfway through. It was mine when I finally got to be Clara in The Nutcracker, even if it was just for community outreach performances. It was mine when I got anxiety over modern dance classes because I really had no clue what I was doing. It was mine when I received my first card from students with "Miss Rebecca" on the envelope. Dance was mine, and is mine, through every trial and triumph, success and failure, good memories and bad, that I was been through...and it always will be.
To my future students, please know that dance is all yours. No matter where you are on your dance journey, where it begins, where it ends, or where it throws you for a loop, dance is yours. The joy you feel when you dance will stay in your body throughout your life is you let it. Don't let this false idea of what a dancer is cloud your judgment. Don't let someone take dance away from you, as they have no right to. It doesn't matter if you're the best in the class or you make it as a professional; what matters is that you love dance, you keep dancing, and you save a place in your heart for dance, always.
Hello there, my name is Becca and I am a 22 year old dance teacher from Massachusetts.
News & Events
9/18 Follow my new Instagram just for my dance things!
12/23 I was one of NDEO's Guest Bloggers this year! Read "Teaching is a Vocation. Not a Fallback" on their Behind the Curtain Blog!
9/27 I will be presenting my research at the National Dance Education Organization National Conference next week! See my research project by clicking the button below!
4/15 While working on PMA's production of The Addams Family, I got to combine my two favorite styles of dance (ballet and musical theatre) for "The Moon and Me"! Watch my talented students dance by clicking the button below!
2/20 I am choreographing PMA Theatre Guild's Production of The Addams Family! Come see these amazing high school students perform at Presentation of Mary Academy in Methuen, MA April 13 & 14! Tickets available at the door.
2/20 I am stage managing BSU's Dance Kaleidoscope this year! Show dates are March 29-31 at Bridgewater State University in Bridgewater, MA. Come see this student choreography showcase!
11/5 I will once again be dancing in a BSUDC concert! Tickets to WinterDance are now available!
8/24 NDEO's National Honor Society for Dance Arts has published one of my articles in their newsletter! Read an updated version of "Audition Advice" here:
5/16 Interested in learning about movement concepts? Visit Becca's new Educational Dance website!
5/8 BSU Dance Company's Dance Kaleidoscope 2017 is now on Youtube! You can watch my performances by visiting the VIDEOS page!
4/23 I recently performed for the residents of Allerton House in Hingham, MA! You can watch part of my performance here!
Amesbury Children's Theatre presents...James and the Giant Peach Jr, featuring choreography by me! Click for tickets!
2/8 My piece "Barefoot" is now available to watch online! Click to watch!
2/5 Happy to say I have been cast in BSU Dance Company's Spring concert Dance Kaleidoscope! I will be dancing in 3 faculty choreographed pieces, including excerpts from The Sleeping Beauty in which I will be dancing the role of Lilac Fairy! Show dates are March 31-April 1 at Bridgewater State University.
Click the button for more info!
1/15 Ballet with Becca is now on Facebook! Click to visit the page, and be sure to like it while you're there!
1/14 I am happy to say I will be attending artEmotion's summer intensive in June! I will be dancing in the one week artEmotion Adult Program. If anyone would like to join or audition for any other artEmotion program, visit their website!
12/13 My photo gallery has been recreated! Click to see the new page, including photos from WinterDance 2016!