I was a dancer for 14 years, and 10 of those I danced competitively. During that time I was a part of a family that I often took for granted. The friends I made during my dance career are still some of my closest and best companions to date. However, I often took these relationship at face value and never really dove deep into their importance in my life.
I did not realize how much of an impact that the dance community made on my life until I left it.
I did not feel the impact of losing my dance family until competition season in my first year of university. For those of you who do not dance or do not dance competitively … competition season typically runs from January to June. So that’s six months of my life that I was performing for over 14 years. You can imagine how I would have felt when January 2015 came around and I came to realization I would never again experience the high that I did when I was performing with my dance sisters.
I remember in my second semester of university standing in my 8 feet by 4 feet dorm room staring out the window crying my eyes out. I felt like I had lost a huge chunk of who I was and like I had just lost my family.
I wanted so badly to feel like I did a year before.
I tried to recreate the family by joining a dance team on campus, but I just could not get that community feeling back again. I was so miserable that I dropped out of the club only weeks before their final show. This was HUGE for me. I never quit things.. EVER. So for me to just drop out without any notice was truly out of character for me.
After I had dropped out of that club, I decided that I couldn’t be a part of a dynamic that was being created by others, so I decided to build my own club and create the dynamic for myself. In September of 2015, my very own dance club “Euphoria” was born. I tried for three years to create the connection that I had when I was at my dance studio but in the end I couldn’t. In my last year of university I ended up cutting the club off short and only keeping it going for the first semester.
After trying to recreate my family, and never coming close to the feeling I had with my dance team I felt defeated and I decided that I would never again feel the way I did when I danced. I would cry every competition season looking back on my past dance pictures. In third year, Kirk and I decided to actually go to a competition in Niagara Falls. I decided that since I could not recreate the feeling, I would just go back to feel the feeling again.
But when we went… barely anyone knew who I was.
When we were driving home after that weekend I had finally came to the realization that the only way I would feel the way I did for 14 years would be when I had children and I became a dance mom. That thought made me miserable. I did not think I could wait for over 5 years to feel a part of something again.
Then I came across the coaching opportunity.
Initially, I became an online health and fitness coach to get my dance body back, but it soon became much more than that. I started to feel like I was a part of something again. I began to get my sense of community back … a feeling I did not think I would feel again for a very long time.
The first major milestone came during competition season 2018 when I did not cry or get depressed throughout the entire 6 months. That was huge for me. It was the first time in almost 4 years that I did not feel lost. Another huge milestone happened when I attended my dance studio’s annual recital. If it had been even a year ago I would have came home and been depressed for the next week that I was not a part of something like that again, but I was able to see the light at the end of the tunnel immediately. I was also able to appreciate what I had with my dance family and accept the fact that I will always feel that way when we get together, even if it is only once a year.
Coaching has changed my life in so many ways, but this is the thing I am most grateful for. I have never been the type of person to have a huge group of friends so it is hard to find a feeling of community. Everyone loves to feel like they are a part of something, so you can imagine the emotions I was feeling when I no longer felt like I was part of a community. Coaching will never recreate the feeling I feel when I am on stage or when I am with my dance family, but it gives me a new high. I wake up every morning excited to help others and to check in with my fitness family. Coaching has allowed me to come to the realization that I will never be a part of a community the way I was when I was dancing, and that is okay. I do not have to recreate the feeling, I can create another community that makes me feel just as good in a different way.