Hello, my name is Chloee McClellan. I am fifteen years old and am a current member of Evolution Arts and Athletics Dance Company and was previously a member of SLT’s Illuminations Dance Company. Today is National Dance Day, and I would love to share how dance has impacted me.
First, you’re probably wondering “what is National Dance Day”? “You mean there is a day dedicated just to celebrating dance”? Why yes, there is… Fun fact, there is also a day dedicated to lumpy rugs! No kidding!! National Dance Day was first established in 2010 by American dancer Nigel Lythgoe. Nigel Lythgoe was born in 1949 and became interested in dance at the age of ten. His passion for dance grew throughout the years. He studied classical ballet, modern jazz, ballroom, character, classical Greek and national dance from many different countries. He went on to do many great things in dance, including working with Congresswoman Elenor Holmes Norton to get National Dance Day established. It gives us all a chance to celebrate what dance has done and can do for us all!
Like him, dance has been a part of me for as long as I can remember. It’s been something that has helped me through some hard times in my life. I was in foster care several years before being adopted by my parents. I have struggled with insecurities and confidence most of my life. Dance offers an outlet for expression and the release or conveyance of emotions. Sometimes expressing what I feel is difficult, but when dancing I find it easier to get those emotions out through my body movements and be seen and understood by those around me. Dance also helped me be more confident in myself and helped me feel more comfortable in who I am.
Being on a competition team is hard but it has pushed me to do things I didn’t think I could and showed me I could do those things even when I didn’t think I was good enough or had the strength. It has shown me the value of working as a team and how to be supportive and understanding even when I am stressed and upset but also how to accept support from those around me.
Dance has helped me build up my social skills, work ethic, and endurance and with that opened so many doors for wonderful opportunities in my life. Dance has grown into a true passion, and something I want to pursue after high school. I would love to have the opportunity to bring dance (and theater) to small communities where the exposure to it may be limited or none. I would love to be able to help others break out of their shell and find themselves and shine on that stage. That feeling when the music comes on… there is like nothing else like it. It is indescribable how it makes me feel inside and I want to help others feel that too!
I do want to take a minute to thank my parents for making my dream possible. My parents really are my biggest supporters and have always done as much as they possibly can to make sure I can fulfill my goals and dreams. They gave me the love and reassurance I needed when I felt I wasn’t good enough or just could not make it. I remember a few years ago I wanted to completely quit dancing because the fear of rejection and judgment had clouded my thinking. I felt I wasn’t as good as all the other dancers (and peers for that matter) around me. But they told me to push past my doubts and remember how much I loved dance and I’d regret it if I just walked away. They kind of forced me to at least audition for the team that year and I am so glad they did. Little did I know that during that year my love for dance would grow so much and put a fire in me to pursue it as a career. And thinking back and looking at where I’m at now, I will never give up on dance because it is everything to me. Even now when I struggle, my dad is always there to give me those little pep talks that build me up when I most need it, cheering me on, and telling me how proud he is!
I want to encourage anyone who wants to chase their dream, whether it’s dance or something else, NEVER give up. Just hold on, give it that one more shot and I promise you, you’ll see that anything is possible when you are willing to put in the work for what you really love. Don’t let fear or your lack of confidence get in the way of being happy and trying to reach your goal! HAPPY NATIONAL DANCE DAY!