I was recently asked why I teach dance. It was sort of a loaded question with a promised loaded answer, so a few sentences just didn’t do it justice.  The answer came from a long history of why I am the way I am, what experiences I’ve had that has molded me and what my life is like now.

I contemplated only for a few moments, because it was undeniable that I am everything I am because of dreams. My dreams, my commitment to dreaming and the power behind dreaming of my deepest desires – is in fact what saved my life.

I could talk about this concept forever, but I’ll spare you the hour cup of coffee and give you the cliff notes of my response to this question.

I never fit in when I was younger.  Probably still don’t.  But in my dreams I believed I was great and I always pictured myself dancing and performing and it helped me to feel confident and strong and amazing.  So I danced in my room for 16 years before joining a class and someone believed in me.  My parents always did of course, but one person, my teacher, believed I could do anything.  She taught me how important training was to hone that natural talent of freedom through movement.  My life started to get better, I believed in myself more and more, and learned how to make decisions based off of the new worth and value I felt for myself.  Dance saved me.

And it didn’t stop as a teen.  As I got older, life got harder, plans change, I started teaching dance at 18, dealt with traumatic situations, had a child young, and so on – life on life’s terms.  Life was very challenging for me, the way it is for everyone, but I never stopped dancing, and it seemed like the more I was available to help others, the better I felt.

So I chose to never give up on my dreams that I was so fond of as a child.  My dreams evolved and I would plug in my ear buds and lay with a shirt around my eyes, and just dream and dream and picture the life I wanted, picture dancing the way I desired, pictured inspiring others the way I hoped to.  And slowly, over time, all my dreams came true.

I didn’t know exactly why it helped me and kept me moving and growing and improving at this thing called “life”, but it did.  I mean, people loved that I danced, but I think a lot of people thought it might just be a phase and soon I’d move on to a real job (lol). But I just kept dancing no matter what and never gave up on my dreams because it seemed to be the only place I belonged and the only thing I could rely on to never hurt me.

And now I’ve been teaching for 15 years and my life is incredible – better than I could have ever imagined it would turn out! I run a successful business I built from nothing, I get paid to travel, teach and perform, and I’m the luckiest girl in the world because I’m living my dream every I wake up and choose to be here now believing my reality can reflect the power of my dreams, and my dreams can continue to grow with the support of my reality!

And I don’t think I would feel like that if I didn’t have an outlet that taught me about working hard for what you want (endless hours practicing choreography), commitment (choosing dance classes over other activities or fun), self respect (loving my body and respecting myself from the inside out), and always believing in yourself, no matter what anyone else thinks (a life value I believe almost every human has to learn at some point).

So no matter what, don’t ever stop dreaming.  You are always the number one person that will always be there for you – and you can always find a place to belong if you close your eyes and dream of it.  Trust me, I’m living proof.