I take a breath, the spotlights hit, and the music starts. I pour my soul into a routine as I’m up on the stage with friends close enough to consider family. As the lyrics resonate in my mind and I move my body in intricate ways, I am living. In my heart I have always known that the essence of being alive is dancing. Dance is important because it’s the segway to another world; a world where the stress is relieved and the pressures of life are whisked away. It’s a world that welcomes self-expression and creativity with open arms. Dance gives me a break from reality; it’s like a mystical door to an alternate world. Dancing has given me the confidence to conquer obstacles in all aspects of my life. If I’m having a bad day, or feeling as if I’m just not good enough, I remember the empowerment I feel when dancing. I think about how I can grace the stage and display passion through my facials or through a particular way of kicking my foot. When I ponder on all of these things, I realize that I do have a place in this world. My place, as I’ve come to find out, is on the stage. Performing has taught me that if I can expose my deepest emotions to whole audiences of people, I can surely overcome any hardships life throws at me. Throughout the teenage years, it can be extremely difficult to love yourself. Distorted ideas of perfection stemming from edited photoshoots have allowed a whole generation of young girls to be self-conscious about how they are perceived by society. Dance is the one consistent factor in my life that has ensured me that I’m beautiful in my own way, and that I don’t need to fit any certain mold to be extraordinary. When I take that bow and the awe-struck audience cheers, I know that there is nothing in this world I can’t do.
Kaitlyn Molito (age 14)