On weekends, my husband and I watch old episodes of the TV show So You Think You Can Dance. Seasoned choreographers choose 20 dancers (10 guys, 10 girls) from thousands of auditions to compete for the title of America’s favorite dancer. The audience votes for their favorites. The dancers on this program are out of this world amazing. Some of the routines move us to tears. Was I as good a dancer as they are? No way. But that’s not why I did it.

Dance was my mode of expression. It was my escape. It was my therapy. I danced from fourth grade through high school. I took ballet, jazz, tap, and lyrical classes. Ballet and lyrical were my favorite and my strengths. I learned styles like salsa, swing, and hip-hop.

A by-product of dancing several times a week was great health. For a nerdy girl I was surprisingly strong and athletic. At school I could whack a baseball to the opposite corner of our gym, I could almost outpace the boys in sit-ups and had the stamina to chase a soccer ball aggressively for at least 45 minutes. I was also able to eat pretty much whatever I wanted and maintain a healthy weight.

After high school I gave up dance. I made excuses: I was too busy with academics, I would not be able to sustain a career in it. Looking back it was probably one of my biggest mistakes. I could have minored in dance and taught it. I could have at least taken it as an elective. Why did it need to turn into a full blown career? I just wasn’t thinking. Twenty years later I am 30 pounds overweight with high blood pressure, missing dance.


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