5 Things Being a Dance Competition Kid Taught Me

I realized recently that I've never really talked about my past as a competitive dancer. Which is super weird for me because it was my life from age 6 to age 18. My friends and I had a joke in middle and high school that no matter what they would ask me to do, my answer was always "I can't, I have dance." Which was 100% true. It was my life and I wouldn't have had it any other way.

I know what you're picturing right now is some Dance Moms drama, but really, it wasn't like that. Most of the time.

But in all seriousness, being a competitive dancer for 12 years of my life taught me some valuable life lessons that I didn't realize until I "retired." 

5 Things Being a Dance Competition Kid Taught Me

1. Responsibility
99% of the time, I was dancing with other girls, and those girls were my teammates. If I didn't show up to class, I was letting everyone else down. I had the responsibility to show up to classes, rehearsals, competitions, recitals, etc. no matter what. I also was responsible for oodles and oodles of costumes, shoes, jewelry, makeup and accessories. I can't say I never forgot them... but I did my best. (Shout out to my parents for always driving 45+ minutes to retrieve forgotten costume pieces for me!)

2. Time Management
Like I said above, classes weren't really optional. Even if this meant going to school until 3, and having to be at the studio at 4, I had to figure out how to get home in time to do my hair, jump into tights and a leotard and grab my bag in time to be at the barre at 4. Time management also went into balancing dancing for my high school dance team as well as my studio. That often meant having to choose between the two, which was never easy. 

3. Balance
I mentioned my friends joking with me above, but at times, it was sad. My friends got to have free time and be spontaneous when I had to be at the studio or at a competition. I often had to figure out how to make time for friends, homework, family, in addition to dance.

4. Endurance
While dancing for 5+ hours at a time does give you literal endurance, it also taught me how to go, go, go all day. For four years of high school, every Monday meant being at school at 6:45am for practice, then surviving a full day of school, then heading to the studio for class until 9:45pm. Needless to say, Mondays were long but totally worth it.

5. Friendship
Yeah, yeah, we all knew one of these was going to be super sappy. But seriously, I gained my best friends through dance and I couldn't be more thankful for that. It's amazing what late night competition slap-happy moods, bleeding feet and sequined costumes can do to bond girls together.

I miss dance every day and forever wish I could've continued but I know I did what was best. Being a competitive dancer was the best thing I could've ever wished for, so mom, thanks for randomly signing me up for dance classes when I was a tot. 

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