Black Belts and Black Jazz Shoes: Discovering My Purpose Through Persevering

Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, please share.

I will not stop dancing until each of my toes fall off. I am currently waiting on the sixth toe to take a turn for the worse.

I have an intense relationship with dance. I have been dancing on a competitive team since I was twelve— meaning that I started late (since most dancers begin taking classes around the age of four). My delay in dance was due to my Taekwondo career.

Following my older sister into the dojang for my first class, I nervously twisted my new, crisp white belt and worried about the decision I had made. I should have stuck with soccer; sitting on the sidelines eating orange slices is so much easier. My sister loved martial arts and had made friends, so I shook off any doubts. Little did I know that for the next four and a half years I would attend class four to five times a week and compete at countless Taekwondo tournaments. After receiving my blue belt, I found that sparring became more frightening because girls were kicking me harder and to the head. I had always admired dance, had friends on competitive dance teams, and now I wanted to change sports after three years of Taekwondo. My parents encouraged me to finish what I had started in Taekwondo, but compromised by enrolling me in two dance classes. It is...

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