The Backstage Experience

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The creak of the curtains as they fly out of sight. The first notes of music beginning to play. The sight of a silent audience sitting, waiting.

These are the moments a dancer lives for.

Performing is both exhilarating and peaceful. Offstage anticipation sparks the air – legs shake, palms sweat, and hearts race. But then a foot creeps from the wings, the spotlight hits, and everything changes – time slows down, steadiness seeps through the limbs, and there is only the music. Dancers endure months of long days at the studio, their feet bleeding, their bodies exhausted, but the extraordinary sensations that performing brings are the very reason they do it all.

Most dancers eat, sleep, and breathe to perform, but I do not. My love for dance is unique. It is unrelated to a perfectly executed pirouette, the sound of a cheering audience, or any aspect of dancing itself. I do not dance for the onstage experience but rather for the backstage experience.

I was only four years old when I began at my dance studio, a place I have come to view as a home away from home throughout the past thirteen years. It is almost an insult to refer to the other dancers and teachers at my studio as merely my friends and instructors, because my...

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