A Dancer's World

Describe the world you come from — for example, your family, community or school — and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.


I slowly wipe away the droplets of sweat rolling down my forehead as I glance outside the black curtain at the other dancers. The vibrant reds, pinks, and blues are all a blur as the dancers mimic each others’ graceful movements. I shut my eyes, thinking about all of the times I rehearsed this routine. The familiar ringing of anklets eases my anxiety. I tell myself that I will be successful and that I won't forget any of the steps. I step carefully into the bright lights, and try to ignore the feeling of 200 pairs of eyes fixated on my every movement.

My father dragged me into the dance studio on the first day of practice because I was stubborn and shy. I eventually came to understand why he was so insistent on my participation in the activity. Learning Bharatanatyam, a form of classical Indian dance, helped me feel more in touch with my cultural heritage. The American grade school experience had caused me to inadvertently separate my Indian culture from my everyday life. I learned to conform to the melting pot that is American society, rather than embrace the diverse layers of my individuality. Dance helped me to reconcile my Indian and “American” culture, so that I could take pride in the depth of my identity.Life became a...

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