Student in Athens, Georgia
The music blaring from every corner of the room. I’m going on stage next and I can feel the adrenaline in my veins. I’m nervous, but the excitement is overwhelming. I know that as soon as I start dancing on stage, everything will feel so natural. I know that even though I will be playing a character, parts of me will be coming through. For example, when I first go on stage, I will not be able to contain the energy. And I know that the whole time I’m up on stage the giant smile on my face will never go away. And even when I start to get tired, I will stay determined to finish the routine as perfectly as I started it. I was born to do this and I’ve pretty much been dancing since I was born. I start to tear up as I think about how this might be the last time I dance with the rest of my team ever again. After 14 years of rigorous rehearsals and multiple performance, it was all coming to an end. I am a Kathak dancer; a classical dance form which originated in northern India. Dance has been a huge part of my life, so much so that I now have a bachelor’s degree in dance. A lot of who I am comes from everything I’ve learned as a dancer. I’ve been able to stay connected to my culture while still managing to live my life as an American teenager. Even though my dance lessons have come to an end, my dance career is just beginning.