Why Dance Matters to Me

I’m compiling a book of my slice-of-life parenting columns that I wrote for about eight years. I ran across a little something that I found worthy of sharing right now. The reason? Because my family has been blessed by the generosity and kindness of a dancing teacher—Dulcey Fuqua of Old Dominion Performing Arts Studio. This week is tough one for her— and her students. It’s “tech week,” which means her 50-plus dancers will be rehearsing every night for the Nutcracker. I’ve been trying to express to anybody who would listen what Dulcey and her vision of a  dance community means to me—and to my daughters. You see, dance should be for anybody who feels the pull of it—not just children of the privileged. Dulcey gets that.  So, as I worked on this new book of old columns these words jumped out at me—expressing exactly how I feel, today.

“As a child that danced, I can tell you that it opened up the world to me—a poor girl from a broken home who certainly would have been labeled “at-risk” by the powers-that -be today.  Through dancing I met people from all over the world, giving me a a broader sense of belonging to something other than my tiny neighborhood in Beaver County, Pa. Not only did it give other obvious attributes—grace, discipline, confidence in myself and my body, appreciation of all kinds of music, etc., but it also gave me a rich and deep well of inner resources. An inner landscape with which I easily draw on in my writing and my life today.

But as a child, things were not always easy. Sometimes we did not have enough food or heat. And I certainly did not have the designer clothes or cars that many of the young people have today. But I had the dance and the imagination that went with it. The best times we had were when Mom would turn up the stereo and we would all dance and sing. Sometimes we had the whole neighborhood dancing in our tiny living room.

When I think back to what has made the difference between what my life is now and what it very easily could have been, I think of dancing as being the foundation for my curiosity about other worlds, and and driving me forward. I knew that there was something more. Many of the non-dancing people I grew up with are in prison, dead, or are facing the daily struggle of dealing with drugs, alcohol, or some other addiction. I am not saying that the arts is a cure for all of society’s ills, but  I know it is a great place to start.”

If your interested in Dulcey, ODPAS, or seeing the Nutcracker this coming weekend, click here for more info. The quality of dance coming out of this small studio is amazing. Check them out.

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