Guest Blog: What Dance Means To Me

Jemma is a third year student at De Montfort University, studying Dance. She is currently undertaking a 6 week work placement with us at The Mighty Creatives to gain experience in youth programme work, event management and marketing. Read her blog to discover first-hand why she chose to study dance, what the course has involved and what dance means to her.

I’ve always found dance to be what my mind loops back to. From a young age, I wanted to have a career in dance, and I always thought this only meant becoming a dancer. As I progressed in my school life, I’ve been lucky to have more and more access to dance in my timetable. I discovered what it meant to be able to choreograph a piece, for assessment or for fun in my free time, and these were important years for me in finding myself. It was only when I came to study dance at university that I was shown where this passion could take me.

I have struggled with my confidence for many years now, and university was a huge step for me to take. There’s so much to think about – making new friends, learning how to be a “real adult”, paying bills, and on top of that you are choosing to dedicate your life to just one subject. For me that subject was dance, and so it was really important to me that I felt comfortable in my environment for the next three years I was going to spend studying. One thing that would always worry me is the competitive nature of being on a dance course. It is stereotypically a competitive career and so when you choose to study dance, you think you know what you are getting yourself into. I prepared myself to feel uncomfortable and feel eyes on me, judging me in every class. However, once freshers week was over and my timetable was beginning, my perceptions of what my time at university studying dance would be like changed completely.

My first ever university technique class was a success in my eyes, and this meant a lot to me. It was getting back into the physical act of dancing which got me to change my frame of mind. I loved it. Maybe, being able to use the huge studios with like-minded people helped to ease my anxieties – it was exciting to be there. Looking back on it now, I think that it was a combination of things which helped me to truly enjoy my first technique class at university. Being in a dance class is like having the freedom to run for miles without stopping. You are doing something physical, you are doing something creative, and you are able to express yourself freely the whole time. It can sometimes take a while to feel like you can really engage in a class, but once you do, it is an amazing feeling.

This feeling has continued throughout the duration of my degree, with its ups and downs, but I always know in the back of my mind that if I just make it to class, and dance, I would feel so much better. Now that I am in my third year, I have been shown so many routes I can go down for my career in dance, and it doesn’t always mean being a dancer. Teaching could be just as rewarding, providing workshops and classes for young people to be creative like I went to when I was younger. I could dance, I could choreograph, I could coordinate and promote, but the important thing about all these routes is that they are all allowing and encouraging creativity to take place.

Whether it is studying dance to make it a career, or going to a community dance class, it all provokes the same great feeling that comes out of being creative and expressing yourself. I think I would not be the same person I am today if I hadn’t had the opportunity to dance in my life, and for that I’m grateful. Everyone should give it a go whenever they have the chance, it is so worthwhile.