Hey Stars, Hannah here :)
This is going to be a fairly long, sappy, mushy post about dance, Illuminate Dance Company (often abbreviated to IDC) and what it's helped me through. Either leave now, or get trapped in my emotional weirdness. LOL
Dance is so powerful; it is like a wordless language. Going into my first class at my current studio, I was 9 or 10, and absolutely TERRIFIED. I didn't want to get out of the car. That year I was in a very, very small class; 2 girls (one of them being me, and the other being my friend, C).
My dance teacher was amazing and I still talk to her to this day. I'd actually met both my teacher and C before from different places, and soon we eased into a pretty okay rhythm.
Little did I know, dance would soon take over my life!
I began to LOVE my dance classes. Eventually I had a spinal fusion, and for a while I wasn't able to go to class and I hated every second of it. Soon I regained my ability to dance and we as a class performed my favorite dance I've ever learned- Dead Come to Life.
Then, around April or May 2014-ish, we found out that the studio my sister and I go to were starting a junior dance company (we all looked up to the 'older' dance company) and I was so thrilled.
We auditioned in July, a small audition- just nine of us- and soon the 9 of us were thrust into a brand new idea of 3-hour long practices, lots of costume changes, and trying to in-sync. We were actually in a DANCE COMPANY. It was amazing and shocking and honestly kind of terrifying, but I still look back on that beginning year very fondly.
I remember our first performance- we had just one dance. We did... not so great, but it was a learning experience for everyone involved and we had a ton of fun. That was the only Illuminate performance my dad ever got to see so it holds a special place for that, too. I remember looking at my mom and dad on the ride home from that first performance and just hoping they were proud of us.
Dance has brought me so much pure happiness and contentment, but it hasn't always been easy. I used to be extremely, horribly jealous, despite being in a Christian company where our main goal is to share God's word and His love. I got jealous a lot, but I've really only ever told one person about that, so dear readers, you are getting a flash into the real-life emotions of yours truly.
And it's not been without pain, either, but you learn to pace yourself. Pain isn't healthy, but pushing yourself to be your best is. There's always a bit of a stretch before you break through. I'm not as jealous anymore (I still get jealous, but to the point I don't really notice it anymore. It's petty), and dance helps me so much.
I love feeling so tired I don't think I can stand after practice. I love pushing my limits and learning new things to do with my body. I love performing and feeling the stage lights or, in some cases, the sun, on my face. I love choreographing and learning choreography. I love being around my dance family. I have 1 biological sister whom I dance with, and 12 unbiological sisters, as well as many mentors/friends.
We've done a few out-of-state events and a ton of in-state events, anywhere from benefit concerts to aide in the fight against human trafficking, to Project Dance events, to an event at a school. I remember one time clearly. Project Dance Detroit in June 2015, where it was pouring rain, we weren't able to wear our shoes because they were wet, and our music stopped; but we continued dancing. And it was amazing.
Dance gave a new meaning to my life. I've gotten so much closer to God, to my family, to my friends, even to myself, with a new outlet for whatever I'm feeling. I've experienced so much with and through dance. Physical healing, spiritual and emotional healing, loss, gain, pain, and most importantly, love.
I can't begin to imagine my life without all of these lovely people. Whether we're performing in Michigan or New York or even just here in Ohio, we're doing a mission. We're teaching others what God is all about, and I'm learning things all the time, as well.
I've got so many close friends and met one of my best friends through dance. I'm a trainee now, so I dabble both in IDC and the older, original version of the company. We hang out outside of dance (although we usually end up, y'know, dancing,) and we love each other like a family. We've grown from 9 girls who barely knew each other to 14 close friends in a matter of 2 1/2- 3ish years. We're coming up to the end of our third year of Illuminate and I can tell change is coming. Many of the original members are getting older, but one day, we will be the older company. We'll be mentoring the new Illuminate-ees.
But no matter what happens, we'll always cherish the memories of this dance company and everything that came along with it.
Love you all.