Throughout high school teachers regularly asked what I wanted to do when I grew up. I always responded: cop, doctor, dancer. That, of course, brought more questions. Those are such different career paths! I am a helper at heart. Becoming a cop would allow me to help here on the streets of our town, whereas as a doctor, I could help to keep our residents healthy. However, as a dancer I could help to bring true joy to people’s lives. 

I had been taking dance lessons since I could walk. I had been helping to teach classes for a few years when tragedy struck our dance studio. Millie, the owner and head instructor was in a horrible accident and could no longer teach. She begged me to help until she could find a full-time instructor. Tuesdays and Thursdays I taught ballroom dance and Mondays and Wednesdays were hip hop and jazz. Saturday mornings were reserved for ballet with the little ones. I was able to pour my heart and soul into bringing the joy of dance to our community. After a few months Millie turned the studio over to me permanently. I did not have the heart to change the name. Today it is still called Millie’s Place. 

It was in a hip hop and jazz session that I met Rosie, who has the voice of an angel. We were working through a new dance and she was singing to herself. Little by little people stopped the routine just to listen to her voice. It was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard. Within a few weeks we co-founded the Musical Theater troupe. We perform a musical every spring and fal, but our favorite event is the Christmas show. 

There is a feeling of being up on the stage with either my tap shoes or my pointe shoes— it feels like I am home. I think my teachers would agree that I made the right decision.