By Hannah Alyea
Dancing. This word defines me in ways I never thought possible. I started ballroom dancing my sophomore year of college. I had no previous experience, but I tried one lesson and was instantly hooked. I have learned so many things like standing up straight, using gravity and floor pressure, keeping proper frame, how to dance in sync with another human being, and most of all, how to have fun. I remember sometimes practicing up to 22 hours a week, because I couldn’t stop thinking about the joy of dancing. I would find myself more often than not practicing things such as Cuban motion at my work desk, because what else are you supposed to do when your whole self is devoured by something so magnificent?
Four years have passed, and even though I have graduated college I still plan to compete in dance until my legs give out. I have danced with the same partner, and we both love having the chance to step out on the competition floor together. But like many who dance collegiately there are some struggles when trying to dance with your partner after graduation. Life can get in the way. People graduate, get jobs, and move to different cities. Currently my dance partner and I live 1,671 miles away and it can be difficult to find time to practice together. Even though we don’t find much time to dance together, we have decided to still try and compete together. I know it sounds crazy. “Hannah, is it really worth keeping a partnership when you can’t practice often? Isn’t it called partner dance for a reason?” Is that even a question? Yes it’s worth it! It’s at least worth trying. There are so many things we can work on even if we’re miles apart. I would be more disappointed in myself if I didn’t at least give it a try.
I know it can be a tough road to follow, but dancing doesn’t have to stop after you graduate school or move to another city. Maybe a long distance partnership isn’t for you, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up on dance entirely. There are ballroom studios all over the world and in this day and age all you have to do is google “Ballroom dance near me” to find something. I am here to encourage and challenge you to stay connected to the ballroom dance world after school. If you’re like me, once you start ballroom it’s hard to just give it up and know you don’t have to. Enjoy your time dancing in the collegiate circuit, but know it doesn’t have to end if you don’t want it to. Good luck to everyone competing and have lots of fun!