“Most dancers are tall and slender, and you’re not big or anything, but you just aren’t a ballerina. *shrug*”

At least, that’s what the dance teacher told me in high school anyways. Given, it was only a dance class taken to fulfill the PE requirement, but I chose it because I was fascinated with dance. After hearing that, I turned to my friend and swore, “Challenge accepted.” And it was, but not with ballet. After the ballet section of the course came hip hop, and after the ballet section of the course, I fell in love.

Hip hop choreography became a big part of my life. I began watching videos, familiarizing myself with the big names, and trying to figure out just what I had to do to be the best. My obsession with choreography always had a flaw though — me. No matter how many hours I practiced or how many workshops and classes I took, I left the studio feeling inferior and disappointed in myself. I could never tell what I was doing wrong. At least with ballet, my teacher said I “…have all the movements down.” I just “wasn’t built to be a ballerina.” I began to wonder if I was meant — or “built” — to dance at all. And maybe that’s why I kept working at it — to get rid of that sinking feeling — but eventually, my obsession led me to breaking.

With breaking — or anything, really — you should end your day being satisfied. You should always feel progress.

My crewmate told me that she can tell I love breaking, and when she asked why, I told her that it’s the only thing that makes me feel like I’m good enough. Not the kind of “good enough” like when you finish a procrastinated paper right before it’s due, but the inspiring kind of good enough where you know you’ll be one of the “big names” one day, you know? But to be honest, I don’t think you should ever want to be satisfied with what you can do. Satisfaction comes from going after what you want, knowing for yourself what obstacles you have and will have to overcome, crossing one thing off the list and moving on to the next. For me, breaking is that one thing, that ironically, builds me up and makes me feel good.

So do I still want to be the best? Hell yes. Do I want to be the best right now? Maybe not, because every moment of progress is worth savoring. With each new thing learned and accomplished, it’s another reason to tell myself, “YASSS GURL, (you did it).” It’s like what they say, the thrill is in the chase itself, the come-up. The trophy is really just icing on the cake.

So yes, challenge accepted. Challenge accepted, and challenge obliterated because ballerina or not, I am a dancer and soon I’ll be out there killing it. And despite what you are, you will be too.

After all, you were built for it.

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