Many of you probably don’t know who I am, but that’s okay. I’m Ashley Hebert, the Marketing Coordinator for CDMS - I do lots of behind the scenes work on my computer. I danced for 15 years at a local studio and on a dance team and it seems like I just can’t stay away from dancing! Throughout all of my dancing, one of my favorite things was performing. I could go on and on about all of my top reasons to perform, but I think I’ll just stop at ten...for now.
You spend so much time learning a routine and perfecting it. There’s lots of hard work that goes into it. I remember during my senior year of high school, our competition choreographer for my dance team taught us a turn combo on the first practice of the season. That combo was definitely going to be in our dance, so we all had to get it. I was so proud of myself when we took the floor at Regionals and State when I nailed that turn combo.
Get to show off
There’s no point in even lying - everyone loves to have all eyes on them and watching them do something they love! It’s such a great feeling to have that time be all about you. You’ve spent all the time learning your routine and now you have everyone watching you do it.
I loved getting to surprise my friends and family when I performed. I did tricks and dance moves that they never thought I’d be able to pull off, but I rocked it. In one of my studio hip hop numbers, I got to be the one person acting out the intro to the song. I’m usually always smiling and bubbly, but for this intro, I had a stank face on and was pretty tough looking. None of my friends, family, teammates or even my coach knew that was me. It was a great feeling when they told me, “Wow that girl at the beginning of the dance was awesome!” and I got to tell them that girl was me.
One of my favorite aspects of performing was being able to get creative. There was always a costume that needed to be decorated or an accessory that needed to be personalized. There’s even sections of a dance that needs to be improved. Dancing in itself is so creative, but the extra creative opportunities were always the best part for me.
Don’t worry about anything
You’ve spent months worrying about having the best performance ever, but for those few minutes, you don’t have to worry about anything else. At that point, there’s nothing else that can be done except going out there and giving it your all. In a weird way, performing in front of hundreds or even thousands of people was some of the most relaxing moments.
Share stories with people
Dance provides you with so many opportunities to share a story. That’s a humbling experience. You never know when the story you’re sharing could impact someone’s life. For my dance team solo, I danced to “Home” by Phillip Phillips but I personalized it with a voiceover of my favorite bible verse - Philippians 4:6. I said, “Don’t worry. Pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for what he has given you.” at the beginning and end of the song. There were people in the audience that day that needed to hear that message and I’m so thankful I had the chance to bring that to them.
Gave me a way to exercise in college
I joined a sorority my first semester of college, and I immediately got involved in all the sorority and fraternity philanthropy events. Luckily for me, most of those events were dance competitions. That made my transition into college so smooth. I had dance practices almost every night, which was such an easy way for me to exercise. My college schedule was so different than my high school schedule, so figuring out a time to exercise was a challenge. Dance practice every night just fit into my schedule seamlessly, so preparing to perform and staying in shape went hand in hand.
My creative outlet in college
As a working adult with ADHD, I realize the reason I didn’t really struggle with my attention span in college because I was dancing or painting almost everyday. I had a creative outlet where I could let out all of my energy that I had been holding in all day. I would spend my days at a desk and sitting still, but I knew I would be able to let that all out at the end of the day. Spending weeks at a time preparing for a philanthropy dance competition ultimately helped my grades. I knew that sitting through a challenging class meant I was a few hours closer to dancing.
Helps you better relate to people
When you watch other people perform, you realize that sometimes you have bad days and it’s going to show through your performance. Bad days happen to everyone, so it’s good to understand it and be compassionate towards others. Knowing everyone has bad days every now and then will help you become a better person and not just in the dance studio. You will learn how to encourage and reassure those around you when they need it most.
You’ll learn how to work with all kinds of people
You’re not always going to be working with people that you get along with. There’s no way to avoid it. But preparing for a big performance with them teaches you how to interact with all kinds of people. I’m an outgoing person who isn’t afraid to put myself out there. I’ve had to dance with shy people who are afraid of embarrassing themselves. Not going to lie, they drove me crazy because they were always so worried about what other people were going to think of them when they went on stage. So I had to learn how to be patient (still working on this one) and put myself in their shoes. Once I was able to see the fear from their perspective, I was able to help them.
This is a huge help outside of the dance world. You’re going to be in a group with people you don’t get along with for a group project in college. You’re going to have someone that rubs you the wrong way in your office at work. But you can’t just give up and block them out. You have to figure out how to work through it with them.