by Sara Roberts '19
“If there’s a dance program at school that’s free, why do you dance outside of school?”
This is a question I am often asked when I tell people that I do not do sports at NCS and that dance is my independent project. It’s true — fifteen years of dance classes and performances comes with a price tag, and the places I have danced over the years have not been anywhere close to my house or school. Nevertheless, the challenging dance education I receive at my current dance studio and its amazing community has made every hour spent in the car and the studio worth it.
I danced at a small ballet studio in Bethesda from nursery through 8th grade. This was a time when I was at a school that did not have a dance program and did not give a painful amount of homework, so dancing outside of school was of small matter. After 8th grade, I started school at NCS, and the question arose of whether I would continue dancing at my old studio, pursue a more rigorous dance education at a different dance studio, or simply stop dancing outside of school and take whatever was offered at NCS. I learned that NCS offered Cathedral Dance and hip-hop during the fall and winter seasons and offered Dance Gala in the spring. While the idea of Dance Gala intrigued me and was something I knew I would partake in during second semester, Cathedral Dance and hip-hop were not styles I was particularly interested in. I also desired more of a challenge in my dance education, so I decided I would switch dance studios to CityDance Conservatory in North Bethesda.
I’ll be honest — switching to a dance studio that was more expensive, even farther from my house, and required me to be there much more than I would have liked was not an easy decision. It was a decision that I sometimes even question making when I’m in an eleven-hour rehearsal on a Saturday. The workload of NCS is also something that I had not factored into the decision of switching dance schools, not knowing how time-consuming dance would become during high school. However, because school is of utmost priority, I decided to work with a dance schedule that would give me a good amount of time at CityDance while working around the time I needed to allocate to school.
While it can be easy to give up on extracurriculars as school becomes more taxing, I have learned that when you love something, you make it work. I look forward to my ballet and contemporary classes every week, because I get to spend time with my dance friends and focus on something other than the stress of school. Performance season is always my favorite, because my classmates and I get to showcase the final product of everything that we poured hours of practicing into. While I do not get to take as many classes nor perform as frequently as I used to due to school, dance still remains as one of my passions and is something I am so glad I have dedicated time outside of school to do.