Dancing my heart out by Kristina Akester

Dancing My Heart Out

Dance has always been a huge part of my life. I know that’s so cliche for a dancer to say, but ever since I was a little girl, dance really has been my entire world. Putting in countless hours in the studio, going home to practice routines in my living room, watching dance videos on Youtube, going back to the studio to practice… It’s always been my passion. I just love to dance because it simply makes me happy inside. I guess because it’s something I’ve always done, I’ve never realized the impact that it has had to shape me as a person. The past two years in my life have really made me understand how important dance is to me.
In the summer of 2011, my dad passed away. It was completely unexpected and I felt like my whole world had been turned upside down in a split second. I felt sad, confused, angry, and frustrated, along with all of these other emotions that I didn’t know how to deal with. I was lost as to what to do with myself anymore, and in turn I slowly began a downward spiral into depression.
The next year and a half was a bit of a mess. I was trying to deal with all these thoughts in my head on top of school, family, friends, and dance. I felt so overwhelmed all the time, and started self-harming as an outlet to deal with what I was feeling. I started drawing away from the people I loved and was quickly losing my passion for dance. I felt like I would never be good enough as a dancer and because dance had always been part of my identity as a person, I started feeling like I would never be good enough as a person as well. I was growing distant from the little girl that just loved to dance because it made her happy. As time went on I became more and more miserable and the people around me in my life started noticing. Eventually the truth came out about what was going on and fortunately, I was immediately started on a recovery program.
The recovery process has been one of the most frustrating and inspiring things I’ve had to, and continue to go through. I’ve learned that instead of pushing dance away, it’s the one thing I will always be able to count on. Whenever I get the urge to self harm, I dance. If this means putting on music and just dancing in my bedroom late at night, then that’s what I do. I’ve also learned that sometimes you just need to dance for yourself. Through all of this, I think that has been the biggest blessing – rekindling my passion for dance. I’ve reconnected with my inner five year old who just likes to dance because it makes her happy. I dance because I love it. I love the way it makes me feel, and how everything seems better when I’ve had a bad day. I believe using art as a way to express oneself is one of the most stress-relieving and calming things a person can do. Dance will always be there for me when things get tough and I am so proud to call myself a dancer because I truly believe it is one of the most special art forms out there.