By Nicole Santos

I fell in love with the art of dancing last year. The beautiful movement two individuals can create as they gracefully waltz across the floor, the invigorating rhythm of a hip-hop dancer, popping every possible joint in their body to a quick, pulsating beat, the angelic gran jeté of a ballet dancer soaring above the ground.
I was addicted to two popular television shows: Dancing with the Stars and America’s Best Dance Crew. The intricate way the dancers performed left me speechless. I was amazed by the elegance and poise that embraced the dancing couples but, it wasn’t until I began watching ABDC that I realized I wanted dance to be part of my life. Each dance crew had a unique style; my favorite was hip-hop.
I signed up at Suzanne’s Dance School and joined a level four hip-hop class.
I never thought my hands and feet would move the right direction or at the right time. I was placed in a class full of young teenage girls who were experienced dancers; I was the oddball. I was usually the girl who had to perform the moves three to four times before I could perform it at the right speed with the rest of the class. I was usually the girl who had Aimee Dietrick, my hip-hop teacher, show me where to place my hands and feet to match the move.
Eventually, I just let the music pulsate through my veins and come out of my body through the movements and choreography. I was surprised at how quickly I began learning the choreography. I performed a majority of the moves including the six-step, funky Charleston, doors, glides, tut-ing, and many more moves. I even got a solo in our winter show, for about eight counts, where I was able to free-style. I was in shock. But, when the time came to perform, I just danced the moves I knew best.
After that performance, hip-hop became my outlet. It allowed me to forget about the stress of school. It freed the emotions that consumed my mind throughout the day.
I can recall getting to the moment I anticipated since I had first joined Suzanne’s—The June Show. We performed the school’s dance production at Spreckles Performing Arts Center for our families and friends. It was complete with light effects and dazzling costumes. When I hit that stage with my class and danced our routine to Usher’s hit pop song “Yeah” I knew that dance was my new passion.
When I dance I feel unstoppable; I feel alive. At Suzanne’s I feel like I am part of something that is more than just individuals dancing; we’re a family. The way we breathe, the way we communicate, the way we interact is through our dancing.
From being the girl who sat at home dreaming of learning to dance to actually becoming that dancer, I know that nothing is impossible. I have learned from dancing that sometimes stepping out of my comfort zone and going for what I desire is the key. Agnes De Mille once said, “To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful.” Hip-hop has been the key, the key that has allowed me to find out how powerful I am and what talent I possess.