How I Got Stuck Dancing
by Mallory Peters / 8CA.staff.writer
To start off our new series of wearing our hearts on our sleeves, I thought it would be interesting to give a little background on my own journey and how I got lucky enough to be where I am. I mean, why would you read anything I wrote without knowing who I am?
I’ll be honest and tell you that I didn’t even want to be a dancer. A new dance studio opened up and my mom thought it would be cool to put my sisters and me in a class so my sisters took jazz classes and I signed up for tumbling. I was almost too cool to do dance at the ripe age of 8 years old. However, I had to be the WORST tumbler ever. I wasn’t flexible and I was afraid to go upside down on my own so I stuck it out for that year and then for the next recital season, I followed my sisters’ ways and joined a jazz class too.
Jazz was definitely my style, but as I got older and wanted to advance more, I had to take other styles, mainly ballet. There was no exception so I lost some pride and got my first tutu. My studio would combine ballet with lyrical which is kind of like contemporary but a lot more ballet based. It made it a bit more relaxed which helped me ease into the style and of course, I ended up falling in love with lyrical just like my dance teacher said I would. She knew me too well. My senior year of high school, I was actually en pointe and that was probably the highlight of my dance career. It was definitely incredibly difficult so shout out to all of you girls who have done it for years. Also, 8 year old me would probably be very surprised with myself, but what can ya do?
On top of doing studio dance, I tried the school dance team thing too and it was a love/hate relationship, I’m sure as a lot of you know. I actually quit right in the beginning of my junior year because my priorities changed and I wanted to spend my time working to afford my beat up car. It’s tough to change priorities at such an age, but I was able to continue at my studio and drive to school my senior year so I can’t say I regret it.
Going away to college, I thought I was done dancing, but then I joined a dance organization to make friends. As that first semester went on, I realized there’s no way I could just not do it every day. I was so bored so I took a tap class and next thing I knew, I declared my minor in dance and ended up president of that organization my senior year. Never be afraid to do things you feel you are unqualified for because you will surprise yourself.
So how the heck am I here? Writing for 8 Count Audio? I have to thank Norm for taking the opportunity to change the high school dance team community during the rough transition to IHSA. Especially because following him has gotten me ten times more involved as my sister participated in the sport and he messaged me on Twitter asking if I ever wanted to help out. I mean, who wouldn’t? I was already going to every competition to be Wauconda’s and my sister’s biggest fan so might as well take notes on all of the other amazing teams I’d see each season. I owe it to all of you readers for making this something I enjoy observing so much.
And that’s my story. What’s yours?
K, Norm here, chiming in. Mallory got real honest there and I think that’s totally, refreshingly cool. So appreciated!
A late-comer to dance–age 8! A short stint on her school’s dance team, and then the walk-away that she’s always got to explain. Ends up minoring in dance and leading her on-campus dance group. And I love having her on the 8CA team. Always that hint of being a wild card, shades of being a misfit. But I take those as signs of an underlying sincerity, the kind of honesty that makes lyrical come easy for her.
So if you don’t fit the perfect-dancer-profile, that’s more than OK. The dance community’s got plenty of room for all types. We’re better off with you than without you.