Untapped Story: Everyone Struggles

Liviya • MN

"I started dancing at 13. Entering the ballet world, was like entering foreign land. I was one of only two biracial students studying at my studio. I had a lot of things going against me. It definitely didn't all fall into place right away. There were performances where I was hidden in the back, classes where I fell, and times I cried. Despite the struggles of this new experience, I wasn't one to shy away from the challenge. My mother, a single mother of four, does everything she can to support my dreams. However, with the expensive price of ballet I had to work my butt off in order to get a Merit scholarship my first year dancing. After dancing at least 6 hours a day, 6 days a week, I was able to catch up with people my own age. I begin to get featured parts and have the opportunity to work with many choreographers. The moment that affirmed all my hard work was being accepted into the Ailey Summer Intensive. The Ailey Company is my dream company, and reading that email was surreal! Now, I am a junior in high school, live in New York by myself to study at The Ailey School on scholarship! My journey is not over yet, and obstacles still occur, but nothing will stop me!"

"I think we often don't talk about how hard it is. Everyone likes to see the finished picture, but there's so much more behind that! There's been nights where I cry coming home from dance, or I'm too exhausted to go to dance class. However when you recognize that's part of the process, you are able to push through it. Whatever your struggles are - from insecurities to injuries - you just have to keep showing up to class. Even on the days you hate it the most. If you stick to something and dedicate yourself to it the outcome is so great! Never give up on your dream!"