Aquinnah B.

Colorado Springs • Colorado


Was I born a perfectionist, or did ballet seep into my being and transform me into the meticulously creative soul that I am today? I suppose that I will never know for sure. Most importantly--so says the tangible energy that races through my being when my breath meets the stage--I dance. Over the course of 13 years, my heart has become intertwined with ballet, contemporary, lyrical, modern, tap, jazz and hip-hop. My hair possesses a nearly permanent ponytail line, and I return to modern class just in time to turn blue and purple bruises a deeper shade of why-yes-I-was-working-on-shoulder-stands-again. I do not mind the broken toenails and blisters so much anymore-- my battle scars, courtesy of pointe class. I am rather proud of them. Being alive is a gift, and dance is what keeps me persevering. Some days are harder than others; the I-don't-feel-like-pink-tights, and the I-can't-find-meaning-in-this-song and the but-I'd-rather-sleep days are the worst. And it shows. And that's okay. Because what they say is true; it is not always about waiting for the storm to pass.

I did not truly consider words to be a form of art until I played Firebird in my youth ballet's production last year. Suddenly, I needed to speak onstage, and I could not. So, I used books. I mentally stashed them away, and day-by-day, they reminded me of the beautifully diverse people whom I have been reading about for years, fictional characters who continue to live in my heart. They taught me to transition from happiness, to fear, to pain, to happiness like no one else could. I learned to express my fears without speaking and overcame them in front of an audience. It was draining, but I could feel in my bones that the message of darkness overcome would resonate with people, and it did. I have not ceased to appreciate artistic expression since. Dance has become more to me than steps. It has become words.