Bernie Zanartu

Washington • USA


My freshman year of high school I had this random calling to try out for my schools dance team. I never had the urge to dance before, I'd never seen what kind of stuff they did, and I was shy. But I knew that I wanted it and wanted it bad. I have a huge work ethic and wasn't letting anyone (even my parents who didn't think I could make it) let me down. I was one of the 4 out of 16 girls who made it. And that's when I learned my life's passion. Everyone even after I had made it told me I was too late. That if you start past the age of 10 you don't have a future. I was on the team for 2 years. Got "most improved" after the first year and "most valuable honorable mention" my second. I went from dancing in the back with all of the modified easier choreography to being in the front in almost every formation, having every single hard piece of choreography and even having 2 solos including being lifted. After my second year I got shunned by the petty girls of my school team for choosing an orchestra field trip for my grade over a district competition. After thinking long and hard I made one of the most difficult decisions in my short life. I decided that aside from the fact I wasn't ever super close with the girls and it didn't bother me too much to not having friends on the team, I wanted a new challenge. To get better as a personal dancer and not just making a group dance look good enough for the next performance. So I quit the team and decided to go the much harder but much much more rewarding route. I got a job and registered for classes at a studio. I was so nervous but I quickly got placed in high level classes. (Higher than I was expecting) and I'm so proud of how far I've come. I see now that dance is something I will continue to do forever and that hard work pays off. I went home crying after every practice my freshman year because I was so bad and the captains pushed us in harsh ways. But if I could have seen all I am capable of now, I would have known all the blood, sweat and tears were worth it. I proved everyone wrong. I got my splits, got into ballet and jazz and balance that on top of school and work to pay for it myself. And I could never be more proud of myself. Anyone can do it, it's not easy but it's so worth it.