Sometime around the age of eight years old, I fell in love. I experienced my first real Ballet class. There were only two of us enrolled in a 4 week summer dance class offered by a new local dance studio. Being a very introverted child, I was fearful of having this much attention focused on me.
Turned out, this was exactly the outlet I needed. I could move and express myself, but I didn’t have to actually talk. It made me feel liberated and safe. I was completely awkward in real life but this felt like it was completely natural and my dance instructor apparently agreed. She extended the workshop for 4 more weeks and I signed up to study with her in the Fall.
After that day, I’ve never stopped dancing. I’m not even being dramatic. I’m about to turn 33 years old and I can say that the most I’ve gone without dancing, was probably a week. I doubt that is even true because I’m the person you will find dancing literally through the grocery store. I’ve also done a majority of my dancing right here in Western New York. This may come as a shock to some of you, because many people don’t know that we now have a growing community of adults who dance.
I can clearly remember when there was no community at all, so this is understandable. When I graduated college in 2006, I figured I would have to move to a bigger city. I really didn’t want to leave my family and friends. I loved teaching children’s classes but ultimately knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do for my entire career. I needed to be dancing myself and I knew other people needed it as well. I had a strong feeling that there were people out there who had no idea they needed it. This is when the dance gods contacted me and a couple years later, I opened the first studio in WNY offering only adult classes.
The number of dance advocates has continued to grow. Classes and experiences are at our fingertips on a daily basis available to anyone and everyone . As this can be easily taken for granted, I wanted to express my true gratitude for everyone that has taken the risk to make a huge impact on our community. Locally, you can now find an internationally touring dance company, dance groups performing at community events, innovative dance projects such as a dance festival just for adults, collaborations of dancers and musicians, and lots more.
So why exactly do adults need dance? I’m glad you asked. However, I won’t be able to answer this for you in just this one post. Ask any dancer why they dance and be prepared for a slightly scattered, but lengthy response of personal feelings and experiences, usually concluded with some version of the statement – “I don’t know, I just love it” and “I am not complete without it”. Through many years of experience and a craving to explore the thoughts of others, I have found that each individual has a unique motivation for their dance life. Generally speaking though, I can tell you that it makes our lives better.
To answer the now obviously burning question in your mind – what kind of dance can you find in Buffalo on a weekly basis that YOU (an adult) can participate in? Here’s the growing list –
- Dance Fitness
- Hip Hop
- Break Dancing
- Belly Dance
- Contact Improvisation
- Urban Ballroom
- Chicago Style Stepping
- Aerial Dance
These are amazing opportunities to move your body, but please trust me when I say, these are actually opportunities to move your soul. I stepped into my first class and my life was changed forever. Take a chance, stop into a class, or see a local performance and see what dance could do for you.