GATOR SNAPSHORT: TAKING FLIGHT
Updated: 2 days ago
I was three when my mom put me in ballet. I remember not really wanting to do it.
I had never imagined myself as someone who would put all their time into performing. But she was insistent and I continued to dance.
On days when I would feel like falling, my feet would be there to catch me and lead me further than I was the day before.
I dedicated every living breathing minute and to dancing, so it was only natural that when I got to high school, I would still be actively participating in it.
Something that I had been hesitant to do was now something I couldn't imagine not being a part of.
But high school was a place where my identity came into question precisely because of my beloved ballet. Suddenly, it was no longer about just dancing.
For the first time I was self-conscious about how I looked.
Before this, I hadn't needed to feel validated by others. Frankly, my dancing technique had been all that had really mattered. Questioning whether I belonged as a ballet dancer hadn’t even entered my mind until I suddenly became aware that there were no Black dancers.
My place as a dancer was no longer just about my dancing, it was also about my presence as a BLACK dancer.
It wasn' t until my dance teacher showed us a video of the dancer Misty Copeland that I began to consider things differently. The fact remains that Black ballet dancers are still uncommon. But Misty is amazing --- skillful, elegant!
I want to express myself through dance in the same way she does. Become an activist through my movements. I can’t see myself being the same without my dancing.
Perhaps I love dance so much because I leave my body behind every time I pirouette and leap.
Every time I do a grand jeté, I remind myself of all the barriers artists like Misty have had to overcome, so black dancers like me can fly higher.
Jordon Atkins ('23)- Undecided
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