I remember when I was little and was called ugly by my grandmother everyday. I wasn’t as pretty as my sister, or important as my brother, who is really my first cousin. The only thing that gave me life was dance. Whether it was dancing in my house or at the community recreational center in the South Bronx, I was always a mover. I always had my mother’s love, but growing up we mostly lived in my grandmother’s house. I was a vibrant child, but in my days of truth and reality was very insecure. Dancing has always been my first love and one of my reasons for feeling so alive. As I got older, the insecurities that I had as a child, become different ones as an adult. Whether I was too fat or too brown skin or not pretty or smart enough, dance could never judge me. I was turned down by many gigs because of my size, however never because of my dance performance abilities. See, I would get the dance job, or possibly, but it always came attached with me losing massive amount of weight. Basically so I can fit into some sequenced poom poom shorts and a shiny midriff top. Yuck, if I was a slim jim I wouldn’t even want to wear that outfit. Why did I feel useless sometimes or the need to change for others for the very thing that I call life… dance… You see, in having a passion for dance, I found me. A then natural and informal trained dancer to now a voluptuous dance educator and choreographer with more dreams of living through dance.
The rule in the 80’s and 90’s and even now is that big girls don’t dance!!! Yea okay… It’s funny how when I was in high school and I was the biggest girl on stage, I was the most of getting attention. The funny thing is, that’s so not what I was going for. Even when I was about 15 years old and my so called best friend at the time asked me to not dance too much next to her while we performed. She said I was dancing too hard and it drew too much attention, basically off of her, or shall I say her bony tale. Sorry, did I really say that, okay no name calling… her “bony ass”, which I use to love that phrase from the 88′ movie Working girl. How do you say that to someone? “oh can you not dance too much because it’s not fair to the rest of us. Jeez, what happened to, way to go sista! I of course looked at her stupidly and realized, oh this is what my 8th grade dance teacher meant when she said that when you dance from the heart and breathe life into every step, you will have fewer friends. I definitely had fake friends growing up, but it didn’t matter mostly because my best friend would never fail me. My best friend is emotional, sensitive, endearing, gentle yet aggressive, adventurous and loyal. These are all the things I found in dance and then some and I will never give it up to anyone. Whether I was 140 or 240 pounds.
I have come to major conclusions in my life and they all are worked out through dance. Dance has been my therapist, friend, lover and conscious for as long as forever. As much as I am always trying to figure out love, relationships and my next adventure, no matter how out of shape or in shape I may feel, or how insecure I may be about some part of me, dance is my life. It’s one of the reasons I am who I am today. Growing up in New York City is not easy, would I have been this grounded and happy if I did not have dance? What type of person would I have been, without the birth of life… dance?
~By Kim Elliott
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