Momentum dance, for me, has truly been a life saving blessing. Growing up in a world where it seemed that evil was the only side that could have a voice, I felt completely stuck inside myself.
I started dancing competitively at age six and danced every single day of the week from age six to eleven. Although dancing was what made me happy, the atmosphere of these places were degrading and I lost complete confidence in who I was. After a last straw, my parents pulled me from that world and I felt more lost than I ever had.
Trying to find what truly interested me I found another performing arts company, this one centered around circus arts. For the first few years there I struggled socially and felt out of place, but I told myself that if I worked hard enough I would make a place for myself. Sure enough, I advanced into their August show, a theatrical show of their most advanced artists from age 13 to 21. For me, I saw this as a huge break through but little did I know how much it would break me.
I was cast as the main character of the production Alice in Wonderland at age 13. Being one of the youngest, socially I was ostracized and frowned down upon for being “favorite-ed” and considered “undeserving”. I powered through, wanting to prove to them that I was just as capable as they were.
Through out the year it began to catch up to me. I would have random break downs where I couldn’t catch my breath and I felt like the world was collapsing from underneath me. It got to the point where these break downs were happening daily, interfering with my school work and social life.
I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. Things had never looked more down for me. Though that year was the hardest year of my life, I needed to show my peers that I still could be just as successful as anyone else. I wanted a name for myself and I wasn’t going to stop, no matter what the cost.
I finished that show and went onto two more shows afterward, both casts fueled with jealously toward my success and hard work. My self esteem and belief in myself had completely diminished. I was walking through life, a hollow of who I used to be.
During one of my shows, one of my old dance friends came to watch. She came up to me after and told me she had left our old studio and was now at this place called Momentum Dance Project. She invited me to come try a few classes.
At that point I was so confused at what it was I might want in life but didn’t really have any drive to figure it out. I just kinda shrugged and asked myself “what’s the worst that could happen?”.
I went to one of their drop in classes and immediately felt at home. My soul felt alive again and I felt this weight lifted off my chest. Being able to be in a supportive environment where I was accepted no matter what level I was at and loved no matter where I had come from was something I had never experienced anywhere else.
That next year, with the support of my friends and teachers at Momentum, I was able to remove myself from the toxic environment I was stuck in and start again. For once in my life I felt that I had a place.
My solo this year, "For All The Things I Made Myself", I decided to tell my story of what I have been through and my ability to fight through my diagnosis. Not only did I feel I had a place, but I felt I had a voice.
I will never be able to thank my Momentum Dance family enough for helping me find my light again. There’s nothing that feels better than that.
Written by: Makenna Cook
Competition Company Member of MDP