This Dance Major's Open Letter Is Way Too Relatable

April 27, 2017

“When a biology major asked if I was illiterate because I studied dance, I realized just how much of a joke my field of study is to some people.”

That’s how Camryn Eakes, a junior dance major, opens her incredibly powerful open letter asking fellow Chapman University students to (as the title puts it) “Recognize the complexities of the dance major.” It’s a frustration that’s way too familiar to just about every dancer: We’ve all had this beloved art form of ours questioned, ridiculed, trivialized or worse.

Eakes’ passionate writing speaks to so many of the misconceptions that drive dancers CRAZY, along with the huge demands our art form puts on us:

“Dance requires us to be willing, to expose our rawest self to any set of eyes. Every day, I must be willing to relive both the euphoric and depressing memories I house in the deepest depths of me. That’s my job; that’s our job. We are storytellers, protesters, advocators, thinkers, entertainers, actors and innovators. Studio time is our lab, our calculator, our pen and paper. It is not enough just to physically show up to class. Our growth and talent is a full-time investment inside and out of class and that’s just part of being an artist. We cannot destroy our bodies with alcohol and all-nighters. Our bodies are our tools and something we can’t purchase over and over again when it breaks. The professional artist lifespan is only so long as our health will last, that we cannot afford nor want to lose any time we have enjoying and delving deeper into what we cannot live without.”

You can read the complete version of Camyrn’s letter on The Panther‘s website. And check out this video of Camryn dancing—she’s obviously a gorgeous mover and a beautiful writer.