June 8, 2016

It’s pretty obvious that we here at DS LOVE dance (I mean, duh, right?). But there’s nothing cooler than when other dancers (and dance lovers) take a second to pause and reflect on why they also love dance. And what dance means to them. And why they work so hard to do what they do. It keeps us inspired and reminds us of how special this art form is.

National Dance Week
is one of our favorite ways to celebrate dance-spiration. And although this year’s has already come and gone, the winners of the campaign’s poster and essay contests have just been announcedand we’re feelin’ the love all over again. A huge congrats to Aliyah Daniel, Ananda Daniel, Valdon Daniel, Chloe Landry, Kaitlyn Molito, Morgan Prior, Lauren Reynolds and Emma Wilson!

Answering the question “What does dance look like,” the winning posters are gorgeous interpretations of what dance can be, while the essays are beautiful musings on the questions “Why is dance so important and how has it helped you in other aspects of your life?” and “Why is dance so important to individuals and communities that we should all take a week celebrating it?”

Last year’s winners
were a tough act to follow, but this year’s posters and essays are just as moving and every bit as stunning. Take a look at the winning entries:

Morgan Prior, age 16

Ananda Daniel, age 10

Chloe Landry, age 14

Lauren Reynolds, age 14

Aliyah Daniel, age 14

Dance is very important. It can inspire you. Dancers can tell stories. You can express your feelings through dance. It can even help with sports and other physical activities.

Dance is important for a plethora of reasons. For example, it is a form of personal expression. It’s a way to have fun. Also, you can exercise and feel good about yourself.

Dance is a form of personal expression. It’s not something that needs to be taught. You do it on your own. Nodding your head to the beat of music and tapping your foot to the beat are natural reactions to music. When you hear music, many people feel like moving. So, dance is personal. It’s unique to you!! We should dance to the beat of our own drum.

Also, dance is fun. Whether it be your favorite song or one you haven’t heard of before, dance is something you can share. Group and line dances are also fun as well like the “Macarena” and the “Cupid Shuffle.” You get to do these dances with friends and family. You can see the happiness on their faces.

Dancing is a form of exercise. Today, obesity is at an all-time high. Burning calories and extra fat through dance is a great solution. Now, Zumba, aerobics and other dance styles are more common than ever. Dance helps you to maintain an active lifestyle. It keeps you moving.

Dance can help with social interactions and problem solving too. When you are learning a routine, all the dancers need to work together. You are dependent on one another. Dance helps you to develop friendships. These friendships can last a lifetime.

Dance is life.

Emma Wilson, age 11

Dancing is a part of me. To me, a day without dance is like a day without sunshine. Dance helps me to succeed in all of my other everyday activities. When I dance I can take my mind off of everything else. But most importantly, I can make dreams come true!

Dancing has helped me to succeed in other aspects of my life. For example, at dance, I need to train myself to not get frustrated and to learn from my mistakes. If a dance teacher gives me a correction, I take it like receiving a present, and happily fix it. I’ve learned to take that enthusiasm and apply it in other important parts of life, especially school. If I realize that I’m wrong, I simply take a breath and start over because the answer won’t become correct unless you work hard and fix it. Just like in dancing, you won’t learn a certain step by hoping for it, you need to practice it. I truly believe that dancing has helped me get where I am now in school, band and growing up.

When I walk into a dance studio, it feels like everything that happened to me that day flows out of me. It’s like getting to start over and have a fresh start. If I had a rough day I can just forget about it and be happy again. Nobody judges you by the way you move your body. Everyone has their own way to express themselves, to rise to the top, and to fly!

Those who dance can truly bring joy to others. Although there are many people in this world that don’t take dance lessons, everyone can dance. If you’re someone who can, you need to spread the happiness you feel when you dance. That is one of the magical powers of dance. You can easily spread happiness through it and bring joy to others. This is another thing that dancing helps me to do in life. If I’m frustrated, overwhelmed, or even scared I can just dance and let all of it out. Then, I can be happy again. So many people dream of going to see a ballet at Lincoln Centre, but you can make those dreams come true just by dancing alone in your living room for someone. Dancing is really just a dream that keeps on growing and coming true!

I dance because it clears my mind, it helps to strengthen me in other parts of my life, and dancing makes dreams come true! Dancing is magical!

Kaitlyn Molito, age 14

I take a breath, the spotlights hit, and the music starts. I pour my soul into a routine as I’m up on the stage with friends close enough to consider family. As the lyrics resonate in my mind and I move my body in intricate ways, I am living. In my heart I have always known that the essence of being alive is dancing. Dance is important because it’s the segway to another world; a world where the stress is relieved and the pressures of life are whisked away. It’s a world that welcomes self-expression and creativity with open arms. Dance gives me a break from reality; it’s like a mystical door to an alternate world. Dancing has given me the confidence to conquer obstacles in all aspects of my life. If I’m having a bad day, or feeling as if I’m just not good enough, I remember the empowerment I feel when dancing. I think about how I can grace the stage and display passion through my facials or through a particular way of kicking my foot. When I ponder on all of these things, I realize that I do have a place in this world. My place, as I’ve come to find out, is on the stage. Performing has taught me that if I can expose my deepest emotions to whole audiences of people, I can surely overcome any hardships life throws at me. Throughout the teenage years, it can be extremely difficult to love yourself. Distorted ideas of perfection stemming from edited photoshoots have allowed a whole generation of young girls to be self-conscious about how they are perceived by society. Dance is the one consistent factor in my life that has ensured me that I’m beautiful in my own way, and that I don’t need to fit any certain mold to be extraordinary. When I take that bow and the awe-struck audience cheers, I know that there is nothing in this world I can’t do.

Valdon Daniel, age 12

Dance is very important. It can inspire you. Dancers can tell stories. You can express your feelings through dance. It can even help with sports and other physical activities.

Music can inspire you to dance. Dance can inspire people to move and be happy. Praise Dance can inspire people to worship God. Dancers can inspire people to express themselves and their feelings. Group Dancing can inspire people to join you. Finally, dance can inspire people to feel free.

Dancers can tell a story. It is universal. Dance is appreciated around the world. When you dance you can be graceful or tough. Dance is living art. It is a vivid demonstration that uses creativity. Dancing can make connections by interpreting feelings while telling a story.

You can express your feelings through dance. Dance can make people excited by allowing them to move freely. Dancers can make people sad by the way they dance. Each dance movement expresses emotions. Dancers can decide the tone of the dance. I feel ecstatic when I dance.

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