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September 2, 2016

jenpic “I can’t, I have dance,” is the most common phrase used throughout my everyday life. When I was about three years old, my mom signed me up for my very first dance class. Of course I was this cute, somewhat innocent, little girl so her initial thought was to register me for ballet and tap. I stuck with those for a while because I was three, I didn’t know any better. Then as I got older, I adapted a new love for jazz (and by jazz I don’t mean we danced to that old fashion jazz music). Although, growing up, I was very active in other sports as well. I played softball, basketball, and soccer. Despite the fact that I played such intense sports, I managed to have a natural rhythm that showed through cheering and dance. At that point, I was forced to make a decision because I couldn’t possibly do everything. I decided to give up soccer for cheerleading, which was a tough decision, and give up basketball for dance, which was probably for my own good considering I wasn’t the best at basketball.

As I became more involved at the dance studio and started witnessing the chaos that went on behind the scenes, some bad blood started to stir up between my choreographer and I. Her attitude was causing me to dread what I loved doing most and from that moment on I had no desire to dance anymore. So, I boxed up my dancing shoes and took some time off. After having the competitive cheerleading coach beg me for months, I went out on a limb and tried out for the team. Trying out for the competition team allowed me to open my eyes to other new and exciting hidden talents and just the exhilarating feeling of competing in front of thousands of people is unexplainable.

As my talents grew to even higher levels, I started coaching the cheering squads below mine so that they could eventually grow up to be better than me. Practices were held at a local dance studio in my hometown. At that studio is where I noticed a man named Omari Brown. What I noticed about Omari that stood out to me was that he was a professional hip hop dancer. No ballet, no jazz, no tap, just strictly hip hop, and I loved it. He noticed my cheerleading talents and approached me one day and invited me to take one of his trial classes. I wasn’t opposed to it, but I wasn’t sure if dancing was something I wanted to take up again. All in all, I attended the trial class and once it was over, left with a registration form in my hand. I soon joined his hip hop class with the thought of just dancing for my personal enjoyment and nothing more.

Six years later, here I am a stronger dancer than I ever thought I’d be. Funny thing is, Omari has been the choreographer by my side ever since that day I took his class. I never thought I’d get to this point but Omari now owns his own dance studio which just so happens to be my second home. I am at the studio 5 days a week, for endless hours each day, either teaching other students or taking classes of my own. I’ve learned to make dancing not a choice, but a lifestyle. I’ve learned to successfully manage school, work, dance, my sorority, and my family all at once and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Dancing has exposed me to so many new opportunities. I’ve auditioned for America’s Got Talent, I’ve danced on the famous World of Dance stage, I’ve danced in the background of music videos and so much more. The dance studio is where I release any negative energy consuming my life and I use it as an advantage toward bettering myself. Basically, as cliché as it sounds, what I’ve learned so far from dancing with Omari is to never stop doing what you love. I hope to one day, aside from whichever career I will uphold, take over his studio under my name and continue teaching young kids to grow up doing what they truly love.

Posted by Jennifer Dalli Cardillo at 9:39 am

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