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College Essay - Kerry Lewis

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Thereís something about being on a stage that sends you out of yourself. There are still thoughts floating around: you know that thereís an audience out somewhere past the glow of the lights, but they donít matter. Nothing matters other than you and those around you because, through success or failure, youíre in it together.

Iíve been a dancer for almost 14 years. Dancing is what I see in my earliest memories, and itís an activity that dominates my life today. Dance is interesting in that after youíve done it for a while, movement that to others may seem absurd or impossible is close to second nature. It makes you strong and comfortable with yourself in a way that nothing else can, as when youíre putting so much self, so much emotion, out there for people to see, you have to have a grip on yourself.

When what youíve worked for is finally on stage, the thoughts running through your mind are of nothing but movement: ďPirouette. Step, step, turn, leap!Ē But if one looked deeper, into the subconscious of a dancer, they would find so much more than mundane steps.

All that the audience sees is the physical aspect of dance, along with an element that they canít name and that they canít explain. Itís this element that separates movement from dance: dance is emotion turned physical. Beneath the layers of thought, beneath the physicality of dance, is the emotion: the sadness behind a lonely hand, or the cockiness that comes with a grand leap or a twist of the shoulder.

As a dancer, I learn to express these emotions through my dance. Iíve become strong: physically strong to make complex movement look effortless and emotionally strong to have the strength to let my emotions run free. It was only once I was strong enough physically that I could even have hoped to be strong enough mentally. Dance has taken me through a variety of journeys in my quest to become strong, not the least of these including the loss of 50 pounds and recuperating from a fractured spine. Motivation is the key to success, and I have never needed any motivation other than the desire to improve.

This attitude and motivation originated in dance and passed into other areas of my life, truly shaping me as a person. Dance turned me into a leader, a healthy person, and all in all, a dancer: someone who can in some indescribable way turn mere movement into something magical. It is this created magic that follows me as I dance through life, moving with more than enough momentum to carry me through, and almost enough to let me fly.