Kate Weeks trains at the Clytie Adams School of Ballet. She is attending Ballet West’s Summer Intensive this summer.

Why do I dance? You think it would be easier to put into words. I find words to be
annoyingly difficult. I am never able to use them perfectly or convey raw emotion with one
sentence. That’s why I dance – I am absolutely terrible with words. But my lacking way with
words is not the central reason behind my dancing; it will never be.
If you would have asked me why I did ballet when I was in elementary school, I might
have answered with something dramatically sappy like, “I feel the music course through every
muscle in my being and I just can’t help it!”, or happily chirp “Performing makes me excited and I
love dressing up!”. I may have even replied with something simple and bland like “I don’t know –
I just want to”. While these were the words I said out loud, I do not think I ever admitted to
myself what I was really thinking. I thought I was the best and I was only going to get better.
The bubble I found myself in consisted of my current studio and I was arrogant to the
fact that there was an entire world of extremely talented dancers. There were dancers who
could bend in half, turn forever, and be breathtakingly beautiful; I didn’t know about any of them.
The bubble broke when I attended the Brigham Young University Ballet Summer
Intensive in 2017. I planned to go with a friend, saved the money I needed and gathered all the
materials listed in the handbook. Then I proceeded to go through the most humbling experience
that killed all confidence found within me. I was placed in the lowest level and my roommate, the
friend mentioned earlier, was placed in the highest. To clarify, there was only two levels;
however, knowing I could keep up with those level two girls I was hurt, devastated and
confused.
It was close to a year later, after the certainty that was once in my movement left me and
I felt like I was declining as a dancer, when the question of what I was going to do as a dancer
started to pop up. I believe that was when I started to understand why I dance. As my
confidence continued – and continues – to build I began to comprehend the true reason behind
my joy for dance. Everything I said when I was younger was true – to a certain extent. Music
makes me feel something, performing allows me to show off and sometimes dancing is all I
want to do, even if I don’t know why. Dancing speaks for me, when I can’t form the words. But
these reasons are not how I define why I dance.
I dance because my technique and skill are a pure reflection of my effort and hard work.
The world is so gray, and to me, ballet is black and white. It is my fault if I am a bad dancer or if I
am doing something wrong. My perfectionism is satisfied, if only for moments at a time, and I
am happy. Being born 2002 I always heard Hannah Montana sing: Nobody’s perfect. You live
and you learn it. But ballet makes me excited and hopeful that for a second I could be the
perfect dancer and defy Hannah Montana’s song. If I can be perfect for one second, I could
work harder to be perfect for more than one second. This is why I dance. There is also the fact
that I am just happier when I dance – we can’t ignore that.