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Discovering Your True Self

“Don’t breathe to survive; Dance and feel alive.”

- Shah Asad RIzvi

My name is Rachel Anne Bryant. For most of life, I use to be shy, reserved, and timid. When I was younger, I tried many things to get over my shyness. These included a variety of sports like gymnastics, soccer, softball and track. While sports challenged me to achieve, they reinforced conformity rather than artistry. Looking back, I realize that I simply was afraid to be vulnerable, which ultimately lead to fear, a type of fear that paralyzed me. This fear prevented me from seeking and exploring things that I really wanted to do. Then, I discovered ballroom dance.

Over the past fourteen years, dance has blessed me with many gifts and shaped me into who I am today. While challenging on the outside, dance really allowed me to work on my inside. It enabled me to get in touch with my emotions. It provided a space to reflect, cope, focus and free my mind from negativity. I learned through movement that I could express my emotions. As I felt more comfortable expressing myself, I felt more confident too. Through dance, I found the tools I needed to face my fears. I still have other fears, like public speaking, but, little by little, the confidence I gained through ballroom dance made those fears to diminish too. Now, I am able to step onto the dance floor, move about and just have fun!

The benefits of ballroom dancing carry over into every-day life, as well. For example, I am constantly thinking of looking up, and as a result I even walk a little taller! Ballroom dance is also social activity, which forces you out of your shell. By being more social, you learn how to communicate better and work with others. You will find a group of friends who think and feel just like you do. Better yet, you form close bonds with other dancers and create a second family of your own choosing. Of course, all these benefits of dance did not happen overnight. Just like anything, it is an every evolving process.

I hope my story will inspire you to step out of your comfort zone and make the choice to try dancing. It will positively impact your life, in ways you cannot imagine. Because of dance, I am happier and went from wallflower to a budding rose.

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