If I Could Bottle Happiness… – My Story With Dance

Bliss describes my sentiments when I dance. Every dancer has his or her own reason for dancing.  For me — I fell in love with it.  I could never place dance above my family, but I love it dearly. Seeing how every other word has been “dance” lately for me — I wanted to share my story with others. My main goal is to show people that if they find that piece of happiness… they should cherish it and never give it up. From youth to my adult life, dance (like my family) has never left me.

I had my first samples of dance in 7th grade.  They wanted kids at my middle school to try different things and meet new people. They created “clusters” or clubs we could choose to join. I saw ballroom dance on the list and had no idea what it was.  Instead of getting crafty or learning a sport — I decided Ballroom Dancing looked like fun.

It was like finding the world’s best bowl of ice cream and not wanting to be done with it.  Every time we met up, I had a great amount of excitement and 20 minutes was way too short.

When I moved to Norman in 2002, it was a rough period.  My family had to adjust to a new city, and it was just really difficult for me to belong.  My mom saw an ad for (out of all things) Irish Dancing.  (Asian girl Irish Dancing say wha? haha) But getting back into dancing was really joyful.  Unfortunately Irish dancing didn’t last too long, but it did remind me how much I missed dancing.

I had this ambitious goal my senior year of high school to start a ballroom dance club.  Everyone doubted me, but I wanted to show people that they should follow through with their passions.  After getting an advisor to watch our sessions — I gathered a group of kids and started teaching them my little knowledge I knew of ballroom.  To be honest, all I really knew was watching podcasts that head judge on DWTS, Len Goodman, put out weekly.  I had no professional training and yes it was quite silly of me to teach people if I had no idea what I was doing.  Within a matter of months the club saw a poignant end.  It was hard for me to see it go.  However, it taught me a lot about learning how to lead and carefully planning ambitious things out before executing them.

There was a major hiatus in my dancing career.  The  winter before my junior year of college I stumbled upon a video of the now renowned dancer from “Glee” – Harry Shum Jr.  The joy that you saw in his face when you dance — that was what I felt from dancing.  Seeing that gave me the courage to try dancing again after a very long break.  So I signed up for “Intro to Ballroom” at OU.  Hands down — one of the best collegiate courses I have taken thus far.

Dancing at OU was phenomenal — both on the social side and academic side.  Actually having professional training (instead of watching podcasts) allowed me to see what it was like to take an actual dance class. I met a handful of people from all different parts of the country and world.   We learned about partnerships and socializing with others.  The highlight came towards the end of my class.  On a whim, I decided to partner up with a friend and compete in my class’ swing dance competition.  It was hard to believe that we scared off a few people from competing. My partner and I had two totally different views. I wanted to have fun and show everyone my love of dance — he wanted to win.  To this day I’m proud to say that we made through 2 rounds of competition (even fought a wardrobe malfunction) and took home 1st place.  Winning wasn’t everything to me.  It was knowing that someone respected my love of dance enough to give me a high honor.  That feeling that someone can see your personality shine through meant the world to me.

It’s strange that after such a high I didn’t dance for a while.  I visited our local studio once, but I didn’t formally dance for the longest time.  It took another marvelous dancer to really get my heart connected back into dance.  That dancer was Tristan MacManus.  You can hear all about my stories on how he touched my life in my blog.  However, words really can’t express how happy I am that he lead me back into ballroom.  I’m so grateful now that I have a studio to study from and to continue growing as a dancer.  I tell people if I could bottle that bliss and joy I feel from dancing and sell it to the world — I would. There’s nothing like it. If it wasn’t for Tristan I wouldn’t be as in love with the Shall We Dance? Studio as I am now.  Going frequently showed me what a friendly and warm crowd of dancers they are.  They’re very much like a family and I’m so glad I got to be a part of it.

As you can see… I’ve might of taken a break or two. But like Tristan, taking those breaks made me realized how much dancing has been a staple in my life.  If this massive essay/novel has taught you anything — it’s that you can’t deny your heart what really makes you happy.  Go for it! Do what you love because that truly is what life is built upon. To end this I want to say find your passion, and for my fellow dancers — keep a dance in your feet and keep a dance in your heart.


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