I had long since put dance behind me (something I did quite a lot in my younger years). In fact, I put so much of “Ann” on the backburner that I felt I lost my identity. For the majority of my adult life, I was attempting to live up to someone else’s expectations and ‘exist’ in another’s dreams - which ultimately led to a long and unhappy marriage. Feeling inadequate, desperate, empty, and not me, I ended up in therapy.

It was during one of my sessions late in 2008,  that I mentioned I used to dance. My therapist asked: “Why did you stop dancing”? I began my spiel about getting married and having children. She stopped me midway with a “talk to the hand” motion, and asked again: “Why did you stop dancing”? I had no answer. As a therapeutic ‘field trip’ she recommended that I experience a place called Dance101. Not having gone there herself, she heard wonderful things about it. 

I accepted the challenge but thought “okay, Ann you’re a woman of a certain age. Who do you think you are bopping into a dance studio with a bunch of people way younger than you”? But I knew what my therapist was doing.  She wanted me to reacquaint myself with the real Ann by reconnecting with a past love.  I felt many conflicting emotions (after all, at the time my ‘emotional meter’ was whack) and kept thinking try this or go completely crazy. 

I remember my first class was a Beginner Ballet Barre. I was so nervous because I did not know if I was going to be able to keep up or remember the ballet terms, positions, or sequences.. A few minutes into the class, the stuff I had freaked out about earlier did not matter. I felt like the proverbial “prodigal son” who had returned home. So what if I was older? So what if I was not the same weight I was 30 years ago? So what if I messed up a step or two or three. It just did not matter. I was not being judged and I certainly did not feel like I had to live up to anyone’s expectations - including my own. 

The vibe at Dance101 then and now is nurturing, embracing, and warm. Long story short, 14 years later, I continue to take class frequently and Dance101 is still my best therapy.  It brought me back to life. It brought me back to Ann.