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I love to dance
"Dance is about ignoring the messages my brain sends. Messages like 'people are staring,' 'I'm going to mess up,' or 'my costume is hideous.'"

by Tierney Kilgariff

Dancing has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Even as early as preschool, my friends and I would come up with dances; we would leap around and do cartwheels, fall over and end with jazz hands. It's my favorite thing in the whole entire world.

The definition of dance is simple: a series of movements that match the speed and rhythm of a piece of music. But for me it's so much more. It's learning a new routine. It's the endless practice-in my yard, at my studio, in the hallways of my school, on top of the tumbling mats, even at the bus stop. It's the thrill of a recital.

Dancing involves putting my trust in others. Working as a team teaches you where you belong, whether it's in front and center or off to the back (trust me I've been both) and that without you there's a prominent gap.

Dance is about ignoring the messages my brain sends. Messages like "people are staring," "I'm going to mess up," or "my costume is hideous." It's about keeping up with the latest moves, finding time to watch "So You Think You Can Dance" and "Glee," stretching to maintain flexibility and exercising to maintain stamina.

Recently my school got to perform Michael Jackson's "Thriller" for several TV news stations. We put on zombie makeup during art class and dressed up like the dead for a performance at Macalester College. Everyone in the school participated. This was one time when my costume truly was hideous, but I liked it! Afterwards, I had to rush to my Hip Hop class and didn't have time to change out of my zombie attire. I turned heads that night, but it didn't bother me. We artists are used to being stared at.

I helped choreograph the dance for "Fame" in the Summer Spectacular at my school. Our group of dancers met during recess and taught our gym teacher-whom we wanted to be in the dance-the routine we had come up with. We had a blast!


Nothing compares to the anticipation when waiting for the music to start. Nothing compares to losing yourself in the movement. Nothing compares to the feeling of your heart pounding when you strike your final pose. And nothing but nothing compares to the feeling of applause washing over you. Dance may not make you feel the way it makes me feel, but I hope there is something in your life that makes you feel the way I do when I'm dancing.

Tierney Kilgariff is an eighth grader at Laura Jeffrey Academy in St. Paul.


Tierney recommends these young-adult books by women:
The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Love That Dog by Sharon Creech
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

What's on your bookshelf?
Send us 450 words about your booklife, plus your list of four to five related books by women authors, to editor@womenspress.com.

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