Dance is my safe place. I still have a long way to go but it gets me through life much easier. I am very thankful for Charlie giving me the option to write about my dance experiences through her BA Blogs.
Within my childhood days, growing up in Cleckheaton (near Leeds) and the only girl in my school year as a mixed raced citizen was hard. I never noticed it until people joked with me about being a "half breed" or "half cast". For me, I am so happy I found dance, it was our only way out. 'Our' meaning my sister, India and I.
Our mum took us to a local dance school - Elaine Howarth's Centre Stage Dance Studio, where we learnt Ballet, Tap, Disco and more. We took classes every week up until I was about 13. Elaine and Amanda were amazing and taught us many things. As we grew older, we found ourselves in front the television after school learning all the Top 40 music video dances - and we absolutely loved it! So, our mum found a community street dance class ran by a company called Suga Brown. We fell in love with how equal we were treated as well as how street dance made us feel - thanks to Lynzi Brown. I was 13, and from then on, all I wanted to do was dance! Street dance made, and still makes me feel more confident in myself - no matter what race I am. Not once in a street dance class have I felt judged about the colour of my skin, my unique personality or looks. I felt safe, like I could express just being me.
After school, I went to Calderdale College in Halifax to study Ballet, Contempoary and Jazz. I thank Caroline, Gavin and Lisa for the amazing knowledge they gave me. As soon as my diploma came to an end, I moved to London at the age of 18 to study Dance: Urban Practice at the University of East London. That was the step in my life where everything changed for the better. It opened my eyes into a new community of dancers and I learnt a variety of styles that I'd never even heard of in Leeds! My personal tutor Dr. Jo Read really helped me push through and I thank her for that! After my degree, I worked at Trinity Laban and now, One Dance UK, also taking any freelance jobs along the way. I absolutely love what I'm doing now and it's all because of dance! I want people to know that dance can really connect you to others positively. It can open your eyes up to a new way of being a family.
Organisations like the Blair Academy can create a safe, secure environment where you can not only dance, but meet new people and learn life skills for everyday life. Dance really is a blessing and it's meant for everyone. Having fun and being yourself in a creative space can really boost and uplift your mental health in so many ways. Because of school, my insecurities were, and still are on my mind. My confidence issues are still a huge part of my life and I struggle with it daily. Surrounding myself with more and more dancers has helped me gain confidence and I've started to appreciate my worth more as a dancer and as an individual. Creative people are amazing, and I'm proud to call them family. Don't let confidence issues stop you from trying something new and doing what you love! The dance community supports everything! Everybody has their own dance journeys and their own way of dealing with their issues - but the most amazing thing is that we all become one when we dance together – forgetting about anything and everything, with any style, anywhere. Dance brings a type of energy that I've never found anywhere else and I'm grateful for my journey, and even more excited about my next steps.
Please, if you'd like to share your dance journey with me, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM me on Instagram at @tiahparsan.
Thank you for reading my story and I hope you connected with it in some way :)