My mom signed me up for dance classes when I was three years old, and ever since then I haven’t been able to stop—even as a college student. For me, dancing has always been an escape. I can leave all my stress at the door when I walk into a studio. Today, I recognize what dance has taught me, and how it’s shaped me into an adult.

Firstly, dance was a way to make friends outside of a classroom environment. It provided me with a group of people who were equally as passionate as I was. It was also a channel of self-expression. Each movement became a way to express my feelings through a medium that was meaningful, fulfilling and beautiful.

I also learned a lot about the values of collaboration, hard work and focus through growing up in dance. Each dance group became a team; we all relied on one another’s hard work and acknowledged that every person counted. And regardless of how difficult a step, routine or stretch might have been, I was willing to practice with patience until I got it right.

If you haven’t already, I strongly encourage taking up a dance class—it’s never too late to start!