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All my life I have danced. I didn't randomly fall into it, rather, I chose it. And it has been the biggest blessing of my life, not just in one style of dancing, but in many styles of dancing.
I have to admit that when I started taking ballet classes when I was young, I thought that it was the only type of dancing I would ever really love. From the age of 5, ballet was my world- I was lucky enough to take ballet classes about 6 days a week until I was 18, not to mention that I had fortunate opportunities to partake in summer dance camps, year round conventions and masterclasses, as well as constant performance opportunities. I was told lightly throughout those years that I should supplement my ballet training with other similar genres, like jazz, and hip hop, but I didn't take those suggestions too seriously, more out of obligation.
Towards the end of my high school years at the pre-professional program at the Atlanta Ballet, I was introduced to the genre of contemporary dance, and I couldn't believe how much it moved me. I had been so closed in one form for so long, I could have never imagined the possibility of even being entertained by the idea of pursuing dance in a different genre other than ballet. But I just couldn't wrap my mind around these different movement philosophies from contemporary dancing- I was encouraged to take everything I had learned from ballet and find ways of moving around it, which I loved!
From that new found curiosity I went to Indiana University to get my B.S in Contemporary Dance. While I was in college, I got dragged by a friend to a ballroom dance club party at the school. I had planned to go as a favor, and then leave. But friends, I tell you I caught what I like to call, "the ballroom bug." I mean, I had heard of ballroom dancing before, but never did I think that I would even be interested in it! It was full of new concepts of dancing with a partner, I had never experienced that connection with other dancers before. And just like that- I became a classically trained contemporary dancers training in ballroom and Latin dancing.
I realized very quickly that every dance style that came across my path was a blessing- I found that every style could help me in some way- whether that was physical, or perhaps a mental dance tactic, even something as simple as just a little exposure of inspiration. I have ever since deeply embraced the concept of multi-genre dancing- not being caged to one form. I am, unlike many others in the field, happy to not necessarily fit perfectly into one style of dance. I like being able to dance what I want, when I want. For instance, I feel in love with salsa dancing late in college, and was told that I looked too much like a ballet dancer when I danced. At the time, I didn't know any better, and let words like that discourage me. However, through more time of immersing myself into different style dance classes, I realized- of COURSE I looked like a ballet dancer while dancing salsa! That is because I was a ballet dancer doing salsa, and that there was no shame in that. Instead of letting that stigma limit me, I decided to let it help me. My classical training has given me so much- balance, strength, control, musicality, discipline, and so much more. I am so fortunate to be able to put that into my Latin dancing!
I wish that I could have told my younger self long ago that I can be any dancer that I want to be. I can dance jazz, compete in salsa, learn to move theatrically in musical theatre, and so much more, and I do not have to labeled as anything but a "dancer." While there is nothing wrong with dancing and training in just one style, there is also nothing wrong with training in as many styles as you want- you can have your cake and eat it too. As the founder and sole instructor of Leah Boresow Dance, I try to preach this as much as possible; dancing is for anyone, and the more genres we are exposed to- the better. And friends- there is SO much knowledge out there- so much dance history outside of the genre you may be most familiar with...and the magic lies in how all of the dances are connected.
Leah Boresow is an Atlanta dancer, teacher, and choreographer. She teaches private lessons, group lessons, and hosts socials monthly. Please follow her on Instagram at @leahboresowdance, as well as on Facebook at facebook.com/leahboresowdance. All details about her dancing opportunities can be found at leahboresow.com.