Blog post

Xander Perone

In my family, everybody did sports; football, lacrosse, baseball, motor cross, even my mom played soccer. So, growing up, naturally, I tried out sports too, but I never really found one that I loved. I got on the field, gave it my all, even played well, but somehow it felt more like a chore than a fun activity. I knew that there was something for me, but I didn't know what.

Then I decided to try dance in 3rd grade and quickly realised that I had discovered my passion. Dancing may not be considered a traditional sport, but it does require the same level of discipline, commitment, training and athletic ability that any sport might demand. Dance also allows me to truly express who I am and how I feel by moving my body. I'm now on a competitive dance team at Complexity Dance Center in NJ and while we don't have "coaches" finding teachers like Ms Chelsea to encourage me helped me realise that dance is what I was meant to do. My team has both boys and girls and covers a range of styles from Contemporary and Ballet to Hip-Hop. I learned to dance in a place that was diverse, and that makes me feel like I belonged. And while dance may not be a common activity for teenage boys, I'm surrounded by other talented male dancers at my studio, conventions and every competition I attend. I fit in.

It has not always been easy to be who I am at school. Classmates would make me feel like I was different for not participating in a school sport. I relied on my mom for support. She would build me up and make me stronger, so I could head off to school and be myself throughout the day. I wanted to show everyone that I was proud of being a dancer, so I had to be strong. I have done my best push the negativity away, and instead, I used all those emotions as fuel for my dance. My whole family has also backed me up and supported my passion.

In the future, I hope to be a dancer/choreographer. I am excited about having my dance project one day. I want to give other dancers opportunities to show who they are, just like my teachers did for me. My advice to boys who dance is to focus on who you are and know it's ok to follow your passions even if they aren't "part of the norm". What people say about you does not matter, so don't blend in if you were born to stand out.