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  • Writer's pictureTonya Vivian

Coming Out of My Shell and Finding a Passion

I know it's extremely hard to believe, but growing up I was very shy and pretty much kept to myself. Like most parents, mine put me in a bunch of different activities. I played multiple instruments while trying to figure out what I liked and was also good at. Gymnastics stuck. I loved being dedicated to something, the physical activity, and it was just really fun! By 2nd grade I was tumbling, competing, and thought maybe one day I'll make it to the Olympics. Then I grew 5 inches and was suddenly 11 years old and smacking my legs against the uneven bars every time I tried to do a move. Coincidentally my Girl Scout troop decided to go camping. I was out! It was time to move on. I needed a new activity that I could be excited about. 

Around the same time a family friend mentioned a local dance studio and suggested I take classes there. I remember thinking that I was down to try as long as I didn't have to do ballet. Jazz it was! My mom enrolled me in a single jazz class that year and I loved it! I had some movement and flexibility experience from doing floor routines from my gymnastics past, but I remember feeling like dance was a true way to express myself. It wasn't until I performed for the first time at the end of the year for recital and saw all the other numbers of tap, acro(a mix of gymnastics and dance), lyrical, hip hop, jazz, and the high level competition numbers that I realized how great and versatile dance could really be. I was hooked.
There was also a change in me. I found confidence in dance. It was exciting and I realized that I loved performing and being on stage. I craved more. That summer I auditioned for the competition group that did acro. They needed tumblers for their preteen division. I could do back handsprings, leaps, walk on my hands, etc but l needed to work on my actual dance technique. I auditioned and made it! I was suddenly taking 6 dance classes a week including ballet, which I ended up liking, and rehearsing with the acro group twice a week on top of that. 
Now I had confidence and a whole new group of friends; some of which I keep in touch with to this day! I was now 12 years old and I had come out of my shell and discovered my absolute passion. Dance.

Modeling for Wolff Fording & Co at age 14

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