by Melynda Meszko
Melynda in "Where Have You Been."
A year ago I found myself at the Season Two Performance of OnStage Dance Company to support some friends. Throughout the performance all I could think was, “I should be up there dancing. That’s where I belong.” When we went out after the show one of my friends started telling me about the company. The more she told me, the more I became determined to become a part of it and I told myself that I would be back on the stage. Well, a year has passed and I just finished my second season with OnStage, and eager to begin my third.
One of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2012 was to find a way to dance again. Nearly 7 years ago I did some serious damage to my knee. Every other year since then I have found a way to blow my knee out again, and again, and again. My injuries were usually a result of my attempt to dance, one was just a freak volleyball accident. The past 7 years have been an emotional roller coaster ride. All I wanted to do was dance again, and every time I tried, I failed. I didn’t just fail though, I epic failed. I was told time and time again by different doctors that I would need to give up dance and that I would never dance again. Yeah, like that was ever going to happen. For those of you who do not know me, I am one persistent girl. If you tell me that I can’t do something, I will find a way to do it.
Which brings me back to last year. As I watched my friends through my tears, I saw so many beautiful dancers and I knew I had to find a way to be a part of that again. In March, I auditioned for Season Three and officially joined OnStage. Let me tell you, it was like reality decided to slap me in the face. For all the years that I had been dreaming of dancing, it was as if the prior 16 years of experience were gone. I was never a perfect dancer, but I was up there in skill. I was a bit stressed out at first, but when rehearsals began I remembered what I loved about it. It wasn’t the fact that I was a good dancer, but the fact that I was a dancer. As rehearsals got underway, my passion for dance began to burn again (as did my muscles), and my choreographers and fellow dancers helped fuel that passion. It was still difficult to get back into it, especially when my knee did not want to cooperate, but I felt that I could handle three pieces. When the Season Three Performance arrived it was like a dream. I was once again on the stage doing what I loved! I proved all those doctors wrong (what do they know anyways?). I could dance!
Fast forward to Season Four. Auditions once again kicked my butt, but it was great to feel that pain. When it was time to sign up for pieces I just could not decide! We have so many talented choreographers, how could I choose?! So I didn’t. I decided that if I was able to do three pieces last season, why couldn’t I do six this season? I took it easy in Season Three to give myself time to get back into it, so now it was time to see what I could do. I didn’t realize that this was such a big deal until my friends said “Six pieces!!! What are you thinking?!” I was thinking, “No problem. I can do this!”
While it was a lot of work, it was worth it. Every Sunday I woke up thinking “It’s a dance day!” and be excited to get out of bed. My weekdays went by faster knowing that I had dance to look forward to between work and classes. There were some days when I felt that I had taken on a bit more than I could handle, but those were days when I was dealing with the stress of work and school as well. I didn’t fully stress out until show weekend. Let me tell you something though, I am still in my euphoric post-performance state of mind! I went out there with my fellow dancers, and we rocked it! I felt complete again for the first time in almost seven years. After my first piece I walked off that stage with a huge smile and a feeling like I had won the lottery. My mom texted me at intermission to say she was so happy to see me dancing again, that she was crying.
I am so fortunate that I am able to work with such beautiful and talented dancers. Many of our dancers take my breath away when they perform. Our choreographers come up with some marvelous pieces. It’s a wonderful feeling to be back in a studio with people who share my passion for dance. I truly believe that you can do anything if you set your mind to it, especially when you have the passion to support it. I love to dance more than just about anything else. I also love that OnStage is a place for all of us to come together. I have made some fantastic friends, and I’m grateful that I found myself at the show last winter. I can hardly wait for Season Five to begin! Who knows, maybe I’ll be in seven pieces next season!
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