by Megan Countey
About six years ago, I stepped into a dance studio for the first time in over fifteen years. I had recently gone through the demise of a six-year relationship and needed something to keep my mind off things, get me moving, and simply make me a happy person again. The moment I stepped into the studio at the Boston Ballet School, I knew I had found my happiness. There is something about a dance studio that puts me at ease—makes me content.
I continued taking classes, finding my way to the Jeannette Neill Dance Studio (where I was convinced by a friend to give jazz a chance) and even used my Harvard-staff status to dance with the Harvard Mainly Jazz Dance Company. And here is where my self-doubt kicked in. At the time I was twenty-nine years old dancing with college kids and one other Harvard employee. Did I feel like the weird old(er) lady? Yes. But it gave me the chance to perform and dedicate more time to dance, so I thought, screw it.
After one of the best Google searches of my life, I found OnStage Dance Company. Finally, a place to dance where the people also had real, adult lives, jobs to get up in the morning for, and maybe some similar joint pains. OnStage has been a vital source of excitement, passion, bruising, and pure happiness.
But the self-doubt has continued, and it is something I have to fight every day. I’m constantly questioning the absurdity of being over thirty years old and being part of a dance company. I cringe when friends and family ask how my dance “recital” went. Do they secretly think I’m one short of a six-pack? Why can’t they call it a performance? Show? Should I just stick with local classes that are geared towards keeping older women walking?
I stick with it because of the people I meet from OnStage, some my age, that are as excited by dance as I am. I get to challenge myself with new choreography, and most importantly, have something to look forward to in my boring, monotonous, adult life.
The days leading up to a show always bring up these familiar age-related doubts. As I was getting ready for our first performance, I got a text from my boyfriend. It said, “I’m so proud of you for doing this. It is so bold.” It was just what I needed. Just that one word: bold. What all of us OnStage dancers are doing is bold, and we should be damn proud for putting ourselves out there. We have found something that we truly love and are making room for it in our lives and there is nothing wrong with that—no matter our age. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go put a heating pad on my back—my sciatica is acting up.
Go behind the scenes with our dancers and choreographers and get an insider's look into OnStage Dance Company.