Dance Empowers Teens

For many teens, dancing is a refuge, a space they create for themselves where they can’t be judged for making mistakes. In a society which too often revolves around perfection, dance is a necessary escape for many.

Senior Briaunna Elliott uses dance to relieve the pressures of school, work, and college applications.

During a break in an improv dance class in Biddeford, Elliott said, “I use dance as a way to relieve my stress, my worries, my problems. To let go and just be free for a little bit. It’s spiritual, my outlet, it’s the only thing that really makes me feel free.”

Junior Celeste Cannafarina takes dance in school and loves the release that movement  provides. Pressures surround her as she struggles to perfect her grades in hopes of becoming a neurosurgeon. Cannafarina finds her only escape in dance.  

“Elders see us as fools, they think we can’t do anything, think we don’t try hard enough in our studies, they want us to be something we don’t want to be. I have interest in becoming a neurosurgeon… My parents think I can’t do it,” said Cannafarina. In a world where making mistakes sparks disappointment, dance is her escape.

During a performance, Dance Company member Aja Sobus spoke to the audience about what dance means to her. She said, “If you’re ever stressed out in math, or freaking out about writing an English paper, you can look up at the clock and think, ‘okay only 20 more minutes and I get to go to dance.’ For a lot of students, dance is a stress reliever… I can’t imagine my day without a dance class. To be honest I’d be totally lost.”

The stories that can be told through dance are never ending. Here’s a look into what teens battle, expressed by the movement and words of two dancers: Celeste Cannafarina and Nadia Schmid Lakari.

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