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Eloise's choice to dance

Updated: Apr 29, 2020

Eloise Esseks a freshman at Principia College grew up in Manhattan, New York where her love of dance began when she was a small child.

In an interview I had with her in early February she shares her experiences and love of dance.

Through a Q and A format:

How long have you been dancing?

“I’ve been dancing since I was two, so I’ve been dancing for 16 years."

Have you danced on and off throughout your life?

"I was dancing on an off from when I was little until I was 12 because I was at a studio where I didn’t have a ton of friends so it was hard to stay motivated because I love dancing, but it’s not like I looked forward to going to the studio because I didn’t like my teacher very much and all the girls where ridiculously quiet or already had friends that weren’t me, it was just kind of awkward, and I definitely was going to quit [dancing] in 6th grade, and then I found a different studio when I was in 7th grade. I’ve been at the same studio since then, and that studio is the reason I fell back in love with dance for sure. Because I felt so disconnected from it, [asking myself] why am I still doing this? It's making me miserable, and then I went to that [new] studio and teachers were so nice and supportive, and all the girls were super nice, and it was something I genuinely looked forward to every single class. Like every Tuesday I’d be like yes! I have pointe today, I was literally always so excited because we did Nutcracker. So many great things about that studio."

Do you feel like dance defines who you are as a person?

"I think in some ways it does, I think it is definitely a release, especially with my Anxiety and stuff. Whenever I go to dance class all of it disappears, whenever I’m feeling super anxious and thinking maybe I won’t go to dance I always end up going because I know that it will make me feel better. Like last Wednesday when I was having a really bad day, and I didn’t want to go to the dance but I need to go because it will definitely help."

Why do you choose to dance today?

"I was on the volleyball team at the beginning of the [Fall] semester and I missed dance so much when I was doing volleyball and I already knew I wanted to dance prod and everything, but I think that sense of emptiness I had made me realize how much I need to do it and how much I needed to be super involved in the dance program, because of how much I missed it. Yes, I was in modern but it just didn’t fill the same hole as doing it [dancing] four times a week or every single day. Doing it every day is a whole other pile of worms, but anytime that I haven’t been dancing for more than two months I miss it so much. It fills a hole."

What is your favorite style of dance?

"It’s either ballet or contemporary, I like them for different reasons, I like ballet because of the structure. I mentioned earlier. It obviously has a ton of structure but at the same time that where I can kind of hit a wall with it sometimes and it feels like I’m always doing something wrong. That's why I really like contemporary or modern because there isn’t as much of you’re doing this right or you’re doing this wrong. There is no right answer sort of like with ballet. I love it because of the structure but hate it because of the structure. It’s nice but at the same time, I can’t get my leg up that high or I can’t have a perfect turn out or whatever. "

Favorite time dancing in your life

My Senior solo, the song I chose, my dad loves Tom Waits, he’s weirdly obsessed and my family and I always make fun of him, there is this song called picture in a frame, and he said once that it would be really cool if I danced to it, so for my senior solo I danced to that song, and it was a surprise, and when I started dancing I saw him crying and that was by far one of the coolest moments. I think that the whole senior solo in general was very fulfilling to perform but that specific moment definitely sticks out to me.

The photos in this post were taken at Principia College in the McVay Center for the Performing Arts, Dance studio.

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