Feet. This is the first memory I have of little Sarah (Genin) Leaf. She was a quiet, dedicated, hard-working child, but oh-my-gosh THOSE FEET! When she was 6 years old, I noticed what talent she had and knew I had to give her a really good experience so that she would want to dance as long as she could. She was flexible and ballet just came naturally to her. I remember the day that she called me and told me she was no longer going to be able to continue her professional career because of several, severe injuries. I cried. I cried UGLY tears. This was a child with a dream. This was a child with a major talent in an art form that is VERY picky. By the end of the conversation, she calmed me down, assured me that she was fine and that she had a plan.
SD: How do you incorporate dance into your adult life?
SL: Although I’m no longer able to actively participate in dance due to injuries and a busy schedule, the lessons I learned through dancing are still incorporated on a daily basis in my adult life.
SD: What is a life lesson that you learned in dance that is applicable to your adult life?
SL: It’s hard to pick just one, but one of the main lessons dance taught me is discipline to work towards my goals.
SD: What does your exercise/stretching regimen look like today?
SL: One of the reasons I really enjoyed dance was because it was great exercise, but it was fun and didn’t feel too much like work. I try to find that same sort of enjoyment in my current exercise routines. I get bored with doing the same thing regularly, so I try to switch it up often. I’m open to trying almost any fitness routine at least once. I typically rotate between yoga and pilates, but also have a gym membership where I use many of the basic machines and light weights. While these are great during the winter months, I much prefer outdoor adventures. It’s sometimes hard to find scenic places locally, but I love a good road trip to hike, kayak, or bike.
SD: What is your favorite memory from your dance days?
SL: Oh wow, this is a tough one! Too many to count, but one of my personal favorite memories would be dancing Clara in the Nutcracker.
SD: What made your family choose Springfield Dance for you?
SL: This is a terrible answer… but I’m fairly certain it had to do with location! 🙂
SD: If there was one thing you would change about your dance experience, what would that be?
SL: Looking back, I wish I wouldn’t have taken things so seriously. At times I put a lot of pressure on myself to do my best, but it made me miss out on having fun! Also, I so badly wish I would have had the opportunity to dance Sugar Plum!
SD: How did dance shape you as a person?
SL: With complete confidence, I can say that I would not be where I am today without dance. I started dancing when I was just 3 years old, but quickly fell in love with the art. I was a very shy child, and was uncomfortable in many social settings, but dance gave me an outlet to express myself in a positive manner. It taught me discipline, which helped me to excel in my academic and professional work. By performing group pieces, I learned to work together as a team.
SD: What is one piece of advice that you wish you could go back and give to your younger self?
SL: Everything happens for a reason!
SD: Do you think dance is important for children; if so, why?
SL: Yes. Dance provides an outlet for self-expression and energy-release. It teaches the necessary skills to develop a disciplined, cultured, and athletic individual, all while being disguised as a fun activity.
Yes, Sara, everything does happen for a reason, and I am so very proud of the woman you have become.