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Inspired To Dance
Growing up, I always loved to do two things: dance and read. I am now thirteen years young and have been able to connect the two things that I love to do the most. I have been dancing since the age of 2 ½ and I have been a competitive dancer since I was 7 years old. Around a year and a half ago, I read the story, Children of Terror, written by Holocaust survivors, Bozenna Urbanowicz Gilbride and Inge Auerbacher. This autobiography is written about the two women’s lives as children surviving World War II and the Holocaust tragedy. I found this story to be very inspiring and I was definitely moved due to the fact that it is written about the author’s real experiences. The stories told of how different, yet very much the same the two women actually are. These women had to overcome certain obstacles in their young lives in order to survive. Parts of this story are very intense and hard to read at times, but I still wanted to know what happened next. Specifically, when Bozenna discusses losing her mom and not knowing where she is for many years, I thought about if I would be able to handle a situation like that. Additionally, I spent time thinking about the Catholic and Jewish faiths and how someone’s personal religious beliefs are not to be judged or used against them for any reason. I definitely learned a great deal from this story and it opened my eyes to a new perspective on the appreciation of life.
As a dancer, I enjoy connecting dances I perform to something specific, such as real life events. I enjoy doing this because it gives dance more meaning to me and it provides a story for the audience. When I studied the Holocaust and read Children of Terror, I had the opportunity to take part in a 6th grade class event that focused on the world, its geography, its culture, and its people. I decided that for my participation in the project, I would use dance to interpret the inspiration I received from reading this book. I understand the need for peace and positivity in the world and I chose a song to represent this, as I danced. The movement quality was soft, yet strong and was meant to deliver a message to the audience. This would be a way for me to connect literature and dance directly.
While other students read poetry or acted in short skits, I danced. My contemporary dance solo was titled, “Keep Breathing”. Lyrics such as, “The storm is coming, but I don’t mind/ People are dying, I close my blinds” represents World War II and the deaths of many innocent souls and how others had no control over what was taking place and could not stop what was going. Unless others put themselves at risk, as well, the destruction may not be stopped. Furthermore, in the song, the singer repeatedly sings the lyric, “All we can do is keep breathing”, which represents that everyone needs to stay strong. Bozenna and Inge stayed strong when they suffered through illness, mental torture, the loss of Bozenna’s mother, and of Inge’s beloved grandmother. They stayed positive and strong no matter what had happened to them. In the end, they have become productive members of society. The lyrics that mention wanting to change the world, remind me of Bozenna’s and Inge’s life today and how they are busy sharing their stories whenever they can. Knowledge is powerful and these personal stories need to be shared and told to others. I am lucky enough to have met both authors in person and to have heard their book talks at school, as well as, at my church. Hopefully, many more students will be given the opportunity and will be encouraged to read this important book because its messages of strength, of tolerance, and of positivity; themes that are very important in today’s world.
My experience of creating and performing this dance solo was very special to me because of the ability I had to connect my passion for dance to the world around me. I was educated by reading this book and took my education a step further by making a connection to my passion for dance. Currently, I am an eighth grader; I have performed my solo several times for various audiences and welcome the opportunity to share my voice through dance. I hope to not only entertain, but to educate my audience through dance any chance I get in the years to come. I am grateful for Bozenna and Inge and for their ability to inspire others with their truth.
Izabella Lyon Age 13
** “Keep Breathing” by Ingrid Michaelson