About me: My name is Hanna Pierce, I am nineteen and currently dancing with the Alonzo King LINES Ballet Training Program in San Francisco, California. I was initially trained at the School of Midland Festival Ballet.
First off I want to say art IS important. Creating and exposing ideas to the world through expression is a way to impact and influence culture. Art is a secret language that needs to be seen and heard to understand what needs to be said to the world. I also want to add that an artist's career is an entirely valid one and is necessary to our society whether one believes that or not. Why I say this is because the more communities do not support art, the harder it becomes to an artist trying to make their gift or joy their profession. Mentally, a dancer already has enough internal battles, but when one starts hearing the voices of negativity on the outside, one might start to wonder why they are trying to make it.
The Outside: If I had a dollar for every time someone laughed when I said I want to be a professional dancer, I would be able to pay half of my month's rent probably, and that is saying a lot considering I live in the most expensive city in the US. The real thing is though their primary concern was I would not be making a “good” income. Though I realize this and know that I will probably never be a billionaire, I also ask myself, “ when did people get so consumed by money?” Why did the legitimacy of my career choice go down when people see the income I make or that I enjoy being vulnerable and interactive with others in my profession? Though I do not have complete answers to these questions, I just want to curl up and explode when I hear it. The thing is I do not want people to tell me to have a backup or what career do I want after I finish. I only want to be seen as someone who needs to be involved with art and that if art were seen as a big deal maybe what I am trying to do would be too. I want support for my pursuit of dance and art.
The Inside: I wish I could say it was all positive when it comes to what dance does to me mentally but it is not - just like life. I love to dance more than anything, and it is my escape, but it also captures the full exposure of myself. My most recent occurrence with this concept was when I realized that because I do not love every part of myself enough to give into total vulnerability, I limit myself as an artist. Luckily dancing at LINES is helping me break those barriers and find acceptance. Within this art, I discover something new about myself every day whether it is “bad” or “good”. The truth behind it is that I am receiving information and am using what I received at full capacity. I also have found our weaknesses sometimes become our greatest beauties. Through my tears, anxiety attacks, pressure and blood I can say I would not trade any of it for all the good I have received from dance.
This art form of dance has saved me, and it is my duty now to save others and myself every day. I am beyond grateful for every experience and person I come into contact with throughout my life. I do not deserve to dance every day, but I am so overwhelmed and grateful that I get to dance.
The reality of art is that there is not a lot of support unless there is a lot of money involved. That puts the pursuit of art at an extreme that can drive artists to dark places. By seeing Hanna's perspective, I hope that we can support artists more. Art is important, and I have written about that multiple times on this website, but art can save people's lives. Art can give people hope. Support the artists. Artists, reach out to help those around you.
I believe everyone has a voice and a story to tell. If you want to share your story, contact me so we can talk about sharing your life.