Living life on pointe

Photo+Courtesy+of+Anhthu+Pham

Photo Courtesy of Anhthu Pham

Her heart beats fast. Sweat starts to bead on her forehead. Her muscles,  loose from stretching, tense up from excitement. Looking into the darkness before the stage, she dances free from the feeling of judgment.

Junior Mia Pham, who has practiced ballet for nine years, performs for Artisan School of Dance. Pham dances anywhere from two to seven hours on a day-to-day basis.

“It’s kind of the scariest thing and the most exciting thing,” Pham said. “I always want to do the best performance possible, and the best face, that’s not necessarily a face I would use in every day.”

Her dance career began when her mother signed her up for a class after seeing her dance, and now Pham has nothing but love for her art.

“Ever since I was 12 I’ve always wanted to be a professional dancer,” Pham said. “And it’s such a far-fetched dream, and I doubt that anything big will come out of it, but I still have a wish inside my heart.”

However, not everything consists of sunshine and pirouettes, Mia has woes like everyone else.

“You know how for ballet you need long legs and beautiful feet, and obviously I don’t have those things, and I always wished I did, but I don’t,” Pham said. “I’ve always beat myself over about it, and it gets to me a lot even now, but I just keep telling myself that there’s nothing I can do about that, and I just have to keep trying my hardest.”

Doing what she loves her whole life has given Mia some insight on happiness.

“I would say that if you don’t love it, it’s not worth it to keep doing it,” Pham said.  “But if you do, I would try to put everything into it.”

Ballet has a reputation of requiring an extreme amount discipline to excel at, and Mia never had it easy, but she did not give up.

“I learned that it’s okay not to have things perfect right from the start, that things take time,” Pham said. “Even if you want things to be good right away, things need to take time.”