Post by Ellie Swiger.
Ellie Swiger graduated from Chattahoochee High School summa cum laude in the spring of 2014. She is continuing her education at Georgia Tech with a major in Industrial Engineering and minors in computer science and technical communication. When she's not studying, she volunteers at a local afterschool center, coordinates Homecoming and Greek Week activities for her sorority, plans events for the freshman class through the Freshman Activities Board, and comes back to visit Still Pointe as much as possible.
Dancing is something that gets in your blood- once you identify as a dancer, especially as a ballerina, you can never go back. And since I started dancing at the wee age of 3, I was hooked from the start. Ballet was bound to be a part of my life. This has plenty of perks: dancing is great exercise, teaches good discipline, and is a fantastic creative outlet. However, it is surprisingly difficult to find a studio with people with whom you actually want to spend the amount of time a commitment to ballet requires. Oftentimes dancers are catty, clique-y, and overly competitive.
Throughout my entire dancing career, I refused to accept these tendencies. I was never ready to let my love for ballet lead me into relationships with people who did not have my best interests in mind, who didn't value the same things I did, who made me want to skip class because I felt unwelcome and under constant scrutiny. I became a studio-hopper. Over 11 years of dancing, I went to 10 different studios. I hadn't spent a summer NOT studio shopping in what seemed like forever. I took it to be a normal part of the ballet experience.
All of that changed when I came to Sill Pointe. My first class, everyone immediately introduced themselves to me, welcomed me, helped me learn the steps to any of the set barre combinations, and congratulated me when I conquered the dreaded "8 8 4 4 2 2 1 1" combo. After the class was over, I felt like I had made a bunch of new friends and learned a lot. This feeling never went away, and I kept coming back- I couldn't get enough of the positive attitudes, love, and encouragement I was constantly surrounded with. And I was learning more and more each class, and actually improving. I think that part of the reason for this was the incredible teachers, and the other part was the fact that Still Pointe has an atmosphere that encourages pushing oneself- because if you fall, they'll be there to pick you up, and cheer you on for working that hard. I'd never found that before, and I don't know if I'll ever find it again, but I don't mind, because I know I can always call Still Pointe my dance home, and I will be coming back as often as possible.