I bought a black leotard, pink tights and ballet shoes at Wal-Mart the night before I attended my first dance class at 8 years old. After my mother dropped me off for my first class, I knew this was the start of a passion that I would carry with me throughout my life. When I graduated high school, I wasn’t ready to give it up. Dance was something that I could not part with. When I started looking at colleges, Alabama’s dance program stuck out to me the most. What separates UA from the rest is the atmosphere. The dance program is not just a group of dancers, but a support system focused on helping our peers fulfill their artistic visions. Dance for me is not only a hobby, but an emotional outlet. Dance poses as the perfect platform to express any emotions or social conflict through the art of movement and choreography. The student-choreographed show, Dance Alabama! allows students like myself to let their artistic voices be heard at a pre-professional level. DA! consists of a diverse group of genres, from jazz, tap, modern, contemporary and more. All of the pieces pose open-ended concepts or questions about social or emotional conflict present in the world today. The piece I danced in, “You Don’t Have To,” choreographed by Cate Kroehnke, proposes themes of coming of age and self-acceptance. Audience members were able to take away bits and pieces of the dance’s message and apply it to their lives in their own personal way. Being a dance major and Honors student at UA has allowed me to help create meaningful art and hopefully touch others in an expressive way.