My name is Tarika Holland. I'm fourteen years old, I'm from Augusta, and I am a dancer at Davidson Fine Arts.
When I was younger, I definitely wasn't the best. I was off the beat most of the time and lacked that flow that ballerinas have. But at my audition for Davidson, I was given a piece of fabric and told to dance. I closed my eyes, and moved and twirled around with the piece of fabric in my hand. I felt something I had never felt before. It was like I lost myself for that short amount of time.
The art of ballet was foreign to my family. So Davidson opened my eyes to something new. Being in an actual class with structure and discipline, and other dancers, brought out an ability I didn’t realize I had. In seventh grade, I took my first modern dance class from Sharon Mayfield, a Bessie Award winner who danced with Garth Fagan. The new style was a struggle but Ms. Mayfield saw something in me and encouraged me to repeat the class in eighth grade. I was constantly asked, "Why are you still in level one Modern?" The truth was, I lacked the confidence. I was afraid to fail. But I worked really hard every single day and that spark I had lacked finally hit me. I was fearless, not afraid to take chances anymore. I entered the next level.
There's so much hard work, struggle and discipline that goes into the art of dance, but what you create in the end is so beautiful. Nothing I've done has ever given me the feeling dance does. Now I’m a level-four ballet student and level-two modern student with big dreams to attend college, major in dance and become a professional in a company. I am even producing a dance showcase next summer, "Pointe of Isolation," to raise money to further my dance training.
But my biggest dream is to inspire others. There are going to be people out there seeing you doing something good and they are going to want to stop you. You have to BE CONFIDENT. Nowadays people laugh at people who are passionate about something, but ignore them and continue to love what you do. You don't have to be like everyone else. Be yourself, find yourself, create yourself.
One of my favorite quotes by Misty Copeland is, "You can start late, look different, be uncertain, and still succeed." I started dancing when I was 12, which is late in the dance world. I look different: my skin color, my body. I'm from what's called "the bottom" and where I come from, kids aren't exposed to the arts. Never in a million years did I think I would be a dancer. But here I am.