The Impact of Movement on My Life

Art by Hannah | Poolesville

By Aranza Lara Arizpe | BCC

For as long as I can remember, I have always felt the need to move. Music was something that spoke to my soul and invigorated all my bones and muscles. I vividly recall performing choreographies for my parents and family friends to every single song Freddie Mercury composed. Since I started taking dance classes at the age of eight, I knew that not only did I adore dancing, but that it was an absolute necessity in my life. Movement felt like liberation.

I was born in Mexico City and raised there for half of my life. My home city has a population of 21 million people, over 6 million cars, and more than 150 museums. It is a city rooted in the beauty of chaos. It is energized by the flow of multitudes of people hopping on the metro every morning to go to work. It is packed with brightly colored buildings. It is activated by polyphonic music and filled with aromas from the mango con chile, gorditas de chicharron, and esquite stands. To me, Mexico City is synonymous with movement, movement which equates to vitality. Mexico City formed me into the spirited person that I am today.

I experienced movement to its fullest extent when my family emigrated from Mexico to the U.S. when I was nine. In the U.S I gained perspective on the bittersweet aspects of life. My biculturalism fueled my intelligence, fostered my creativity, developed my artistry, and opened my mind. However, I also encountered ignorance and discrimination in my community. At school, I have been asked many times how I am able to excel in the rigorous IB diploma program despite being a Latina immigrant. Although it is not always explicitly stated, I have become familiar with the biases ingrained in people's minds about my origin. Despite the prejudice that Latinos experience daily in the U.S., I have learned that remaining stationery as the victim only makes change harder to achieve. Having lived half my life here as a Mexican girl taught me that movement does not equal comfort, and so my idea of movement evolved into something even more profound.

During my freshman year of high school, I founded a dance club at my school called BCC Moves. With its creation, I hoped to share my devotion to dance and pre-professional training in the art, while also building a safe space for people to express themselves. My club started out in my school's hallways where I taught a dance class to my seven members and played music on a tiny Costco speaker that my cousin gave me. This year over fifty-five people registered to audition for the club and 35 students made it. After a great deal of negotiation with my school administration, last year I was finally able to reserve the school's dance studio for our weekly rehearsals. BCC Moves is made up of dancers of all colors, shapes, and cultures that comprise a community of creators. It is this component of my experience that truly made me realize why movement is so important in my life. In addition to developing my leadership and choreographic skills, my club also gave me a feeling of belonging because I opened a space for people like me to feel included and motivated. I learned that movement means expression, movement means community, movement means skill, movement means exuberance, and movement means progress. Through my experience as a dancer, choreographer, leader, and Latina, I will continue on my journey to discover what else movement means to me.