Why I Dance: Ida Saki

January 30, 2016

Dancer in
Sleep No More

Photo by Quinn Wharton

Dance did not come naturally to me.
Long, lanky and with no strength, I started at 12 with the age group below me at Dance Industry Performing Arts Center in Plano, Texas. I had to work harder than most in my class to keep up, but I thrived off of it. I was intrigued by the challenge and the unachievable goal of perfection, but even more, I loved the direct correlation between the work I put in and the progress I saw in myself. I worked on my technique anywhere you could imagine: tapping underneath my school desk, calf raises in the grocery store and always in my splits while watching TV or reading. I saw progress quickly, but I always wanted more.

As I began getting more serious about continuing dance as a career, and through the guidance of my mentor, Jess Hendricks, I slowly let go of the idea of perfection. My focus in training shifted to become more about finding myself and sharing that, rather than becoming an empty body with great technique. With time, I found that through dancing, I was able to connect deeper with myself in all facets: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Not only was I finding more in myself, I found it much easier to connect with others.

Especially growing up, I felt that I could never
find the right words. When trying to express something important, I would just hear myself talking in circles. There were times that the feelings I wanted to express were far greater than my words could ever take me. But dance would take me there. When I was graduating high school and about to leave everything that I knew and loved, it was hard for me to tell those who helped build me how much I appreciated them and how much they had become a part of me. Every performance that year was for them. Each time I danced, I was reaching out to a certain individual that made an impact on me, positive or negative. Each performance was a culmination of the experiences that shaped me into who I was.

When I discovered how much more I could express without speaking, my entire perception of dance took a huge turn. We dancers work incredibly hard. Training countless hours for years on end, we search for those intangible moments that are special enough to put ourselves through all the pain, sweat and tears, and make it all worth it. More and more, I could stop thinking and just allow my body to take over. I was completely in the present. Those moments that you feel like you’ve reached the core of your being are rare, but that is why I dance.