Moqu Alqudah '23 
King's Academy, Madaba, Jordan

YouTube taught me everything, from simple tasks I was too insecure to ask about- such as how to correctly toast bread- to what defines me now, being a dancer. I remember one night, I was sitting on the guest room rug with my small Samsung phone, looking up videos. Trying to learn how to do a coffee grinder, a breakdance move. I remained there an hour, tirelessly attempting to learn this one move— that every break-dancer made seem so easy—over and over again. After the extensive and what seemed to be an infinite hour. I did one, jumping up and down in the air with jubilance. I instantly went down for a second attempt, breaking the shackles of failure with maximum momentum. I continued, proceeding counter-clockwise, moving with a kind of elegance that can only be associated with a mindset for success. The rush of excitement blinded me, ending up in smashing the leg of the table. My mom rushed in frantically; she noticed the broken table. A look of disappointment is all I took away from that night. The shackles were fastened back on.

Growing up, I did not have much to pride myself on. All I could do was dream, imagine, and fantasize. Dream of being other people. Dream of being an incredible dancer. Dream of being an astounding drummer. Dream of being an amazing computer scientist. Dream of being anything at all, but myself. I began my late passion for dancing when I was 12. There was only one thing stopping me from starting early—the shackled opportunities I was given. The opportunities for which I longed to be tangible, I could only dream of. Instead, I was left with nothing of the sort. I had to just teach myself with practice and mere experimentation. That is the root of my art. I only had YouTube to teach me the things I know today. It was a tough road. It still is a tough road. Nothing is changing.

I am faced with the challenge of competing against people from all around the world for the same position: people that have tutors, classes, workshops, equipment, and the opportunity to travel abroad to learn what they love. I stayed home and worked. I worked twice as hard to obtain only half the expertise they were able to acquire. I worked without aid, gripping onto my drive: the drive to show the world that you can make anything out of nothing.

Going into King’s as a freshman was difficult, working with my first dance teacher; Mr. Ryuji Yamaguchi, who introduced me to styles of dance that are shameful in Arab culture. He encouraged me to experiment with all elements limitlessly. Months passed by with the Annual dance concert approaching slowly; practicing until the night was upon me. It was time. Time to show the worth of working from nothing but your own passion, time to break the shackles. From contemporary duets, group pieces, hip-hop solos, and Bollywood, I danced my heart out and completed the show with immense success. In the intense moment of the final bow of the show, in which emotions were already running high, I caught a glimpse of my mother’s eyes: her hazy, teary eyes and a divine smile accompanied by the repeated motion of clapping. I came to the realization that the fight was decisively over, the shackles finally demolished. I was fazed. I still am. It is all borne in my head now. Utopia can be found in art. It is the most rewarding work anyone can do, working hours over hours to create something beautiful, something that was ceased to exist until created by you. After all the energy you have has been invested into expressing your thoughts and ideas, you have the sweet satisfaction of being able to finally take a step back, peruse, and say with pride, “I created this”.