My name is Trent Baker and I am a male Highland dancer.
Highland dancing has given me confidence and motivation to push myself farther than any other sport that I have participated in before. I have been exposed to many different sports and martial arts, but Highland dancing by far is my passion.
I strive to be the best dancer I can possibly be, and my determination and commitment continues to pay off.
Highland dancing has also allowed me to meet many wonderful people, forge great friendships through the dancing community, and provided opportunities to travel to a lot of cool places.
I was first introduced to Highland dancing about 6 years ago, at the age of 9. I had a younger brother and sister who had been doing it for some time before I started.
At first, I wasn’t interested in it, because I was worried that I would be teased for being a boy and dancing. All the other boys my age were playing baseball, basketball, soccer, etc… Dancing wasn’t considered to be “cool.” One day, I decided that I wanted to give it a shot. I figured that it wouldn’t hurt and if I didn’t like it then I would just quit, no big deal. I quickly came to realize that the stereotype that “only girls can dance” was not true in the slightest and that my love for dance was greater than my fear of what others may think about it.
I am frequently asked why I choose to dance instead of “play sports” like most boys do.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love to play sports, but there’s something special about dancing. I used to play competitive baseball and swim competitively for a team, but I find more of a sense of personal accomplishment in making a correction and improving my dancing rather than hitting a home run or making the fastest time. I like to work hard and make personal accomplishments.
To become a successful Highland dancer, it is important to have a wonderful support system. For starters, I have an amazing relationship with my Highland dance teacher, Mrs. Ellen Cameron Maloney. She encourages me to work hard and believe in myself. We are a team. If she can’t be there in person for my competitions, I have my mom video my dancing and send it to her after every dance. No matter how I place, her opinion means the most to me. She’s the first person I want to call when I finish a competition and I immediately look forward to our next practice where we can focus on my weaknesses and correcting them. I am also blessed with incredibly supportive parents. They have come to love Highland dancing and make sure that my 3 other dancing siblings and myself can do this sport that we love so much.
I have learned a great deal doing Highland dancing. I realize that good things come from working consistently hard, believing in myself, being patient, and focusing on the things I have control over.
Last year, for the first time, I qualified to represent the Southeast Region at the United States Inter-Regional Championship in Las Vegas, NV. That goal alone was a huge accomplishment, yet I surpassed it with going on to place third overall in my age category!
I set a goal for myself, focused on improving, and achieved it. Determination is one of the greatest things I’ve learned from Highland. When I set a goal for myself, I must keep working and working at it, no matter what obstacles that I will face.
I won’t let anything get in the way of what I love and what I want to accomplish for myself. I know that I still have a long way to go if I want to accomplish all the goals I desire to achieve, so I know that I must stay determined and keep working at it. I’ve been taught that winning isn’t everything, but that the most important thing at competition is dancing my best and being happy with myself at the end of the competition. I’ll still have my off days when my legs don’t want to do anything, but I must push through it and stay strong!
Finally, I just want to tell all the other boys doing Highland, that if you like it, then stick with it! Starting Highland was one of the best decisions I ever made. I know that you will enjoy it and make a lot of great friendships that you’ll cherish. You may get the occasional teasing from your friends, but for the most part people think it’s awesome. Just keep at it and, most importantly, have fun! I am proud to be a male Highland dancer and you should be too!
TTrent is also one of our Dancer Shilloettes on the website - you can get him on all your personalised items :)
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