“Dance like there's nobody watching,
Sing like there's nobody listening,
Love like you'll never get hurt,
and Live like there's heaven on earth.” -Anonymous
Hello! My name is Courtney Liu and I am that girl who posts quotes all over her wall. I believe in squeezing every moment out of life, fully experiencing emotions, working as hard as I can, and learning from everything I do. Open-mindedness, ambition, gratitude, creativity, and spirituality are characteristics that I value in others and seek to develop in myself. Along with teaching dance, practicing yoga, exploring cities, journaling, and reading, I have spent most of my life trying to balance my two loves: dance and education.
"You know you're dancing when tears of pain and happiness blend in with your sweat" -Anonymous
I have danced since I can remember and spent the first seventeen years of my life pursuing a career as a professional ballet dancer. At sixteen, I moved away from my home, Cincinnati, Ohio to the San Francisco Ballet School. My time spend in the Bay Area was an incredible honor and a good learning experience, but after a year, I became ill and injured underneath the stress of losing weight and competing in such a closed-minded environment. As I have moved away from the professional dance world, I have entered a process of healing through teaching ballet, an outlet that gives me the power to change the atmosphere of ballet training for other students. Expression and joy, rather than perfection and competition, should be the motivation for dancing. Dancing to me is speaking with movement, getting lost in the music, and giving control to an unconscious artistic spirit. It is collapsing in a heap of exhaustion and sighing in contentment because God has blessed us with the incredible language of dance. Dance is my language, my inspiration, and my release. It will always be a special part of my life.
“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” –William Butler Yeats
I have always loved to read and learn. However, getting an education and becoming a professional ballet dancer do not usually go hand in hand. While in San Francisco, I completed my classes through online school. The classes taught me the material I needed to know, but they did not fulfill me. I longed to sit in a classroom challenging and supporting ideas, instead of simply regurgitating information on a test. When I returned home to the Midwest, I enrolled back in public high school, and realized that I did not want to miss out on the experience of expanding my mind in a university setting.
Duke has been a whirlwind of exciting ideas and people. Both the thought-provoking conversations in the classroom and the late night dorm revelations are treasured parts of my education. I am so grateful to the Baldwin Scholars program for support and guidance along the way. The connection empowers me to raise awareness about the social imbalance of power between men and women at Duke, sexism in the world, and the degree a woman’s self-worth is connected to her appearance. These issues, among other topics in philosophy and psychology, continue to keep me energized and thirsty for knowledge at Duke.