Sophie Rebecca: My Story
Here at One Dance UK we support everyone who wants to dance. To celebrate LGBTQ+ History month we are going to be talking to a number of dancers from the LGBTQ+ community about their experiences and the impact dance has had on their lives. First up, we hear from Sophie Rebecca, a proud trans dancer who wants to share her story to inspire others…
I’m Sophie Rebecca. I’m better known as one of the first dancers to pass an RAD Examination as a transgender person. I’m also an adult dancer having started dancing at the age of 33. I’ve now been dancing over 5 years and in the past year I’ve been lucky enough to perform 4 times (3 times internationally) and taken 2 more RAD exams (obtaining a merit and a distinction) as well as continuing my training at about 6 hours a week.
All this was only made possible through determination and a little bit of luck. My passion for dance started when I was very young, about 4 or 5 watching Blue Peter I saw some dancers and like many little ones I was instantly hooked but when I told people, I was told “boys aren’t ballerinas”.
This was my earliest memory of gender dysphoria (the failure of ones assigned gender not aligning with our true gender) and although I would learn to hide my feelings about my gender, my passion for dance wouldn’t die. I tried for nearly 20 years to find a teacher who was willing to teach me as my true self but was sadly met with dismissal. It was important to me that dance was not another prison of my perceived gender and that when I danced I could be free. Eventually I found a teacher who saw through my age and my transgender status and saw only a student. Under her guidance I’ve blossomed as a dancer and as a person.
I think it’s important for everyone to follow their passion. I love seeing adults discover or return to ballet. The adult ballet community is vibrant, diverse and wonderfully friendly. Ballet is exceptionally good for the body and mind. There is no such thing as a ballet body. I know dancers of all shapes and sizes from 18 to 70+ who are a delight to watch.
As a trans person it’s important to me to spread knowledge and understanding. There’s no reason trans people can’t be included in dance and often it may be the first safe place encountered where we can be free and enjoy our passion.
Please if you’re a studio owner, teacher, director or anything else open your hearts to trans people and adult dancers, you’ll be rewarded with dancing that is truly from the heart.