“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

I will take a deep breath and step onto my stage.

There are no awkward throwback photos of me in tutus or dance recitals. Ballet classes were a luxury for which we did not have time or money. But I was a happy and resolute child, and in my own world of books and boundless imagination, I conjured up grand symphonies and choreographed dance masterpieces with the help of Barbie and Ken.

Years later, while volunteering in Uganda, I was invited to a local wedding celebration. Under the relentless sun, guests chatted casually, until the thumping of feet hushed all conversation. Two rows of children in bright pink sarongs danced and drummed in unison. It was breathtaking.

Many of these children were orphaned by AIDS. All were struck by poverty and hardship.

I saw that across the world, the pursuit of a life worth living ran purposefully in parallel with fighting to have a long, healthy life at all, and dance was doing for these children what it had always done for me: magnifying the beauty in humanity, no matter how dark or difficult the circumstances.

I will not cure cancer. But for all those struggling, wandering in darkness, I hope to bring light and joy. My ventures, though ever-changing, will be entrepreneurial, creative, and a lens through which beauty can be appreciated.

And I will live each moment in dance.

— Emily Wang