Healthy Dancer Summer Feature
Where do you dance? Share a bit about your journey in dance…
Dance Theatre of Harlem
I began dancing at the age of three, then when I was thirteen years old, I moved away from home and attended the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, then moved to NYC to attend the School of American Ballet, and then after four years there, joined the The Suzanne Farrell Ballet Company for one season, as well as the Dance Theatre of Harlem, and now Im in my fourth season at DTH.
What’s a challenge you’ve faced in pursuing dance professionally? How did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge I’ve faced is the pressure to be perfect. I have always been a perfectionist, and when I first started dancing professionally, I felt this constant pressure to be perfect 24/7, when in reality, that isn’t realistic.
The older I get, the more I’ve realize that perfection isn’t the key to becoming a successful dancer, it’s consistency, artistry and exploring and pushing new boundaries that you haven’t before.
What does it mean to you to be a “whole dancer?
To be a whole dancer means to always keep learning. The moment you stop learning is the moment you stop growing, and when you stop growing, you become stagnant. I believe learning makes you a whole dancer, because in ballet, there is always something you can work on, and taking other people’s knowledge will help you grow not only as a dancer, but also as an artist.
Do you have any special self-care rituals that helped you feel balance?
Yes! I recently started taking a hot bath with bath bombs, a face mask, and candles after every evening performance, so that I can treat my skin, relax, and wind down from the whirlwind of an evening. I also have recently found yoga, which helps center me whenever I am feeling anxious about performing a specific role or ballet.
What roles does cross-training play in your life?
A HUGE role. I love to cross train. I have a gym in my apartment building, so I find myself spending a lot of time there after rehearsals, but I also love doing yoga, cycling classes like SoulCycle, and I also love to swim.
How do you keep a positive relationship with food and your body in the face of aesthetic pressure in dance?
I have always enjoyed eating healthy primarily because I like the way healthy food makes my body feel. I think that healthy food fuels my body, and lets me perform at my best. Don’t get me wrong, I will go have a burger or chocolate from time to time, because I believe “treating yo self” is a very important key to maintaining a positive self-love relationship.