I grew up dancing at a studio called “Applause”, with Emily Shock being my main mentor. In the future I plan to continue dancing and work in as many facets of dance as I can.
Being a black/queer/gender fluid dancer from Oklahoma is an interesting experience to say the least. I’ve been incredibly lucky having kind, open minded, generous people behind me but the weight of the semi-hidden discrimination has been tough to deal with.
Being unique or progressive aren’t qualities that are valued by the vast majority of Oklahomans. Luckily, times are changing and I get to witness it amongst my peers and with my students. It seems like more and more people support (or at least are unbothered by) the way people are choosing to live their lives. Being able to teach kids and watch the fading of systematic and social obstacles that kept me from loving myself, is all I can hope for for them.
When you teach, what do you most want to leave your students with?
I always want my students, or anyone that takes a class from me, to know that they’re capable of much more than the mental limits they’ve placed on themselves. My favorite thing is to watch someone be shocked by their ability to push past what they thought they could do.
How do you approach the creative process?
what do you draw inspiration from?
Every time I choreograph, there’s a different process. Sometimes I’ll have a vibe or a motive I’d like to explore, sometimes there are certain textures I want to play with, but most of the time it’s music driven.
I almost always pick music before I start movement. I value both music and movement as two different entities but being able to challenge one with the other is what makes a piece interesting to me most of the time.
What is your advice for aspiring dancers?
As an aspiring dancer/teacher/choreographer myself, I think I’ve found that everyone is constantly learning and evolving. Every great artist is constantly pushing and observing. So I think my advice is for us all to do the same?