Escape. Dance. Release. Heal.

“I dance because there’s no greater feeling in the world than moving to a piece of music and letting the rest of the world disappear.”

Anonymous

Dance Background

My introduction post shows a picture of me in a dance costume at the age of four.The years in between that dance recital and the 7th grade, were my years to explore other hobbies. I tried basketball, volleyball, softball, step team, and even golf, LOL, but my heart always belonged to dance and I found my way back…eventually. I attended a dance camp with my high school’s dance team when I was in the 6th grade, after that I was sold. My mom enrolled me in every class I could take at a dance studio, and I tried out for the dance team at that same studio the year after. I made the high school Varsity dance team and was a captain by the time I actually started high school.

I also transitioned to a member of the competition team at my studio which competed at various locations and later joined and was able to compete, as a member of Genia Johnson’s Dance Company.

I was a co-founder of a summer dance camp in Waverly, VA that began in 2012, called Together We Dance.

Since graduating from high school, I’ve taught dance in various areas, including being a co-director for the competition team and teaching many classes including ballet, acro, jazz, lyrical, and tap at Shining Stars Dance Academy in Chesapeake, VA.

I continued my love for my craft through my undergraduate experience by minoring in dance. Now, I take advantage of any dance classes I can fit in my busy schedule, and plan to continue teaching after receiving my Masters degree.

Why do I dance?

I dance to heal…

Whenever anything happens in my life that I think I will not heal from, I find a song that resonates with how I’m feeling and dance to it. Experiences that impact me the most, inspire me to choreograph a dance, record and post or perform it. For example, my great-grandfather, O’pa, passed away my senior year, right before I received my college acceptance letters. He was very invested in my academics and my future career. I knew he would be so proud of me….I KNOW he is so proud of me. That was a devastating loss for me, one of my first. So, I chose to create my solo for my senior recital in honor of him. That was so healing for me and made me feel connected to him every time I performed it. In other situations that cause temporary pain, I just play my song of choice continuously and dance to it freely. 

 At his funeral, a rose fell off of his casket and it was given to me, which is why I incorporated that into my solo, and chose to dance to “Heaven” by Beyoncé. 🥀

I dance to continue fighting…

In the face of adversity, dance has been my go-to “therapy session.” My senior year of high school and my freshman year of college were very challenging for me because of  multiple court cases due to childhood abuse. All of that pain and anger that I held in for years was being forced out of me and I had to find a way to release it positively before I spiralled. After my abuser was sentenced to prison, I began to spend my nights dancing and creating in our dorm’s community room. There were moments when I had so many emotions that it was overwhelming, and there were other moments when I was so numb. Nobody could really understand how I was feeling as the thoughts continued in my head, but dance did.

I first came across “Warrior” by Demi Lovato, and I literally felt her words and emotions. My body knew exactly what movements to do to non-verbally say how I felt. I slowly began to free myself from this hold that he had on me. I knew I needed to share this story with others to give them the strength to do the same, and to show that my unfortunate circumstances were not going to define or hold me back. I contacted the Prince George 4-H Extension Agent, Hermon, to help me share my story with the world (I have been volunteering with 4-H since the moment I was able to). He set-up a day to record that same week. He did not know what I was going to be sharing, but he was down to support whatever my next project was. He entered it into the Virginia Youth Voices showcase and I was honored to receive the “Most Inspiring Video of the Year” award. The video has been posted on YouTube and it has received over 32,000 views. If anyone is interested in watching that video, you can find the link at the end of this post. I have had so many survivors from a wide range of ages reach out to me sharing their story, seeking the support they never had, and letting me know they are now motivated to receive help. Dance allowed me to take a painful situation and turn it into something beautiful and inspiring. I am forever grateful. Try listening to “Warrior,” and see how her words guide your movements. If anybody needs a listening ear, a support system, or words of encouragement to continue fighting, I’m your girl. You are strong. You are valued. You are loved. You are not alone!! ❤️

I dance to stay in shape…

Dance keeps you fit! When you attend classes, not only do you learn new choreography or tricks, but many classes incorporate a workout aspect, whether that be core or leg work. Make burning calories fun!! There are so many dance class options from ballet to jazz to acro to hip hop to Zumba.

 Since I’ve moved to Florida, I’ve been stepping out of my comfort zone by attending heels and aerial silk classes. Let me tell you here first, if you want a total body workout, I highly suggest a silk class. You will feel so accomplished the next day. If you want to work on your self-confidence and self-love, try a beginners pole dancing class. Yes, this is considered exercise too. 

I dance to inspire and encourage others…

To me, there is no better feeling than seeing the look on your students’ faces when they nail a new move or new choreography. There is no better feeling than seeing a shy student smile for the first time during their dance class. There is no better feeling than a student telling you they want to be like you or a parent thanking you for being such a positive role model to their child. I could go on and on about all of the moments I feel whole while teaching. My students gave me a purpose and at times, I think I needed them more than they needed me. I love being able to be a part of that support system for the next generation. I love aspiring young black ballerinas by showing that they are capable. I love providing a space for students to be 100% themselves, a space to release all their emotions that they bottle up throughout the day. I love being that person that they can talk to about anything. Dance is so much more than just dancing…

I dance to express myself….    

You do not have to be technically trained to dance. This can include dancing out with friends on a Saturday night, Zumba classes, dancing in the grocery aisle (yes, I do this often), or even dancing in the living room and/or bathroom mirror….also very guilty. I have put together a short feel-good self-love/healing playlist. If you have any songs to add, please comment below!! I challenge you to dance in your room, living room, or mirror to at least one of these songs. Even if you can’t dance at least you’ll get a good laugh, LOL. Dance to release your built up emotions. Dance to de-stress. Dance for yourself and live in every moment..

  1. “Private Party” by India.Arie 
  2. “Self Love” (feat. Baby Rose) by Dreamville, Ari Lennox & Bas
  3. “Love Yourz” by J. Cole
  4. “Crooked Smile” (feat. TLC) by J. Cole
  5. “I Am Not My Hair” by India.Arie 
  6. “Flawless” (Remix) by Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj.
  7. “Girl On Fire” by Alicia Keys 
  8. “thank u, next” by Ariana Grande 
  9. “Video” by India.Arie 
  10. “BROWN SKIN GIRL” by Beyonce 
  11. “Survivor” by Destiny’s Child 
  12. “Warrior” by Demi Lovato  
  13. “I Am Light” by India.Arie 
  14. “Speak” by Jhene Aiko

LIVE.LAUGH.LOVE yourself first. Until next time. Mwauh 💋 -Alex

5 Comments

  1. Theresa

    With everything going on right now I really felt the, “I think I needed them more than they needed me.”

    Dance is so healing on so many levels. Thank you for everything you do to inspire the next generation of young dancers. Can’t wait to see you teaching and creating again. 💜💙

    Like

  2. Latesha

    Your grace is so beautiful to watch in each movement! Thank you for letting it out because it helps those of us whom keeps it locked away find a way to release the hurt and pain in that moment!

    Like

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