June 3rd, 2018
With only three days to rest after my production of, “Honor Our Lives” I launched my 6th annual “I Am Uniquely Me” Summer Dance Intensive at Diverse Motions Dance Academy. I’ve been hosting an affordable outreach dance program for inner city kids within the community of St. Petersburg every summer since my senior year in high school. Being able to play such an important part in so many kids lives really makes the work worth while. I have students that I’ve been training since Elementary school who are now Sophomores in college. The knowledge you place in a child’s life at an early age will carry with them forever. This program gives me so much purpose in life, as I don’t do this for the money. I simple do this to encourage kids to reach their full potential. All representation matters, if the kids are lead by a great example it’s more of a possibility for them to succeed. Majority of the kids are usually apart of Kali Kali Dance Company or aspire to become a company member. So it’s a great gateway to making your way into the company or just starting your formal training.
This year I ran two different levels within the summer intensive. The first level were kids ranging from 5-10 years old. We focused on beginners ballet technique, proper stretching technique, and the proper etiquette in dance class. It is essential for all dancers to learn the classroom rules. This will ensure them a lot more focus in class as they are young and their attention spans are short. Their level was such a success and the kids learned so many new skills. It truly brightened my day to see them get so excited when they accomplished a new skill successfully. I plan to continue teaching them in Sept-October before I go back to performing in NYC.
The second level I taught was a beginner/intermediate level where we focused on technical skills overall. I believe there are multiple ways to facilitate information to the generation of dancers today. Not every student is going to be able to receive the information the same way. I decided to try some new innovative approaches to translate the information and it worked out. We took ballet class to music the kids could relate to currently and not classical music. I love taking ballet class to classical music but once again it’s not about me. It’s truly about doing whatever is needed to enhance the kids technique. We focused on beginners ballet, turns, leaps, and the proper way to stretch as well.
Overall, I had a wonderful time teaching the kids enrolled in my summer program this year. There was so much growth and overall enrichment. Every time I step into a classroom my goal is to enrich each students life by uplifting them. We focus on life skills just as much as we do the technique. By the end of the process each student felt proud of their growth and that’s all I wanted.