I started dancing at the age of seven when my uncle Edward Johnson came to me and said “Hey you wanna do ballet”. At that time I was really hype about the African American gymnast Dominique Dawes. I use to watch her on TV all the time and to me she was tall and beautiful and beyond amazing. Although she was tremendous at all of her gymnast skills, I look back now and I believe I was more intrigued by her dance moves during the floor routine. I was also very attracted to the work of the gorgeous french figure skater Surya Bonaly. To me no one could match her skills, talent or beauty on the ice. I would watch her in pure amazement, memorized by how gracefully she moved her very athletic and strong body. Her dance flow on the ice was to me untouchable! So when my uncle approached me about dancing it was an automatic “YES”! I fell in love immediately and I knew from that point on that I would have a career as a dancer.
Fast forward to 2016, I hadn’t really been involved in dance for the two years prior. I had been teaching dance at John Hopkins Middle School Center for the arts from 2011 to 2014. I had to leave the school board because I didn’t complete my requirements in order to receive my professional teaching certification. I couldn’t find a job doing what I thought I was qualified to do. Crying and sobbing I took a position as an assistant manger at a fast food restaurant just to get by and take care of me and my two boys. Thankfully that only lasted for about seven months then I began working at a career school that focused on entry level jobs in the healthcare field. After working there for a year and eights months, although I was performing very well in my position my co-workers could tell I was miserable and I definitely could not hide it, so I stepped out on faith and I quit.
My Good friend Helen Hansen-French had received this same grant in 2016 and called me up and asked me to join her motherhood project and that began my journey back to the stage. Damon Reio became my personal trainer and prepared my body just in time to be ready to perform in Beacon 17. I then auditioned for Sarasota Contemporary Dance and joined them later that spring as a full time company dancer. I was living my dream!
Praying to God constantly that if he only gave me a year to dance professionally that I would be grateful and then go and sit down some where. HA HA HA HA!!! God is so awesome that I got two years with SCD and in the mist of that opportunities opened up for other performances to happen, for me to build connections and relationships and for me to learn and grow as an artist and to gain the knowledge and the courage I needed to walk into this next phase of my life. I had no idea he was preparing me to answer the call of Journey to Freedom. It was a dream and a vision but I didn’t imagine It would be happening and coming together so soon. After struggling financially and suffering from a back injury and chronic knee pain from past injuries accrued while dancing over the years, I left SCD in May 2019 and put on my choreographer/director hat and begin to do the work I know God has called me to do.
Everything that I have been through in my life from struggling with my body image, racism, sexual addiction, domestic violence, mental illness, poverty, and spiritual warfare, has prepared me for this season in my life. I know my purpose now. I know what I was created to do and I know who I am and whose I am. To my mom I’m her chocolate baby, I’m a little and big sister, to my boys I am mama, to my friends I am chica and CJ. In the arts world I am Dance Artist and to God I am His beloved daughter. I am everything I should be in this season. I Gratefully answer the Call.
Don’t miss your chance to witness my very fist professional choreographic and directorial debut of “Who I AM: Journey to Freedom” Opening September 20th & 21st at First Unity Spiritual Campus 7:30 p.m. nightly. Tickets now available at Eventbrite
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