I remember the day my mum took me to a ballet class, I was 6 years old and she asked me “would you like to do that?” unsure at first, nervous but intrigued the next thing I knew I was taking classes with DLJ School of Ballet & Theatre Dance (Debbie Jellis) I thoroughly enjoyed it, so much so I took up Ballet, Tap & Modern/Jazz.
From training, to classes, to exams, to shows, I managed about 8 years of it finishing in 1994 with my last exam at the Royal Academy of Dancing. Although I loved to dance I struggled at times with the fact that I was different to the other girls, one I was one of two black girls, two I was a lot thicker in size than the others and three ballet music wasn’t really to my liking but I just loved to dance. Tap was my favourite style of dance and I wished I continued with it but I got so bored of ballet that I gave it all up. I remember my mum being angry with me as she just bought me a pair of pointe’s when I decided I had, had enough, lol!
I don’t ever regret doing ballet as it disciplined me and taught me several important things that would go on to help me in my life. I learnt the importance of listening, you can learn a lot just by paying attention. Perseverance, I was always frustrated by certain moves or routines that were so complex and took time to get that I just wanted to give up but my love for dance kept me going. Discipline, strict teacher, strict rules, dress code and following instructions, a great basis for dedication doing something you love and who knew how much more important this would be in helping throughout my school life. I found Passion in dance that would motivate me to continue for the number of years that I stuck at it and that would continue in to my early 20’s when I found “Street Dance”, it also taught me the importance of working with others.
I was without dance for several years until I came to London to go to University. I met a girl in one of my subject classes who I got to know, she spoke to me about what she does outside class “Street Dance”…I asked lots of questions about where she danced, what it was like and she urged me to go to one of the classes. I plucked up the courage to attend a street dance class at Huskies Studies in Elephant and Castle, this was with a Company called “Image” I really enjoyed dancing with them and never realised how much I missed dancing in general until then. Whilst at Image I met a guy who had plans on starting his own dance Company, he said if I’m interested I should come down and who knew he would become a great friend and an amazing teacher who creates unique dance pieces for some of the most high level events in the Country and in Europe including the London Olympics Opening Ceremony. Dance with “Boy Blue Entertainment” from 2000 to about 2006 was my life and the people I connected with were my family. Dance back then was about unity and pure passion for dance, who knew that passion would be contended with an illness that would halt my progress and eventually take that fulfilment from me. When we did shows we all came together, purchased our own costumes, danced to till the late hours, ate together after training, raved together, spent time together at each others houses, everyone’s mum was our mum too.
No longer having the energy to compete, keep up, develop, it frustrated me so much that the easier way of dealing with it was to give up. I didn’t have the energy to maintain my stamina throughout rehearsals let alone performing on stage which I loved but from being one of the best dancers in the class to barely keeping up with dancers in rehearsals knocked my confidence and angered me to the point I didn’t enjoy just trying anymore. I stopped and then I went back to rehearsals, then I stopped but always have it in my thoughts and when I hear music that hits a certain cord in my body I just get that feeling that I want to be there again. Dance has changed in so many ways and of course I never thought it would be the same but it would make deciding to go back much easier. I still say to myself that I want to do rehearsals but having chosen a different work life, time and distance doesn’t make it easy.
I miss performing loads and I will hopefully go back to rehearsals in the New Year. Dance has taught me so much and life without it is just not possible, its a great healer, a great stress reliever and music has a perfect place in my heart. My favourite genre of music has got to be house, soulful and deep house to be precise, the beat, the sounds, the bass is like falling in love over and over again….I love it!! To be without music and dance for me is to be without life…..so if in doubt….just DANCE!!!