When and where were you born?
I was born and raised in Plano, TX on May 18, 1992. I’ve always loved my hometown. I had everything I needed growing up, and I’m lucky to say that.
Did you get into trouble as a kid? What was the worst thing you did?
Growing up, I was typically a well-mannered kid. I lived through very unique circumstances because I was training so heavily seven days a week. As far as missing curfew, sneaking out, etc., I had no time for such things. The only moment I rebelled was a weekend my mother’s home was vacant for the weekend. I threw a party. It was small and hardly counts.
Did you enjoy school?
I moderately enjoyed high school on an academic level. I did what I had to do, but I had much more interest in school for the energy that my classmates created. I loved the ‘buzz’ that went around my 5A sized school of close to 2,500 students. Needless to say, it was easy to feel like a number out of a mass number of the student body, but therefore so much diversity. It kept things interesting.
What kind of student were you?
Since freshman year, I joined the yearbook staff and found myself as Editor-in-chief by my graduating year. It was extremely difficult work, but I loved it. I listened to my peers and tried to capture a wonderful year, through my own vision. Everything from the concept and theme to the execution and distribution of the books was my vision. It was really when I learned how much I loved creating.
What was the happiest moment of your life (so far)?
Hands down, the happiest moment of my life was the evening I was awarded my scholarship to college from the New York City Dance Alliance Foundation. In front of hundreds of people, I broke down when they announced I’d be attending school in the amount of $160,000. Everything I’d ever trained for was validated in that moment. The feeling was so humbling and has given me more in my life than any tuition I potentially could have owed. Lastly, it has given me my closest friends in life and hopefully my lifelong friends. I’m forever grateful.
Who has been the biggest influence on your life? What lessons did that person teach you?
Donna Faye Burchfield, the current Director of the school of dance at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. “D-Faye” as she’s infamously known in the UArts community, took my existing ideas about Dance, performance and research and blew them wide open. Her teachings are like nothing I’ve ever experienced. She is the most knowledgeable individual I could reference in this artistic life I live, because her experience and passion have taken her so far. She put the work of Mats Ek, Ohad Naharin, and Bill Forsythe in front of me and changed my artistry for the better. The world is an inspiring place for having Donna Faye Burchfield in it!
When in life have you felt most alone?
I’d say it was a month prior to my 24th birthday. My life completely changed overnight. I packed my belongings and moved to an apartment, all alone and newly single. Those were truly the longest and most restless weeks of my life. I’d never wish that on another soul.
How would you like to be remembered?
I want to have been an inspiration to someone near to me and hopefully someone from a far. I want to have shared my career experiences and personal research with young artists that deserve that nourishment. I want to be a memory that could make a room laugh, cry and smile once I’m gone.
What lessons has your work life taught you?
My work life now has me plugged in to numerous outlets for success, it can become overwhelming. However, I’d say that’s really what I love about my work: the connections that can occur within a single day to a combined volume of contacts after just one year. It taught me to always stay available! Emotionally, physically, and spiritually allow as many connections as you can no matter what field of work you’re in, stay available!
If you could do anything now, what would you do? Why?
I have a strong interest in design. Both interior and fashion, but possibly a bit more emphasis on the fashion design. So I suppose if finances were not limited, I’d go down that path and see if I’m any good at it! I’ve always loved clothes. I own far too many clothes! There’s just something about clothing and their connection to culture that really interests me.