Dance is among the most primal experiences encountered as humans. Movement, however pedestrian in nature, transcends cultural barriers and creates a language, raw and paramount in character. The simple movement of a hand, or step in a direction surpasses superficial meaning and dives into the essence of the human experience. An experience so relatable that it can be understood by varying cultures around the world. With history instilled by generations of our ancestors, these movements bare weight sometimes larger than word. Creating a vocabulary of emotion and aesthetic, through dance. A vocabulary that knows no bounds, and is always pushing towards new meaning. This is how dancers communicate. This is how I communicate.
In my late teens I began to explore the potentials the dance community had to offer. Initially I was drawn to the combination of artistry and athleticism. The juxtaposition of creating and performing is what makes dance truly unique, unlike any other medium. However, my journey follows an unlikely timeline. Flashing back to the fall of 2009, I studied modern dance under the instruction of Stacy Dudley and Kara Priddy at the Collegiate School. Instantly I connected with the conceptual nature of Collegiate’s dance program. With the philosophy of training dancers to be “strong, athletic, and powerful, yet graceful Contemporary dancers”, the faculty instilled the power of connection through intent. With a hunger for more, I began expanding into other genres such as latin ballroom, jazz, and hip hop. Training at Collegiate, the Village Dance Studio, and Rigby’s Jig, I expanded my vocabulary and broadened my experience as a dancer.
I then attended West Virginia University where I danced for their Competition Hip Hop Dance Team, as well as danced and choreographed for their Student Dance Association. Studying and performing genres such as modern, contemporary, jazz, and hip hop I solidified a language for myself as a performer, as well as a choreographer. Besides performing, I coached a local gym’s Senior Competition Hip Hop Dance Team. The energy and excitement of these five girls sparked a new interest in me as a choreographer. The ability to instill my knowledge and experience as a dancer, onto future generations, proved more rewarding than anticipated. Dance transitioned from developing a language, to communicate my language through others. After graduating from West Virginia University in 2015, I moved back to Richmond, joined RADAR Dance Co. as their first male dance member, and began teaching at the Collegiate School and Regency Dance Academy.
Now, teaching allows me a new medium to express and share my human experience. Tapping into the capabilities of my students allows my work to progress and evolve beyond expectation, creating a new meaning to my language.