Words have power.
As a Dancer, Educator, Choreographer and Entrepreneur, Barbados Dance Project reminded me that is my duty as a citizen of this planet and as a receiver of my God-given talents to pass on the knowledge, the insights and the encouragement that was passed on to me.
Over the course of 2 weeks that I spent with the students of BDP in 2015, there was so much growth and so many breakthroughs that happened in 14 days. It was incredible!! The confidence of the students grew, their talent was challenged and stretched, their outlook on what a career in dance "can" or "should" look like was elevated and each day I watched them leave exhausted yet heightened mentally, physically and artistically!! To know that my classes and my choreography and my words had even the smallest bit to do with their growth as artists humbled me immensely and inspired me to do more work like this.
Watching my friend and brother, Jamal Callender, the Founder of Barbados Dance Project, give of himself SELFLESSLY to bring BDP to life has had a HUGE impact on me. To want to give to back to the community that raised you and to want nothing in return (Barbados Dance Project is completely tuition free) is one of the most noble and admirable acts I have ever witnessed. Watching Jamal do this gave me the courage and the determination, alongside my partner Nigel Campbell, to push forward our own dreams of sowing back into the community that raised us: New York City. Four months after I was on the faculty of BDP, MOVE(NYC) a TUITION FREE summer dance intensive was launched into the world!! Nigel and I had been contemplating the idea of MOVE(NYC) for a while, but after we witnessed Jamal be at the helm of this ship and see it sail beautifully, it gave us just the amount of encouragement we needed. And to this day, we have Jamal to thank for showing us that IT CAN BE DONE and that it MUST be done.