What happens when you travel...
Travel moves me, inside and out. I love being in a new place and I love how all of a sudden a day or two feels like a week.
And on some of those special travel experiences, I walk away feeling so inspired, with an adjusted, expanded view, and go home and integrate it into my life.
This is what happened for me when I went to Seattle for the What's Poppin' Ladiez event. This weekend focused on bringing together female poppers with classes, performances, a 7 to Smoke battle, and an invited group of ladies from Korea, Japan, U.S., Netherlands, Germany. How could I not be inspired, seeing bad ass women killing it on the dance floor? I am still soaking in the impact of it all. Not only do I feel like I expanded as a dancer, but I see the precedent this is setting for future generations of women, young women in general and the years to come.
For the new generation of women coming up in street dance, it is important for them to see people who look like them, i.e. other women. I believe that if you don't see people that look like you in your areas of interest: work, dance, school, profession etc., then the implicit or not so implicit message conveyed is that it isn't for you.
Luckily, it is 2016 and progress (some!) is being made.
And I think the real POWER I felt over the weekend, was having so MANY women in ONE place, at the SAME time. This is truth. I saw what each woman brought to the dance, their style, their technique, and it was all different. It was different than each other and it was different than what dudes bring. We should all look like ourselves. There are so many options in how you express yourself, and I think seeing options is important. It is not a black and white world, and I know I need to be reminded of that.
At the battle I got to catch up with Dassy, and I loved how she highlighted that as women, it is all about pulling on our strengths. Whether that be through incorporating our femininity, utilizing our flexibility or use of isolation, and really, through knowing ourselves and our bodies. We all have strengths and we need to use them, and train (a lot). I saw so many women dynamically moving from the ground up to the space above their heads. Dassy was one dancer who exemplified all of this in her movement.
Dassy was invited to What’s Poppin’ Ladiez to battle in the Seven to Smoke; she also taught a class. She is from Seoul, Korea, lived in New York City and is now living in Los Angeles. When I asked her about traveling and dancing, she shared that ever since she was young she wanted to travel.
“Traveling around the world is the most amazing thing to get better [as a dancer].
You never know who is going to inspire you and then you can grow from that.”
And I believe the impact of traveling extends beyond dancing; it is something that improves our lives. Ultimately I am reminded of this simple fact when I’m on the road: I can find inspiration anywhere, even when I'm home in my day-to-day life, because art is everywhere.
Dassy said to me, "Maybe you see a flower and it looks really colorful, you can feel it and then you can express it.” Or perhaps you are watching a person dance, you can see it, get inspired and then some aspect of their movement can come out of your body too. Everything is connected.
Often, I just need to be inspired and then when I am, ride that wave of inspiration so that I can express what I see and what I feel. So create inspiration, travel and of course, dance.