January 10 2019

How to Ignite Your Passion

I don’t remember not dancing. I am an introvert and was very shy when growing up but I never felt self consciousness dancing. I would create and perform little dances as a girl. I’m not good at socializing and at house parties, since I can remember, I was either reading a book in a corner or I was on the dance floor.

I didn’t have the opportunity to start taking dance classes seriously until I was seventeen but once I was given that opportunity, I grabbed it. With no past formal dance training, I auditioned for my university’s dance program, got in and began my dance training. That continued through medical school. During any break I had during my really busy medical residency years, I was in dance class. And after my residency, I auditioned for and became part of a contemporary dance company in NYC. After 3 years of that, I left the company to move to Paris and begin creating and performing my own dance work and I’ve been doing that ever since.

Did I do classes in the past to learn how to move like this? yes and no. I loved classes because it was the chance to challenge myself to do someone else’s choreography and to dance with other dancers and to hone my skills and that’s why I still do my own created dance class every day - to keep improving my craft.

But I’ll be honest, a part of me had to “unlearn” years of class to truly learn and then embrace my authentic movement - a movement that is uniquely mine, that comes from having long limbs, a short waist, a scoliotic spine, and openhips that love to dip and swirl. A movement that comes from me being a poet and a doctor and a scorpio and a yogi and West African in origin. I move like this because it is who I am.

If you are someone who wants to keep dancing but feels stuck; if you are feeling stuck about how to ignite your passion whatever it might be,  I encourage you to find, develop and embrace your unique style of expression. Don’t try to dance, paint, sing, or write like anyone else but yourself.

And understand you can’t mess this up. If it is your passion, that IS the gift, not the accolades or lack there of, but the fact that this thing lights you up. The gift is in the being. Release any expectation of this gift except to be with it, converse with it. To play in it. Playfulness is one of the best ways I believe to get unstuck.

Sometimes you might begin to love something at age 20 or 35 or 65. And that’s beautiful and worth honoring. It’s never too late to do something that ignites joy within, that opens you up.

The way I stay consistent with my dancing goes beyond being inspired through travel or through poetry. I’ve kept dancing because my reason for it has always been clear. Initially it was just for the joy of it; often during some really dark moments in my life, I danced because it kept me sane and it helped with my healing. And now as a poet, dancer and doctor, I feel privileged to integrate my passions, create and perform poem dances that I offer as healing for those who watch the dance. To know that my dance can be powerfully medicinal to others is a powerful motivation for me to keep at it.

So find your reason for your art, whether that reason might seem small or large. That reason might evolve but find what it is for you now. This will keep the flame of your passion burning with a light that elevates the world.

You are a unique and creative being and wish you much love on your journey.

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Here's my video on how to ignite your passion:

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