” I do not believe in breaking my back to fit in”

In today’s culture, self-love is being embraced daily. Amongst my peers, self-love is becoming a new way of life. A lifestyle where being you is becoming acceptable and receivable today. I ponder does this truly exist? Or is it just another cliche statement? That was until I had a sit down with someone who exemplified all aspects of this lifestyle. In my quest to find those hidden gems lurking throughout Maryland, I have overlooked one world; the church world. As I state, if you know me outside of this platform, then you will know that I am a preacher’s kid. And I felt that is was now time to give this world that I grew up in a chance to shine on this here platform of mines. I had the opportunity, as always, to sit with a beautiful soul, who is being her, and doing her in Christ.

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Mia is drawn to emotion and movement. She believes that one should not focus on technique or structure when dancing. She is considered a free spirited dancer.  A dancer who feels at home when she is able to communicate through movement with music that makes her dance. In her mind, dancing is a spiritual connection that one can have with their audience. When she dances, she is conveying a message to dancers and non-dancers that it is okay to feel when you dance. During our conversation over laughs and plenty of flashback memory giggles, Mia talks about how Baltimore and her upbringing has shaped her into the woman she is today. Growing up in the inner city, she states that she was the only one on her block that danced and that she had to face the harsh reality of fitting in or being herself.

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As I listen and watched the excitement burst through Mia, she talks of how Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater inspired her to become one of many great black dancers. As she continues, she euphorically shares that her favorite production by them is Revelations.  She is captivated by the piece and is drawn to the originality of it.  The originality that the production cannot be altered or changed.  The conversation shifted to me wanting to know about any obstacles she faced. She states that staying in dance classes and focusing on her technique is hard. She dislikes the structure that is often forced within the dance industry. She knows that this is important, but she rather continue showing passion and self-expression in her dance sequence. Her dance sequence is admired and loved by many. When she dances I wonder has she perfected this routine?  Has she spent countless hours practicing? She then tells me that there are hardly any practice routines in her sequence. She literally just goes with the flow of the atmosphere and energy she receiving.

There is often a stigma that surrounds dancers: Is there a certain age when one can no longer dance?

I asked Mia this to see what her opinion was on this stigma. She states this is true to some extent but mostly false. In her personal opinion, she will not stop dancing because it is her passion. On a professional level yes she may have to stop, but on a personal level no one can put a limit on her gift.

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To sum up Mia and all that she is, one can say that she is full of life and joy. She has acquired three strong attributes that may take a lifetime for some to obtain. Loving who you are and what you do is her motto. Pushing yourself to do what you love, and knowing that you can do it. Her patience and wisdom are producing a legacy that will teach young females that not wanting to fit in is okay. That breaking the mold, loving and being who you are in Christ is fine. And that dancing will not separate you from that.

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We may never know what the future may hold, but I am hoping that Mia’s future is bright and fulfilling. Not just for her, but for her audience that gets to experience her freeness in dance.

Mia currently lives and dances for two local dance companies here in Baltimore.