So, far we've talked about a lot of things here on The Champagne Series; but one thing we've never really touched on has been our personal passions.
My sister has always been an avid writer and though she still taps into that passion for the blog, she's just transitioning into a space where her love for writing shines through. As for me, I've always had a love for dance.
Growing up, I made it a point to dance professionally as a ballerina. Life added up to where I had the opportunity to leave The Bahamas and make that dream a reality. Though, unfortunately, with my first experience of American training, I was distraught.
I realized that I had no idea how far behind I was in terms of training and despite my hard work, nothing ever seemed to be good enough. My drive and determination to succeed and my crazy obsession with perfection made me push forward and I continued to stick with my pursuit of becoming a ballerina. Ballet was my life. Everything I knew centered around the art but I had the misfortune of having a few pretty unkind teachers and moments that shook my confidence in the art form.
My love-hate relationship for dance grew year by year, up until I graduated from college. I suffered injuries, disappointments, and emotional complexes that took a long time to heal. Eventually, I decided it was time to put away the pointe shoes to preserve my sanity. I loved dancing but my heart was not in it anymore, especially not to continue dancing for the rest of my life. I remember making the decision like it was yesterday. I was in a Kansas City Ballet audition and I just froze. It was like time stopped and I couldn't believe I had spent every year of my life dedicated to a sport that never seemed to love me back. I felt lost in the audition room and knew that that moment would be the last time I gave permission for other people to judge me or to steal my confidence. As relieved as I was mentally, the decision rocked my world.
I had a tough time owning my newfound identity and erasing all the years of unnecessary trauma caused by the culture. BUT dance is part of what made me the person I am today and it has given me so many opportunities, transferable skills, and a well-rounded arsenal of tools to be a beast at almost anything (ask any dancer and I promise they'll say the same). Because of that and the love I have for the art in it's purest form, I always knew that I wanted to give back what I wished I had access to as an impressionable dancer...especially to dancers from The Bahamas. That is -- exposure to the artform, high-level training, and teachers that cared.
Throughout my entire dance and subsequent teaching career, I made this goal my mission. I wanted to share my passion and be a mentor and cheerleader for the students. My love for inspiring and giving back led me to begin a free dance clinic with the help of a youth Ambassador Ashleigh Rolle in my hometown (Grand Bahama, Bahamas) for dancers on the island in September of 2016 (much earlier than I intended but that's a story for another day).
The idea was to give dancers access to professional training and share the incredible aspects of dancing no matter the circumstance. Finding support was HARD, but somehow my dad always managed to get my wheels going and truthfully...when you have a passion, and a vision, God always makes a way!
Since the clinic's inception, I've been blessed with incredible repeat sponsors who have been supportive of the enhancement of the arts and in giving back to the community.
Year after year, the clinic grew but it still wasn't smooth sailing or what I ever had in mind (because ...well...life). Fast forward to 2020 and the world is thrown for a loop.
Ironically, when beginning the planning stages for this year's event I wasn't feeling much surety in terms of proceeding (as I did in years past). In fact, I planned to cancel the clinic this year...until I had a conversation with my dad who ignited yet another flame.
As the world is shifting into a more digital space, he challenged me to shift with it. Now, I'm happy to write about our first Digital Dance Summit and move the local clinic to an even more inclusive space...The Internet.
The idea was perfect and because The Champagne Series is all about living your best life and total wellness, my sister and I wanted to share this venture with our Champagne Family.
The summit is open to anyone who loves to move and it's also a fun way to open the conversation about health & wellness and moving dance forward in a digital space.
We will have two full days of classes in Ballet, Modern, Jazz, and Carib Funk Fitness taught by global industry professionals. We will also offer all attendees the option to take part in live speaker sessions and Q & A's about technology and healthy living.
This Summit is not only a way to reach so many more people and inspire them with movement, but it also allows the opportunity for serious dancers to gain insight into the career and the industry as a whole. Every young dancer will have the option to register for the Summit complete with access to more speakers, Q & A's, digital dance assets, participation in tech demos and research and a private Facebook Community.
This year, we wanted to create a space where people got the best of both worlds. Where more Bahamians were included in brainstorming. Where anyone can join in on the fun, workout, learn about dance, share with others, and yet still offer the same unstinting access to training for which the clinic is known. I hope that you will join us this summer and spread the word as we continue with new initiatives to give back to the community and to the world around us. Feel free to check out our Digital Dance Summit page where you can learn more about this super engaging event coming to you this summer!