How old are you?
When and Where were you born?
February 12, 1992 – Denver, CO
What year did you begin dancing?
I trained classical styles of dance (ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, and Irish) from when I was 3 until 13 but got introduced to the hip-hop world in 2010.
What or who influenced you to start dancing?
I owe it all to my brother Yuta. On top of dance, I also started gymnastics when I was 3. I quit dance when I was 13 so that I could pursue gymnastics – that was my world. When I was 18, I tore my ACL during a gymnastics meet, had to have surgery, and became really depressed. That’s when Yuta told me to come to training with him. I had no interest in breaking and even after being convinced to go, breaking didn’t really catch my interest. I was more interested in the choreography/all-styles world so explored the D2L Sunday classes, took classes at the BE Life pretty consistently, and did a lot of performing. It wasn’t until I lived in Japan from 2012-2013 that I really fell in love with breaking and put everything else aside to pursue that style.
What is your main style of dance?
What are your dance dreams?
My dream is to love myself as a dancer. I dream of being able to dance freely without thought or judgement. I want to be able to go out into a cypher without it being such a huge mental battle every time. That euphoric feeling I get when I do a round I actually feel good about… it happens so rarely but I thirst for that – I want to feel that all the time. I’m sick of being so critical of myself to where I struggle to break out of my shell even when I’m dancing alone – I so anxiously want to break free. If I can get to the point where I can let go, in front of people, and love my own movement, that would honestly be my dance dream come true.
What goals have you accomplished in dance?
I’ve had a lot of cool opportunities through dance, but I’m most grateful for the opportunity to perform and compete nationally/internationally and to travel frequently with my closest friends. I’ve had the opportunity to do an exhibition battle in Japan, which was an exciting accomplishment.
What goals do you have in dance?
My goal is to inspire others. To be told that I inspire someone – that’s the best compliment I could ever get.
What has been your most difficult obstacle you’ve had to overcome in dance?
Doubt. Insecurity. Self-hate. It’s something I definitely still struggle with. I was always that girl that trained in corners, sat around when there were too many people around, made up excuses and faked injuries to not enter jams. So many times I almost quit because of my insecurities. I used to beat myself up to the point where I would cry daily because I was so frustrated. In all honesty, I never wanted to be a competitive dancer because I could never fathom the idea of going out and dancing in front of people. It wasn’t until maybe two years ago that I finally got to the point where I could enter any jam that came my way – I started seeking out jams myself and traveling as much as I could. I feel more comfortable training with people and I no longer let my frustrations get in the way of my love for the dance. Because at the end of the day, it’s JUST dance. Being a good dancer or winning competitions means nothing – no one cares if you can do airflares and I could care less if you won Red Bull BC One. Just cuz you’re a famous bboy or bgirl, it doesn’t make you any more of a person than the beginner learning windmills. It’s the people you get to spend time with, the travels, the countless lessons you learn, and the journey of working hard at something that make it all worth it. It’s ridiculous how long it took me to learn this, but ever since I did, I’ve loved this dance so much more. I still have a crazy fear of cyphers so getting over that is my next goal. Loving yourself is a skill you have to learn, just as much as the power moves and tricks. That journey has been harder for me than getting airflares ever will be. It’s a constant challenge and I still have a ways to go, but I’ve come a really long way.
Is there anything you are currently struggling with in dance or in life?
The biggest challenge right now is balancing my dance and professional career. I’m currently in my final year of a doctorate degree in physical therapy. PT school is hands down the most rigorous thing I’ve ever done but its taught me that you can really make time for anything as long as it means enough to you. I’m up at 5 every morning, go to school all day, go teach, then go practice, so I’m really only home for a few hours a day to sleep. I try to get ahead during the week so I can travel to jams on the weekends. It’s a tough schedule and there are definitely times I can get overwhelmed and break down, but I feel really fortunate to still be doing it all. If anything, dance has been an incredible asset for relieving stress.
What has dance given to enrich your life?
Man, what HASN’T dance given me to enrich my life? Dance forces me to take risks, be vulnerable, be uncomfortable, and to step out of my comfort zone on a regular basis. It inspires a dynamic, ever-changing lifestyle that keeps my life fresh and exciting. But above all, I’ve met some of the most influential people through the world of dance and have brothers and sisters all over the world now thanks to this culture.
What do you appreciate about your dance?
As a female in a male-dominant art form, I quickly came to realize that I would have to do something different, move in a way that guys typically can’t, in order to “hang with the boys.” So that’s how I’ve tried to evolve my style. I’ve incorporated my gymnastics background as well as my flexibility to move the way that I do. I’m all about transitions and flow. I struggle to do power like the guys, so instead I try to find smooth, dynamic ways of getting into and out of single power moves, tricks, and blows or try to find creative ways of flipping moves to fit the way my body moves.
What has School of Breaking done to benefit your growth as a dancer?
School of Breaking is my sanctuary. They’ve given me a home. I’ve done a lot of traveling over the years and understand that studio space is not something to take for granted. Not many people are open-hearted and selfless enough to hand over a key to their business. Chase and Tommy are those people and I’m forever grateful for them. I look up to them as role models and can only hope to be half the selfless human beings that they are. Thank you guys, again and again.
What are the next challenges you want to take on as a dancer?
Excelling in my professional career and making a difference in my patients’ lives while still living the hip-hop lifestyle, entering as many jams as I can, travelling the world through dance, and inspiring others!