Before 2008 I worked at Starbucks, taught dance, and was finishing up general education classes at a local community college. I was bound by schedules, deadlines, and an awkward work schedule; but nevertheless I felt proud of all the things I was doing. It felt good knowing that I was working towards a bright future. Starbucks was providing an adequate income on top of full health care. Teaching, though it never really paid, was sufficing the need to share my knowledge and experience of dance with the world. The community college classes were never really for me, but it eased my mom’s mind knowing that I was continuing my education. Then something in my mind clicked… something was missing, a sense of ownership was lost, like I wasn’t really doing anything for myself.

Then, like in the movies, an opportunity was brought to my attention. A new TV show had just come out, and our friends (The Jabbawokeez) had recently won the previous season. At first I thought nothing of it; maybe a chance to finally represent the bay area on a national (now international) level. Little did I know the impact this one choice would have on my life. Eventually the show had become a great success, and our team (Supreme Soul) was on the forefront of it all.

As a group we agreed early on that regardless of what the show throws at us, we’d stay true to ourselves and our goal. That goal was to represent the bay area as a group of talented individuals that were not to be taken lightly. We weren’t just 7 dancers on that stage, we each had an entire network of individual dance styles that we represented, on our backs. From Funk Styles to Hip Hop, Supreme Soul represented most elements of Street Dance. We took pride in what we did and definitely weren’t ashamed to show it on national TV. Fortunately our group was comprised of 7 individual leaders and so after the hype from the show died down, transitioning to what was next was simple.

Now that life had become a bit more interesting for me, there was no turning back. Not to say that I wouldn’t ever go back to working at Starbucks, but I had fallen in love with performing. Performing on stage and sharing with the world something so personal as dance, had become a peerless high. I felt more alive with every show that came along. Think of it as that first deep breath you take in the morning when you realize that a new day has dawned; that’s what it felt like every time I got on stage. I knew that each day, each show was open to my discretion; how I performed on this day would direct where I would be in the future. I finally had control of my life/career.

I’m still bound by meetings, deadlines, and an even more awkward work schedule… but at least now they’re on my terms. It’s a great feeling to know that so many opportunities are now open to me, but it’s an even greater sensation to realize and appreciate how far things have come. I’m now a performing artist that never stops working; not because I’m forced to, but because for the first time in my life I believe that I’m in control of my destiny.

A million things that could go wrong are incomparable to the one thing that could go right… all you have to do is believe.

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