Light Handed

Month: August, 2013

Your Feet Will Touch the Soils of Many Lands

Where would you go if you could move anywhere in the world?

I have so many places to list. First I’d have to consider all the elements of what would make it livable and enjoyable. Can I make money and survive? Will it engage me? Will I have a space to dance? Will I grow as an artist? Will I be comfortable? Will I engage in struggle and survival in order to learn?

These questions run my mind in this moment in time because I’ve arrived at an important, interesting conjuncture point in my life. Graduated looking for a full time job while simultaneously reaching new plateaus in my dance career. Beginning my professional career while reaching the 11th year of my lifetime as a craft-dedicated, head over heels in love artist.

The point of the adventure is to not have an answer, is something I would tell someone in my shoes. The uncertainty. The excitement. The young, dumb, and full of courage. Staying hungry and foolish as Steve Jobs advised. This is a pinnacle moment to enjoy. These are the blog posts I’ll hopefully find time to read when I’m 34 that will awaken a new creative spirit and drive for life.

I’m lucky to have grown up in San Jose, and to have this home I love as a place to return to. In terms of jobs, versus the rest of the market around the country, this place offers incredible opportunities in relation. All of the major tech companies boom here and no matter how hard others will try to convince me that they’re all leaving the Bay Area, there’s no denying the firey nature of this place. Innovation, creation, success, and ego dominate this landscape. This is a great place to grow. I know I have talents. I may not be a rare talent and exceptionally skilled asset to a company yet, but I do know I have the drive, intelligence, and off-center personality that will allow me to thrive once I put my mind to whatever it is I pursue.

What I acknowledge right now though is that I have a great problem to be thankful for: the paralysis of choice. How much possiblity lies out there for me? Am I salesman? A creative? A marketing guru waiting to hatch and flood your information streams with products I back? Am I a closet coder and engineer? Am I an entrepreneur waiting to blossom under the mentorship of great men and women? Who knows! All I know is that I’m awesome and I solemnly promise right now to continue to remain awesome. I don’t say this to make others feel lesser, or to make myself feel greater. I say it to acknowledge and accept my own self-love and self-belief as I venture into a world that will try to make me do the opposite; to make me feel like I’m not good enough, not smart enough, not skilled enough. Fuck that. I’m the shit. And you are too, whether or not you chose to acknowledge it and let it become a part of your being.

Simultaneously, I would be lying if I said that my mind does not drift to dancing and how far I’ve come and how far I’ve to go. I came home from IBE feeling so much fire to train and improve in all elements of my dancing. To practice house and become cleaner/well-versed. To practice Hip Hop freestyle and bring it back to the Bay. To practice B-boying and become even Nastier, Deadlier, etc. I question where I would want to live because I’ll be honest: If I ever choose to go 100% with dance, I’m moving to Europe or Japan.

Well, as for Japan, that’s the next travel destination I need to hit dance-wise. I have friends and actual fans (that blows my mind) out there I would love to meet, share with, build with, battle against, teach, learn from, etc. Tokyo, Hiroshima, Kyoto, Osaka. I’d tell people I’m Okinowan because apparently I look like it.

Besides that though, I want to be in a place where I am surrounded by passionate, hungry, and foolish people, always driving to be their best. I want to feel that I’m in good company. And I guess…the purpose of this freewrite blog about how confused I am is this revelation: I can extend this hunger to my professional career search. There is so much out there in world for me. This I know. I view dance with such a perspective and desire to live in Europe or Japan because I know this dance life/world so dearly and so well. I know dancing in and out, from a human level to an academic and even a professional one. Do I know everything? No. But do I know enough that it stirs my stomach and makes my bones tingle? Yes.

However, it is not being selfish to say that I would like to find something else I love in this world. A new skill, a new direction, a new vision to inspire me. I would like to find something like this in a more profitable, lucrative, and generally all-around more sustainable professional career path haha. It is out there for me. I know it. And with that said, I need to put my foot in the door at a good company/good industry to begin the journey to find it. I know I’m awesome. And now I acknowledge, accept, and embrace the FACT that I know I can be and will be more awesome tomorrow.  I open my heart to new loves because dancing will always be there for me. Now it’s time to expand. To grow. To struggle. And to triumph in ways I never knew possible for myself.

Upward and Onward. I am powerful.


I Am Powerful

Just got home from a 2.5 week trip out to Europe where I spent about a week each in Sweden and Holland. Every ounce of this trip has been dedicated to dance, whether training, competing, teaching, or simply ciphering with people. I went to Master Camp just outside of Stockholm, Sweden under the tutelage of Freeze (Ghost Crew) and Poe One (Style Elements/MZK/RSF). I trained 5 days straight, 5-6 hours plus each day. I learned a lot and gain a lot of new friends. Afterwards, I went back to Holland for my second trip there, and this time around got to experience a huge bucket list item: the Notorious IBE held in Heerlen, Netherlands. It was incredible. Even though it’s a bboy event, I spent most of my time dancing to house, hip hop, funk classics, afro sounds, and more. I got to lay my soul on the floor.

What was greatly impactful was laying down my craft and style in circles amongst the best in the world. I’ve always coveted the respect of those whom I respect far more than victories in a competition, and this is something I’ve been able to accomplish throughout my career. When Steelo and Lil John give you props before you’re down with any major, legendary crew–that feels good. Really good. IBE was just the same. Exchanging with some of Europe’s best and to have them bug out on what I was producing felt good. I’m not going lie or shave off the sharing of my experience to avoid being viewed as ‘cocky’ or ‘arrogant’. I’m going to flat out say it. My craft/soul/product/dance/art is fire and embers blazed across the Atlantic.

At the same time, Sweden & IBE were very humbling experiences. In Sweden, I, for the first time, saw Javier Ninja of the House of Ninja get down. And boy, I was left in absolute shock and awe. My mouth dropped for about 5 minutes. I have not been served so large a slice of humble pie for at least 5+ years. HE’S SO FUCKING ILL!!!!!!!! DAMN he killed it and he was just having fun. I had yet to be exposed to vogueing whatsoever, and my first impression was Javier Ninja. Boom. Not only that, but the whole camp was full of straight masters of their craft as well as the hungry students. We made quite the community.

And as for IBE…well, I’ll say it this way. In the States, I stand out. There’s no question about it. I’m very different and that’s why I am the way I am and that’s why my dance career has progressed the way it has. I am connected to the music, leave my soul on the floor, am very expressive, and most definitely mix all sorts of dance styles and outside influences into my movement. This has set me apart from my peers and often I feel lonely (yet special) when I represent myself in the USA. At IBE however, with people from all around the world there, I found so many others on my exact path, doing it better than me! Especially the Eastern European and Russian cats. At first, my ego was checked: “Ahh, oh no, I’m not as special anymore, what do I do???” However, once the ego settled down, and the soul/innermost core began to connect, I realized the beauty. The movement and change of dancing around the world is an interconnected motion. No person creates absolute change. Remind (Style Elements) changed B-boying forever and is often credited, but even he will say it himself, he’s just trying to dance like Walter Johnson (209 Stockton) and Quali-D. They created a movement, and as always, one person will become a focal point or example of said movement, but it is a greater body moving it.

I am not special. I am powerful. I am powerful because I am part of something greater than myself, and that gives me both comfort and ignites even more fire within me to become better than who I was yesterday. I’m feeling inspired and am looking to sustain this inspiration. These are words flowing from a stream of consciousness. A pretty awesome one that I like, called my own. Forever tuned in, forever creating.

I am powerful.