As a young youth growing up in Antigua I never had the passion for dance, I was the type who will always hangout on the streets with my friends straight after school and even before school. My childhood days were really rough. There wasn’t really a steady income of finance to support me and my brothers for school and just generally in life. Getting up in the mornings and trying to find school fees to pay for my travels and also my brothers to get to school were always hard.
In my 3rd form Jennings Secondary School I then decided to drop out and find myself a job, of course my parents did not agree with it but it was kind of a huge help for us all. After few months when I was working at supermarket by the name of Christos on Old Parahm Road one of my friends by the name Clint Livingstone aka Charm told me about a dance group name Uprising dancers and that he dance with them almost everyday and that the pay is really good. He encouraged me to join the dance group although he knew that I didn’t know anything about dance. I had no sense of coordination, musicality and don’t even know my left from my right. But I was so desperate to have a job that pays good money so that I can help my family and also to get me to private classes so that I can write some of my CXC exams privately since that I had dropped out from my high school. So few days after I went to the dance class and met the owner of the group name Mr. Anthony Brian aka Toma. I was so nervous that I didn’t said much but he wanted me to come with the group that night of they performance and dance with them. Yes, I didn’t know any of their numbers but I had only one trick and that was doing the snake on the floor, so I did it and jumped up and down across the stage like a maniac. I saw him at the corner of
the stage smiling away and was properly cheering me on, I was so out of breath and it has only been about less than 2 minutes onstage. After the show he said to me well done and come back to the dance studio tomorrow. The next day I showed up and he gave me $50.00ec in my hand I was so happy and thankful that I left in the happiest mood ever. After that moment I showed up to training every Tuesday and Thursdays not because I enjoyed it but I knew after a show I would be getting some good cash. But Toma saw something else in me and he took me under his wings and mentor me all the way through. He showed me pictures and videos of different styles of dance both of him and other dancers in general. The way I saw those dancers in the videos express theirselves when dancing to a song whether its an ballad or up-tempo it just look real and truthful, it looks like they were dancing to something that did actually happen to them in the past. So I sat down and thought through it and just figured that I want to find a way to express my feelings too I want to do the things these guys are doing, not because it pays good money but so that I can create a story and share to others. I started downloading videos and try to learn all the moves that I see in the videos and when I do go and perform with Uprising I will try to attempt it. Obviously I wasn’t professionally technically trained so many bruises were around my body. I then suddenly grown this huge love for dance and I tried to meet different groups in Antigua and learn different things from them but being broke was a strain.
While being a part of Uprising dance group I needed to make some more money for my CXC exams so I went to a hotel name Jolly Beach Resort to ask for a job. I spoke to the Entertainment manager name Miss Brucella Marsh and she said there wasn’t any position available at the moment but she have a group of dancers that she manage and the dance at nights so if I do come to rehearsals she can then squeeze me as an part-time dancer at the resort. So I’ve been going every rehearsal then I got the job. Been performing shows with them regularly every Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I met so many amazing friends who looked after me all the way but one of the closes one goes by the name of Shane Marsh my boss cousin so both of them looked after me really. Shane then introduced me to one of his friend from England who visits the resort almost like every year. Her name is Denise Sayles with her husband John Sayles and their three kids Danniel, Kaytie and Jordan. Denise and her family came to watch the show once and saw me perform after the show she said I was really good keep up the good work. After a few days they were about to leave the resort to head back to England but they contacted me first and she said “I’m a really good dancer and that I should try and take it further” then she also said “I’m leaving today but I would like you to visit England and maybe you can audition at a performing college” I was so shock that I didn’t believe anything she just said. The next day when she arrived back in England she then booked my flight to visit England for two weeks. It was the MOST amazing thing that ever happens to me. In April I flew to England and spent two weeks at their home. During that time she took me to a college name SLP College Leeds I then did my audition, I had know idea what I was doing but I went for it. I did all the dance classes including singing and acting then I perform a hip hop and lyrical dance, remember, I haven’t been technically train before only what I learnt from videos and what I been doing back in my country was mostly like African dancing and reggae/soca, so I felt so insecure during the audition. After the audition I went to see the principle for a feedback, it was a difficult one but she saw potential and commitment in me and I was just praying while she was talking. So after a few discussions with her staff she gave me the opportunity to join the college to train in Musical theatre for 3years. I was soooooo happy and overwhelmed.
In the month of September 2011 I started my training at SLP College trained in ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop, commercial, contemporary singing and acting. And many more styles when the college invites guest teachers. It was a Musical Theatre course.
It gets scary sometimes to look back in past of where I started in life because I almost took a different part in life because it got so rough for me and my family so many times but I stayed focus and tried new things and made big steps.
Life has many obstacles but its up to you to break through them and stay positive and never gives up.
Being able to express your feelings on stage, painting a picture through dance or just being able to tell a story through movements is one of the best feelings ever. Dance is one of the things that I respect highly. I’m only just started my career as a professional dancer and being in this industry is very amazing but it has its bad times, its very competitive but sometimes you need that kind of energy to keep you on top of your toes. After graduating from SLP College my first full contracted professional job was a dancer on Sky Sea Golden Era before that contract I been given amazing opportunities to audition for top West End Musicals such as Scottsborough Boys and Lion King musical shows on the Royal Caribbean ship such as Chicago and Saturday Night Fever and many more. Attending auditions can be very depressing, you end up paying a lot of money for travel to get there and sometimes you will have to travel overnight and find somewhere to sleep before the audition day or travel on the audition day early and still look your best and being properly warm and ready to start the audition. After all that hassle, you ended up getting cut somewhere down that line and that’s when depression kicks in when you start thinking about everything you went through for that day. But as I always say to myself every audition is a piece of motivation.