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Club Funk x Capital Funk takes ElementsXVII

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Club Funk x Capital Funk takes ElementsXVII

Have you ever been in a room looking around and everyone and just thought, “Wow. This is where I belong.”  Neither have I. Just kidding. That is the exact feeling  I felt on the last day of Hell Week with Capital Funk as we prepared for what would be one of my most rewarding performances to date.  This past weekend, my second family embarked on a trip to Boston to compete at ElementsXVII and we won! #1stPlace

Now I know people always say this, but I really did not care if we won because performing on that stage and overcoming all of the obstacles to get to that point was more than enough. Yes, it would be great to take home a win, but I think all of us felt such a sense of pride in our work that no trophy could change that. I don’t want to rant on and on, but I just want to say how grateful I am to be on a team that truly cares about one another and puts such a level of dedication  and creativity into what they do. From the costumes to building (all 2947 times) the staircase, none of this could happen without the level of trust our captains has in the team and we (the team) have in our captains. Auditioning for this family has been one of the best decisions that I have ever made because each practice, performance, party, and conversation (I couldn’t think of another “P” word…sue me) has allowed me to learn and grow as more than just a dancer. Thanks CFUNK! Can’t wait to perform this set one last time at showcase (BTW: Come to Showcase)!

With all da luv,

Devvvvvvvy

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It takes a hell week...

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It takes a hell week...

You know when you go through those really difficult moments where you’re being pushed past your limits and to the point of exhaustion, but you can’t help but smile? You’ve tasted a Cfunk hell week. For the past week or so, I have been constantly (rehearsing until the weeeee hours of the night/morning) surrounded by people of different backgrounds who bond together for one reason. Their love of dance and faith in Capital Funk.

 

Maybe I’m just being a sap, but I think that is beautiful. Over the past few months, I’ve gone through periods where I questioned my love for dance. Is it something sustainable or even meant for me to do because it doesn’t pay my bills, but takes up 90% of my time? Dance is one of those pursuits where even when you’re at the top of your career, you may not have fame or fortune. You have to love it to keep it up. My relationship with this craft has been tumultuous to say that least. Is it really worth it?

 

Yes. Sure, there are moments I feel like my growth is slower than the person next to me (who cares?). There are moments I feel like I’m not where I should be or receiving the right opportunities. But after a 7 hour day in the office, here I am at 9:30PM knowing that I am exactly where I should be. My back is throbbing and I know I’ll be here for at least 3 more hours, but what really hits me is that I would not put myself through this “hell” if I did not love to dance. Dance is a relationship worth fighting for in my life and Capital Funk has made the fight so much easier.

 

After joining this team, I’ve realized that I am not in this fight alone. There is a room full of people struggling next to me to stay awake, to look their best, and to make Cfunk proud. Cfunk is a team of support. This week I challenge you to think about what it is that you simply cannot give up? What do you have to fight for and who is to your left and right helping you along the way? Cling to them! Thank them. What takes up the majority of your time and is it something that you are proud of? I believe in the importance of finding what makes you tick and who keeps you ticking.

 

Thank you Capital Funk for reminding me why I love to dance. Thank you for pushing me when I’m complacent and all of the laughs when I want to frown. Thanks y’all!

 

XOXO

DevDoe.

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Closing the Curtain- My Experience Performing in "Sharing a Dance with You"

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Closing the Curtain- My Experience Performing in "Sharing a Dance with You"

In my journey as a dancer/artist, I have never been more blessed to be a part of a work that has felt so deeply meaningful to me and allowed me to find an intense connection to the performers around me. This work involved the longest rehearsal process that I was involved in as it was nearly a yearlong process, but here I am now wishing that it wasn't over. This process allowed me to challenge my own insecurities and beliefs as a human and a performer.

From a rehearsal standpoint, the process as somewhat different from what I was used to for a conventional piece. The rehearsals tended to be very discussion-based and there could be days that involved little to no movement. These days were probably the most beneficial days for me because they allowed me to get inside of the choreographer, Lynne Price's head. There were days where we would read multiple poems and articles that pertained to these complex ideas centered around gender, trauma, recovery, vulnerability, etc. These subjects were generally ideas and topics that I would not typically volunteer to talk about. On the first rehearsal, I was asked about my experience with trauma and different ideas around gender, but I did not feel comfortable speaking on the subject. 1) I did not feel like I knew what I was talking about enough to speak on the subjects and 2) I did not feel safe or comfortable yet opening up to people that I barely knew. In the beginning, of the rehearsal process I found myself wanting to rely on movement to get me through rehearsal because it did not require that I open up allow myself to be vulnerable.

Lynne very often challenged me in a safe space to allow myself to be vulnerable or open to new ideas and concepts. Lynne would speak and provide articles about gender norms and challenging those concepts. I remember there was a point in the process when the research we were provided stopped feeling like homework and started becoming something that I was eager to absorb. There came a point where I started to feel confident speaking about the subjects. Lynne's piece allowed me to find an opinion and a voice that did not exactly mirror Lynne's opinions, but gave me enough knowledge to understand Lynne's point of view. This piece was probably the first time that I really felt like I understood where the choreographer was coming from and this was simply because we shared the research and discussed and created everything together. If there was a moment that I felt lost, I felt like I could ask Lynne and develop and understanding.

One idea that sort of challenged me was the idea of being nude (which ended up not happening). I said that I was okay with being nude provided that it served a purpose in the work beyond shock value. If I was going to be physically vulnerable in such a physical way, I wanted to be sure that there was meaning and value behind it. Lynne was very open about the nudity and was sure to explain the thought process behind it, so again I felt an understanding and connection to Lynne's ideas. Working with Lynne was so powerful because Lynne overflows with strength and vulnerability, which is something that most people would not consider to go together. Lynne is someone who is able to let their walls down allowing me to feel connected to them. I felt like I understood Lynne and the things I didn't understand I wanted to understand. I felt so protective of Lynne and the work.

 

Performing this piece offered a roller coaster of emotions. From feeling vulnerable for wearing a dress and bikini top so closely to people to reciting a love people to random audience members, I constantly felt like I was putting myself out there. There were also moments that made me feel like an "other" or a tool. I was the only man in the main cast so there were moments where I felt like I was the joke almost because I had to walk around in a bikini. I felt like I wasn't dress gender neutral rather I was dressed like a girl, but this was an idea that I battled with. I struggled because all of the girls wore it too, so in the context of the show it could be considered gender neutral. It was something that really made me a little nervous to enter the dance theater each night. I wasn't sure how people would respond to me. I also felt exposed reciting my "Recipe for Disaster." I am not really someone who likes to have a lot of serious attention. I like for everyone to be laughing at me or with me, but not hearing me in a very real moment struggle. I felt alone as I spoke about struggling with insecurities and no confidence. Those were very real things for me. They were also things that I would not have been able to reveal at the beginning of the process.  The final moment that resonated with me is when Lynne is alone receiving support. In rehearsing that section, I never was able to think about how vulnerable and scary that could be. I never understood how rewarding it also could be. It was one of those moments that didn't click for me until the final dress rehearsal. Each night that I'd go to kiss Lynne, I felt so nervous having everyone watch. I really wanted to provide a real moment of support, but I was also feeling like a science experiment with everyone watching. I felt nervous for Lynne also because I didn't want Lynne to feel alone. Each night the outpouring of love and comfort for Lynne made me leave feeling empowered and faithful in humanity.

While there is so much more that I could write about, I will stop here. Working in the show is a moment that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. It is something that will always be in the back of my mind as I create art. I always struggled with how to develop socially-conscious work and it appears that Lynne wrote the book for it. It comes from a place of knowing yourself and learning from who you are. I hope that I can one day be as strong and inspiring as Lynne.

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Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

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Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

Today I took a dance class that was centered around the idea of being the person that you know you truly are deep down. The instructor eloquently spoke of the idea that we limit ourselves into being someone who does not truly encompass our full potential. He used a metaphor where the person that we really want to be is on the other side of a door that we prevent ourselves from passing through. I visualized a person who is confident in who they are and in their abilities. A person who did not care if others appreciated their skills and talents because this person is not only was aware of his talents, but he also enjoys them. I so desperately wanted to pass through that door and fully become that person.

There rarely are times in my life in which there is someone else holding me back from reaching a goal or making a dream a reality. It is always my mind and my fears that hold me back. It is all too easy to speak about what I want to do: "I want to move to New York" "I want to be a famous actor, singer, dancer" " I want work for GQ" Where it gets difficult is in the preparation and the pursuing of these dreams. The "what I will do." Because we artist tend to be so visionary, it is very difficult to make a vision a reality. These visions start to fade into doubts. I start to doubt myself and hold myself back from realizing my true potential. The worst part for me is that I am aware of my gifts and talents, but that idea of failure haunts me. At times it is just easier to give up and not take the risk of truly failing. I know deep down that I would rather fail at pursuing a lifelong dream of mine, than to cower in fear living a life overflowing with regret. And even deeper down, I know that if I really allow myself to commit to being the best me that I can be, failure is not an option. I know that I will succeed. I just need to allow myself to give in to that side of my consciousness.

A few months ago I was elected to be the president of my team. Now I legitimately LOVE this team. Even before I was the president, I would constantly think of what the team needs and how we can improve. I always found myself talking to the past president about the team and it is one of the main reasons she became one of my best friends. Naturally, I envisioned myself one day leading this team like the many other leaders who did before me. I looked up to all of the past presidents and I wanted to be just like them. When election time started to come up, I found myself doubting my abilities and my passion for the team. People would suggest that I should run for president, and I would very quickly shoot them down. I would say that I'm not good enough or I'm not ready. This was that fear that I spoke of earlier. I feared that I wouldn't win and I feared that I could not lead the team as well as the previous leaders. I did not want to let everyone down after such a stellar year for the team. I got to a point where I did not even think I deserved to be on the team anymore because I was shooting myself down. Eventually, I came to my senses when a former team president spoke about how all you need to do is care about the team. I knew that I 100% cared about the team and its growth.

Here I am now pursuing that short-term goal of being the president. The executive board and I have already made huge steps toward being a successful team simply because I allowed myself to be that person on the other side of the door. I chose to mute my doubts and insecurities and allow the leader that I am shine. Classes like this past one remind me of these times where I was able to quiet my doubts and show the awesome person that I really am. I challenge each of you to be that person that you know you can be. Don't listen to the external or internal forces that hold you back. You can do it. We can do it.

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