“Everybody has their own path. I just believe that with conviction and discipline you can make anything happen.” – Sonya Tayeh
Hands down, Sonya Tayeh is one of my favorite choreographers. Not just because we share the same awesome name but because she is a remarkable choreographer that always pushes the boundaries of dance and inspires me to think outside the box. I admire her creativity and ability to draw you into her story immediately, taking you on a journey. That is a true gift of a choreographer! Her dance pieces are full of technical mastery and true connection to the movement, musicality and phrasing. Talent that takes years of hard work to finesse. She has a true gift.
Recently, I have been working too hard to feel inspired and ventured into the world of google search to find a needed creative spark. Instead, I discovered a life changing article.
The article, listed below, interviews Sonya Tayeh. She shares that she just completed a project choreographing the musical, Spring Awakening, at the San Jose Repertory Theater in California. I had heard her choreography for this production was amazing, so opened the link with enthusiasm. I read the first paragraph and stopped…. frozen. I read that she was only 18 when she first studied dance seriously. I was shocked. With all her mastery and technical perfection, I had always assumed that she had trained her entire childhood life to be a dancer. This information took me by surprise. In a great way. It was inspiring news that brought a giant smile to my face from ear to ear!
Why? This is a fantastic reminder that it is never too late to follow your dreams. The dance world tends to place intense pressure on dancers to achieve technical perfection in their teen years. It is often whispered that you have limited years to be a dancer and your youth is it. During my years as a dance teacher and mentor, I often share the speech with my students that it is never too late to push yourself, work harder, set new goals, take care of your body or advance yourself to the technical level that you dream about. With a little hard work and dedication, anything is possible. BUT, you have to want it and be willing to work hard for it.
I often come across talented dancers who have that magical dance gift and passion for the art of dance but never believe in themselves. I see dancers discredit their dreams or get discouraged when they see more talented dancers. I see parents placing unreasonable pressures on their young dancers to be the best at thirteen. I see our lovely dance world lose great talents when the journey gets too difficult.
I want to empower dancers. I want them to push past those negative thoughts. I want to inspire them to know what they want and work hard to achieve it! I truly believe that you can achieve anything with a little hard work. Simply said… might be a little cheesy, yet holds a wealth of inspiration. I’m willing to be cheesy to prove a point. Especially this one.
I have been thinking in-depth lately about my own dreams and goals, and this article helped me stop and think. Reevaluate my mind-set. Give myself a needed pep talk. So I share with you today these words of inspiration and hope that it helps you stop for a few minutes and think. What is holding you back from your dreams?
Maybe I should also remind you of a few others with inspirational stories! Cris Judd, became interested in dance at the age of 21, and a few years later was hired to back up dance for Michael Jackson. Two-time MVP and Super Bowl champion, Kurt Warner, entered the NFL at age 28. An age that many retire. Dara Torres, at the age of 41, was not only the oldest swimmer to ever to earn a place on the U.S. Olympic team, but also inspired a nation as she won three silver medals in the 2008 Summer Olympics.
This inspirational advice lends itself beyond the dance world too.
So I leave you with this article of inspiration today and a reminder that:
It is never too late to follow your dreams…
A few of my all time favorite Sonya Tayeh pieces created for So You Think You Can Dance:
Lets further the art of dance together… ASK MS. SONYA, I want to help!