I have loved the arts ever since I was a little girl. I would always have drawing sessions with my older sibling, and sometimes my mom would take us to ceramics studios. In addition to visual art, music has also played a huge part in my life. I’ve been playing piano since the age of seven – I grew up learning to read music like it was my ABC’s. Music has been a constant, unwavering force in my life. Music has always been there as a source of comfort, motivation, encouragement, and of course, enjoyment. Music has never let me down.
Loving music naturally led me to dance at the same time that visual art led me to pursue modeling and graphic design. For this reason, I strongly believe that all the arts are interconnected in some way. Art is about so much more than just capturing the eye; it can tell a story, convey an emotion, raise awareness, and engender change. Art has played such a pivotal role in advancing social movements, as art has the power to educate the masses and galvanize people to rally for a cause. Art is not only enjoyable to make and consume, but plays a huge role in shaping minds, culture, and society.
Why I Love Dancing
Because I have always loved music, I also loved to watch people dance. When I was young, I would constantly watch music and dance videos in my free time, but I never believed that I was capable of dancing. I would always hold myself back from dancing for fear of being judged, even when my body could barely resist the urge to move. Getting over this fear was a slow, arduous process that took years to move past.
I first started dancing at parties as a way to connect with other people and share energy. Embracing the social aspect of dancing helped me break out of my shell and begin pursuing dance more seriously. I love dance because it helps me feel more connected with others and more confident. Sometimes, if I’m really feeling the music, dancing makes me feel like I’m in my own world, where I’m the one in charge.
Dance Genres I’m Into
I like to dance jazz funk. I’ve trained through taking classes both at UCLA and at dance studios in LA and joining dance teams. I dance with a UCLA organization called Bruin Burlesque, which specializes in burlesque, a type of sensual, provocative dance that is mainly done in heels. I love to dance jazz funk because it makes me feel powerful and keeps me in touch with my sexuality.
I also dance with Taste the Rainbow, an all LGBTQ+ exhibition dance team. Taste the Rainbow’s pieces cover a variety of styles, including jazz funk, hip hop, vogueing, and waacking. Joining Taste the Rainbow has helped me explore more styles, become even more confident in my sexuality, and grow both as a dancer and as a person.
Dancing Tips For Those Who Are Shy
This was me not too long ago! I truly believe that everyone can be a dancer, just as everyone can be a model. Scientifically, dancing provided an evolutionary advantage, since it allowed humans to bond and communicate. Humans are built to process music and move to the beat. I encourage everyone to jump out of their comfort zone, let loose, and dance.
I get stuck in my own head all the time, worrying about what my dancing looks like and how others are perceiving it. When that happens, I just try to remind myself that it’s not that deep, and that it’s natural to make mistakes. If you’re just starting out, next time you have some alone time, put on a song you love and just groove it out. No mirrors, nothing. Feeling the music flow through your body is possibly one of the most liberating feelings ever.
My Role As A Dancer At Taste the Rainbow
Taste the Rainbow is an all LGBTQ+ dance team that aims to empower queer dancers by providing them with a safe, inclusive, and supportive space. The majority of couples’ pieces in mainstream dance showcases are straight couples. It is something that I have always taken issue with, as it erases the existence of queer couples. It lacks inclusivity, and quite frankly, it’s boring.
Taste the Rainbow subverts that by celebrating the intersection of performance and resistance and carving out space for ourselves in a society that often puts us down. We perform at school events, showcases, and sometimes nightclubs. My favorite performance by far was at Rage, a gay club in West Hollywood. Getting to dance up on stage in front of a huge crowd in a queer space was beyond exhilarating. Joining Taste the Rainbow has definitely been one of the highlights of my college experience; it’s introduced me to such a supportive community and helped me grow so much.
Does Being A Dancer Make Modeling Easier?
Yes, absolutely! I have grown so much through dancing. I have become so much more comfortable and confident taking up space. The camera easily picks up on even the smallest bit of fear or insecurity, which definitely translates into the photos. Dancing has made me more aware of my body, which has definitely helped with my posing. That’s why so many professional dancers eventually become models during their career; they have amazing body control and awareness, plus confidence.
Advice For Aspiring Dancers
Prepare to make mistakes. Try not to let ego get in the way — your dancing won’t look amazing right off the bat, and that’s just fine. Nobody starts out good (life just doesn’t work like that).
Also, prepare to be pushed to your physical limit. Dancing is an intense workout; it requires both mental and physical fortitude. And try not to take it too seriously — it should always be fun.
Hey! I’m Azure, and I’m a second-generation Chinese American from New York City studying sociology and Asian American Studies at UCLA. Some causes that I care about include the empowerment of people of color in media, educational equality, womxnism, and decolonization. I am a freelance model, dancer, pianist, and graphic designer. I love to listen to music, draw, and journal about my life.
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