Today we’d like to introduce you to Damontae Hack.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Damontae. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I am 22 years old and originally from Baltimore, Maryland. I am a recent graduate from the California Institute Of The Arts, BFA in Dance class of 2020. I have been dancing for quite some time now. I have always been interested in the arts ever since I was little. Although I did shy away from it at one point in life, where I found myself playing football… that did not go to well. Playing the cello for about 5-6 years, got into some theatre classes and dance was the last draw for me. I was super hesitant because of all of the assumptions that come with a Black boy taking dance classes. I eventually went for it and could really feel the progress, still hesitant about my actions though. I auditioned for the dance program at Carver Center for the Arts and Technology in Towson, MD.
A pivotal point in my life where I felt as if I could start opening up more and really start to discover who Damontae is. In high school, so many transitions happen in our life and it can really be exhausting but had to keep pushing; to keep discovering myself. Senior year of high school, I found myself wanting to branch out and try so many things but did not know how or where to begin. Two of my great mentors were truly helpful in this process. They introduced me to California Institute of the Arts. *Big gulp* CALIFORNIA?!?! But at the same time, I feel ready to explore myself on a new level. New friends, new mindset, new environment, new everything basically. My family and friends were very supportive with my decision… The school has been such a huge influence in who I am today and how I carry myself as well. CalArts is definitely not an ordinary school. It can definitely be considered a culture shock but that is all apart of the learning process.
Since moving to Los Angeles, I have been blessed with amazing opportunities and have worked with a great number of artists and brands through dancing, modeling, and performing. From humbly taking part in dance films, music videos, commercial advertisements, and traveling abroad, I aspire to continue to accomplish more throughout my career. As a recent graduate of California Institute of the Arts, I am determined as ever to continue to broaden my horizons and showcase my talents and specific eye for the art I do. I will continue to branch out and push boundaries of performance, photography, and film, dealing with sexuality, physicality, intimacy, gender, and what time means to me.
I will continue branching out and exploring boundaries of my art practice with dance, film, photography, site specific work including: Sexuality, intimacy, gender, race, and sense of time.
Has it been a smooth road?
There have definitely been some challenges… Moving away and trying to figure out my life while literally on the forefront of adulting… whew
– Navigating jobs, classes, constant rehearsals,
– Trying to maintain a social life??
– Discovering new passions
– Realizing older habits will not connect with my higher self
– Learning to unlearn habits
Sooo much confusion during the process of college and figuring out a lot. It’s like having so many identity crisis while on my spiritual journey, obviously it’s for the better but at times it did not always feel like it.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
As of right now, I am a freelance artist looking to put myself out there as much as possible. I specialize in dance specifically (contemporary dance, ballet, hip hop, physical theatre). As I continue blossoming out, I’ve realized I just want to keep pushing the boundaries of my work and what it contains. Even moving behind the camera at some point and develop my own individual practices. I’m proud of my accomplishments so far for being only 22 years old. What sets me apart from others is a tough question… I show up and honestly have to show out; while still being myself… I’ve have had to work for everything that I have and for all the opportunities I’ve received throughout my journey thus far.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
What I enjoy about living in the Valley, rather than LA, is that I can come back to peace and quiet. I enjoy tranquility and an environment where I can gather my thoughts and focus. What I dislike about The Valley is the is distance away from LA, and when there is traffic, which is all the time, it becomes an inconvenience.
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