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Meet Malcolm Batten II

Today we’d like to introduce you to Malcolm Batten II.

Malcolm, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I began dancing in middle school, around age 14. I woke up one day, out of nowhere, telling my family I wanted to dance. Soon after, they put me in classes. What was initially a desire expressed on a whim – grew to become a true passion! I began taking classes local to the Orlando area, where I began dancing. I took from the likes of some people I still consider to be my true trainers & mentors: Mona Lee, Chris Chawi, & Taylor Hoover, namely. Over time, as I began to wish to take the art more seriously and truly pursue it, I began traveling the country alongside my parents to train harder and harder. Their support & guidance are what I highly attribute to my accomplishments and growth in the art. In the years following my beginning, I began to train regularly with my west coast-based affiliates ImmaBEAST & Academy of Villains, as well as my east coast teams CultureConduct & Funkywunks.

Having these forces backing me & providing resources boosted my progress beyond what I could’ve even imagined. Their training definitely paved the way for me to accrue such credits as: Dolce & Gabbana, Foot Locker, the K-Love Fan Awards, Jordan Fisher, and more. The training received from my teams at the time also provided me with such a plentiful mix of different styles & cultural knowledge. With this, I was able to move into teaching occasionally at age 14, to consistently at age 17. The circumstances of which pushed me into my current main loves – teaching, choreographing and creating. From Florida, I moved to LA with my best friend in January and adopted the bi-coastal lifestyle – gaining residency in both LA & New York. This has all brought me to where I am today – creating through pure love of the art!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Around age 16, during my Junior year of high school, I experienced very acute depression. It was honestly one of the lowest points that I had been at in my entire life, it was completely awful. I was left with no motivation to indulge in my craft or even carry myself through life any longer. Along with that, most recently, an amazing friend of mine passed away the week of my birthday, this year – very soon after I had moved from Florida, our home. I grew up an only child, and he was the first man I had ever considered to truly be a brother to me, truly. Him being such an integral part of my dance community made it that much more difficult. Receiving the news of this loss hit incredibly hard. I felt guilt, anger, emptiness, etc. Death was something that had never been so direct in my life, and dealing with the process of grieving wasn’t very pretty. I fell into what I consider the absolute lowest point of my life. My desire for pushing forward wavered, but, with making changes to my environment and mental space, I was able to be pulled from that state. I, by no means, have 100% “bounced back”. I still slip in my upward progress and my motivation still wavers. But I am able to completely immerse myself in my creative outlets – drawing, writing, dancing, making music, etc. I practice greater kindness to myself and provide the allowance to sit in what I feel, and feel it deeply – acknowledge & face my emotions head on, so that I may grow. It definitely has not been the most easy road, so far, but it is worthwhile.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am an independent contractor, primarily as a dancer/choreographer. I pride myself very much relying solely on my own hard work & resources to navigate my way up through the industry. What I feel sets me apart from others is my heart. I bare my soul – raw, honest, & vulnerable – in all of my artistic pursuits. I am felt before & while I am seen.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Being forcibly restricted to my home, due to our globe’s current pandemic, everything feels as though it’s essential at a standstill. More or less all plans are delayed or must be altered. I’m allowing myself to take this forced rest to gather my bearings and regroup. My plans at the moment include: a visual dance album, a 90s-rock influenced conceptual video, producing a live art museum based in several different mediums, etc. I’m embracing all the seemingly big changes while putting together small projects.

Contact Info:

  • Phone: 9292197110
  • Email: mynamesmalcolm@gmail.com
  • Instagram: Mynamesmalcolm
  • Facebook: Malcolm Batten II

Image Credit:
Daniela Bucaro, Kristina Lee Moorer

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