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Meet Maya Allen

Today we’d like to introduce you to Maya Allen.

Maya, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I started in my bedroom dancing to music that gave my skin chills. Not caring at all what I looked like. Little did I know I would come full circle to this feeling. But not before going through the battles of self-image, love, and comparing. With ten years of gymnastics training and only one year of basic ballet, I auditioned for the Calarts four-year dance program. Never in my life did I think taking that leap of faith would take me on this whirling rollercoaster of self-discovery and unravelling. Today I am 1 year into post grad life and I look back on how Calarts shaped me into the artist and person I am today. The people I connected with and the beautiful creations I witnessed and was a part of still runs through my body like a vivid dream. I learned new pathways for movement, new pathways for ideas, and new pathways to handling relationships with others and myself. Calarts kind of threw me inside a freezing cold pool of water and spit me out naked. Exposure without censorship is what has led me to where I am today.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road was not smooth. I felt like I was in a 100 yard dash and I had the biggest disadvantage. Time. Without the experience and foundation of technique I felt I was barely keeping afloat. How the hell do you Ronde de Jambe and do I wear my tights inside or outside my leotard? I was constantly behind the group. So, you could say self confidence was stuck somewhere like a dusty book in your attic. Still to this day I have to remind myself that I deserve to be here too. As I was building this foundation, I also had to strip myself of the habits and self-judgement I have been carrying my whole life. A constant absorbing of information and squeezing out what wasn’t serving me.

Apart from the technical struggles I faced, I also dealt with mental illness issues in the middle of my four year adventure. It popped up in my face and said I don’t care what you’re doing now but you have to deal with me because I’m not going anywhere. And that’s what I did. I dug deep inside and started revealing things I had tried to keep hidden inside for years. Unravel, Unfold, Unveil. And I packed it all into my art. Even if that meant going into the studio until 3 am and dancing all of my pain into the marley. It was messy but honest. And I don’t believe I would have been able to push through without using movement as an outlet.

Please tell us about your work.
I am a dance artist that loves to make you feel. In a project I am most enjoying myself when I get to connect with the viewer on a higher level. Solange’s Bridge-S was a project I am extremely proud of. It feels like a dream looking back but I still remember how the sun felt on my face as I performed on the Getty’s beautiful stone floor. All of our black bodies felt like a celebration and seeing the audience be so in-tune with our movement made the performance feel like time was suspended. I think what sets me apart from others is that my heart is never separate from the work. My ideas stem from sensation, whether that be a song, person, or place that inspires a feeling. My entire soul is breathing into my movement so that I can speak what I truly need to say.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Dedication and Passion. I made a commitment to dance and I have to always follow through. But the actual acts of the commitment vary daily. Whether it be yoga, journaling, and even resting. Rest is just as important as visciously working. Also finding what keeps me inspired so that my passion is always being watered. And my inspirations have come from memories, films, music, and people in my life.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Rafael Hernandez
Michael Formanski
Elizabeth Noriega

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