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Meet Nadia Maryam

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nadia Maryam.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was born in Chicago, IL and raised in Las Vegas, NV. At the age of four, I started dancing at Nevada Ballet Theater and fell in the love with dance for its endless joy & pleasure. I loved dancing with teddy bears and learning what each movement meant in French & how it translated into the English language. I loved witnessing the grace, the beauty and the potential of it all as I watched older students, waiting for my “beginner” class to start. But as much as I loved the stimulation of it all, it was also the first place that constantly reminded me that I was the only POC in the room. I was the only whose skin didn’t match the aesthetic of pink ballerina tights. I was the only one with kinky curls that made slicking my hair into an acceptable “ballet bun” a much longer process. I was the only one with a single mother running late to pick me up after work each day. So many things… I decided to do gymnastics as well, and the stigma of my isolation was no different there.

In the ultimate battle of the choosing between gymnastics and dance, I chose dance. I transitioned to a competition studio around the age of 12. Beyond being introduced to more styles (jazz, tap, lyrical, hip hop, modern and ballroom), not much was different. A lot of privilege lived within the studio, and it was often hard for me to relate to those around me. The most important thing however, remained to be dance. Again, I was in love with the immediate joy and pleasure it brought me in addition to the challenge and the push that came with mastering technique. It offered me the discipline and work ethic that I continue to benefit from now. And that’s what REALLY got me here today— discipline, hard work, passion and gratitude. I’ve just graduated with the 2020 class of CalArts (Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance) where I continued the work in balancing the discipline of a variety of dance techniques, working three outside jobs as soon as I could to remain financially independent from my parents, finding passion in the sensation of my moving body for all that it has to offer, and giving abundant thanks for all that life has given me as both a human and an artist.

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?
Most or my struggles stemmed from the pursuit of finding my authentic self amidst so much privilege. I have always always always had so much to be grateful for, but the comparing of circumstances was always hard to resist– especially when I was enrolled into a private middle school in the suburbs of Las Vegas. My practice today is inspired by finding care and love for myself and my offerings despite the expectations and potential judgment of others.

As far as dance itself goes, I’ve always had to work hard to understand and tackle proper technique, form, and alignment. I’ve worked to find intricate & personal movement qualities, clarity within technical ideas, and performance confidence. These things didn’t come to me naturally, but I was almost always surrounded by students my age who did maintain the natural facilities I strived for. From an early age, this taught me what it meant to be a hard worker and how to self-discipline.

Dance has always been an expensive education to fund, and the field itself remains in low regard to the economy. College is expensive. Adulthood is expensive. Financial troubles have always been relevant but they have never prevailed in keeping me away from my craft.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am a graduate of California Institute of the Arts with over fifteen years of technical dance training and performance experience. Under the umbrella of commercial and concert work alike, I work as a performer, choreographer, filmmaker and collaborator in order to fulfill my current interest in researching the use of the body as a personal archive.

I am active and consistent in my mission to capture the visceral beauty of emotion and sensitivity using a multi-disciplinary vessel of text and movement. In merging humanity, physicality, and balancing sensations such as effort and pleasure, I believe the work created and performed can challenge boundaries of self, colleagues, and interpreters. This mission serves as a guide for my most recent work entitled “new red.” This project is a solo based movement process that expands to several other mediums including text, photography and film.

Today, I also center a lot of my focus on Pilates pedagogy, as another tool for refining, rehabilitating, strengthening, and maintaining a healthy body.

What were you like growing up?
Growing up, I simply LOVED to have fun. I loved engaging with all sorts of physical activity… dancing of course, playing talent show with my cousins (and pretending I could sing), jump roping, playing a healthy game of hide & go seek. I just wanted to play all of the time, doing the things that kept my spirit up and alive… I loved making new friends and engaging in little life adventures together. As a human in a home, I loved making a mess with an easy bake oven (I still have THE biggest sweet tooth) and playing in big dreamy dollhouses. I was also extremely family-oriented — or, the sibling that always wanted an extra little bit of love and attention from my parents and grandparents.

Pricing:

  • I teach Pilates privates! $60 for a 1 hour private, or $45 for 45 minutes (weekly or biweekly is recommended).

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Marissa Mooney, Rafael Hernandez, Josh Rose, Camilla Greenwell

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