“IF YOU WANT TO MAKE GOD LAUGH, TELL HIM ABOUT YOUR PLANS.”
For as long as I can remember, my mother would always recite this very quote to me when I was going through a stressful period. I am the type of individual who tries to map everything out; however I have a hard time accepting when things don’t go according to plan.
As I continue to grow, I have realized that life is a huge crazy roller coaster with ups, downs, loops, and everything in between! My relationship with dance has developed in a completely different way than I could’ve ever imagined. I was introduced to ballet at the age of two, but left training shortly after to try new things. I then became reacquainted with dance at the age of eleven when I began taking hip hop classes at a local studio in Atlanta. Soon after that, the only thing I wanted to do was hip hop. It’s just something about dancing to my favorite music with high energetic vibes that makes my heart skip a beat. Hip hop became my first love; and to this day I cannot recall how many times I have gotten carried away with watching hip hop dance videos on YouTube back to back!
In those few years at my local studio, my love for dance grew so big that I knew dance was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. My very first ballet class was with the Ballethnic Dance Company at the age of fourteen, and a former neighbor of mine (now very close friend) gave me my first lessons en pointe in her very own kitchen. I was usually the oldest in technique classes, so I felt like I was playing “catch up” to the rest of the dancers. However, I believe that being the “weak” technical dancer in class is what gave me a reason to keep pushing and work that much harder. From being the dancer who only wanted to do hip hop, my appreciation for ballet and jazz grew drastically throughout my years in high school. Outside of class, I founded the Pebblebrook Platinum dance team, was captain of the Falconette majorette team, and did an internship with Dance 411 so that I could continue to stay in touch with my first love.
By the time graduation came around, I was determined to pursue a career in dance. My biggest goal out of life is to have a career doing something that I love. I refuse to get up for work everyday dreading a nine-to-five just so that I can make a living. I do not want to simply make a living; I wish to LIVE!!! About a year ago, a former co-worker of mine introduced me to the mother of an eight year old little girl, who loves to dance. This young girl LOVES hip hop, and sometimes teaches herself combinations off of videos on YouTube (sound familiar!?). Her mother wanted me to teach her ballet, and I was so excited that I jumped at the opportunity to teach my first private dance lesson. This young artist reminded me so much of myself, and it made me so happy to realize that I was making a difference in her life. When I’m having “bad dance days” in class, moments like these remind of why I’m doing this in the first place. It’s the feeling of unconditional love you receive that makes everything worth while.
After attending DC Next’s summer intensive as a sophomore in high school, I was ecstatic from discovering all of the possibilities that the dance industry has to offer. Dance Canvas taught me just how important it is to brand yourself as an artist and really network with others in your field. The dance world is so small, and it’s extremely important to make a name for yourself. You NEVER know who may give you your next opportunity! Therefore, I am so grateful for Dance Canvas because I could not imagine my future role in this industry if I had not auditioned for DC Next in high school. I’ve always dreamed of dancing on tour with famous musicians and becoming a hip hop choreographer once I finish college. Though those are still a part of my life -long goals, I plan to have my hand in many areas; such as teaching, talent scouting, management, production, and so much more. Working with this wonderful company will bring me that much closer to accomplishing my goals, and I couldn’t imagine a better place to start. With so many possibilities, I’m excited to see where God will take me; and so far, this roller coaster has been one amazing ride.
Thank you so much for reading! We hope that Jaslyn Harris’ story inspires many more talented individuals to follow their dreams!
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