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    Zenas Okanlawon CityDance Community Programs Teacher. Read her full bio after the interview.

    7. WHAT WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU LEARNED WHILE TRAINING UNDER A VARIETY OF TEACHERS AND COACHES?

    Training at Towson University Department of Dance, I learned that what I have inside of me is valuable. I gleaned so much from so many unique people and I had to find confidence in what I had attained. (Kind of like my kids before their Wizards performance) I possess a combination of qualities that no one else in this entire world has and will ever have. My professors at Towson challenged me and kicked my butt, but they also celebrated who I was and let me know that I truly have something to offer the world. I met some of the most inspiring professionals at Towson.

    8. IS THERE A CERTAIN PERSON OR COMPANY THAT INSPIRES YOU?

    I am truly inspired by my mommy, Adediwura Okanlawon. She was a woman of compassion and love. She just cared for people and loved God. I challenge myself everyday to continue her legacy of love. I am also inspired by Jesus because he represents perfection, sacrifice, and unfailing, unconditional love. One of my favorite companies is Evidence, directed by Ron K. Brown. I admire his integrity of movement, his consistency, and authenticity. Watching that company perform makes me feel free. Ok, I named one company, but I dare not list any others, or else the list will go on forever. I admire people who love and share love. I admire dancers and companies that are vulnerable, raw, and serious about their craft. I am surrounded by soooooooo many people (some dancers, some not) and I know of soooooooo many companies who fit under these categories. I have just been really blessed.

    9. HOW DOES BEING A DANCER AND A TEACHER IMPACT YOUR DAILY LIFE?

    Well, on most days it takes me a good while to get out of bed simply because my body is shot most of the time!! HAHA! I know I am still young, but when am in rehearsal-mode for an upcoming show, my body does very interesting things! Other than physical impact, being a dance teacher and dancer reminds me that dreaming is lovely. I am reminded everyday that dance is a means of healing. I truly feel like I have a responsibility to create positive change through what I do, especially through teaching dance. As a dancer and performer, it is very easy to get self-consumed, to worry about my technique, my body, how I feel, what the performance space is like and if it is pleasant enough to dance in, what I am wearing, etc. But as a teacher, I have to become selfless and I love that! I am stripped of my pride and required to put others before me. It is great!

    10. WHAT CURRENT PROJECTS ARE YOU WORKING ON NOW?

    I am super excited to be performing with the Howard University Dance Ensemble on April 11 and 12 at the Cramton Auditorium. We have been rehearsing for this show for many months and it is finally here! Choreographer, Ray Mercer, has been a true pleasure to work with. He is fierce and his work is stunning. I also just finished setting a piece that is tentatively titled “Journey to the Grave” on the VPA (Visual and Performing Arts) freshman at Annapolis High School. I am grateful for Mrs. Linda-Denise Fisher-Harrell referring me to Mr. Torens Johnson, dance teacher at Annapolis High. I am also preparing for the Annual Concert for Spirit Wings Dance Company and Studio. I teach the adult class and assist with the other classes and the concert is in May. I am looking to collaborate with artists - filmmakers, painters, poets, actors, sculptors, singers, etc - to create good art! I love meeting people and enjoy collaborating. I am also still auditioning and trying to figure out what is next for me. Life is very exciting right now!

    Zenas Okanlawon joined the CityDance community as a teacher for the 2013 summer program. Not long after she joined the DREAM youth development dance faculty for the 2013-2014 school year. During her senior year of high school Zenas decided that she wanted to pursue dance as a career. The following year she enrolled in Towson University and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts last spring. Currently, Zenas is involved in a variety of dance projects and working with various choreographers. She recently performed with Christopher K. Morgan and Artists, and is also continuing work with VTDance. She also performed in CityDance’s Dancing in One Language for the 2013-2014 school year.

    Interview by Berenice Medina, Senior at American University, Marketing and Development Intern for CityDance
  • #Philadanco’s dancers are a miracle of skill and energy. They work in a range of idioms most companies don’t even try to possess…A company that can do more than just anything…It can represent the possibilities of the human spirit through dance.

    -Dance Magazine

    See Philadanco! The Philadelphia Dance Company perform live in DC at the Lincoln Theatre on May 10 in #DREAMscape!

    http://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/541935?utm_medium=bks

  • Indulge your senses in a chocolate-coated world created by S.J. Ewing and Dancers.

    Australian choreographer and CityDance Resident Artist, Sarah J. Ewing joins forces with Anthony Barbir to create #TrappedHappiness, a dark chocolate-coated fairy tale that explores humans’ complicated relationship with happiness. Hundreds of wrapped chocolate and candy bars serves as a background for the dancers’ journey.

    Photo Credit: Maggie Picard Photography

    http://citydance.net/events/citydance-culturaldc-present-s-j-ewing-dancers-in-trapped-happiness/

  • Enter S.J. Ewing and Dancer’s chocolate-coated world of #TrappedHappiness on April 16 and 17 at the CityDance Studio Theatre at Strathmore.

    Presented by CityDance and CulturalDC

    http://citydance.net/events/citydance-culturaldc-present-s-j-ewing-dancers-in-trapped-happiness/

    Photo credit: Maggie Picard Photography

  • #Treat yourself to a night of dance! CityDance and CulturalDC present S.J. Ewing and Dancer’s #TrappedHappiness April 16 and 17 at the CityDance Studio Theatre at Strathmore. Hundreds of wrapped #chocolate and candy bars serves as a background for the dancers’ journey.

    #MOCOevent #DanceEvent #Iwantcandy #candylover

    Photo Credit: Maggie Picard Photography

    http://citydance.net/events/citydance-culturaldc-present-s-j-ewing-dancers-in-trapped-happiness/

  • Did you know the awe-inspiring Sochi opening ceremonies were choreographed by Daniel Ezralow, one of #MOMIX’s original dancers?

    See MOMIX dancers perform #Botanica this month at GW Lisner Auditorium!

    http://lat.ms/1jYwx6m

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    Zenas Okanlawon CityDance Community Programs Teacher. Read her full bio after the interview.

    1. WHEN DID YOU FIRST FALL IN LOVE WITH DANCE? AND, WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT IT?

    My love for dance has been a long journey. When I began dancing at a young age, I loved it, but not to the point of considering making a career out of it. When I was deciding what to major in college, I began to research professional dance. That is when I really became fascinated and wanted to try it out. In college I wasn’t always sure I wanted to dance full time. I love the vulnerability of dance. When I dance I feel free to express my inner most thoughts that I otherwise hesitate to share with people through speech.

    2. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT WORKING WITH CITYDANCE COMMUNITY PROGRAMS? WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM IT?

    I enjoy the kids! They are too funny. And I love their honesty and openness. I also really love the vision of the CityDance Community Programs. The idea of engaging kids in their communities and challenging their minds and bodies through dance is so encouraging and beautiful. I am STILL learning patience! But I am also learning the beauty of just being who you are. My kids are unapologetically themselves! I love it. The training they are getting through CityDance is not a means to change who they are, but to hone their character and help to develop the best version of themselves.

    3. WHAT WAS IT LIKE PREPARING FOR THE WIZARDS HALFTIME PERFORMANCE?

    Preparing for the Wizards performance was exciting. This was a first for me as for a lot of my kids so I was excited, nervous, and anxious right along with them! We rehearsed a great deal though so I felt confident in the work they put in. They worked extremely hard in their individual classes and in the extended combined Saturday rehearsals.

    4. WHAT WAS THE HIGH POINT OF THE PERFORMANCE FOR YOU?

    Honestly, I think the high point for me was seeing them run out from the court after their performance. THEY WERE SO HYPE. Their energy was so high and contagious. They were so proud of themselves and I was even more proud of them. It was a beautiful feeling.

    5. THE DREAM ANNUAL PERFORMANCE IS COMING UP, HOW ARE YOU PREPARING?

    The DREAM Annual Performance is cool because we challenge the kids to take everything they have learned throughout the year and apply it. This is THEIR show. They choreograph their piece, they title their piece, they choose their costumes, everything! We, the teachers, guide their process, but the ball is totally in their court! And they are super creative and excited to finally take leadership and ownership. We have been doing activities to brainstorm what kind of impact they want to have in their community and how they can use that idea to create art. All of their pieces are inspired by the community service project they are doing.

    6. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE PART OF THE DC/MARYLAND AREA DANCE COMMUNITY, PARTICULARLY THE TOWSON UNIVERSITY COMMUNITY?

    Wow, I am so blessed to be in the amazing communities I am a part of. I didn’t even want to stay in the DMV, let alone attend an in-state college. That was actually my absolute LAST choice! But now, it is nothing but a blessing. Being a part of these communities reminds me that I have a place to call home. I love traveling and would love to do a lot more traveling in the near future, but this place will ALWAYS be my foundation, rock, and home. And to say I am grateful to be apart of the Towson community is an understatement. The people there are just fierce and I love them all. They have all continued to support and encourage me even after I graduated.

    Hear more from Zenas in Part II of her interview

    Zenas Okanlawon joined the CityDance community as a teacher for the 2013 summer program. Not long after she joined the DREAM youth development dance faculty for the 2013-2014 school year. During her senior year of high school Zenas decided that she wanted to pursue dance as a career. The following year she enrolled in Towson University and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts last spring. Currently, Zenas is involved in a variety of dance projects and working with various choreographers. She recently performed with Christopher K. Morgan and Artists, and is also continuing work with VTDance. She also performed in CityDance’s Dancing in One Language for the 2013-2014 school year.

    Interview by Berenice Medina, Senior at American University, Marketing and Development Intern for CityDance
  • Tickets are on sale for #DREAMscape 2014! This year the artists include Brooklyn Mack, Bad Boys of Dance, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Joseph Webb from Bring in ‘Da Noise Bring in ‘Da Funk, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Philadanco! The Philadelphia Dance Company and many more.

    Purchase tickets through this link: http://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/541935?utm_medium=bks

    "… the best that Washington, or any capital city, can offer!" — ArtsAfficianado on ticketmaster.com

    Photo Credit: XMB Photography

  • CityDance has partnered with the @WPASinDC Capitol Dance Project! Yesterday students had a great time doing a team builder at Simon Elementary in their dance class! #dcyouth #dcps

  • Did you know #MOMIX has a huge international following? Last March alone, the company performed in Bremen, Germany, and in Bergamo, Pavia, Genova, Carpi, and Rimini in Italy. Next stop: Washington, D.C.!

    CityDance, GW Lisner Auditorium and Washington Performing Arts Society (WPAS) will co-present MOMIX on April 25-26 at 8pm.

    http://www.wpas.org/calendar/view.aspx?id=2355