When I first started this project it was out of sheer curiosity. That simple question from my female student that initiated everything, “Well you should try dancing in heels…” stirred so many thoughts in my brain towards the history of high heels and the wonderment of being in them. Out of this curious state begun my journey wearing high heels and absorbing the feelings and sensations physically and emotionally around them.
That journey soon shifted from curiosity to expression. The more I had experienced the more I wanted to express myself with this new found excitement and desire. It connected me deeper to my greatest passion, dance. Finding more and more outlets where I could express myself in high heels, my campaign shifted to how dancing in heels broadened my spectrum of colors with new kinds of hues I had never accessed before. This birthed my first choreographic piece in high heels and several more to come expressing all the experience I had gained on this journey.
Even more, it had brought me back to the social dance floor, a place I had disconnected and taken a major hiatus from. It brought me to Hustle, the dance and the community that rebirthed the unicorn within me that I had suppressed for many years. Twirling, kicking, dipping, donning metalic untiards and ruffle fringe pants, everything became about me expressing myself in high heels doing Hustle partner dancing. It was my new life’s campaign of being fabulous in high heels on the dance floor.
Soon after as I became more comfortable dancing in heels and therefore more free in my expression, I was receiving more and more attention. I started getting questions like, “How do you do that?” Or “I love that move you do. Can you show me!” This inevitably led me to begin teaching my expression of the dance although, this was not something I was keen on doing fyi. In fact, I resisted at first. Remember, my campaign was about expression; I wanted to just do me, have fun and have no responsibility towards others. However, I as I begun to take a deeper look outside of myself and really see my place in the room, I noticed that my label from society as a male and a queer person of color dancing in high heels openly expressing myself while swapping roles of lead and follow in a tradition that is gendered as male-leads female-follows, was unconventional. I started to see, “Oh, me being me is making a greater statement.” I eventually surrendered and wanted to honor the request from both professionals and non-professionals/amateurs to share my experience, knowledge, and style through teaching. I begun to accept the fact that service is always necessary to give back to the community as an act of respect to return what it has given you, especially one that reignited freedom within me in the first place. Shifting away from my selfish attitude, I started teaching locally, nationally and internationally to contribute my authentic expression to the classroom as an educator. And I love it!