The third installment of SheROCKS, the celebration of women in the arts, is taking place this Saturday and this year’s program is better than ever with new vendors, new sponsors and most importantly, new talent. Dancer/choreographer Queenlin will be performing for the first time at SheROCKS, but she is not new to expressing herself through movement. I caught up with the seasoned dancer to discuss how it feels to be apart of the SheROCKS 2015 and more. Check out the interview below.
When did you recognize your passion for dance?
As a child, I would dance around the house all day…I’m laughing because as a child you are so carefree…I would memorize the choreography to every music video and Disney movie scene that I could watch. It was just my way of expressing myself. My passion for dance developed more as a teenager when I participated in the dance ministry in the church and dance teams in and out of school. I was choreographing dances at age 12 for community outreach and fine art festivals. I would spend my entire Saturday in dance rehearsal, sometimes rehearsing from Noon to 6:00pm. Even after school I would go home, lock myself in my room, turn the music up and just dance.
A lot of people can dance but being a choreographer and instructor is a different thing. How/when did know that you could successfully teach others?
I danced with the dance ministry at my church. This ministry provided opportunities for me to develop skills in choreography and teaching. However, I did not see myself as a teacher until after I graduated from Temple University with my BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography. My mentors and professors at Temple University trained me to be a leader, to be more confident and to be a strong dancer. As an undergrad I was trained to not only be a dancer but I also learned want it meant to be a professional dance scholar.
How does dance serve as therapy and contribute to wellness?
Empirical research shows that the mind, body and spirit are all interconnected. Dance/Movement Therapy uses non-verbal expression to help the individual connect the mental, cognitive, physical, emotional and social states of self. Dance/movement therapy provides exploration through creative expression and helps the individual to feel safe and less threatened by topics such as trauma, abuse, grief and loss. In 2006, there was a research study conducted with women who experienced abuse, participants who attended only talk therapy prior to sessions shared that dance/movement therapy provided a form of pleasure and fun allowing them to be comfortable about exploring feelings of trauma. Many individuals who have experienced mental health issues such as bipolar disorder, severe anxiety and depression commonly have non-verbal behaviors such as impulsivity, body disorganization, lack body awareness, withdrawal/isolate from others and lack skills of attunement with peers. Dance/Movement therapy practices pro-social skills in non-verbal behaviors allowing the individual to find impulse control, frustration tolerance, body organization, positive interaction with others, increased awareness of self and other and provides an positive outlet for releasing feelings and emotions through non-verbal, movement expression.
How has dance affected your wellness personally? Do you gain as much from the art as those you teach?
Dance has changed my life. For a very long time I struggled with finding happiness and self-worth. Dance has helped me in more ways than one. When I can’t find the words, I can explore, express and let go through movement expression. When I am dancing I feel so much freedom that makes me feel like I am the only one in the room. Yes, dance can be used for entertainment/performance but dancing will always be the one thing that I do for me and no one else.
You not only teach, but you perform as well. You will be one of the performers at SheROCKS 2015, a celebration of women in the arts. How does it feel to be apart of such an amazing event?
It’s amazing! I was surprised to even be selected and considered for this event. I feel extremely honored to be a part of this and I look forward to performing as well as seeing other performances of those who will be honored.
How important is it to have events like SheROCKS that honor and provide a platform for women in the arts?
Many innovators and game changers in the arts are women and there are some women that are seldomly recognized. In honor of Women’s History Month I think it’s critical for us to acknowledge the women before us as well as the women of today that are continuing to produce outstanding work.
What are you looking forward to most about SheROCKS 2015?
I look forward to meeting new and talented female artists from the DMV. I have heard of some of the acts performing in this event but I haven’t met a lot of them. I love to collaborate. I love to network. I am also excited to see the different ways in which we choose to utilize our talent to celebrate women in the arts.
Name three female dancers, past or present, that you draw inspiration from?
Pearl Primus, Josephine Baker and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar.
After SheROCKS, what’s next for you?
I have several projects coming up involving dance company productions in Washington, D.C. I am also on the dance/movement therapy 50th anniversary committee for our conference in San Diego, California and dance repertory work in Trinidad and Tobago. Stay Tuned!
To learn more about Queenlin, visit her page at www.rawartists.org/queenlin and/or you can find her on instagram @queenlin_moves.
To see Queenlin up close and personal at SheROCKS 2015, click here to purchase your ticket!