Rep Yo City Dance Competition, Compton CA. July 2018. The Divas Of Compton is more than just a dance troupe, it’s a community for young girls to support each other, learn from each other, work hard, have fun, and express their feelings through dance. I admire people like Coach Kehli, the founder and coach of the DIVAs, who have such a strong sense of purpose and who dedicate their life to helping others. She provides an example and an environment for these girls to train, learn, explore, and become leaders in their community. After that first practice that I attended, I started coming to more practices, events, birthday parties, proms, and parades, and have since developed a close relationship with the DIVAs. Both Coach Kehli and the girls continue to be a big source of inspiration in my work and my life. The series is a celebration of strong and beautiful girls who thrive within their supportive community. While their main form of expression is dance, the DIVAs of Compton is so much more, and I hope that my series reflects that. I think Coach Kehli says it best: “Amidst the chaos in the city of Compton, beautiful and delicate roses of all colors and variations grow from the concrete. Here is where we celebrate these beautiful roses and call them DIVAs. These girls are more than the statistics and stereotypes placed on them; they are Divine Innovative Virtuous Angels who have a story to tell. Using dance as their form of communication, the DIVAs of Compton deliver a powerful message about the everyday life experiences they face as teenage girls trying to find their way in the community, and their place in the world.”
Senegalese Wrestlers, Dakar. La Lutte. March 2018. At a glance, Senegalese wrestling is pure brute force. Fearless warriors, at the peak of their athleticism, battling to be crowned champion in front of a roaring crowd. The wrestlers are seen as demigods, dedicating their lives to a sport that borders on the edge of mystical. Yet within the confines of combat, there exists a certain serenity. Two men interlocked; embraced in intimate stasis. White sand on black skin, delicate shapes formed by powerful bodies. These contrasting aesthetics and opposing forces choreograph a dance that exudes both grace and power.