Sharing the struggles and celebrating the triumphs of being African American in the ballet world and beyond.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

My First Tour

Photograph by Andy Caulfield/Getty Images

I was reminiscing the other day about my first tour ever.The company was spilt up into two, and my half went to Brazil. I was elated. I went through my closet and busted out all things Brazil. Well, so I thought anyway. I may have invented  ten new ways of wearing a sarong on that trip!

My love for Brazil started on the plane ride over. I was sitting with a good friend of mine who asked the stewardess for a soda. However, the stewardess informed him that they didn’t carry the particularly brand he requested and instead shoved a Guarana in his hand before he could trouble her with a second request. Although, I wasn't a soda drinker I decided to go with the funny sounding drink, to avoid confusion. I loved it, and from there on out it was all I could drink. I found out later how much caffeine is in this stuff. It's a good thing it was a short tour.

On our Brazilian tour we covered Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paolo and Salvador. Of these three, my ultimate favorite was Salvador, Bahia. I felt so comfortable and at home in this place. I wanted to dive into this culture and learn everything about it. On the tour bus, on the way to our hotel, our guide warned us to be careful and that the Brazilians will be very excited to see us, especially those with fair skin. I thought, “oh well,” the race factor seems to follow you wherever you go. However, despite this gratuitous and overdone warning, I felt embraced by the people, the culture and the place.

There was one night in particular, when we went to grab some food after a show. We randomly turned down a street filled with wonderful sounds.There were young boys dancing down the street beating on drums strapped to their necks. They were playing their hearts out and dancing rhythmically and beautifully all the while. I am sure there were other instruments, but the image of these young kids dancing with these drums will forever stay embedded in my mind. I turned to one dinner guest, apparently a local, and asked them what was happening. If I remember correctly, they informed us that every Tuesday after church, the kids pour into the streets in celebration. All I could remember thinking was, that is exactly how I want to celebrate after church. The air seemed to be filled with music, joy, the aroma of flavorful dishes and oh yes... dancing!

Another one of my favorite moments from this trip, was an invitation we had to a disco following one of our shows. I thought we might just hang out for a minute and return back to the hotel, since most of us were exhausted. Well, that was until I knew exactly what I was in for. What was interesting about this club  was that it seemed super casual. You didn't see anyone trying to bust out their weekends’ finest. Most were in t-shirt and jeans, and they were covered in sweat. Not because of the heat of the room, but because they were dancing like there was no tomorrow. I recall this one group,  all gathered   in the middle of the dance floor, performing this well coordinated and finely tuned line dance that everyone seemed to know.  A few brave dancers from my group jumped right into join the dance. I watched from the sidelines for a moment and then decided to join in on the fun. However, the Brazilians kept the dance going for what seemed to be an eternity, dancing feverishly while smiling ear to ear. Eventually, my little group began to drop out one by one. The native energy was amazing, and the love of dancing was contagious. This was the only disco I went to during my stay in Brazil. However, the energy, passion and joy I experienced during this one moment will stay with me forever. It could have been my young, naive eyes that only saw what I wanted to see, but to me this particular disco was all about celebrating music, dancing and life.

I left Brazil with fond memories of good music, rich culture, delicious food, Guarana, the amazingly beautiful art of Capoiera, the best papaya I ever ate, beautiful people and of course the joy of dancing as a celebration of life.

Obrigado Brazil!


This month is Black History Month, and in honor of that I think we should all celebrate our individual beauty the way the Brazilians celebrate life. I have chosen a couple of sites that I think help us to do just that!

I have recently stumbled upon The Moptop Maven and found it fitting for the celebration. I love the way this young woman celebrates her natural hair, beauty and uniqueness.

Ebony Glam claims to be "the ultimate online destination for woman of color to discover the newest and best in fashion, beauty, shopping, and emerging trends from the runways to the streets." Check it out if your already surfing sites like

I just thought this shirt was the cutest thing when I saw it, and it led me to the site Bon Bon Vie which also sells the same in a baby onesie! How cute is that? If your a Chi Town kid you'll love their Rep Chi Tees.
Bon Bon Vie

There are far more important things worth sharing this month, but this is just a continuation on the theme of celebrating life, beauty and our individuality.  Oh, and having a little fun while we are at it.

Have you stumbled across anything worth sharing? Let's here about it!