Shaqwaun Stanley

North Carolina • USA

Story

Most people spend their whole lives trying to figure out what they want to be, searching for their calling or their passion in life, but I've known that I wanted to be a professional dancer since the first time I stepped onto a stage. I knew at that very moment, I was born to dance.
Dancing isn't just some hobby for me; it's more like an addiction. My complete heart and soul are exhibited in every step. Through dance I find a sense of pride and satisfaction. Dance has helped me through the roughest times of my. My mom was diagnosed with Lupus and Diabetes and as a result suffered a massive stroke. As a child, I didn’t know how to deal with the only parent I’ve ever known being sick, in and out of hospitals unable to walk. But dance was my saved me. I danced in and out of hospital waiting rooms, during extended hospital stays and rehabilitation. I danced through my tears and to save my sanity. My pain has been the platform to my purpose, and my purpose is to dance.

Dance technically is movement of the body to a sound or beat. But what others seem to forget is that dance is more than that. As a dancer you’re always pushing yourself to the next level, while realizing that there is no final level. I use dance as an expression of my soul. It is freedom of speech. Dance for me is therapeutic, it’s the reason I get up in the morning. I can never get bored with it because there is always room to improve. There will always be more beats, higher jumps and better placement, among other things. I am transparent when I dance.

There are tons of people that love to dance or are simply gifted at dance, but the best dancers are those who eat, sleep and breathe dance. I am one of those people and so are you. It’s not always the most gifted people that get far in life, but the people who stay focused against all odds, hardworking and motivated that excel. I am not the best dancer. I don’t have the best technique, but I can promise you if given the chance I will be the most hardworking, dedicated and motivated individual. And in our industry body shaming and even race can make you feel like you won't be taken seriously, but don't feed into that. I am 5'3 and a dark-skinned black young man and will never have the traditional dance body, but once I saw Ailey II dancers perform I had my confirmation that even I had a place, so just know to hone your craft and dance for yourself and believe me someone will see your talent, I promise