“The love for music, and how dance feels in my body has kept me dancing! No matter what other styles of athleticism I try… dancing feels the best!”
Activities: Dancer, Choreographer
I have known Cat, for several years, she was one of the first people I met at the piers. I have always been drawn to movement/dance, for me, watching it, is hypnotic because in my mind, I am analyzing what it taking place within the body, in order for the movement to occur. Cat has a body awareness, that is incredible, effortless. If you truly understand movement, then you understand the mental and physical strength, it takes to make movement look effortless. That is why I knew, when I started MCBMI in 2014, I wanted Cat to be a part of it. Her schedule is very busy, so she was never able to commit to an interview. That is why when MCBMI was relaunched, I knew she would be perfect for the MMI or Muscle Minute Interview. MMI is a condensed interview that will occur on the MCBMI blog monthly. A short, featuring amazing women with a lot to say, but not much time for a full 20+ question interview. I am thankful Cat agreed to do this for me and hope one day, when her schedule lets up, we can do a full on interview.
Thank you Cat for taking time out of your schedule to do this short. I hope you all enjoy Cat’s MMI!
Q: When did you start dancing, and why?
I started dancing on my eighth birthday as a gift. I was the kid who used to hide behind my parents, afraid to speak to adults. One day, when my parents were playing their Jazz records, I was dancing around the living room. I heard my father say to my mother… “Look, she has rhythm.” It was his positive voice, that rang in my ear like a bell, it gave me the courage to step foot in the dance class, that, and my mom taking leadership to find this opportunity when I turned eight! I walked out of that class telling her I wanted to be a dance teacher when I grow up.
Q: In which genres have you trained?
I have trained in Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Modern, Hip-Hop, Neo-Kathak, and Gymnastics. Other disciplines of training include: Track and Field, Basketball, Soccer and Dance Pom Team.
Q: What has kept you dancing?
The love of music and how dance feels in my body, has kept me dancing! No matter what other styles of athleticism I try… dancing feels the best! I firmly believe this is where specificity in the athletic world, comes into play. The type of training demanded on the body, will determine the physiological impact. The more we train them, our bodies can establish patterned muscle memory. As a basketball player probably feels best playing ball, due to time spent playing, dancing consistently heals my body the best.
Q: Describe your dance company?
DANCE CAT-ALYST, is a soul-driven contemporary company that seeks to motivate and educate audiences about health, dance, and fitness by gathering dance pieces, outreach programming and lessons about the body to keep it moving and grooving. With over twenty years of helping others move, the company inspires to have work that shows, how your physical well being affects your mental well being. DANCE CAT-ALYST gave birth to their style, “MOD-HOP-JAZZ.” A dynamic approach to movement that incorporates elements of modern, hip-hop, and jazz, with a strong ballet base. For more info go to http://www.dancecatalyst.net .
Q: With all the dance companies in NY, what compelled you to start your own?
After years of dancing with other companies, and touring, I wanted to explore my own choreographic tastes. Having my own company, allows me the opportunity to create, without always having to perform. I love performing, but I also love the process of rehearsal to stage, as well as the craft that goes behind a company dancing as one, yet celebrating individual voices.
I always choreographed, since I was a kid. My first talent show was in the fifth grade, and I was the girl at the sleepover, making up the dance routine for everyone to perform. In middle school, I was hired to choreograph for my neighbor’s group exercise audition. They had a jukebox in the basement, and I was in heaven. By high school, I was asked to teach ballet and tap classes at the local dance school. During that time, I was also dancing at the Fox Theater in Detroit with Prima Ballerina, Evelyn Cisneros. Soon after, I attended Western Michigan University, where I received my BFA in Dance and my BS in Exercise Science. After graduation, I moved to Chicago and worked as a scholarship student at Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Center and later moved to LA, where I performed with LA Modern and Ballet Company, Blue13 Dance, Regina Klenjosky Dance Company, and Collage Dance Theater. I also started a dance company with colleague Heather Vaughan-Southard called UnderDog Dance Project. We were noted by the LA Times as “creating heat.” Later, I relocated to New York and joined Dance 2XS and became rehearsal director to Decadancetheatre.
New York does have a lot of prestigious dance companies, because of it, I believe it brings out the best in me! I have found amazing dancers here and am proud to say, for the past nine years, we have been invited to be a part of the New York Jazz Choreography Enterprises Inc. We have also performed at the Downtown Battery Dance Festival, Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival, and Brooklyn Dance Festival, as well as the University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire, Albion College, Wellspring Cori Terry & Dancers, NYC’s Chelsea Piers Sports Center and Sky Rink, and Nanjing China International School System.
I am passionate about touring Dance Cat-alyst to my hometown of Detroit, Michigan. In 2013 Detroit, unlike New York, went bankrupt after the auto industry and several banks collapsed. Since then, the city has needed so much support, in rebuilding, not just economically, but also physically. Artists have been coming together to bring about change in the city via festivals for the arts. For the past two years, 2014-16. we have participated in the Detroit Dance City Festival. I believe we can never have too much art, it acknowledges people and life.
Q: Give me your best fitness or health advice?
I have a lot of fitness/health advice with my background in Exercise Science and Dance; however, the one thing that always comes to mind is that motivation/perseverance can sometimes be the hardest to keep steady. If you are dealing with an injury, illness, or upset with your body, it can lead to laziness, self-doubt, and self-destructive behaviors. The key is to remember, our body is also made of a mind, heart, and soul that thrive on movement even when it is out of alignment and negative. The body yearns to have circulation for healing purposes and the mind stays sharp when neural synapse occurs between afferent neurons (input to Central Nervous System) and efferent neurons (output to limbs and organs.) I like to think of this as the body’s way of communicating with itself. This does not mean we don’t need to take adequate recovery and rest time periods, but when you realize resting is not making you feel better, it may be a sign you should probably get moving again, someway, somehow!