Dance is empowering and exciting to do and watch! We all have seen different styles of dance and it always invokes different emotions or inspires us. But how often do we get to hear from the heart of a powerful and influential dancer?
When Indya Childs joined the RAW family as a dancer for our RAW Atlanta VERVE showcase, we had to jump at the opportunity to learn more about her story and in the process, we found ourselves moved, inspired and having a deeper understanding of expression, art and the power of dance.
“I want to show people that you can do anything as long as you do it wholeheartedly. However, nothing in life is easy.”
How did you start as a dancer?
I started dancing when I was about 3 years old, but I did not become serious until I was about 13 years old. Dancing just felt natural to me. I felt safe when I danced. I still feel safe. Dancing became my special way of expressing myself. Growing up, I was painfully shy. I was always so critical of myself, longing for this “perfect” image. It was quite odd, however, when I was in dance class, I was able to go inside myself and just dance. With each class, my confidence would go up, especially when I would have a successful class. If it had not been for dance, I’m not sure where I would be today. Dance has saved my life and it continues to save my life each day. I am so thankful that I was able to discover dance and I pray that the arts community continues to grow and inspire younger artists.
You've worked so hard to get to where you are now as such an influential and inspiring dancer! Can you tell us a bit about your journey and how you feel about where you are now?
The reason why I work so hard is because I want to show people that anything is possible. No matter your background. This world puts so many harsh labels on you: pretty, ugly, poor, rich, black, white, gay, straight, etc. I want to show people that you can do anything as long as you do it wholeheartedly. However, nothing in life is easy. There have been many nights where I cannot sleep because of stress, but I refuse to give up. Before you give up on an idea, ask yourself, “Have I done absolutely EVERYTHING I can to make this work?” Never give up. I am very proud of myself, but I more honored that people are inspired by me. There is so much more that I want to give the world. I am always looking toward the future and excited to know what I will learn next.
What keeps you going as a dancer? What are you working towards?
I want to influence as many people as I can as I continue my dance journey. I want to show people that you can do absolutely anything once you put your mind to it. You will be surprised as to how far you will go once you fully commit to something.
Do you usually dance alone or with a group/partner? Have you done collaborations in duos or groups in your dancing career?
I usually do not dance alone. I currently dance professionally with two local dance companies in Atlanta.
There are always debates on if going to college and university is necessary for creative jobs/careers. You worked hard and received a Bachelor of Arts in dance from Kennesaw State University and were awarded the Outstanding Senior Award! Congrats! How much has getting this education changed your dance career and how important do you think university is for creatives?
I greatly enjoyed studying dance at Kennesaw State University. I made many great connections and was pushed both academically and artistically. I personally would love to see more dancers attend college. Though dance has been around since the beginning of time, it is still a fairly new major to most colleges. In the future, I hope to see more dance departments especially in the south. Just like any other major, researching the university as well as visiting the department is important before you decide on a school. Researching means looking at all of the dance professors resumes, speaking with alumni, and viewing classes that are offered. Each dance program is very unique and it’s very important to find one that will best suit your artistic needs.
When someone sees you dance, how do you want them to feel?
I want people to feel safe and comfortable with me. I love feeling the energy from an audience. It feels like an electric charge that shoots from the audience to myself and then back to them. The most important thing I want the audience to get from me is a story. When I dance, I am telling a story based off my experiences, but I want the audience to come up with a completely different story that will personally relate to them. That is the beauty of art and interpretation. No one will quite see the story as someone else sees it.
We sense this light and energy about you from your movements to how you speak, like dance and your passion for it means so much more than just being creative and artistic. What does dance mean to you? And what do you think dance means for the world?
Dance is a form of communication. In the early days, dancing was a way to speak to the gods and deities. No matter your religious background, something magical and spiritual happens when people dance. Dancing brings immense joy, emotional release, and most importantly: peace. It’s beautiful. So magical.
“Everyone that I have ever worked with has influenced me. That is the beauty of being an artist. You are constantly learning from everyone and everything.”
Your movements are so unique and signature. How would you describe your dance style and what/who are your main influences?
I am an emotionally driven person. I love creating movement that speaks to me as well as to the audience. After I perform, I want the audience to feel like they know me. I want them to no longer see me a performer on stage, but as their sister, their mother, their friend. I have studied ballet, modern, jazz, and contemporary, but I love to fuse all the styles together. Everyone that I have ever worked with has influenced me. That is the beauty of being an artist. You are constantly learning from everyone and everything.
Obviously you are a highly trained dancer and have so many years under your belt, so how much would you say you regularly practice now? How often are you learning new things in dance?
I am constantly learning new things about dance every day. I still train as much as I did when I was younger. Dance is all about discovering and then rediscovering.
“We are all unique and we all have something important to give this world. Always be proud of who you are and do not let anyone tell you otherwise.”
You influence a lot of dancers through your network and those who see you perform, but what message would you like to share with specifically the aspiring dancers out there reading this?
Never give up. It’s a simple as that. Do not dwell on what you “do not have.” The dance world can be harsh. You do not need to be 90lbs, with 180-degree turnout, and pale skin to consider a “good dancer.” Be proud of you are. We all come in different colors and shapes which is beautiful. We are all unique and we all have something important to give this world. Always be proud of who you are and do not let anyone tell you otherwise.
We can't wait for everyone to see you dance in person at your upcoming showcase! Do you have a new performance you're preparing or will you be bringing us a Indya Childs classic?
I will be performing a new work. I originally wanted to showcase a different work that was upbeat, jazzy, and energetic, but then I changed my mind. This work will be somewhat dark and emotional.
Sounds like we’re all in for a very powerful performance. Thank you for sharing your heart and wisdom with us all Indya. You have worked so hard to create your incredible story and from speaking with you, we have learned that we all can have incredible stories as well. Thank you for that.
Click here to get your tickets to make sure you get to see Indya Childs’ performance in person.
RAW Atlanta Presents: VERVE Sept 29th @ The Masquerade 7:00pm
Photography by Richard Calmes