When I first came to New York, I was here for a week doing a 'summer intensive' at Alvin Ailey.
After that experience, I knew New York was the place for me, so I strategically planned to get my butt back there.
Although I had a game plan, it was not executed without support & encouragement from family and friends. In order to save money, I moved out of my apartment and into to my dad's place (in Oxnard).
For nine months I went back and forth to LA and Oxnard (An hour to an hour and a half drive each way) booking industry jobs, doing personal training and teaching my classes. It took about a year to get all of my ducks in a row, but I did it!
My auntie Gwen advised me during the creative process of writing a sponsorship letter.
I had them printed out professionally and pretty with my picture.
My mother was my right hand man, she helped get the word out to friends and co workers
to bring in the doe; we were hustlin.
My Grandmommy, auntie Debbie, uncle Rod, my bonus mom Jeri (high school mentor) my play sister Tonet, and her husband Terrence, Dr. Kalani and The Chiropractic Family and even more family and friends sponsored me.
I had Sorities and fraternities that also had my back.
This was not a one woman effort, it was a team effort with the support of my family, and good friends.
Just like that old saying " It takes a village..." I raised a couple G's from my sponsorship letters and by working multiple jobs.
My mom purchased my plane ticket and my dad put money in my pocket.
My dad's frat brother and his wife, Mr. & Mrs. White, sponsored me by providing room and board in their New Jersey home.
A good friend of mine, Eric, recommended me to Ailey as a work study and I got the gig.
So, I was good money and good to go! When I landed in NYC, I trained endlessly at The Ailey School, enjoyed all the pizza and overall loved the city. I had that tunnel vision, my focus was so on point. I was only suppose to be in New York for 4 months, but I landed a choreography job, got a sub for my LA classes and told my agent I'd be back a little later. The job ended up not working out, so I landed another; I wasn't going to let that stop me.
After a full year of training hard, I made the decision to go out into the NYC world and make a name for myself. 4 months turned into 5 1/2 years, can you believe that?! My experience from then to now has given me PLENTY of life lessons. It was tough at first, especially since I had already established my career in LA and had to start ALL OVER AGAIN! Yes, it played with my ego. Smh I had a goal and that goal was to put my name out there, promote my choreography, dance, and of course, build my business Art Of Legohn. Just sitting here writing, helps me realize how far I've come. The road from LA to NYC has not been an easy one, but it has contributed to building the solid woman that I am. LA raised me, taught me the basics, gave me the street/book smarts and developed my business mind. NYC helped me refine everything I knew plus more, stepped me up a few notches and opened my mind. I appreciate what NYC has taught me, but it has all come with hard work. Everything I have, I worked for and wouldn't change that for anything. When you have a vision, you have to go for it.
It may not be the path you thought it was going to be, however, if you keep your focus on your vision and the reason for it, you will succeed. And I'm out! Ya girl Yaminah