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EASY MAGAZINE: Without dance I would be miserable

NATANGA SMITH, [email protected]

EASY MAGAZINE: Without dance I would be miserable

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On a good day Ghelisa Mayers can do four pirouettes (a dance movement involving spinning on one foot, typically with the raised foot touching the knee of the supporting leg).

“While attending Erdiston Primary there was an incident where my mum couldn’t find me after school and she spent hours looking for me. When she eventually found me I was in a room with the older kids dancing. The next week I joined Dancin’ Africa,” said the 26-year-old has been dancing for 20 years, but started training professionally nine years ago.

Ghelisa, who also studied at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in Jamaica and is a past student of Lester Vaughan and The Barbados Community College (associate degree in fine arts), says she dances because “it brings me peace and I have no choice but to dance. It’s embedded in me . . . . Without dance I would be extremely miserable.”

The versatile dancer has graced many stages at home and overseas and says while she is versed in six dance styles, “honestly, there’s an equal amount of love for each dance style I do”.

Rehearsals are gruelling, and based on the amount of performances she has for Riddim Tribe or otherwise, she can be in a studio between two to four times a week and for up to four weeks or more to get the choreography on point.

“The hardest thing about dance is understanding your body, knowing when to go full throttle and when to pull back. Also grasping the fact that you aren’t going to be perfect. Some things will come easy while others will be a struggle.

“My favourite part about dancing is the feeling I get when I’m on stage, knowing that I get to do what I love for a living while blessing the audience with the talent that God has blessed me with.”

But before she hits the stage she has a ritual: “I warm up, calming my mind to counteract performance jitters, rehearsing the choreography in my head,  praying and easing tension by having a few laughs with the other dancers.”

Ghelisa has faced challenges – [National Independence Festival Of Creative Arts] NIFCA 2014 when she developed soft tissue muscle damage in her shoulder, hampering the ability to execute certain movements and the pregnancy and birth of her daughter Amor, which kept her away from dance for
a year.

The dancer said she is peeved at the misconception that dance as a profession is an easy road.

“So are we not intelligent as those who are lawyers, accountants, bankers and so on?”, she asked. She told EASY she plans to open a facility to cater to children with autism and Down’s syndrome using dance as therapy.

Ghelisa has grown by leaps and bounds into the dancer she is today because she has “let go of all fears and inhibitions. I want others who want to be a dancer to do the same . . . . Be free and allow yourself to experience the joys of dancing and expressing yourself with your body and not words”.

As she shared herself a fruit plate, she revealed that she is a lover of tea: “I drink tea all day long,” she said, adding that as a dancer “you have to watch what you eat. However, we are not as strict as we should be when it comes to our diet. Dancing is a great way to exercise. It helps to keep the weight off.”

If it wasn’t dance what would it be?

“I would most likely be a motivational speaker or an image consultant or fashion stylist. 

“When I am not dancing, which is very seldom, I mainly work on developing a business plan for a venture I want to start. I also read a lot, mainly self-help books and articles on fashion, writing, taking myself on dates and the most important of them all, being a mother to my beautiful daughter Amor.” (NS)