This was my gift from @axisdanceco and it made me so emotional. Tomorrow will be my last rehearsal with the company and I will forever be thankful for meeting all of these people. For this experience I thank Artistic Director Judy Smith for giving me this opportunity. Because she did, I can. Integrated dance will continue to grow because #IHaveADream that one day dance and dance education will be fully accessible to all individuals. Oakland has given me so much to remember…love everyone. #dancerslife #disabled #AxisDanceCompany #dance #contemporary #bayarea #gay #love #friendship #dreams #Malonga

First Day, First Rehearsal

Today I have my first rehearsal with AXIS Dance Company and I am feeling a bunch of emotions.

I can’t help but go back to my 15 year old self, the person who was discouraged, told he would never make anything of it, feeling like he would never get the chance to be a dancer.

Now seven years later I am about to have my first rehearsal with one of the nation’s leading integrated dance companies. Pinch me, still can’t believe it!

Of course there’s a lot of self doubt but I just have to push through it because that’s all I’ve ever done— I have to remind myself that I am worthy of this opportunity, that I’ve busted my ass for an opportunity such as this one.

I didn’t pack up and move across the country so I can live in doubt and fear- I came here to dance. Period.

Believe in the impossible and you will reach the realm of the unthinkable.

Lots of Firsts

So my first day in the Bay Area was a bit of a whirlwind…it was my first time riding on BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) and of course I made a mistake but the lovely lady at the BART West Oakland stop, Renee, was nice enough to help me.

I finally got to meet the woman who made my move to the West Coast possible, Judy Smith, the artistic director of AXIS Dance Company ( – it was great meeting her, she has served as inspiration for my own dance company, marked dance project!

I met the dancers/staff of AXIS (some) after their assembly; I got a tour of the arts building and had tofu for the first time (trying to eat healthier…Judy thought it was weird that I hadn’t tried it before)

I met my room mate for the first time, Joel Brown, super cool guy who is multitalented, you might remember him when he performed for AXIS on So You Think You Can Dance, yup here’s the link to that performance which featured Sebastian, who choreographed that duet (link here: ).  Joel is also a singer/songwriter, you can check out his Facebook page for music details here:

I also just read over my first dancer contract—it’s surreal to think I am here living in a whole new region of the country because of DANCE.

To think I never thought this day would come, to think I would only ever be a choreographer, to think people told me to give up—first and foremost, NEVER GIVE UP! Dreams come true. Work hard, stay focused, and never give up!

Just a quick little update on the first day! More posts to come.

Follow me on Twitter @markingthepath as I go from east to west.