Dancer of the Week: Tarika Holland

Tarika Holland, her artist name being is0latedbeauty, is a 16 year old aspiring dancer from Augusta, Georgia. Her name “is0latedbeauty” evolved from her frustration of people misusing or overusing the word ”different.” Her name means set aside from everyone else, a sight like no other, nothing comparable, nothing similar, and her name means different without saying different. She attends Davidson Fine Arts, and that is where her very unexpected dance journey got started.

Tarika is a very unorthodox dancer who loves to experiment with different genres of dance as well as her improvisation to create her own unique style. She hopes to inspire people with the many stories she wishes to tell through her movement as well as one day give back to her city and expose the kids from the “bottom” to art as an outlet to keep them out of trouble and a way to express themselves in harmless and creative ways.

What type of dancing you do?

I currently only do modern/contemporary and ballet which are my focus genres of dance. I have experimented with some hip-hop before which is a challenge for me, but always a lot of fun. I do hope to expand my versatility and take jazz and tap classes one day.

When did you started dancing?

I never saw myself as a dancer when I was younger. It was easy for me to grasp the concept of every other art form except dancing. But when I was in second grade, I went on a field trip to the annual Black History Show at my current school. I instantly fell in love. I worked very hard throughout the rest of elementary school to ensure that I would earn myself a spot in Davidson. Flash forward to 5th grade, it was my audition day which was a very exciting day. The audition process was a breeze, but then I got to the dancing part of it. I was told to take a scarf and more as though no one was watching. I did exactly that and the after feeling was a feeling I had never felt before. I ended up getting recommended to take beginner ballet which was a big surprise. I enjoyed it, and curiosity lead me to get more involved with dancing. I didn’t get very serious about dancing until I was in 8th grade. My experiences and environment lead me to the discovery of a talent I never knew I had, feelings I thought I would never feel, and potential I didn’t know I was capable of having.

What special performance skills do you have?

I just do it and enjoy every moment of it while i’m up on stage. I am sure to let the audience see that I am loving what I am doing through my movement and through the energy I radiate. I have learned to not only love the performance, but to embrace and love the moments leading up to it, good, bad, and even ugly. The process leading up to the performance is one that is never easy. So I’ve learned that if I work hard in that period of time, performing is a breeze.

What are your work habits in dance?

I give it my all. I may not get it the first time, but I don’t stop until I do. And when I do finally get it, I act like I don’t have it or it’s up for jeopardy. I practice whatever I am given class physically, and I also think about it mentally. I get help and ask questions when it is necessary but mostly I watch and observe. Most importantly, I work on myself and being none other than myself.

What is your creative process?

I have a complicated creative process because it just depends on where my mind is at the time I start creating. I am usually inspired by my own experiences that happen in my life or own thoughts. For inspiration, I look at dance videos and movies. When I am choreographing, most times I don’t find a song first because I feel pressured to dance to the exact beats and rhythms or create movement intended for the tone of that particular song. Once I do find a song I listen to it over and over again for many reasons. I video myself a lot to keep track of my movements and to remember what I create. I also write or draw out my choreography. I document everything, even my personal feelings in the creative process so the next creation, I can refer to everything from the previous creation to see what I did right, what I did wrong, and how can my next creation be nothing like the previous one. I constantly remind myself to be myself and to love it all. It’s very complex… and even very difficult at times, but it’s my creative process and I love it.

What career risks that you’ve taken?

I think the biggest risk I’ve taken is dancing solo. It’s only you dancing so you are the only one responsible for every mistake, every fall, every slip up, and everything wrong. But, you are the only one people are looking at and you get to show the audience who YOU are. The first time I danced solo was in a middle school talent show. My reason being was because I was tired of getting mocked, teased, doubted and underestimated. That itself was a risk to me, dancing because I wanted to prove many wrong but I might just have proved them right if I didn’t dance well. I also think a risk I took in that same performance was that in the middle of my performance, I stopped doing what I choreographed and started to improv. It just felt right, and I listened to my body. I didn’t win the talent show, but I got the prize of feeling revived after dancing.

Flash forward to more recently in January, I had my solo selected for the Emerging Artist performance at my school. This solo was self entitled with my artist name “is0latedbeauty” because this would be my debut on the stage as is0latedbeauty. This was a risk because this was my name. This was who I am planning to be as long as life and my career allows me to be, and this would be the first time people would see is0latedbeauty. This wasn’t a talent show and dancing on the gym floors.This was a real performance, an audience of hundreds, and a big stage that could swallow me whole. It was a risk expressing my newfound artistry and style, and my piece had a very strong message that I subliminally expressed in that dance and that many probably overlooked. But I took it and I don’t regret it. It was the best thing that has happened to me so far, and it is a period of time I will never ever forget.

Lastly, I think that my personal style and artistry is a risk. I am very unorthodox, and I tend to rebel against technique. Yes, I see and I am aware of the importance of technique, but I want people to see beneath that when they see me dance. I want people to know that there is so much more to it than technique.

Tell us what changes you will like to see in your career?

I wish to be more vulnerable and honest. I am working on not being afraid to put myself out there and not being ashamed to ask for help or feel weak when I need guidance. I hope I continue to take risk and diminish my comfort zone completely as an artist. I hope to continue to find MYSELF as an artist and stay true to MYSELF. I wish to stop comparing myself and my journey to other dancers because at the end of the day, I am me, I’m is0latedbeauty, and that will never change.

What are your goals in dance?

I hope to graduate high school and go off to college to major in dance possibly in a big city. I would love to dance with a company for some time, but I wish to be freelance and even  have my own company one day. My company with focus on the concept of isolation. My pieces will always have an isolate, someone set aside, someone not like the rest. I wish to be a company that focuses more on the art and raw emotions of dance and the dancers versus the technique and tricks dancers have and can do. I also wish to write books about my evolution as a person and as a dancer. Writing is another one of my passions, so I wish to start combining my two arts more and in different ways. I hope to also have my own dance wear line for dancers of all shapes and sizes. I just wish to inspire others. I wish to tell my stories through my art.

What is the future of dancing?

There will no longer be an image of a dancer engraved in anyone’s head because we will be fee from the mindset that you have to look this way, be this size, be this color, or even dance this way to be considered a dancer. We will accept that ANYONE can be a dancer. I hope dancers are accepted as artist because we tend to be thrown into a category of our own and I think it is because many are unaware that dance is indeed an art. I hope we become free from the mindset that technique makes and defines us as a dancer because it doesn’t. Many dancers, like myself, feel so pressured to have the perfect technique or worry so much about consistent training (lucky for me I attend a fine arts school, but I still desire more and we all know that being a dancer isn’t cheap!!) and how they are going to pay for it. I hope we become more accepting of those who just love the art and are trying their best. And lastly, the future for dance will consist of many stories to tell from this era of time. And I can’t wait to see these stories be told through movement.

What would you like to say to young girls starting in dance?

GO FOR IT!!! Do not be afraid, just go for it! No, it will not be easy. You will fail a lot. You will cry a lot. You will get told no and you will get rejected a lot, trust me I know. But you will also smile, laugh, get back up, and succeed as well. You have to want it for YOURSELF. You have to do it for YOU. Being young, it is easy to fall into traps of distraction, and you will sometimes. I have. But you must do your best to stay focused and focus on the things that truly matter. If you fall off, get back on it like you never go off of it. You have to believe in yourself and you can’t be depended on the beliefs and confidence others have in you. You won’t always get it the first time, but try again. You will discover why you didn’t get it the first time or receive something completely new. As you get serious, many things in your life will change, but change is good. Most changes will occur for the better. You may not think so at first, but trust me, eventually you will see it. BE YOURSELF! Don’t compare YOUR JOURNEY to anyone else’s because your journey is yours, you are you, and it will never ever change. It is not very easy being accepted in the dance world no matter how big or small you dance world may be, but you gotta keep pushing and proving yourself. Don’t let what others think and say tear you down. Keep your head held high and remind yourself everyday in whatever way of who you really are. Lastly, HAVE FUN!!! Enjoy it all. The art of dance is something so beautiful, and it is an art form that will not only sculpt you into a beautiful dancer physically, but a strong-minded mature young lady as well. It’s worth it. You are worth it. Love this art, and most importantly… love yourself.


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