A rising star falls
I was born with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita and scoliosis. Since my tiny years I have been singing, acting, dancing, and putting on shows for my family. When I was eight, I was invited to dance with a company called Def Dance Jam Workshop in Harlem. This gave me the impression that dance was for everyone who wanted to dance (spoiler alert: it is) and I became trained in West African styles, hip hop, modern and jazz. In high school, I tried out for musicals and the dance team, but could tell that my skin color and body and mind didn't match the ideas the Musical Director and Choreographers had about who should be on a stage. Discouraged, I informally quit performance art when I was in sixteen, and although I got cast in plays and dance performances in college, a part of me always felt like being an artist shouldn't be an end goal. I had internalized the idea that I wasn't truly performer or artist material, and that any success I received would be because of pity or tokenism.
Back in the game and making it my own
While it's not untrue that I have experienced ableism, racism, and queerphobia in my official return to the stage in my mid twenties, moreover I have discovered that most marginalized stars and illuminators are and have to be self-made. I am lucky enough to have disabled (crip), queer, and Black community backing me up- never let anyone tell you that your experience exists in a vacuum: You Are Not Alone. And you don't have to wait to be discovered either! Envision what you want, ask for help, and start breaking off little, chewable chunks till you devour and realize your goal. This year alone I joined the Board of Directors of an up and coming arts, events, and media production company and crew PlayThey, became a NASM certified personal trainer, and had the privilege to be nurtured in Axis Dance Company's Disabled Choreographer's Lab (directed by Marc Brew), Intiman Theatre's Emerging Artist Program (directed by Sara Porkalob), and am currently choreographing for three shows, and playing a featured role in Seattle Musical Theatre's Legally Blonde the Musical (directed by Megan Brewer). It is my eventual goal to start a dance school with its own resident dance company and an animal sanctuary in its yard. I have moments of doubt all the time, but then I imagine not doing what I love, and that is infinitely worse than the possibility that I will fail by someone else's standards.
To join me on my journey and or to see about virtual or in person personal training or creative consulting, visit nevebebad.com.
*Photo credit for cover photo: McKenna Jane
*Makeup in photos: @makeupbydivadoll