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Dwana Smallwood. This a woman who has that "in your face" kinda realness and yet a humble graciousness about her that makes you smile. She is friendly to my spirit which has chosen her as my favorite dancer....ever. A memorable moment I take from an Alvin Ailey dance documentary entitled Beyond the Steps, she channels her inner Dwana, the one whose movement comes from the loins of her childhood nurtured by the streets of Brooklyn and onto the concert dance stage.

Never mind how raunchy her movements looked on the surface, Dwana was being herself, her full self. With a capacity to be free, bringing an authentic street funk to her dancing she too knows how to pull the reigns in and show off technical proficiency with a magnetism that keeps the audience wanting for more. This what I love about her the most. Dwana is always Dwana. True to herself, constantly listening to her inner being and putting confidence into the mix.

In the blogpost about her transition from the Alvin Ailey company into the next chapter of her life she talks about the idea of fullness. Why she left a place that resonated with her soul the most, a place where her dancing was at home and where she was free to be herself. She was able to recognized this place...contentment....happiness...fulfillment. But instead, a transference of that energy into the that that caused her to end her time with the company and move on was more important.

I felt that this was courageous and honorable. An ability to use the momentum of life successes to carry into the next calls for a great deal of overcoming fear, fear of complacency, status, entitlement....all the things that feed our ego and not our souls. Dwana knew that her success in company life was preparation for the next chapter of success. With humility and faith in the "...something better" Dwana was empowered to step aside (not down) to let another dancer into experience the wonderful world of Ailey and open up the door to create a new world of dance for herself.

Thank You Dwana, for leading by example. For always being true to what's inside of you...and sharing the oxygen of dance with the rest of the world. I wish you much success with the Dwana Smallwood Performing Arts Center.



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