DANCER SPOTLIGHT

Getting to know company artist
MIYESHA MCGRIFF

Hailing from Kansas City, Missouri, not to be confused with Kansas City, Kansas, Miyesha has lived in Dallas, TX and New York City before moving to Memphis to join Collage in 2017. When Miyesha isn’t touring with the company or teaching students in the Collage Ballet Conservatory, you can find this foodie eating ice cream from Area 51, catching a movie or hanging out at Crosstown Concourse. Currently you can find Miyesha safely at home which makes it a great moment to get to know her a little bit more.

What’s your favorite part of being a professional dancer and why?
The best part of being a professional dancer has to be actually performing for me.  We work so hard to get everything right, make sure every hair is in place, make sure the objective of the piece can translate to others.  But once you’re on stage anything can and will happen. If you really give in to the vulnerability of being out there, you are giving your actual self to the audience.  It’s the best feeling of being able to communicate with them without even sharing a word.

Who’s your biggest fan? The one to surely bring you flowers in person or virtually?
My mom is definitely my biggest fan.  She tries to come to every Memphis performance.  Even when I tell her I’m only in one piece, she will try her hardest to be here.

Why should people experience a ballet performance at least once in their life?
I think that everyone should have at least one ballet experience in their lives because movement touches everyone.  Dance can make you uncomfortable, but it makes you feel.  It makes you connect with your emotions.  When you go to a ballet or dance performance, you might not understand what you’re seeing, but you will know how that piece made you feel while watching it.  There is no language barrier in moment. Only thought and emotion.

Miyesha's Favorite Quote

"DANCE as though no one is watching you, LOVE as though you have never been hurt before, SING as though no one can hear you, LIVE as though heaven is on earth."

Memphis is your new home, and we’re glad! What are some people, places or things that make it home for you?
Collage is what makes Memphis home for me.  It is really hard to meet people outside of work so besides a few friends I have here from Kansas City, Collage is my Memphis Family.  We do a lot together. We have movie nights, regular potlucks.  Kevin and Marcellus have us over for Thanksgiving dinner.  We were even connected to Host Families to have outside of work, but even those families are connected to Collage. I love it really!

How are you staying busy, sane and in shape, at home these days? 
I’ve definitely taken some time to touch projects I’ve wanted to work on.  Projects like rearranging my room which included purchasing and assembling a desk! I’ve done a couple of photo shoots, taken classes online and even taught some virtually.  But mostly during this time, I’m checking in on family members and loved ones.  For my own mental check, I actually have therapy sessions which are helping me a lot!

What’s one thing people might be surprised to know about you?
I love to eat!  Most people think that dancers don’t eat much and that we are completely healthy.  I LOVE to eat! French Fries are a weakness.

If you weren’t a professional ballet dancer what would you be doing?
Most don’t know that I’ve worked as an Administrative Assistant before and am also a certified grant writer.  I haven’t written any grants yet, but I’m sure I would be doing that.  Another thing I would love to be a mom. It’s very possible to become a mom and maintain a dancer career, you just have to find the right moment.

Must have item in your dance bags and dressing room?
Aspercream and the dongle that you use to connect your iPhone to an aux cord for music of course!

For the new dancer and even the young trainee, what advice would you give?
BE YOU! Be confident and know who you are and what you have.  Know what makes you, you! Don’t compare yourself to anyone.  You can only be you, so be the best you, you can be! This is probably the best thing you can come in with and learn from the other dancers and the Director will just add to what you have.

What music artists are you listening to right now?
Jhene Aiko is who I really listen to.  Really like that vibe of music. I also listen to J. Cole, SZA, Ella Mai, Lizzo, BEYONCE (OF COURSE!), it just depends on my mood.

Images captured by Raphael Baker. Video captured by Jacob Geyer for Pigeon Roost.

GRAND OPENING CELEBRATION!

Join us Sept. 25th, 12 – 4p for food trucks, tours, music and the largest celebration of dance with Collage Dance, Alvin Ailey, Dance Theatre of Harlem + more!

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