Simma X Savannah
Where to begin…I have danced my entire life, but I have never danced at the level I had during the NFL Simma training program. I have a similar story as most other dancers who started dancing at a young age, however my journey and the challenges that came with it set my story apart from most.
I was a competitive dancer from age 2 – 14, but I stopped dancing at a studio mainly because of physical changes that began happening. I was always the cute curly haired girl who was bursting with personality and solid technique, but around the age of 10 my body started to put on weight and by that age it was clearly not cute baby chub. Unfortunately, my dance teachers lost confidence in me, which then led to me losing confidence in myself. Imagine how you would feel and how hard it would be when you’re just a kid already dealing with self-image issues. My passion for dance started to fade. I wasn’t sure why I was suddenly being looked over in classes, routines and in life in general being that dance was all I ever knew, it was my life. I went from being a part of the “in” crowd at my highly competitive studio to the alternate on the side who was repeatedly replaced by any other girl because she “fit in” for the routine, even though it was obvious that I could out dance that girl in a second.
I stopped competing at the studio…I stopped dancing all together.
I went through a time in my life where I thought dance just wasn’t meant for me. I took a “break” from the one thing that was always constant in my life, and by doing so I lost control of myself completely. I put on even more weight, in already awkward stage of life, pre-teens.
Right before I was about to start high school, I realized that I should try out for the high school’s dance team. My older sister was in the program, and I heard the dance director was tough to say the least. She would push the girls to their max, just so they would become better dancers and young adults. I was up for the challenge! I soon realized that she cared very much about the appearance of her overall team. She wanted every dance team member to be the BEST there was. To be blunt, I needed to lose weight before even showing up to that audition and showing her my talents. I knew she would look right over me with how I currently was looking. I went on a weight loss journey and tried to lose as much as I could before I had to show up for auditions in my sports bra and booty shorts. It’s sad when you are a dancer, and the only thing you are worried about is how you look in that outfit, and not how you are doing dance execution wise, but that’s the truth of the dance world, and you just learn to accept it and remind yourself that you are an athlete. So, I showed up to the audition, and I still remember that day like it was yesterday. I made it on the dance team of 12 girls, as one of two freshmen on the team. This was my one of my first experiences overcoming weight. Those next 4 years of high school were the determining factor of why I love dance as much as I do, and love to push myself to the max because I know if someone believes in me like MS. T did in me, then I must prove it to myself that I am the best I can be. After my freshman year, I became dance team captain for the next 3 years.
Dancing in high school, was obviously dancing, but it was the opposite of the studio life I had previously known. This time around I learned what dance really was as an art form- the history, the foundational pillars; theory, costuming, lighting, kinesiology and inadvertently the reason behind why dance is meant to be in MY life. As it turned out I learned that that reason was not solely about competing against other studios and dancers. During my off-studio time- I was a member of a hip-hop dance team and continued for over 9 years, this is where I believe I grew as a person and dancer. Being a studio girl, hip-hop is not an area that you really work on. Being on this competitive hip-hop only team, challenged me to get out of my studio comfort zone, accepted me for the girl and figure that I am, and overall all about building each other up!
I then decided to move to the bay area and go to a college that had no dance associated with it all. My mind was focused on my future in business while dance became more of a hobby that I could do here and there for self-fulfillment. I thought that school would be my main priority and I could just take some dance classes on the side whenever I felt the need. I tried that, and it was fine for the most part, but I got in a “dance funk” as well as “athletic funk” to say the least. I didn’t challenge my body anymore because I had transitioned from dancing 4 hours every single day for 4 years straight to dancing or working out every now and then and that ended up being most of college. However, during my senior year one of my best friends and I decided to create and coach a dance team, which we still coach today at our alma mater! I found myself being more challenged in teaching the dancers rather than dancing on the team because it wasn’t the style or caliber I was used to.
Fast-forward two years out of college, real world realizations kicked in because I was working at a startup company in Palo Alto, living the life I that I went to college for, but something was off- I just wasn’t ME. I didn’t feel like the best version of myself… I didn’t feel like myself at all.
Then one day Simma Wear fell into life.
My roommate brought it to my attention and how this program offers classes for adults. Being an adult dancer in the Bay Area, there are very few dance classes that challenge me mentally, physically, and technically. I decided to try it out and attended a pop-up jazz technique class and I immediately knew that I needed to take as many Simma Wear classes as I could. As I started doing more research about the company I realized that I actually had been dreaming of being on the Warriors Dance Team for years, but had pushed this dream way out of my mind. I knew a couple people on the team that I danced with when I was younger and both were very different stylistically. Knowing how different yet similar they were helped me realize that I could be on that team doing what I love with them in the future, but my first thought was, “Well I need to lose a lot of weight for me to go out there and even try out or else I will make a fool out of myself.” I noticed that Simma had an NBA dance team training program that my roommate had decided on doing so I also decided to commit to the program especially since I’d know at least one person!
Right after the first SimmaWear training class I knew I was going to come out of this program a better dancer but didn’t think I would become an overall better person- a CHANGED person. Every single class was a challenge to say the least. Hours and hours of pushing yourself mentally and physically, while putting yourself out there to be critiqued is tough, but in that process, you learn so much about yourself and what your body CAN handle. It’s all mind over matter when you are in the Simma Wear program, and man when I say your mind and perspective changes, I mean it! The people you are surrounded with every class shares the same passion and focus that you do- therefore you instantly bond on another level without even trying.
Simmone is one of the hardest critics and mentors I have ever had, and I thank her from the bottom of my heart for staying true to herself and being 100% honest with every single person involved. This program broke me down to my core only to then build me back up. I came to the realization that the dream was not only to become a warriors dancer, but to become the best version of myself period. It was no longer about looking like all other dancers physically- it was more about being the best ME in every single way. That moto has stuck with me throughout the whole program and has made my life better in my daily activities as well. My attention to my overall health is better, I care about my mental health, I care about the fuel I put in my body, I challenge myself every single day to be “the best me” that I can be. This program has changed my dance ability by miles, but most importantly taught me to have confidence in myself and my dreams and that nothing can get in the way of your dream except YOU.
I currently have not reached my dream yet, but I know that there is a plan for it soon. I am currently pushing myself everyday in all aspects of my life, work, coaching, dancing, working out, and most importantly training my mind. If I stay true to myself, push myself, believe in my abilities like others believe in me, and surround myself with the sisters I made through this program I know I will be THE BEST VERSION OF MYSELF just in time to meet my dream team. When you fully commit to your goal there is no one who can stop you from reaching that goal besides you.
My advice to anyone that has any goal- is REFLECTION. Take a step back to see where you had started from, decide what that “end” goal is, and make the steps necessary to achieve that and don’t let anything stand in your way. Timing is everything, and sometimes it takes time- hell- sometimes it takes years to figure out just exactly what needs to be done internally and externally to be the best version of you. And most importantly, don’t forget to thank the people and even hardships along the way that have helped mold you into the new person you will become. It will all be worth it in the end to become the best YOU imaginable.
< — To learn more about the Simma Wear Training Program. Click here.