As many early mornings and late nights that we've spent planning, rehearsing, filming, creating ... well, you'd think we'd know everything about each other by now! Strangely enough, although we all agree that Team Shazzy is like family now, there are many times when we still find ourselves very much still getting to know each other.
Last month, I had a chance to sit down and talk to Vera Rose about her decision to become a professional dancer and choreographer. We'd spoken about it a few months back, and I knew then that this was a message that needed to be shared.
So many people are faced with this decision - whether to pursue what you *know* you are born to do? Vera spoke very candidly about the pivotal moment in her life that prompted her to leave what she thought to be an ideal career path and to follow her passion for dance.
Sometimes it takes a life changing event to push us into our destiny.
What led you to dance as your profession? When did you make the decision to dance as a profession?
I've been dancing since I was 4 years old and even when it was time to start making real life choices like what college I was going to attend, I always let dance help me make those decisions. So I chose a school where I could study what I wanted but also had a good dance element as well. I chose to remain in the city of Atlanta because I wanted to audition for pro teams and I felt that in some of the other cities I was considering the pro teams were too far away from the other thing I would be doing to do it. So I thought "well that won’t work because I wouldn't be able to dance". There was an extreme amount of time where I just dealt with dance as a hobby even though I was later able to acknowledge that it was always a thing I sought after to make my decisions.
What was the period of time where you were treating dance as a hobby?
That was probably my whole life until 2008. It was always my balancing activity. So no matter whatever else was going on, dance was my outlet. At that point I did not think a hobby was really worthy of being a career choice. So I was working with some traditional ideas and I felt like my career choice had to look a certain way. I was going toward that but it never felt right. I never felt like I was becoming a better me when I was going in that direction.
How old were you when you realized you wanted dance to be your profession and not just a hobby?
I had graduated from college and done some post graduate work. I had begun chiropractic school in Atlanta and I’m thinking I’m just going along and doing what I was supposed to. While I loved Chiropractic, I realized I felt like I was moving further and further away from what felt right and happy to me and what was fulfilling me. I didn't believe that work was supposed to feel that way. I didn’t believe work was supposed to make me miserable.
One day I was on my way to the school and I got into a bad car accident. It was like a huge slap upside my head. It really felt like the absolute moment of "you’re done". You’re done dragging yourself to this place. You’re done fighting to pull yourself into something that doesn’t feed who you really are or who you want to be and become.
That day I never went back to the school and I stopped exploring everything else. I decided I had to make dance work. I was afraid for some time that dance was going to become something I dreaded. But it hasn’t yet. I had to accept what I was supposed to be doing and then just go ahead and do it.
What role do you think your faith played in your decision to dance for a career?
I had some significant struggles when I was in school. And this is why God is amazing, because He is going to bless us even when we’re in the wrong place. He was still blessing me when I was in the situation where He was clearly highlighting something else for me but He continued to keep me where I was. But I had to realize what was really being blessed in the struggle. It was always dance. Anything I did with dance was golden. So when I got into a really bad car accident on my way to school, I realized that was the last straw. It was time for me to make a shift and even the shift, it was about faith. Even though I had no idea what it would look like, I knew that my needs would always be met. I stepped out on faith and tried this thing I was scared to do my whole life.
Do you think that the accident was something God had happen to wake you up?
On some level I think He allowed it to happen for that. Of course He could have prevented it all but I still would have been headed to the school and kept trying to fixing something I needed to stop. So it really allowed me to break free.
Have you had any regrets?
No I haven’t. In fact my brother and I had some conversations that my degree would be on my shoulders until I completed it but I never had that feeling. I’ve been a happier more fulfilled person since that decision made itself for me. I’ve been more focused and driven.
What would you tell someone who is struggling with a similar decision to fulfill a passion versus choosing another path that may be more practical?
The first thing is to be reasonable and realistic. So for me dance was very different today than when I was a young dancer growing up. It didn’t look like a full-time career growing up so I didn’t think I could do it full time.
Also, free yourself to know what you are truly passionate about. If there is something that you’re always driven to do and would do for free, really explore that.
Lastly, do explore every possibility. So I don’t have any regrets because I went to school and tried it. I did give myself a fair chance to fully experience that to give myself a fair chance to know this was the way to go.