Today we’d like to introduce you to Sharon Jones.
So, before we jump into specific questions about what you do, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I’ve been dancing for as long as I can remember; the earliest dance memories I have are from the age of five. My dance career started in the church with liturgical, sign language, and mime. From there, I taught myself other forms of dance through learning choreography from music videos. In middle school, I started formal dance training and learned the fundamentals of various dance styles including ballet, modern/contemporary, jazz, and hip hop. My career as a choreographer began around that same time teaching liturgical dance to children and adults and then expanded through my teen years into adulthood working with schools, competitive dance teams, musical theater companies, and other artistic groups. My passion for dance expanded to a love of live artistic performance through musical theater in my twenties and I have since performed, written, and produced a number of theatrical stage plays. Today, my artistry also includes creative directing and event production for various artistic events such as concerts, and variety shows throughout the Southeastern United States.
Has it been a smooth road?
It hasn’t been the smoothest journey, but I’m grateful for every step. I struggled for years with self-esteem issues as a result of bullying growing up. I believed the lies. I was too tall, too thick, didn’t have perfect skin, wasn’t qualified to pursue my artistry because I didn’t have the same level of professional training and experience. So, that turned into years of comparing myself and my talent to those around me, questioning whether it was good enough. It wasn’t until I embarked on a journey self-discovery and love in my thirties that I learned to appreciate and treasure my gifts and realized my worth as a woman and as a spiritual divine soul. I often tell the young women I mentor and would encourage women everywhere that life is individualized, no two paths are the same, so don’t let comparison rob you of creating the life you want and love. Live life based on your own convictions, choices, and on your own terms.
Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I teach, perform, and create live artistic expression through dance and theater that will inspire, uplift, and motivate people spiritually, culturally, and/or emotionally. I am most proud of how many young artists that I have taught over the years that have gone on to pursue their artistic dreams. Some accredit me for unlocking something in them they didn’t know they had or was afraid to release. My artistry comes with informal mentorship to all that I am blessed to teach and I don’t take that for granted. I use every opportunity to be an epistle of authenticity to inspire my fellow artists and students to do the same.
Who have you been inspired by?
Audra McDonald was the first black musical theater actress I saw that looked like me and introduced me to the art form that I love. To this day, she gives me chills and I weep when I hear her perform. Seeing her in the Disney adaptation of Annie when I was a child opened a world to me that I never knew I could obtain. She is my reminder of why representation is so important.
My mother. She’s everyone’s ‘mama.’ As long as I can remember I’ve had to share her with others that sought her counsel and warm embrace. But her life in the last few years has been my biggest inspiration, as a woman in her 60s she relocated to a new city, broke out of her shell and became the butterfly she was destined to be. She is living her best life in a way I’ve never seen. She inspires me to create the life I want and that it’s never too late to do so!
Nina Simone. She was considered an unconventional beauty, like myself, and I love her authenticity and how she lived life unapologetically. She was an advocate for our culture, and a talented artist.
- Website: www.sharontranell.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/sharontranell
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/sharontranell
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/sharontranell