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Meet Michelza Mitchell of Dance With Michelza in Augusta

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michelza Mitchell.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was the pastor’s child who danced for the Lord on Sunday and did double turns to Prince’s “Baby I’m A Star” Monday through Friday at competition rehearsals. Hilariously ironic but also awesome. #Balance

Growing up I wanted to be several things: entertainer, fashion designer, model, business owner, actress, etc. Nothing has changed since. However, I had to prioritize.

Entertainment prevailed in the form of dance: I began dancing at six, joined a competitive dance company at nine, and continued dancing throughout my childhood in styles such as ballet, tap, jazz, modern, African, etc.

On the flip side, I loved learning in school, and I excelled! Fun fact: I skipped 5th grade. However, I felt like my creative and scholarly sides couldn’t possibly merge. I always kept them separate. How can I be an entertainer/fashion designer/model/business owner/actress AND a scholar? Oh, the woes of my 14-year-old self, trying to figure out life!

The first indicator that the two sides of myself could be merged presented itself around age 15. I can remember being in dress rehearsals, and while another group was on stage dancing, I would be making critiques on people’s dance technique… in my head, of course. I wasn’t being judgmental; I was simply curious about how to improve movement. This curiosity was the spark that brought me to where I am today.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
No. My biggest struggle has been making it all make sense. My parents always encouraged me to pursue all my passions, but I still felt like I had to pick something, one thing, and stick with that forever. I’ve learned from my mother to keep all the passions alive but to focus on what’s opening for me in the now.

Remember when I was judging people’s dance technique at 15? Remember when I couldn’t seem to merge creativity and scholarship? Those have now evolved into a pursuit of Performing Arts Physical Therapy, a segment of the Dance Medicine field. I want to specialize in the rehabilitation of dancers. In one profession, I’ve been able to merge two paths that are meaningful to me.

But what happened to fashion design, modeling, etc.? Nothing! Those passions are still there. But Performing Arts Physical Therapy is what’s opening for me RIGHT NOW. When the timing is right, the doors will open for me to pursue my other passions, as well. What an exciting life to look forward to!

In the past, I spent so much time worrying about how everything was going to work and would often bypass developmental opportunities in front of my face. I’m now embracing where I am. Only in the last two years have I become comfortable taking this unconventional path.

Tell us about your company. What do you do, what do you specialize in, what are you known for, etc. What are you most proud of as a company? What sets you apart from others?.
My company is called “Dance With Michelza”, a series of beginner-level dance “camps”. Some camps last 4 months, some a few weeks.

My specialty is also what I’m most proud of: providing options in communities lacking many options. I host my classes in South Augusta, a part of the city that is too many miles away from most dance studios in the area. You’d be surprised at how many young people want to take dance classes, but their parents’/guardians’ schedules leave no room to drive across town right after work. For other students, it’s money. The cost of traditional dance classes goes beyond the household budget. I find joy in giving people the option to try dance right where they are.

In the future, I’d really like to travel to nearby cities and provide summer camps for similar areas. The goal is to give young people a chance to try dance or dance without long-term commitment while still learning the fundamentals, emphasis on FUN!

The same applies to the dance community at large. While the Dance Medicine field is rapidly expanding, most dancers still don’t have access to a rehabilitation specialist who understands the language, culture, and demand of the dance world. To be a resource for dancers is incredibly important to me.

What sets me apart? The trajectory of “Dance With Michelza”. As I progress into my physical therapy career, I’ll still host camps but the company will evolve into a dance training center focused on dance therapy: Preventative training and conditioning to promote dancer health, performance, and longevity. Think a sports training facility, but for dancers. That gets me excited for the future!

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I believe in faith, favor, and God’s divine timing, not luck. I believe when you have a passion for something, it’s connected to your purpose and when you walk in that purpose, things work themselves out because you’re in alignment (work ethic still needed).

In years past, I felt stuck and “unlucky”, if you will, because I was running from my passions (purpose). As I attempted to fit into a mold that made sense to others but didn’t fit me, it seemed my life was at a stand-still. Only when I let go and began pursuing my passions, trusting that God would sustain me since He called me to it, did I experience what some would call “luck”. That’s when the unexpected connections and open doors, including this interview, happened for me.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Personal Photo C. Nixon Photography, Pamela Williams Photography, Artem Boxx Graphic Design, Joshua Chubb Photography, C. Nixon Photography, Nikola Stevens Photography, and Jolly Moments Photography

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