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Meet Trailblazer Nykisha Banks

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nykisha Banks.

Nykisha, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Hurricane Katrina Overcomer? Yep, that’s me! Former dancer now a dance teacher, yep, that is me too.

After evacuation, it was extremely hard to overcome every single moment that came with this devastating and nationally catastrophic moment in history, including the desire to never ever dance or teach again.

It was in this dark moment that I still searched for dance and hit several painful walls in a bigger city that I was forced to call a new home because mine was gone. I would get up and try again only to become even more devastated. I kept fighting because I knew this was the very thing that I did every day after a long day at the job. This was the very thing I loved when there was nothing or no one to amaze or impress behind a closed door. This was the very thing I did to help others when there was no money to be made so I felt it was worth the shot! But I walked away from it and stated that I was done and clearly Hurricane Katrina and all the obstacles that came along with it decided that I was done with it too.

One day, after I stopped looking for dance, dance found me. No one really knew me but there was a voicemail that stated, “Hi, I was REFERRED to you by someone. I am searching for a dance teacher and I am interested in meeting YOU.” I was a referral in a bigger city where no one knew meEven today, we are still at each other’s side.

As time progressed, I am still actively teaching dance. I am gainfully employed at a dance studio currently and I am also a freelance instructor/choreographer under my own entity. I am very faithful to the craft. I am grateful for it finding me and I loving it again even after trying and confusing times.
I am all for accountability. That is a big piece for me. I am held accountable to certain standards as a leader. And I hold every dancer that I engage accountable. Why? Because in order for this to work everyone has to fulfill their piece of the puzzle. I can’t allow them to give 40% and they don’t deserve that from me.

I was approached with an idea of choreographing a dance to a song that was near and dear to me after Hurricane Katrina. It wasn’t just a random song, it was a big deal and my healing was in this. However, when I first choreographed it, I was very disappointed with the outcome so it was put away until I got further revelation on the right timing and with which dancers. I was approached again, and this time was God’s right timing. It was a song called, “Grace”. I choreographed it in deep meditation with each dancer in mind at a local coffee shop with a friend that sat across me and read her bible.

It was taken to competition and it was an undefeated dance. It received a Grand Champion Win (for those who don’t know, it’s an award presented to the group with the highest scoring number) for their entire division. It won 1st Place in its Category, 1st Place Overall, I received a Choreography Award and a Golden Ticket to World Dance Championship in New Jersey. It was taken to another competition where it won a Platinum Elite and 1st Place Overall. Finally, it made it to the World Dance Championship. I won a World Dance Championship Choreography Award at the WORLD DANCE CHAMPIONSHIP and it Won 1st Place Overall yet again!!! Out of 3 undefeated wins, I received 2 choreography awards and one of them was on a World Level. I remember when I purchased the video and showed it to others, not only did it fulfill its purpose, but it brought tears to so many people’s eyes and touched so many hearts that understood its message when they watched the video outside of any competition that it went to.

If I wouldn’t have moved forward through total life devastation, and embraced dance again once it found me (three times), my sweet sister friend wouldn’t have gotten me to this moment of the journey to speak about the triumph.

I am a humbled and proud dance teacher, not because of the wins. Wins come and they go. they happen and sometimes they don’t, some studios are competitive studios and some are not ( I have taught at both) but a healthy mind, integrity, love, appreciating the art, becoming stronger technically, and holding them accountable shall remain.

As time progressed, I am still actively teaching dance. I am gainfully employed at a dance studio currently and I am also a freelance instructor/choreographer under my own entity. I am very faithful to the craft. I am grateful for it finding me and I loving it again by trying and confusing times. So when people say, “She’s the nice one”, “She’s the most patient” or “She’s so wrapped up in her girls”…. there is a reason. It was Grace, and loving it all again after I had NO desire to do any of this again!

Has it been a smooth road?
Starting the journey is very hard. Just because dance found me doesn’t mean it was easy to embrace again. I believe in telling anyone and even myself to believe in yourself. Everyone is not going to. Take pride in who you are even when others are joking or serious about the person you are or have become, and always remember to pray about a true support system or small circle to pull you up when it’s hard to pull yourself up and where you’re able to reciprocate.

It’s so funny how some quotes and cliches can have true meaning. Ever heard “Nothing worth having comes easy”? It was very hard to get to this place.

My journey was extremely hard because I felt like I began to lose my identity in such a tragedy. The world watched and there were some really negative judgments on survival. And I never wanted to lose my identity because of having to be PATIENT with certain processes.

My advice would be to remain loyal to yourself, love yourself, and never wrap yourself up in things or people that will define you when others may disagree with your personality, or how you choose to brand yourself.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I am a very detailed dance instructor. My goal is for my work to always be seen as something worth watching, not just cute or justifying that the craft looked okay because it was cute, or they were little, a beginner, intermediate, or advanced dancer. I always want a fun, entertaining, or wholesome message conveyed. I want people to understand my favorite hashtags: #Danceislife #Danceislove

I was told that I am “the nice one.” I call it taking pride in the patience that I had to develop to make things work. Otherwise, it just wouldn’t work. Developing any type of patience is not for the faint at heart. My heart has a warmth like non-other when I see growth in a beginner. It’s not an easy road but it can have its rewards. I am patient with dancers when there is a true understanding of you not doing something because you simply don’t know it, not when you do know but not focused or simply won’t do it.

I am all for accountability. That is a big piece for me. I am held accountable to certain standards as a leader. And I hold every dancer that I engage accountably. Why? Because in order for this to work everyone has to fulfill their piece of the puzzle. I can’t allow them to give 40% and they don’t deserve that from me.

Which women have inspired you in your life?
The women that inspire me the most are the women in my family. Like my mother and the others that played a huge part of raising me. I even feel like the family’s daughter even though everyone had their own daughters. I love them all so much. I know we are speaking of women but I have to shout out my uncle for times he even combed my hair and walked me to school some days.

My dance teachers have inspired me, To see them laugh and have so much joy when they poured into us. To see them cry, even now, but get up from it and say that they will not give up on their dream when the weight of their entire studio sometimes sit heavily on their shoulders. Just to see them thrive. This is why I am here. To see them older than I and STILL dance, STILL teaching Horton classes, STILL bringing holiday cheer, STILL making boss moves, STILL putting on major productions, and STILL making such a difference in the lives of many. They are living successful, stable, and happy lives. It pushes me because I want to be like my dance teachers.

One other inspiration is one of my favorite Multi-Award Winning Authors, Radio Personalities, Empowerment Speakers, and Mental Health Advocates, just to name a few. To see how hard she works for her purpose and her dreams is so inspiring. Her success, inspires my success.

Contact Info:

  • Website: www.inthekeyofdance.com
  • Email: keyofdancellc@gmail.com
  • Instagram: in_the_key_of_dance
  • Twitter: keyofdance


Image Credit:

JAY-OGRAPHY, DEE TAYLOR (DEE THE PICTURE MAN)

Getting in touch: VoyageATL is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

2 Comments

  1. Lamenda

    July 31, 2018 at 4:47 pm

    Ms. Nykisha,
    I am very proud of you!!!!

    I thank GOD!!!! He has truly blessed you!!! GOD knows
    Your heart!!!!

    I am glad you pressed through the must difficult times and saw your dream!!!!! Glory!!! Glory!!! Glory!!!

  2. Venessa

    August 3, 2018 at 2:16 am

    Congratulations to you!! Press, push, pray in your purpose. God Bless your journey.

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