Jessica Maiato, an aspiring, talented 23 year old Choreographer, Dancer, and Creative Artist is our featured Titika Girl for this month. Hard work and sweat aside, it takes a lot of discipline to be where she is at now. In this blog, Jessica shares her journey in choreography and how she balances work and play into a versatile. active. life.
Featured: Eve Medium Impact Bra
When did you start to dance and what genres of dance do you do?
I started dancing when I was about 4 years old. My lovely mother tricked me into attending a ballet class. The passion was planted in me ever since. I have trained in Ballet, Jazz, Hip Hop, Jazzfunk, Dancehall, and Contemporary. Currently, my two favorite styles to work with are Jazz-Funk and Contemporary.
How did you find your calling to become a Choreographer?
I was always creative from a very young age. At school, I was always the designated person to make up dance routines for all the class mates. It just fell right into my lap – and it was something I was extremely comfortable doing. As I grew up, I continued to further my knowledge so that I could have the ability to create even more.
What does it take if someone is interested to get into this business?
That’s a great question. You need to have a great amount of dedication even just for any dancers in general. Everything comes with practice. Just like any other sports, dance is not easy! To keep yourself physically ready and inspired, you have to train consistently. There will be multiple times you feel like giving up. But I have seen through my own eyes – If you persevere, there will always be progress and improvements.
You also have to have “tough skin”. As an artist, you have to understand that everyone is always going to have an opinion of his or her own on your work- no matter how great it is. You have to be very careful not to let the opinion of others hinder your creative process.
What is your favorite healthy recipe?
I have to say I LOVE my smoothies! Always on the go, I rarely have time to make breakfast – but that doesn’t mean I skip it! Currently my go to is my peanut butter banana smoothie! Super easy to make: 1 banana, 1-tablespoon peanut butter and 3 cups of almond milk. A good friend of mine Jon Mango - who is an Online Fitness Coach suggested this to me, and it has been my morning routine ever since!
CHOCOLATE. The sad part is, this isn’t even a secret…I always have a backup chocolate bar in case of emergencies!
Favorite music when working out?
A lot of people make fun of me for this…but I actually don’t work out to super high-energy music. I usually play Jill Scott, Lauryn Hill, Russ, H.E.R, or other similar artists. I just feel it puts my mind at ease, and helps to clear my thoughts so I can focus on my workout.
Featured: Simone II Crop Legging
What is the biggest satisfaction you get from being a dance instructor for younger children?
I think the best part about teaching in general is being able to experience and see the progress that my students make. There is no better feeling then seeing a young dancer bursting with joy because they have finally achieved something they have been working on. Being the teacher responsible for sharing that knowledge with them is truly rewarding and heartwarming.
What was the most rewarding occasion you recall from your career?
As I am still very young, and only just beginning this journey – the most rewarding occasion would have to be choreographing a solo piece that was very near and dear to my heart. It was a very personal piece to me. Being comfortable enough to share something from my life, and seeing my student execute it on stage was very fulfilling.
How do you see yourself in 5 years?
In 5 years I definitely see myself expanding my Entertainment Company. Being able to provide dancers with consistent work, and creating on a daily basis.
Who inspires you and how do you inspire your students?
My biggest inspirations are my friends, and choreographers within the dance community. Currently, two dancers who inspire me are a brother-duo I have known for years. Flow XS- they teach, choreograph, and perform. If you get a chance, please check them out! They are young creative artists – as are most of my friends that I look to for constant inspiration. It is extremely important to surround yourself with people that inspire you in any way.
What is the one quote that keeps you going?
“Take failure gracefully, and success peacefully.” – Loginus Fernandes
If you have not become a choreographer, what would you be?
I can’t even imagine dance not being present in my life, to be honest. If I absolutely have to choose…maybe the film industry. I love being behind the scenes and experiencing the process it takes to create a finished product!
You can check out Jessica's work here on her YouTube Channel!