Diamond Lewis is a student representative on Moving in the Spirit’s board of directors and has recently finished out her term as the vice president of her class at McNair High School.
The past two summers Diamond, along with a handful of other dancers from Moving in the Spirit’s Apprentice Corporation, has been invited to go on tour due to her outstanding leadership and discipline.
As one of the older members of the company, Diamond is familiar with the tour process. “Last summer, when it came time for tour, I was pretty nervous,” says Diamond. “It was my first tour and my first time going out of state and being without my family. It ended up being a great experience and I had tons of fun.”
In preparation for tour and during tour, the dancers are able to work with phenomenal guest choreographers. Diamond felt especially moved by choreographer Amanda Lower, a professor of dance at Northwestern University.
“Her story was amazing and really touched my heart,” says Diamond. “We were getting ready for tour last year. She was the main sponsor for the Chicago leg of our tour. We were told that she wasn’t doing well; that her heart had stopped temporarily–she had died and come back. She felt better by the time we got there. We thought we would just be doing a short workshop with her, but she ended up setting one of her works [Thin Wire] on us. All within two hours. I wondered to myself, ‘How is that even possible?’ But, clearly it is possible. Nothing stopped her from dancing, and that really inspired me.”
On tour there is a need for quick thinking and leadership when things go awry.
“Last summer, Kai [Lewis] wasn’t feeling good on tour for a while,” says Diamond. “She told us her knees hurt and she wasn’t able to perform a solo [Ode to Louise]. But, because I was an understudy for her, I was able to swoop in and help. I had to do it twice, but I was prepared. Practicing during the year made it easy for my muscle memory to recall the dance, but mentally and emotionally it was tough. I was worried for my cast mate and it was my first solo in the Apprentice Corporation. Afterwards though, I was excited for the opportunity, and I am excited to do that dance again this summer.”
While dancing is a main focus of tour, the dancers are also given unique opportunities to connect with other young people.
“I am most excited about re-visiting Berea College. We worked with them last year for a few days during tour. There are even a few students up there I still talk to sometimes. I’m excited to build a stronger connection with that group this year!”
“I want the audience to see that we’re dancing for a reason,” says Diamond about performing on the road. “For me it’s social justice. But there are so many reasons to dance. I want them to be inspired and moved. I want them to dance with us.”
Support Diamond and the entire tour team at their upcoming Atlanta performance on June 27, 2014 at 8 PM at 7 Stages Theatre. Purchase your tickets online with discount code TOURSPIRIT by 6/25 and save 15%!