hümble beginnings.

2003: 18 years old, filled with all the drive and geigh in the world.
Three lifetimes ago, I was the owner/choreographer of The Knowledge Dance Team (named for my then favorite song by aunt Janet) which eventually became The Grüvment Dance Company. I don't have the strength or time to relay the entire saga, but I'll summarize: group of high school kids, inspired by Janet, auditions, competitions trophies, national championships, heavy doses of bleached/ripped denim and fishnet and hair dye and intentional mismatching and overly ambitious fashions, infiltration and McBeefy Bronx-born psycopath "dancers," fabricated résumés, compulsive lies, bisonly dancers meeting Janet Jackson, resulting restraining orders, the eventual destruction of a dream, disbanding of a family of sorts, and so on. The upside to it all is that the family's closer than ever and she is trapped in the Bronx, girthier than ever, three stretch marks away from morbid obesity, having effectively alienated all friends and zapped any chances at fame, still the opposite of successful. See how things work out?

These were some of the most important years of my youth. I was...ah..."sexually liberated," wildly independent, in what was then essentially a marriage (two years), and, most importantly, happy. Friendships have faded, vanished, been tested, rebuilt and strengthened (or not), waist lines have doubled in size...it's been a wild ride since our days in the exercise room of Northampton Community Center. With all I lost (and spent) in the aftermath, I wouldn't trade this time period for all the red velvet goodness in the world. At least, I don't think I would. We were invincible. Shaping our lives and exploring this world together. Dance was our everything. We'd dance anywhere, having impromptu rehearsals in the hallways at school, mall parking lots, street corners, food courts, backyard patios, living rooms. We'd even claimed a "dancer's table" in the cafeteria at school at one point. We were those kids.

In browsing my Photobucket account, I came across a folder with pics dating back to 2002, when it all began. I was 17, a senior in high school, and through forming this company, made some friends who've become closer than family to me. Seeing these photos almost ten years later is immensely humbling. We had not yet, apparently, cultivated a sense of self-awareness or self-editing. For us: the more (bleach, dye, fishnet, etc.) the better. We would literally wear anything. Shirts with one sleeve. Half-shirts and half-jackets. Fishnet stockings as shirts. Fingerless gloves. Hand-painted jeans. Camouflage and mo' camouflage. Underwear on the outside. All in the name of "edgy." It did pay off: we won Best Costumes at a competition in 2003, but that's beside the point. The aforementioned bisonly life-ruining chick even had a thing for squinching and squeezing her Quadruple Bacon Cheeseburger ass backfat-rich frame into bite-sized garments. You live and you learn, right?
Anywho, just found an old write up in the local paper from 2003: HERE

Here are some of the less cringe-worthy images from more carefree (skinner) times.

March 28, 2003: Portsmouth, Virginia.
enjoy the pizzles, bizzles.

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