Maliah Howard Interview
Before I started dancing, I was just a normal girl, that went to school, then came home and did nothing. I didn’t have any passions before dance came along, but once it did, I fell in love with it. Before I started dancing, I was shy, but dance took away my shyness. And now, I can model, act, and dance without being scared to be me.
What are your strengths as a dancer?
My strongest style of dance is contemporary. Contemporary is a mix of so many different styles; I can do whatever I want with it. I can choose certain forms that I want to incorporate into my movement, and I just dance. This is my strength because nobody is telling me what to do; I can just let go.
How often do you practice & what does practice consist of?
I train Monday through Thursday for 6 hours each night every week, and I also go to conventions and competitions over the weekend. I am a very competitive person, and so is my team. When we get closer to a competition season, we train harder, we have more rehearsals, and we dance for more extended amounts of time. It is hard work, but it’s all worth it at the end of the day.
What advice would you give to other young dancers trying to excel?
That you should never be afraid to be yourself, dance is the perfect way to show who you are. And also, don’t be scared to try new things, push yourself.
Where do you want to head in the future?
In the future, I want to be a choreographer and teach at conventions. Some of the biggest inspirations are all of my peers because they all are so different and talented, and I can improve by watching them be themselves. And my biggest inspiration is Misty Copeland because she showed the world that women of color could do great things.
Young women receive a lot of messages about what beauty is through the media. In your own words, how do you define beauty?
In my opinion, beauty is everything; beauty is everywhere; beauty isn’t based on looks, but who you are as a person. When I see confidence, I see beauty. When I see self-love, I see beauty. When I see women bringing other women up, I see beauty. I think I am beautiful, as well as everyone else around me.
How do you define success & do you see yourself as successful?
I define success as a source of accomplishment. You don’t have to be a grown woman with all the college degrees one could think of that has tons of money and a giant house to be successful. Success could be as little as getting a good grade on a test or getting a new belt in karate. It’s the little things that count. You don’t have to have it all to be successful. I think everyone is successful in some way. The best thing to do is try.
I started dancing when I was four as a gift for cleaning my room and my sister, and I fell in love with it. I do ballet, jazz, hip hop, lyrical, contemporary, musical theater, tap, and ballroom.
What do your practices look like?
I practice almost every day. When I practice, I’m either working on a move I really want to get, or stretching my feet, legs, and back or doing strengthening. I practice in tons of different ways, but I always try to practice something. Practice can be really difficult, but I always feel some type of satisfaction later. When I practice with others, it will be in class. When I practice by myself, I am usually at home with my tools, and I also work out at the gym on Sundays, so I stay fit for dance.
What are some things you are proud of in your dance career so far?
I have won at the conventions multiple times and I have made top 20 at The Dance Awards.
Can you explain what a convention is and what happens there?
A convention is a weekend for learning from amazing choreographers and growing with other amazing dancers around the country and competing for the winner or a scholarship. What happens is you take a class from a lot of different teachers, then you have an audition for the best dancer of the weekend. You also have competition, and you compete for first place in a category.
What Are The Dance Awards?
The dance awards are nationals for BTF. You have a series of auditions, including a solo round that you compete for best dancer or studio of the year. They’re important to me because it gives you a chance to show your talent and to tour the next year with the amazing faculty.
Who are some dancers you look up to?
I look up to my sister. I’ve learned so much from her. But she always inspires me to dig deeper into my own personality in dance and in my technique. And to always put myself out there even when I’m scared, she also teaches me how to cook! It definitely has made me a more confident person, and it helps me really get everything out. I also look up to Ella Horan, Bella Klassen, all Break The Floor teachers, and all of my amazing teachers at my studio, Michelle Latimer Dance Academy.