Jerijah West attended Syracuse University with hopes of becoming a lawyer. However, along his college journey he was reminded of his true purpose; dancing. Let’s find out more about his path to dancing.
Tell me about yourself.
I was born and raised in Englewood, dancing has always been a form of expressions for me. When they performed the ultra sound, they told my mother, that I will lead the children of God through dance because I was moving so much. Dancing was not something that I chose but it chose me from the womb. It was a higher power that had control of my talents.
How did you get into the dancing industry?
While my mom was a student at William Paterson University, her professor gave her tickets to Batoto Yetu performance and that’s where I had my had my aha moment. At home my mom was always teaching us about African-American history, so to see people my age dancing and embracing their culture was truly an eye opener for me.
Did you have a back up plan, if dancing didn’t work out?
No I didn’t have a back up plan, considering that my purpose was God’s choice for me, it was always a matter of how I was going to achieve it. If that’s what my purpose is, I can’t have a back up plan.
You’ve had the opportunity to travel around the world and also perform for some very well-known artists, how do you remain humble?
Honestly, traveling is a blessings, you would be surprised how many kids our age don’t have a passport and it’s not because they are closed-minded but because of the lack of financial resources. Every time I travel I find a piece of myself, the cultural exchange can never be taken for granted.
Is there an artist or dance you want to work with that you have not yet had the opportunity?
I was blessed to perform for MJ for 30th anniversary and if the opportunity comes by I would love to work with Janet Jackson. However there’s a few people who I know that I will benefit from their experience Fatima Robinson, Tanisha Scott and of course Beyonce; she puts the P in Perfection.
What can you tell someone trying to break into this industry?
Be consistent, have faith and don’t compromise your integrity. Be a sponge and identify people you want to be a mentee or mentor.
If you can write a letter to your younger self what would you tell him about pursuing his dreams?
Understand how important resilience will be in your journey. Stay committed and be YOU! Trust the process, be humble an d always give Thanks.
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