My name is Sydney Richardson, and I am 18 years old. I'm based in Hawthorne, CA and am an independent dancer.
My Instagram handle is @sydneymrichardson
Can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I started dance at the age of 10, asking my parents to put me into classes after feeling in my spirit that dance was where I needed to be. I trained with 2 companies in the Southern California Area, started my own dance company Company 17(previously known as Da Vinci Dance Troupe), while a junior in high school, and grew in my knowledge of the dance industry through the mentorship and coaching from professionals in the industry. (My dance company, Da Vinci Dance Troupe, was through my high school and it's no longer active so there are no auditions.) Although I was on fire for dance at age 10, I became extremely serious when I turned 15/16 and knew I wanted to dance and choreograph professionally.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I love this question because it's very relative to my mindset. I have had a rollercoaster of a ride in my dance training so far. Dance was never easy for my family or me. My mom had worked at my first studio to pay for tuition, and at both studios I attended, I was on scholarship. Being a part of a low-income family, I was always aware that I would not be able to compete or travel to conventions, so I made up for the "what I can't do's" for the "what I can make the most of's". So I took advantage of all classes, training, and opportunities available to me and continue to do so. I don't let finances get in the way of my dreams and goals, and if that means training on YouTube because money is tight, then I'm willing to do that(which recently has been the case).
What personal limitations if any did you go through in your young career?
My mind 100000% had been a personal limitation that I am now overcoming. I have had pretty negative self-talk throughout the 8 years I've been a dancer. Although I'm extremely ambitious and an optimistic person, my self-talk ripped me apart if I ever made a mistake in a dance, if I didn't do as well as I would want to while rehearsing or performing, and when creating. I've definitely been able to learn how to manage this negative self-talk thanks to my mentors and coaches, and I'm so grateful to have grown in this area.
Has anybody ever tried to limit you on what you could do? If so how did you fight it?
I have had experiences when others would limit me on what I could do through their words. I had been told that if I didn't reach a certain skill of dance, or reach a certain level of flexibility, then I am not enough. I fought this by really focusing on my faith through prayer, bible study, and quiet time with God. Honing into who God says I am, helped me to keep going. God says I am enough, so I believe that I am enough no matter what, and whenever those past limitations come up in my mind, I remember who I am in Jesus Christ.
How do you conquer negative talk?
I conquer negative talk by first understanding where my negative self-talk is coming from and redirecting my talk. For example, most of the time, I have negative self-talk, it stems from comparison. When I tell myself, "Hey, you are special, and God has a special plan for you. Others are on their God-ordained path and timing. You are on the right path for you", I can no longer listen to this negative talk. Dance can become toxic through social media, but as long as you remember who you are and focus on yourself, the negative talk is simply background noise.
What is your favorite quote?
"Nobody's posting their failures. Don't let the internet rush you." - Author Unknown
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I am attending the University of California - Los Angeles(UCLA) as a Dance major apart of the World Arts and Cultures/Dance department in the School of Arts and Architecture. I am also an assistant for Claire Fabre Photography. I have goals of signing with an agency in L.A., getting a certificate in physical therapy, dancing with a professional company, becoming a dance filmmaker, creating my own dance show, and continuing to grow my own company and making it inclusive for all.