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Feb 25, 2020

This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra interviews Lawrence M. Jackson — a university professor, respected author, guest performer, and seasoned choreographer, who has created over 75 original works for the concert stage. Jackson currently serves as Associate Chair and Associate Professor of Dance at the University of Alabama, and, while not in the classroom, is an esteemed chorographer, having choreographed a number of works, including performances for the award-winning off-Broadway production Separate but Equal.

When it comes to dance, Jackson finds joy in riding in the background — in enabling others to be their best on stage, in mapping out steps and movements for dancers, in allowing the arts to better communities — and, on the podcast, he deep dives on why he finds so much satisfaction in helping others be their best. During the interview, Lawrence discusses his not-so-easy beginnings to dance, why he loves choreography, how he’s using the arts for community benefit, how to view rejection in a positive light, and much more.

Moving Quotes:

“I think choreography is an extension of your artistic voice, and it’s a way to prime your artistic voice."

“We sometimes have what we think is good and right for us, but often the universe has a completely different idea or plan for us. When you’re faced with rejection, it’s not that you’re not good enough; it’s just that the universe is steering you in the direction you’re supposed to go."

“You can do so many things with dance. People may say, ‘What are you going to do with that? You’re not good enough to be on the stage.’ I’m not on the stage, and this is so meaningful to me. This is so much more fulfilling to me than being on the stage."

“Choreography is problem-solving — and I love problem-solving — in a creative way."

“In dance or any art form, you’ll get rejected many more times than you’ll get a yes."

“Many of my role models have been the women in my life… Their tenacity to be able to overcome through many obstacles is what I remember most growing up. The way that they took a little bit and made a lot. The way that they navigated around adversity to make a way."

[On being teased for dancing in middle school] “I never lost sight of my passion, and I endured all of that in order to continue dancing."


Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed:

3:27: Lawrence discusses the origins of his passion for dance — where his dance journey began as a young child in Mississippi.

6:32: Lawrence retells his dance experiences as he moved through middle and high school and how pushing through teasing and adversity confirmed his love for the art.

10:05: Jackson explains how his original choreography has evolved over the course of his dance career.

15:48: Lawrence shares about how, in partnership with a nonprofit organization, he uses dance to breathe life into Atlanta’s inner city and how this gives him immense amounts of satisfaction.

21:40: Jackson describes a couple of his personal role models and how these role models have evolved over time.

26:26: Jackson shares a story about a failure and what this experience taught him about handling rejection well.

29:47: Lawrence discusses some future goals and aspirations, all in an effort to make a greater contribution to the University of Alabama’s dance program and to the arts, as a whole.

Bullet List of Resources – 

Lawrence M. Jackson