Aug 4, 2020
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra interviews Reesie Davis, CEO and Founder of Praize Productions. Davis, who holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in education from Indiana University, taught for five years in public education prior to establishing her company. In her current role, Davis uses her platform to create award-winning productions infused with socially conscious messaging and to harness the arts to enrich underserved communities.
As a trained educator, Reesie believes that art should make people feel, think, and ultimately act to make society better, and being on the southside of Chicago, she has witnessed firsthand the positive effects that the arts can have on a community. On the podcast, Reesie walks through her journey in education and dance that led her to this unique position and shares some invaluable thoughts around the importance of having a strong work ethic, partnered with a strong belief in yourself.
“I knew I wanted to go to our underserved communities to help young artists of color and give them opportunity and exposure in the arts."
“[Founding the company] has been a struggle, but it’s been all worth it. Because when I see the young artists I impact in my students and see the impact that this organization has in people’s lives and in our community, I know all of those sacrifices I had to make along the way were worth it."
“Women are the heart and soul of this world; they influence everything.”
“In life, there is no wasted experience. I use my education degree every single day in teaching the arts."
“I think we all try to imagine this ‘arrival moment,’ but I really don’t think that ever happens. Because once you arrive to the dream you had, you realize there’s more to do… Life is a journey that doesn’t stop.”
“My advice to any business owner — even if they are an artistic director — is to always learn all aspects of the business."
“I believe in faith plus works. You can have all of the faith in the world and believe in a dream, but if you’re not willing to do the work, it’s not going to be possible. But you can also work your butt off, and if you don’t believe in yourself, it’s not going to happen. It’s a balance.”
Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed:
2:53: Reesie discusses her dance company — Praize Productions — and the catalyst for founding the company.
6:57: Reesie shares about her teaching career and how lessons that she learned as a teacher have bled into her career as a dance company founder.
10:36: Davis describes her thought process behind leaving her stable career to start something from scratch.
12:55: Davis discusses the earliest days of Praize Productions, when she was a teacher, a company founder, a graduate student, and a professional dancer — all at the same time.
18:36: Reesie describes most surprising and most difficult things about running her own company.
23:50: Davis explains how the arts are changing mindsets in Chicago’s southside.
25:38: Davis discusses the important role of women in the arts and, more broadly, in the world and how women are uniquely suited to impact literally everything.
27:43: Reesie shares some important advice for parents whose children are interested in pursuing a career in dance.
32:05: Davis explains the importance as a business owner of understanding every facet of business operations, even if you’re not directly carrying out those operations.
35:48: Reesie shares some advice for dancers wanting to achieve their dreams and impact their communities.
Bullet List of Resources –
Praize Productions Inc.