Today we’d like to introduce you to Mariah Henry.
So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I began dancing when I was three years old and according to my mother it was the only tile I would leave her side- to dance! I danced in a studio participating in competitions and taking classes in ballet, tap, jazz, ballet, and hip-hop. When I was starting middle school, I decided to quit dance as I was getting busy participating in school activities. Although I left a studio, I never really stopped dancing altogether. I kept dancing in my church and even began choreographing here and there when I was about 12 years old. I was always given the opportunity to dance any style I wanted to at church and never felt restricted by “praise dance” as most people would think when I mention dancing at church.
When I entered high school, I took up basketball and tried cheerleading for a while. Going to a college preparatory high school came with a lot of talk about what I wanted to major in and focus on once I graduated. My answer was always dance. I wanted to major in dance and could only think about a career in dance and eventually owning a dance company of my own. I auditioned for the dance program at the University of Houston, got accepted, and began my studies there in the fall of 2017.
The following fall of 2018, I was presented with an opportunity to start a non-profit dance company. I was only 19 at the time, now 20 years old. My father helped me a lot during this process as he has a lot of experience with being a self-employed business owner himself. I prayed about it, talked about it, thought about it and in due time the process was completed! It all happened very quickly. I never thought I would be able to say I’m a business owner before even graduating college, yet here I am!
Has it been a smooth road?
With the business itself, it has been a generally smooth road. I have a lot of internal and external support which I am incredibly thankful for. The struggles for me always stem with my own thoughts. The thoughts of “is this creative enough” or “will people really show up if I have a class or event?” However, what has kept me going was the fact that I am me and no one else is me. Therefore whatever I do can only be done by me. It’s always good to take a step back and think about what you personally like and are interested in. Find different outlets and art forms that inspire you in big and small ways. Do NOT compare your work or work ethic to others because again, you are not and will never be anyone but yourself. Never forget the reason you started.
For me, it was in part because I love dance but it was also because I love God! Hence the name ‘deeper than dance.’ It’s not only that I dance but I dance to give glory, to share positivity, to develop the body, mind, and spirit as one. For me, forgetting this leads to issues. I once heard from an artist and mentor of mine that “if you forget, you die.” Scary words, but very very true. Don’t forget why you started and why you enjoy what you do. Don’t forget the stories of your past otherwise passion and love will die with them.
We’d love to hear more about Deeper Than Dance.
Deeper Than Dance is a non-profit dance organization that focuses on the development and training of the body, mind, and spirit. We particularly focus on contemporary and urban/hip-hop dance styles. We have open classes as well as video projects used to share our creations with a wider range of individuals. We also give opportunities to dancers to perform.
I am most proud of my ability to share faith through my art. It is not “praise” dance that people typically associate with dancers who want their faith to be known through their dance, but the styles that I love and train in myself. My mentor Joshua Jung has taught me about how to use the arts for God and His word in order to bring joy that is not superficial or only lasts for the hour or two that you are taking class. I am constantly thinking about how to make dancers think not only about dancing but about ‘how to solve the issues of daily life’ through what they love and enjoy.
Which women have inspired you in your life?
Women who have inspired me in my life are all the women who stick to their faith and do so while incorporating it into their daily life and their area of work. Being able to freely express faith and love in their work in a natural way has shown me that it is most definitely possible to share your faith while keeping the genuine positivity we so want to share with other women, as well as raise the level of respect for our work.
- Private lessons – $20 p/hr
- Open class – $5
- Choreography services – starting at $40
- Website: www.deeperthandance.org
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://instagram.com/deeperthandanceorg?igshid=14mg07e84s5hy
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/deeperthandanceorg/
Allison Canales, Nathan San Miguel