Sharissa simply lights up the room with so much glee and positivity. Her zest, passion and love for dance is one that is awe-inspiring in itself and we cannot but love both the Art and the Artist here. Her big, bold and beautiful heart stays boundless like a rainbow thriving beyond the clouds!
Join us on this special Heart-2-Heart conversation, as Sharissa lets us in on her journey as a Creative, in the most relatable and inspiring way!
Your passion is one that can be seen and deeply felt in duality. We are in love with the aura of positivity, light, and effortless glow you carry when at work. Can you please share some highlights of how you began your creative journey as a dancer?
Sure. I began my creative journey as a dance artist at a very young age; I believe I was around four years old. Some highlights that come to mind for me are always new beginnings. I remember starting my first dance style as a kid. Which is a traditional Mexican folk dance that can be traced back to indigenous people that lived in New Mexico years and years ago. It was exhilarating, to say the least. The word means freedom, and I think that came from some freedom of expression that they let me have as they let me choose my own colour of dress, which was yellow, my favourite colour, and with that came a sense of belonging that I was now a part of something bigger than myself, and I try to carry that on with me through every creative endeavour. My favourite new beginning that I am on right now is exploring the world of shuffling, footwork, and EDM and the world is full of possibilities, so new beginnings have a way of reminding me about that.
Can you speak more about shuffling? We interviewed a dancer once, and he mentioned shuffling. Can you share more insights about it, and is it a new trend?
I think so, and I first found out about the EDM world around 2014 when I graduated from high school; I loved the music, never dived into that dance style, and then quickly jumped into the dance industry, but shuffling in itself feels right, hugs my soul, and I know that the EDM community as a whole has a mantra or a phrase that they use called “PLUR” (peace, love, unity, and respect). So, I know that the community as a whole is focused on inclusivity, love, and just positivity, and through this dance style, I’ve made many friends, and it is connecting me with many more people that I didn’t even realize that we have so many shuffling people here in LA, and it is really exciting; I am still pretty new to it, and I am so excited and in love with the whole movement.
What does Art mean to you?
Art is life, and to me, life is about creation. I believe as humans we are born to create; we create our clothes, architecture, entertainment, and even our lives. There is art in everything you do and everything you use; it’s everywhere around us. So, it is just everything. A world without art, to me, would be like a rainbow without colours or like a decadent meal with flavour. Simply normal.
We are grateful to have you onboard this special issue in celebration of awe-inspiring dancers around the world. Also, in honour of International Dance Day 2023, we know how unique and special the art of dancing is to each dancer. As an individual passionate about this art, what does dance mean to you?
First, thank you, and I am honoured to be here speaking with you. Dance has always had a very special place in my heart; it has taught me so much and opened up my mind about the vastness of life and knowing what it is to be human and to simply be alive. Dance has been my therapist, best friend, lover, and a mirror. Through dance, I am able to pierce directly into my own soul and express myself in ways that I otherwise wouldn’t be able to. When I think about dance, I always come back to my favourite quote, which is by Osho: “Dance is one of the deepest meditations possible because in the dance you dissolve, the dancer disappears, and the dance remains”.
You have worked with various big brands and individuals while constantly thriving at what you do. What do you consider most fulfilling right now about your journey as a professional dancer?
At this point in my journey, the most fulfilling thing for me is connection. Dance has opened my horizons in ways I could never have imagined. I have friends from all over the world, and every individual I have come across has such a beautiful, unique way of living that I cannot help coming home at the end of every day feeling inspired and completely awestruck at just how incredible everyone is. Also, the connection that I found with my inner self has really allowed me to remain excited and continue striving for more, and I think that as humans we all yearn for connection, to be loved, and to be valued, and dance has shown me firsthand how people can thrive with just a little bit of connection and a lot of love.
What was growing up like?
I grew up in a tiny town in New Mexico called Las Vegas. Truthfully, I would say New Mexico is an underprivileged state, so I grew up thinking that we only really had one path in life to follow, which was to go to college, get married, have kids, and then work until you can, and it wasn’t until I started really exploring the world around me, and I would go everywhere I possibly could as soon as I could drive a car, that it opened my mind to the fact that you can do anything and that life is what you make of it. So, New Mexico was breathtakingly beautiful, but I knew there was more for me out there, and I am really grateful that I took the leap, and I just want to tell my community that you can do anything that your heart desires and more and that your world needs you and your unique art.
What’s your dream life as an artist?
Actually, my dream life as an artist is very similar to the life that I am living right now. I believe that being an artist is about being free while also having a positive impact on the world and the people around you. So, I know my mission in life is to leave this world better than I found it, and I can only hope that I can continue to be a light and source of inspiration to anyone who thinks that their dream is impossible. I would love to leave my community in both LA and my home back in New Mexico with positive changes that are both inclusive and respectful of people and the value that they bring. To wrap things up, I just want to live freely while creating meaningful changes; to me, that is what being a true artist means.
Do you feel creatives in developed countries are at an advantage over those in developing countries?
Absolutely! I have two answers for you on this one. In my own personal experience, just comparing states, there were fewer opportunities for me to thrive in New Mexico than there are for me in California, and truthfully, I wasn’t even aware of half of the job opportunities that are out there because, when you are in an underdeveloped place, your first instinct is survival. This is true for many, and when you are in survival mode, there is little room for dreams, creativity, or even freedom. However, sometimes where there are fewer opportunities, there is way more passion, and I think that kind of passion has the capacity to create something even more impactful than, for example, a project with millions of resources and a big budget.
Balancing work time and rest time is a struggle for many creatives. Please share a few tips on how you try to balance work time, rest time, and family time.
So family is number one for me. First and foremost, I would drop anything and everything for my little sister and my siblings; they are number one. Rest and work, I would say, are tied for second, but they are about equal in my eyes. I have had my fair share of burnouts, injuries, and just exhaustion from overworking, so I had to realize that rest and recovery are just as important as hard work. There are definitely times when I have to go to work and push through the day, but when it is optional, I try really hard to listen to my body and my emotions and take time for myself when I need it.
As creatives, we understand the high tendency to get stressed out even while pursuing our passion. There are days when even depression may creep in, or just that inexplicable feeling of feeling overwhelmed. Do you have any relatable experience with this? If so, how are you able to manage and thrive beyond phases like this? Any quick tips on Mental Health for Creatives?
One thousand percent! Being a creative is not easy; we are constantly deep diving and bearing our soul to the world, and sometimes that can come with negative feedback and overall self-doubt, so my biggest piece of advice is to treat yourself like you would treat your own best friend. That’s always my go-to. So, if I am in a place of depression, anxiety, or that inexplicable feeling of overwhelmingness , I ask what my friend will need right now: do we need to cry, do we need to eat, do we need to sleep, or do we need a day of fun that has absolutely nothing to do with our work? So, for me, finding fulfilment outside the dance world helps me return to each without the burnout that I’m used to, and that’s with myself, music, travelling, self-care, massages, good food, of course, and a good cuddle with my kitty.
What does “success” mean to you?
Success, to me, is equal to happiness. I used to equate certain milestones or accolades with success, and, of course, those things are great. I still have my list of things I want to accomplish, but if you accomplish everything on your bucket list and still wake up feeling empty the next day, what was it all for? So, for me, I feel more successful when I am doing the things that I love, when I am giving back to my community, but especially when I am taking care of myself through everything else that I do because, after all, you cannot pour from an empty cup, can you?
Please briefly tell us something we do not know about Sharissa Krystle.
So music is my first love. I grew up as a musician, as did most of my family. As a child, I played piano by ear, and then I learned flute, and I played flute for 8 years. I can read sheet music, and in high school, I was a drummer for a few years. I used to choreograph pieces for our school’s drum line, which was like an incredible way for me to merge my love for life, music, and dancing.
It started with music and then dance?
Yes, I majored in music in college and then dance just took the reign.
Let’s go a little poetic: If poetry is a rainbow, and you have a choice of one colour in that palette, what would that be and why?
I love this question. Can I choose the whole rainbow? I am sorry to whoever this Palette is, but I have to use the whole thing. Only because as an artist, I have realized that there is so much depth that cannot be expressed with only one colour. I feel like if I didn’t have the rest of the colour, I am not sure if I would be able to appreciate yellow for its luminance or a deep purple for its lustrous vibe or even red for its passion. So, I feel like my poem needs to have every colour in order to properly convey the depth that I feel in this life.
Massive Love Sharissa!
The ICONIC Team