Shasta is one of those Creatives we love to describe as beautiful, inside out. We are in love with how she effortlessly reflect so much brilliance in all the big little ways. It’s how she’s all about community over competition. It’s how she’s all about giving back to her community. Impacting kids and spreading her bright light towards everyone her and beyond.
Join us on this special Heart-2-Heart conversation, as Shasta lets us in on her journey as a Creative, in the most relatable and inspiring way!
Enjoy and Stay Inspired:
We are in awe of how you effortlessly combine your passion and brilliance with purpose for real time impact. You do this in all beauty and intentionality.
Can you please share some highlights of how you began your creative journey as a dancer?
Ahhh yeah! Highlights of my dance journey began when I was very young. I was just five years old; I took ballad and jazz classes. At that time, I didn’t realize how much those styles were going to impact my life and my expertise in dance. I continued dancing up until middle school where I created a dance team with my friends, called ‘The Pop-Rocks’. You know those candies that you put in your mouth and they make your tongue sizzles? Yeah, we named our dance team that. We got dog tags, we would put the Pop-Rocks on and they were sparkly, it was all for vibe. It wasn’t till I started high school where I actually put dance on the backbone of my life, and it wasn’t like a focus or a passion anymore because I was so distracted with school, my environment and boys. It wasn’t until I found myself in a really dark place actually; I felt alone, I just… I don’t know, I was a little lost and I knew dance had always been that anchor in my life, that place that I could always go back to and feel free. I got back into dance and everyday after school, I would go to my balcony and I would dance my heart out until I decided that was what I wanted to do for a living. And so I moved to L.A and to ‘Millennium dance complex, which is a schooling program in L.A where I also did a work/training. I worked there and also trained for classes, I started doing music videos, and background on movies. From there my dance crew really took off. Now I moved back home and I’m teaching dance classes, just sharing everything that I’ve learnt and everything that dance has taught me in my life, I brought it back to my community and I am sharing it.
What does Art mean to you?
Art means to me creating expectations, creating without judgements, creating without fears because; there is no place for fear in art. Art is infinite and as the times change, so does art and so does everyone’s definition of it. My identity and my experiences in life have shaped me to express art the way I do. I also believe art is everlasting and everything that we do, is in a way; art. And it is a safe space to escape from society’s norms and be free within. Self-Expression; that’s what I believe art is.
We are grateful to have you onboard this special ISSUE in celebration of awe-inspiring dancers around the world. Also in honor of the 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?
Dance is life! Dance has always been, like I said earlier, an anchor for me; something that I can come back to and rely on. Almost like I can kind of relate to it as my god or my religion, dance is everything. If I’m ever in a sad or dark place, I know dance will allow for me to express myself and to fully be in the moment; because I believe dance brings us back to earth, dance brings us in that present moment where we can just appreciate everything around us, our environment and become more aware of life.
On Community over competition you shared these deep and awe-inspiring words: “Competition is healthy, but not at the expense of others. It was never meant to hold people back or put people down, but to push people forward- in both winning and losing. Competition is a healthy part of life, but LIFE is not a competition. Life is about relationships.” This is absolutely beautiful. Please share more on the importance of community building especially for Creatives.
I believe that having a strong community and building that community around you and not even surrounding yourself with like-minded people, but surrounding yourself with people who are different. People who you can; in a healthy way, compete with and not because they are different, but because their difference can show you things that you don’t know essentially, and then so you both are adding to each other’s repertoire or language, or dance. I just believe that it was never meant to hold us back or put us down in a community where we are all supposed to support each other and push each other forward. None of us can make it alone; it’s pretty much what I am trying to say. It’s like; we can say that we “made it alone” but there is always going to be that community of people around us, whether it’s just someone we run into like at the grocery store randomly, or someone we run into in life that we never thought would correlate with our career or our dance journey, it could just spark that light inside of us.
How was growing up like?
I grew up on a small island in the middle of the Pacific ocean called Kauai-Hawaii, and just as I said; it was small so we didn’t have enough opportunity for dance honestly, and there was about one studio on the entire island and I went to it. And I was at a big red bar, there was ballad and jazz, there was no hip-hop, there was no Afro-fusion, there wasn’t like all these different styles. And in my little mind, I was like “I want to feel more free, why do I have to hold this position for like an hour” and so I started doing a lot of YouTube tutorials and learning from people online, because it’s such a technological era and we have so much opportunities to learn things from people around the world. And so yeah, YouTube, university was were it started for me and so I would come home everyday after school and do tutorial and dance in my balcony until I literally couldn’t feel my feet anymore, and just drop dead in the rain. Growing up for me was always a really small community so I think understanding that a healthy competition in a community isn’t for hate because; everyday you run into the same people so it’s like you don’t wanna burn your bridge with someone, you wanna keep a good reputation; just keep a healthy understanding of competition and community. Growing in a small place; because it is so small, you have to be aware of the little things and everything you do because people talk. There wasn’t enough opportunity but I made opportunities for myself in a small place and I created a community for myself and it was beautiful and it was an outlet for me to just go back to and know that I had that there and my friends also have me, we created a strong supportive community.
You are not only a dancer and an artist but also a NASM- certified personal trainer. What will you consider most fulfilling to you right now on your entire creative journey?
Honestly, the most fulfilling thing to me right now in my creative dance journey is being able to come back home and bring everything that I’ve learnt in life with me and being able to teach kids. I love teaching kids, I don’t think I knew that until a little later on in life because I was always really great with kids but I was always maybe a little selfish and focused on myself and wanted to make me a better dancer; but I didn’t realize that me becoming a better dancer was going to take me sharing and me teaching and giving what I have learnt in this life to the younger generation and to the generation that is going to eventually steal our spot. And so it’s been really fulfilling to just like, I feel like I’m learning more about myself, I’m learning more about life, I’m learning more about how to teach and how to interact with young kids and even adults, teaching kids has helped me with teaching adults as well, because if you can engage a kid for a whole hour and their attention is everywhere, it’s a lot easier than just going down on life and work and everything.
What’s your dream life as an Artist?
My dream life as an artist is to continue teaching and hopefully travel the world teaching. To also go on tour with artists like; Ariana Grande, Caesar, my goodness! They are so many I could go down a list! But my dream life as an artist is to continue creating with other artists and to continue sharing my life experiences and my journey as a dancer and you know, bring that into everything that I do and just continue growing and doing these things and going on tours.
Do you feel creatives in developed countries are at advantage than those in developing countries?
Yeah I do believe so. I do believe that in a developed country there is more advantage than in a developing country. But I do also believe that it depends on the person and the passion behind the person, but more developed countries obviously would have more resources. It gives people more free time to work on whatever it is they want to work on, but when you are in an undeveloped country; it’s more of survival, you got to work to take care of yourself and your loved ones, maybe you don’t get to focus on developing certain skills that wouldn’t be considered a part of survival and so the arts in a lot of cases are put on a backbone. My mum is from a third world country, she’s from Venezuela. While growing up, her parents told her “you are either going to a law school or you’re going to become a dentist, art is not an option for you”. And so she went to law school for three years, dropped out, moved to Hawaii and became a hippie and she said “I’m dropping all of these, I just want to go live my life”. She was like in one of those, I guess you can say; it’s developed but it’s under-developed in a sense where there is more communisms, I believe, and yeah dictatorship because they had a dictator and it really depends on how the country is run and where you are from. I think it has a lot to do with where you are from but also the person you are and the things you dedicate your life to and because we all have those in-between moments I believe, that we can all find time to put in the things that we love, hopefully.
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?
How I balance work-time, rest-time and family-time. Well I really just try to tune in and listen to my body and to my emotions and how I’m feeling because my body would tell me when I need rest. I would be hurt and I would be like “I need rest” or if I’m feeling emotionally drained, I take a little time off to be with my family and friends because I just know I won’t be able to give my 100 because I’m emotionally not feeling okay. How I balance it is; I try to plan my days before my day starts and so I will write down on my little notebook like; I’m going to wake up, I’m going to meditate, I’m going to stretch, I’m going to workout, and then I’m going to do emails and work. So instead of just waking up and getting in to work, I make sure to set that time aside to let myself wake up and feel, and move, before I start stressing myself out with everyday stresses of work and life and you know; making money. Then I make sure to always call my friends and check-in with them because it’s good to stay connected with your friends and loved ones. So yeah mid-day after I’ve done my work, I make sure to call one friend or one family member and then I always make sure to fit in my meals, have lunch, dinner you know you’ve got to stay hydrated all that good stuff.
What does success mean to you?
What does success mean to me? Well to me whatever supports you and makes you happy to where you can live a healthy and fulfilled lifestyle- I think that is success. Success is different to each person right? And so success to me would just be to continue the dance, to continue to surround myself with the people I love, the things I love and just finding out that work-life-rest-balance. I think having a balance in life is success to me, and not being overwhelmed by silly things, just taking every opportunity and being grateful and being in the moment. I think opening my heart up to more is success to me and taking each day as a new day and not letting my past experiences; what has brought me down continue to my next day, and to just keep living everyday more grateful and more open- that’s what success is to me.
As creatives we understand the high tendencies of getting stressed out even while pursuing our passion. There are days when even depression may creep in, or just the inexplicable feeling of overwhelmingness. Do you have any relatable experience to that? If so; how are you able to manage and thrive beyond phases like these? Any tips on mental health for creatives?
Well I can say, I mean I don’t want to speak for all of us, but I can say most creatives deal with some kind of mental health issues. I have ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), I am a master procrastinator, I am also very emotional and a triple water sign. I go through it; I don’t know what helps me when I’m feeling overwhelmed or feeling just lost, not feeling creative, and my creative juices not flowing. I get on to nature, I think that nature teaches us that real growth doesn’t happen under the full light of the sun with everyone watching, and that we usually feel alone and under pressure, and we are in darkness and silence and then something happens and we begin to trust the process. We allow our roots to shoot down and we plant ourselves firmly in the present moment, and I believe if we sorely open ourselves up as an offering of our essence and our light- then that’s our medicine to the world.
Please, briefly tell us something we do not know about Shasta Marina.
I am a NASM certified personal trainer as well, I got into personal training because I am very intrigued on how the body works, and as a dancer and an athlete; we are prone to injuries and so I wanted to at all cost, avoid injuries so I can continue the dance. So I got into personal training, anatomy and learning about physiology because I wanted to learn more about how the body works and how I can take care of it and also teach others to take care of their bodies better, and just live a happier and healthier lifestyle.
What does it entail in summary, being a trainer?
I’m a NASMite (National Academy of Sports Medicine), I would say adding more physical activity to your everyday lifestyle, does in turn; help mentally. A lot of my clients would tell me after a session with me; they’ll get out and they will be all set for the rest of the day because they were able to fit in that time of physical activity in their day, where they were able to get their blood flowing and get moving. So I believe that getting your blood flowing and your body moving in the beginning of your day really set the time for the rest of your day and how you feel.
Let’s go a little poetic: if poetry is a rainbow and you have a choice of one color in that palette, what color would that be and why?
What color would I choose? If poetry is a rainbow- what a question, I love this question! Okay, if I had one color to choose in the palette, my goodness gracious! This is a hard one. I would have to pick yellow- it’s just so brilliant, it’s the color of life, I mean; the sun, the flowers, there’s so much brilliance and beauty in the color yellow and, I mean I love all colors; I love pink, I love blue, I love green you know, for all the different reasons. If you look at my wardrobe I have every color, girl! I have a friend that asked me that last night, she was like “all of my shoes are black, white and gray” and I’m like “I have blue shoes, pink shoes, green shoes, white shoes, black shoes etc.” I don’t know, that’s a tricky question, it’s hard to really pick a favorite color. You know my whole life whenever I got asked this question I kind of gave a generic answer, like I would say “Pink is my favorite color” because in the society, pink is a girl’s favorite color, blue is for boys. So I would say pink because pink is my favorite color but now that I’ve gotten older and have developed more of a taste for life, and for food even; I believe that adding color to your everyday wether it’s the food you eat, the clothes you wear, it’s good to incorporate color in your life because what would life be without colors? And I mean all the colors.
Massive Love Shasta,
The ICONIC Team