The more I blog, the more organic I try to have my interviews for my posts become. I stop trying to form conversations around a topic, and I let the conversations shape my posts.
Writing these posts is not always easy. I’ve been interviewing PeaceLove CREATORS and Storytellers since early this summer, spending an hour at a time talking with incredibly passionate people. It’s impossible for me to capture every aspect of our conversation into a reasonably sized blog post.
This post might be my most challenging yet.
Friday, I met with Sokeo Ros. Sokeo is not only an incredible dancer, he’s also a lifelong learner and fantastic conversationalist. I had a lot of questions about his dance career, but art is always so much bigger than its physical manifestation. A conversation about dance easily became one about origins, family, trauma and fulfillment.
Something Sokeo mentioned that really resonated with me was about his college education. Sokeo, like many of us, didn’t take a straight path through college. For a long time, I carried a lot of shame and guilt about not being able to attend college immediately after high school. I needed to take some time for myself to really figure things out. We live in a fast-paced society with fast-paced expectations and I believe the effects of that weigh on us all in some way. Something I’ve come to know, however, is that there’s no shame in doing things your own way—the way you need them to be done. In these conversations I have with CREATORS and Storytellers, I get to be a momentary guest in their autobiographies. The true treat of this is that I get to see their lives from a different perspective than they do. Had Sokeo taken any path, he wouldn’t have the experiences and life that he does now. A life that is filled with truly remarkable stories.
Sokeo began touring as a dancer at 19. A Providence-based company and school called Everett offered him the opportunity. He began dancing there at 16, when friends took him after school. It was a place to hangout and break-dance.
From the moment Sokeo began dancing, he loved it. He explains to me that for him, dance is both a reality and an escape. Sokeo’s face glows as he talks about Everett and the dance teachers he had there. Giving youth access to the arts is something that is really important to Sokeo. He says it’s what saved him. Everett completely changed the course of Sokeo’s life.
(Above: Sokeo performing an excerpt of his solo show at our 2018 Peace of Mind Storytellers)
Sokeo tours across the country performing his latest piece, a solo show entitled “From Refugee Camp to Project”, as well as touring with a dance company. In addition to this, he teaches both dance and theatre to an incredible range of populations. A specific experience he chooses to share with me is teaching in Cambodia. While there, he got to meet his family for the very first time. At a young age, Sokeo came to the United States from a Cambodian refugee camp in Thailand with his parents. Until his time teaching in Cambodia, a huge part of his identity was unexplored. A lot of Sokeo’s show centers around this discovery of his identity, a story that’s powerful and moving. Honestly, I won’t be able to do it justice. I urge each of you to look into Sokeo’s work, and to watch his performance at our 2018 Storytellers event.