Principal Lloyd Knight has become a true standout in the Martha Graham Dance Company thanks to his compelling presence and dynamic technique. Knight, who performs leading roles in iconic pieces like Appalachian Spring and Embattled Garden, was born in England and raised in Miami, where he trained at the Miami Conservatory and later graduated from New World School of the Arts. He received scholarships to The Ailey School and The Dance Theatre of Harlem School in NYC and joined MGDC in 2005. Catch him onstage with MGDC during its New York City Center season this month. —Courtney Bowers
Your professional dancer dreams may seem a little silly sometimes, but know that they'll always be around, and will carry you along your path to success. Hope and self-determination are what will guide you towards your goals! Stay focused and keep pushing.
You see great things for yourself, but lack self-esteem from time to time. You'll succeed as long as you know your worth and that you have something special no one else has. Respect and watch performers you admire, but don't compare yourself to them. Everyone brings something different to the art form. Your biggest concern should be yourself and continuing to stay open.
Knight at age 5 (courtesy Knight)
You want to "make it," but always remember why you started dancing in the first place. That feeling that can never be fully explained—the coming together of your physical, mental, and spiritual states all at once.
You'll go through a couple of injuries that'll test how badly you want this life, but they'll also remind you why you love to perform. Stay grounded and humble in your career and know that at some point you'll inspire future teenagers wanting to follow their dreams. Be a positive example of how giving this career can be.
A version of this story appeared in the April 2018 issue of Dance Spirit with the title "Letter to My Teenage Self: Lloyd Knight."