Arts & Culture News

Woman Crush Wednesday: Dancer Avery-Jai Andrews

"I wanna dance with somebody" too, and that somebody is Avery-Jai Andrews.
"I wanna dance with somebody" too, and that somebody is Avery-Jai Andrews. Skylar Andrews
Our woman crush this week is contemporary dancer Avery-Jai Andrews, who is not only a master of movement, but a pillar in the artistic community through her nonprofit work. The Booker T. Washington and New York University graduate is an accomplished, inspiring and worldly force. Here’s why we love her.

What’s one place where you’d love to dance?

I would like to try dancing in anti-gravity.

What are some ways you’re keeping your spirits up during the quarantine?
My journal is my sanity. And I hang out on my roof for some sun and fresh air.

How do you think this time period will change you?
This time feels like a reminder — a reminder of how to slow down, a reminder of what ease feels like, a reminder of what work brings me joy, which is illuminating all the things I do that don't feed my spirit. Hopefully post-quarantine I can make adjustments to refocus toward my goals.

What’s one dance move that should never be done in public?
Who am I to say?! Live your best life, if you feel it, do it... (But) I do recommend some spatial awareness.
click to enlarge Dancing queen - EM WATSON
Dancing queen
Em Watson

What’s a food combination that only you seem to appreciate?
Roasted sweet potatoes and broccoli.

Who’s your dream dance partner?
Moving with another person is such a beautiful experience, but you never know how it will go until you move together ... The best dance partners listen — physical listening, not verbal — and are generous.

What’s the greatest thing you’ve created?

My nonprofit, Agora Artists. We are new and still introducing ourselves to Dallas. So far I am really proud of the foundation we have laid. But this isn't it. ... I never want to stop creating, in whatever form that may be.

What’s one song that will make anyone dance?
Oh, so hard! I think I have to go old school ... "Boogie Wonderland" by Earth, Wind and Fire or "Let's Get It on,"  Marvin Gaye. And "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" by Whitney Houston.

Name the smallest thing that makes you happy.
Lyon Love, my black cat

Who’s your woman crush in the arts?

Okwui Okpokwasili

What fascinates you about humanity?
The choices we make to avoid pain and get love, as well as, forgiveness and sacrifice. I guess I could summarize that into motives — I'm curious about what makes people do what they do.

Finish the sentence: “You know you’re my friend if I …”

Don't close the door when I go to the toilet.

If you could steal one trait from anyone in history, what would you take and from whom?
To love people with no exceptions and to live humbly. Jesus.
What's your biggest peeve on social media?

I don't appreciate the social pressure to post. Like if it's not on social media then it didn't happen. And I'm not a fan of putting my art on social media.

Describe yourself in one album and one fictional character.
Olivia Pope from Scandal, minus the crimes. How about a song instead of an album? "Colors of the Wind" from Pocahontas.

What do you miss most about going out?
Physical human contact. Hugging, holding hands, contact improvisation, body language, all of it!

Tell me your favorite personal tradition.

I don't have any, but I would like to. This is the perfect time to meditate on some personal traditions I can start. Thanks for the inspiration!

Do you have any unpopular opinions?

America should invest more in the arts/artists, being that art is a pillar of culture.

What's your favorite invention? What is yet to be invented?

Lately, I've been really into all the innovation around menstruation: Thinx, OrganiCup and the Clue App. What is yet to be invented ... a self cleaning inbox?

Who was your first crush?
I don't do crushes ...

What’s your favorite dance scene in movie history?

Little Miss Sunshine

What’s one rule you particularly don’t subscribe to?
Artists lack business acumen and don't make money. I will not accept that as my story.

What question do you love to be asked?
"What's your dream?"

And what’s the answer?
I want to start an intentional living community. I call it the "Artist's Kibbutz," a neighborhood for creatives to live, work, create and support each other. 
click to enlarge Andrews would steal from Jesus. But only some of his kindness. - COREY HAYNES
Andrews would steal from Jesus. But only some of his kindness.
Corey Haynes
click to enlarge Andrews will not accept the starving artist title. - MICAH THORNTON
Andrews will not accept the starving artist title.
Micah Thornton
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Eva Raggio is the Dallas Observer's music and arts editor, a job she took after several years of writing about local culture and music for the paper. Eva supports the arts by rarely asking to be put on "the list" and always replies to emails, unless the word "pimp" makes up part of the artist's name.
Contact: Eva Raggio