Hip-hop dance rising star Jabari Timmons opens up about the challenges he’s faced in life and how dance has brought him through.
You may have seen him and his team on NBC’s World of Dance, or maybe he’s slid into your social media timeline with the viral series “When You Can Dance to Anything” with Kida the Great or his hallway performance “I Have a Dream.” Jabari Timmons’ gift of dance, as well as his openness about the victories and heartbreaks in his life, draw crowds of people (#jaballers) to follow along on his inspiring journey, cheering him on while always feeling his encouragement too. The Sacramento-based dancer shared how dance has lifted him out of his lowest points and helped him make connections that have changed the course of his life.
When did you start dancing, and how have you grown to the level you’re at now?
I started dancing when I was a baby. When I was six years old, I joined my first studio in an attempt to lose weight, because I had asthma and couldn’t really play sports, and to have fun and hopefully gain friends, because I didn’t have any of those either. I’ve grown to the level I’m at now thanks to GOD and A LOT of hard work and consistency.
It’s so wonderful that you were able to create lifelong friendships in the dance community. Everyone can relate to a happy kitchen dance, but you and Kida kick it up several levels. How long have you and Kida been friends, and has dance always been a part of your friendship?
I’ve known Kida since he was around six or seven years old. We met in the dance scene, so dance has always been a part of our “friendship,” but him and his family took me in as a brother in recent years and even more recently after my dad passed 11 months ago. So I don’t consider us friends…we’re brothers.
That camaraderie really shines through in your dances! And then your “I Have a Dream” dance is a powerful tribute to the message of MLKJ. What inspired you to create and share it?
If I’m being honest, I’ve been doing #jabarishallway—where I walk out into the hallway, dance, then walk out—for over a year now. So this video was following the same guidelines. And I’ve also reposted that same video at least three times because I wanted it to be seen. The first time I shot the video was on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, and I wanted to do something unique. So my mom gave me the idea to dance to his words, which I had never seen before, but I didn’t know how it would turn out, so I just went for it and it turned out amazing.
It did turn out amazing! You’re really open about your triumphs and struggles on social media. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in life, and did dance help you through it?
Everything I’ve gone through has been a challenge. Being an only child, having split homes, being overweight, feeling alone, depression—dance helped with most of those. But LOSS has been my biggest challenge. September 20, 2017, my (only) grandpa passed away. He was my dad’s dad, so my dad helped me get through it. We had my grandpa’s funeral October 4, 2017, but 10 days later my dad passed away, which is still till this day the HARDEST thing I’ve ever gone through. I’m still in pain, still struggling, still trying to keep my head up and it’s HARD, but my dad was proud of me because I found my purpose. I dance for him now.
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(2nd HALF) LAST NIGHT WAS UNREAL! I’ve NEVER felt that level of support and it literally brought me tears ..THIS MOMENT was when I lost myself in the moment..the movement..and I felt my dad through me and there with me…this LIFE is unpredictable..you NEVER know what’s going to happen but the things we go through will make us a better version of ourselves in the end 😏 THANK YOU to @chapkisdance for throwing the fundraiser 🙏🏾🙏🏾 and thank you for EVERYONE that came out 🙏🏾🙏🏾 —————————– 🎤 @hermusicofficial : still down —————————— #barifiles #chapkisdance #dance #dancelife #blessed #humble #honnored #support #expression #her #hiphop #rnb #music #expression #movement @dangattire @vans #vans #choreography #jabaritimmonschoreography
So beautiful. We’re sending you all our best wishes on your continuing journey. Before we go, is there anything else you’d like readers to know?
I just want to say thank you for reading. It genuinely means the world to me, and feel free to follow me on my journey. Instagram: @jabaritimmons.
Featured image courtesy of Max Contreras.