"Even if he wasn't the tallest one in the class. Even if he didn't have the shortest hair. Even if he wasn't the only male in a room of about 15, Jason Wimberly-Reynolds would stand out."
I was only 15 years old when they wrote this article, and all at once it seems like yesterday, and a lifetime ago. I wanted to share just to share a bit more about why I do what I do and why I love it. While I may have retired from dancing professionally on stage, I still continue my love of fitness and movement with my classes at WIMBERLEAN and Equinox. Occasionally I return to the stage with Wimberlesque, and while I may not have ended up exactly where I thought I was going to 15 years ago in my crop top and leg warmers, I am exactly where I should be. It just takes some reminding every now and then to realize how far we have come, and be thankful for it all. We spend so much time wanting things that we don't have, instead of looking at what we do.
"Jason is one of those who was blessed from birth," Shamber said. "He knows deep down what he wants to do and what he's capable of."
Being the only tall, blond male dancer in a small rural town in the Central Valley did not do much for my anonymity. I came out of the closet at 14, although I don't think there was a closet large enough to hold me.
I know I was able to channel my focus and drive into my dance as a vehicle to get me out into the world at a young age, and I succeeded in doing so. I also know it was not without the love and support of some amazing teachers along the way.
While my parents were supportive of my future goals to wear spandex tights on a large stage, it was because of the teachers like Susan Shamber that I was truly able to follow my dreams. She gave me the tools and guidance to do something that was so rarely done. I had no one to look up to, no examples to follow. It was just me, and my teachers who believed in me.
It wasn't easy being so different in High School. I mean, those four years weren't necessarily easy for anyone. I choose to believe however, that if you do what you truly love and are passionate about, there really isn't much anyone can do to cut you down.
So, 15 years later and I am still wearing spandex and twirling around at work, although it's taken some reincarnations over the years. I couldn't have done it without Shamber, who helped me turn my public high school dance class into a spring board for my entire life. She will always have a special place in my heart.
I hope she knows that.