Brooklyn Hill is a senior at IU majoring in African American and African Diaspora studies. When she graduates, Hill plans to get her master's in counseling.
“My life centers a lot around music, dance and mental health,” Hill said. “Those are my passions, and helping others.”
On campus, Hill is an active member of the African American Dance Company and the Essence Dance Team. She has been involved in the dance company since 2018 and continues to grow and develop new skills. Her involvement in the company allows her to take flowy, smooth, connected moves to essence in order to create fresh dances.
Hill said her mom was really into music when she was younger. She is an only child, so Hill often had all of the attention on her. She said she was one of those kids who would get called to “do that little dance you were doing the other day” and that always stuck with her.
Hill would even help her mom and friends rehearse dances before a night out. In her younger years, Hill was a part of a church praise dance team. All of these experiences made her fall in love with dance.
“I’ve always just danced and always been singing,” Hill said. “Once I got to college, I kind of just stopped singing as much and I started dancing more because it became more of like a therapy for me. It helped me with my confidence.”
Dancing teaches Hill how to be resilient, flexible and committed. She understands if she wants to improve her craft, she must always put her best foot forward and give it her all. Hill said Baba, director of the African American Dance Company, does not play around and wants nothing but the best from his students. Baba encourages his students to take themselves seriously and not get comfortable. Hill said they must always be on their toes and dance full out every time. They must embody every movement, and commit to it.
One performance in particular that has taught Hill how to embody a character is an original piece from Baba — "Masculinities." This is one of her favorite pieces, and is currently being organized to be performed soon. In this piece, the spectrum of masculine, feminine and all energies in between are recognized in order to show one's ability to embody any gender. Hill embodies a masculine character in this piece, and she said it has taken her out of her shell. This piece has taught her how to feel more confident, dance harder, work harder and take herself more seriously.
“It doesn’t matter what size I am or whatever,” Hill said. “When I get on that stage, it’s going down. If you’re dancing next to me, you’re gonna get ate the fuck up if you’re not dancing hard.”
Dance has played a vital role in Hill’s journey to higher self-esteem. One thing that has also aided her is this piece of advice to keep being yourself. This saying taught Hill how to stay true to herself and gave her the courage to develop different methods of hyping herself up when she feels low.
Hill writes down daily affirmations along with some negative thoughts she may be thinking of herself.
She takes those affirmations, and recites them in her bathroom mirror to herself while listening to artists such as Megan Thee Stallion or Flo Milli. Reciting these affirmations allows her to shine light on her flaws, making her feel better about herself.
“That is probably the greatest piece of advice I’ve ever received, because I always used to look at myself and be like ‘Why am I not like everybody else,' ‘Why don’t I look like her,’ ‘Why I got this gap’,” Hill said. “Comparing myself. And throughout my life, people have always just reinforced the fact that I’m me and that’s okay. I’m enough.”
As she has become a more confident individual, Hill has learned how to be more positive as well. She said that nowadays, she manifests a lot. She is going after everything she wants and nothing can stop her.
“You are powerful, and that’s what I want people to know,” Hill said.