Bounce is Forever, "Unapologetically Me"
It is said that a woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life. So how does that statement fit for the woman who cuts her hair at will? Is she forever changing or simply bending to her own wills?
For Texas-native ShirJuanda Woodson – better known as Bounce – there is a happy medium between reinventing yourself and doing whatever it is you damn well please.
“One of the things I really like is shedding a new skin,” Bounce explained via phone. “A lot of people feel like you cannot reinvent yourself but I love it.”
Doing what best suits and fits her at all times, Bounce is a dancer who plays by no stereotypical, cookie-cutter rule. “My favorite phrase, and if you ever see my beautiful canvas aka my body, you will see I have a tattoo that is on my dominant hand – I’m right handed and I always shake with my right hand – my tattoo is on my forearm and it’s a conversation starter. It says: ‘unapologetically me.’”
Tapping into the elements that make Bounce, Bounce, she’s used her life experiences to help shape her as an artist and entrepreneur.
At the age of six, according to her bio, she began training professionally with Debbie Allen and her staff. Her experience then, and other consecutive summers at the Debbie Allen Dance Institute in Dallas Fort Worth, laid some of the foundation in the creation of her company, I Am Bounce, LLC – creating access for those who are passionate.
“I Am Bounce is a creative corner for artists to fulfill their biggest dreams,” she explained. “Debbie Allen put her studio in an area that was less fortunate and never left so the kids who wanted to get training but couldn’t get to the higher end studios had a place. That’s how I’ve structured my company – as much as I’m leaving a footprint on their heart and mind, they’re doing the same for me.”
Meshing her bubbly personality with a fierce passion for dance, Bounce sees herself in her mentees. Balancing the demands of life from lack of support to loathing school, Bounce extends herself beyond choreography to help in molding the whole person, not just the dancer.
“When I look at the world, the world teaches us freedom and also takes it away. I am that 1% who says ‘nah, I’m not going to let you control who I am or what I do,’” she said.
Saying “nah” is something Bounce is crafty at. When it comes to running her business, she has no problem in being choosey with who she partners with – friends and strangers alike.
“You can’t always work with someone who is closest to you. Now, some of my business partners are people who I’m getting to know and in getting to know them they’re seeing me from a fresh start and not from where I’m coming from,” Bounce said.
Trial and error, being unafraid to start over, these are all tools she’s picked up by throwing caution to the fire and testing the waters.
Diverting conversations so that she can actively listen rather than drop gems for free has become a strategy that has made her a better business woman. She no longer relies on getting that extra confirmation from others to jump, she simply jumps – courtesy of another life lesson during her time spent on an 11-month contract in Japan.
“That’s what I started to tell everyone that I learned: being ok with being by myself,” she explained. “Sometimes tending to what I needed meant find someone to talk to. At home I would run to a friend and talk it out first, instead [in Japan] I dealt with it by myself. With that, I learned a lot more about handling my business.”
Bounce is a fierce woman. Her presence demands attention – both on stage and in conversation. Currently, the lovely Bounce resides in Los Angeles and can be caught slaying many stages.
A quote she lives by, and BrooklynButtah suggests you add to your arsenal as well: “If you want to be somebody you have to go with two feet or you don’t go at all.”
To connect with Bounce or get into her dance moves, follow her @i.am.bounce.