1. Before YouTube
My first memory of me dancing was in the kitchen in front of my mother and grandmother, during some random song from the radio. I think I was around 6-7 years old, and I have no idea why I did a performance in front of them, because I was really shy. They were not really that impressed, because kids do all sorts of silly dances all the time, and it’s something normal.
But not for me. Every time I see or hear about a child dancing in front of people, I am amazed and thrilled, with almost tears in my eyes, because I know it’s more than just a silly dance.
My dancing comes from the soul, it’s something I already know and it’s natural for me.
Sure, I do learn moves by observing others, but 90% of it is pure improvisation.
During school I had low self esteem, faced bullying and stressful situations, so I injected happiness in me through dance, in the morning before school, or after school, but making sureno one was at home!
I felt like a MTV star every time, imagining myself dancing on a scene, in front on many people and everyone I knew, and watching their shocked faces, at the bold dancing moves of this shy and quiet girl.
2. Michael Jackson
In my opinion Michael Jackson was a high degree spiritual being, who incarnated to Earth to uplift the planet, with his music and dancing.
There are songs like “Rock with You” , “Billie Jean” and “Thriller” , that makes you move your body involuntary, and also songs like “Heal the World” or “Man in the Mirror” with deep lyrics, full of truth.
I consider myself lucky to grow up with Michael present a lot on the music channels on TV and Radio. In the 90′ s he had some great hits like “They don’t care about us”, but there were also a lot of documentaries and interviews with him from the 80’s or beyond that.
Whenever I remember my dancing at home in my childhood, I think of Michael, because he really inspired me, and gave me energy to dance and be myself.
Approximately in my 3rd year of college, one of my room mates showed me a YouTube Video, with a guy dancing in his room. My first though was, “hey look, there are other people who like to dance by themselves in their room at home…hmm”. My second thought was ” WOW..he is so good…and confident to film himself…I wonder how I look when I dance”.
So there it was. The seed was planted. Now what it remained to do is to wait for the perfect time to film myself and see how I look when I dance.
I soon discovered TakeSomeCrime had a lot of videos besides that one, and most of the songs that he used sounded sooo good, and made me want to dance all day.
He basically introduced me to the music style “electro”- electro pop, electro house and electro swing- and I was thrilled.
He became my new idol and inspiration. I started to aspire to become as cool and skilled like him, dreaming of growing my YouTube Channel.
He also had a list of other YouTubers on his page, that also danced, that he called “Criming”, and from time to time gave a favorite to one of their videos. Every time he did that, a lot of his viewers would go and watch, giving them more popularity and subscribers. Plus , Youtube had a feature back then, that went like this : if you subscribed to someone, then a pop-up would appear with all the channels that person had on his list, and suggested you to subscribe to them also.
So it was really lucky to be in someone’s list that had lots of subscribers per day, cause that would bring you at least 30% from those to your channel as well.
4. Keeping secrecy
The time came, and I found myself alone in a Friday night, ready to dance and film myself.
In our head…our dance is the best thing ever, but once you watch yourself do it..you discover it’s not that special as you thought.
When we look at others we might think, hey I can do that, but it’s not that easy. Maybe it’s because our thoughts and feelings are at a higher speed than our body, and we have to become conscious of that to start pumping more energy to the body.
Nevertheless, I created my YouTube channel, and I named it MistiqueL. Mistique coming from Mystery, because I wanted to keep it a secret. Also from the character Mystique from X-MEN because at my first videos I applied some bold effects that made my skin look blue, so no one would recognize me. And the “L” from MistiqueL comes from my name “Laura”.
So a secret Laura, full of mystery.
One day, I made a video with me dancing wearing a poncho with fringe. Even with the blurred faced, all black and white to hide my identity, I discovered clothing can have a real cool effect in a dance, so I sent a message to TakeSomeCrime, to suggest him to wear one in his dance videos. He seemed pretty eccentric to consider it, so I took a shot and wrote him.
I never thought he would answer. My expectation was bellow 10%.
But he did. And not only that, he also said really nice things about my dancing, about the way I move my hands. He gave a favorite to one of my older videos, and added me to his List of “Criming”. I was now one of them.
I started to receive comments and subscribers, and I got hooked, feeling now a duty to post videos any chance I got.
Even tho my Channel was growing in video and subscriber count, I didn’t tell anyone, except for a few very close friends.
I feared judgement. In my country these things are seen in a bad way, especially if you are a girl. I feared people would relate this with me showing off, trying to get attention, even in a sexual matter, not understanding the art behind it.
Oh wow, there were so many…
The space in which I had to dance. If you search my older videos, a lot of them are filmed in a very small and crowded space. That was my dorm room, that I shared with at least two other girls.
And the chance of them leaving at once in the weekend, was really low, so there was little privacy for me to make videos.
I was really poor. I did had a camera, that I bought second hand from a guy in the campus, but one time when I was filming I dropped it on the ground and the lens shoved inside, breaking it.
I wished to have a tripod, but I couldn’t afford it. I had to always put my camera on tables, with chairs on top or boxes.
After my camera broke I had to barrow cameras from others.
My computer. It was so old, that while the video was saving, it simply powered off, because of a heating problem. And when I say computer I mean desktop computer not laptop. It also had a really noisy cooler, and worked in slow motion.
I lost some videos forever, because of the SD Cards. The files got corrupted and there was nothing I could do about it.
The music. Some people think that I just hear a song somewhere, and then I dance to it, even make money out of my video. Well it’s nothing like that because of something called copyright infringement.
Every song that I dance to is owned by someone. The more popular the song is, the more chances the video will be blocked worldwide.
One day, I got a message from a singer that asked me to delete my video, using one song of hers. I was devastated, because I loved that video so much, so I tried to convince her to let me keep it, and I will add links to her website or anything she wants.
Without even replying to me, I received my first copyright strike, with the video being deleted by YouTube by force.
That’s pretty bad, because if you receive 3 of these, your account will be closed forever.
Well that expired after a few months, and I was on track again, until this August.
I have to keep my fingers crossed that no other owners will change their minds and strike me in these 3 months. My current status is standing in a piece of string as we speak. For now, they know I’m using their song, but they let me use it, as long as they run ads on my videos, or something like that.
The Haters. All these viewers coming from takeSomeCrime’s Channel were a blessing but also a wave of hate. I also got features by bands who owned the music I danced to, that gathered on my Channel all types of people.
“hahahahahaha, your face looks stupid”
“I’m gonna make a new acount to dislike it again”
“holy shit ,it’s either a transgender or homo, I do know it’s ugly. Just my opinion!”
“Nothing Special in this dance, Everybody can do that so. Well you Dont gonna be a star sorry”
“no style…and no shame”
“What the hell did my eyes just witness?Cx”
“What the hell u look retarded”
“that girl is ugly wtf is wrong with you people?”
“dont dance again please”
Well guess what? I didn’t listen, and I’m still dancing to this day.
6. The Reveal
The first faze of the Reveal was by accident. One day my mother discovered a video on my computer, because she was using it too, during the summer vacation when I was at home. To my surprise her reaction was really good, and she wanted to share it with all the people she knew, and I was a big “NOOOOOOOOOO”.
Later on, one of my room mates saw my screen while I was editing a video. “Is that you? Were you dancing?”…”Uhm no, that’s not me, I mean …yes it’s me”
Her reaction was ok too. She even said there’s nothing wrong with that. I felt pretty good.
The second faze of the Reveal was initiated by me. I was in my last year of college, figuring out what to do as a final project for the diploma. After choosing a teacher as a mentor and deciding on the project, I received at home a PCB with FPGA microcontroller to program. The socket for power was really unstable, with the cover keep falling off. One morning , I was trying to pull the socket out, and being sleepy I wasn’t really paying attention or thinking, and I touched a piece of metal connected to 220V. ( I hope I described this correct, I’m not a wizz in electronics)
That touch send me a big shock of electricity through all my body, and I felt my heart stop for a moment.
My next thoughts were that I could have died that day, without sharing my passion with the world.
That was just the kick I needed. I went out that evening, somewhere outside , in a more hidden place, with a church in front of me. ( it had tall fence and I could place the camera on it)…and… I did my thing.
The next morning after editing it, I upload it to YouTube, and after that, I post it on my personal Facebook Page.
For a while nothing major happened. A few likes and comments. No biggie.
But then, one of my colleagues from school, post one of my older videos on the Facebook Group, where we shared school related information, like exams, schedules and things like that, with a comment, that went something like ” look at her what she’s doing, haha.”
My worst nightmare came true. The feeling of being judged. After this, something really interesting happened. They divided into 2 groups, the haters and the supporters. I was really impressed and shocked to see some of my colleagues defending me. I wasn’t expecting that.
7. Being Free
Now it was official. Everyone knew, I could post all my new videos on my Facebook Page too. I felt soo free. And the best part was that from that point my dancing really improved, showing me that all those negative thoughts and guilt around it, made me more stiff.
I can say that over the years my dancing didn’t improve because I learned new moves or exercised. It improved as I let go more and more of my fears, and revealing who I truly am.
My dancing is done on the spot. I turn the camera on, I play the music and I dance. No plan, no choreography , no nothing. Although I do think of what clothes to wear, what will fit the style, but sometimes I just dance with what I’m wearing right then.
This is also one of the reasons my videos are not shared by people, making them more popular.
They are something more intimate that you usually don’t see on social media and TV. And if someone shares something like that, it implies he/she enjoys it and it may imply he/ she likes doing the same? That’s embarrassing. They don’t want to show people how they really are.
Well, people are changing. And I feel that more and more are discovering who they really are and sharing it with the world and being free.
Before I end this long story, (thanks for reading all through it by the way), I also want to share some wonderful comments I received along the years. I mean there are haters, but they represent less than 10% of what really is. Let’s focus on the positive side.
“Go girl!! 🙌🙌🙌💕💕💕 Your videos make us happy 😊😊🎶🎶”
“u made my day!!😍💞”
“wow i really like this… it speaks to me spiritually and i cant keep my eyes off of your dance moves when you do those dance moves. keep them up… it means a lot to me and my family that you keep dancing! we put your videos up on our flatscreen because you make us all so happy…hehe gtg though, mom wants to use the pc!!!”
“The way you dance and ‘ fantastic and every detail that you care for him , in every single movement , is ‘ it makes a simple dance but rally is’ very complicated . Keep it up ‘ Are you really exceptional 😊😊😊💕”
“Great song MistiqueL …and what a great energy you give us !!! 😉”
“Want a girl that has fun dancing however shes feeling the music. You’re simply amazing. 😊”
“Made me smile at the end of a tough day, thanks :)”
“still watching this in 2016, still makes me happy :)”
“I dont speak english but…you make me want to say some words…Genial ! Great !…You are not dancing…you are flying over the floor in a beauty way…thanks a lot !!”
“I just discovered you and I really like all your dancing videos. You inspire me to start my own dancing vids on my channel but I am too shy I think. You go girl!”
“Do you realize that every time you post one of these videos it immediately goes into a playlist with a bunch of other dance tracks that I then dance to? I can find my own tracks, but I like your tracks and they’re the kind of thing I wouldn’t really select on my own. My selections are always a bit more aggro, or kinda hipsterish, but yours are always more fun, the kind of thing I could see a room full of people dancing to, but mine, I don’t know about that. You aren’t afraid to enjoy something like I Fink U Freeky, so I end up enjoying it too. Your stuff’s always a bit more funky as well. I know there’s not a lot of views on these vids, but if you wonder whether anyone cares, well, I do. I don’t really watch them, since I’m too busy shaking my own ass while the video goes.”
“Well i just love this and keep coming back to it, even years later. i love the song itself, how the video is set up, how you use the space, and because you’re moving your body how you want to and it seems like you’re having such a great time. What comes out is pretty fantastic, free, spontaneous, kind of geeky, kind of cool, kind of don’t-give-a-crap, reminds me a bit of what i feel like dancing. i hope you’re still doing your thing :)”
“Wow! Ur so fearless. I have an obsession with YouTube dance videos. The first videos i ever saw made me just want to learn! I love dancing in my room too but could never post a video! I admire u! Plus your transition is so awesome to see. It was funny with the scarf in the beginning ha-ha, I like a hat or something. Anyway, u rock! 👌😉🎧”
“Happy new year from Berlin, Germany. Your dancing keeps me smiling and encourages me to try out new things for years now. Keep on dancing, sweety ;)”
“Oh my gosh….. Loved it. You always feel the music so well! I definitely smiled throughout the video. I always get excited when I see that you’ve posted another video. Keep dancin, and keep doin what ur doin. :)”
“This is me throwing my arms in the air and screaming “YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAA”. If you listen very close on a quiet night you can just hear the echos allll the way from Ohio. More pretty please. With sugar on top.”
“waaaah girl you’re hella awesome, dangg! there was lot’s of more stuff I was gonna say but it’s like 6 am right now where I live. you see.. so I’m kinda tired :p ,,,but just wanted to show some love and let you know, I enjoy your videos. I have watched 3 so far, and loved them ^^. I really should be thanking the person who posted one of your video’s on the Grimes facebook channel, otherwise I would’ve missed all this.. anyway, keep doing what you love ^_^ Peace”
“Its been awhile since I’ve commented. Wanted to let you know you’re still awesome! I love the flowing movements that have made more appearances recently. Keep it up girl! Do what you love and forget anyone who tells you otherwise!”
“Retard? hell no, you just dance it like it is. Thanks for putting a smile on my face.”
Well, THANK YOU for putting a smile on my face and moist in my eyes. There are many more beautiful comments out there, a lot of them being in french, spanish or german, forcing me to use Google Translate from time to time. Thank you thank you thank you!
Much love to you all!