Name: Paige Fraser
Profession: Professional Dancer
What area of the BX are you from?: Pelham Parkway/ Gunhill Road
Current location: Chicago, IL
Paige and I met while doing what we do best- auditioning! (LOL). Since we were 2 out of 4 girls being considered for a role, we had time to connect and we've kept in touch ever since! Not to mention, she is a gorgeous dancer with an incredibly positive spirit. It was so dope to find out that she's also Jamaican and that we grew up in pretty much the same neighborhood, but never crossed paths until recently!
Tell us about yourself
I started dancing when I was 4 years old. It was a hobby at first, but when I turned 10 I was given opportnity to play role of Clara in the Nutcracker It was around that time I knew I wanted to dance professionally. I loved being on stage. I auditoned for the performing arts high school in Manhattan (PPAS) and got accepted as a dance major. What seemed like a dream soon turned into a nightmare. When I turned 13 I was diagnosed with Scoliosis. Upon receiving my x-rays, it was suggested I consider surgery. I was terrified because I thought being a dancer and having metal rods put in my back would be impossible. I am so grateful for the family, chiropractors, and dance teachers that helped me push through this challenging moment. Today I am dancing professionally without having the surgery and living my dreams. It takes hard work to maintain my body (tons of floorbarre and yoga), but it worth it and has made me so in tune with my body. I am a proud advocate of Scoliosis. #curvygirlsrock
What are your fondest memories of growing up in the Bronx?
The best memory about the Bronx is the house I grew up in. I was raised in a family house, my Grandmother and Unlce were on the first floor, my Aunt, Uncle, and Cousin were on the second floor, and my immediate family was on the top floor. I loved being able to spend time with my family whenever I wanted. My Aunt and Uncle had cable before us and I used to fall asleep watching TV with her. I also spent a lot of time with my Grandmother and when I was old enough I got allowance to roller set her hair every Sunday. Not to mention the Jamaican music that my Dad blasted when he got home from work. These blood memories stay with me to this day. We still live in the same house, aside from my grandmother who has transitioned. Going home is always so comforting. I love my family and our bond.
Do you feel as though being from the Bronx has heavily influenced who you are today?
Of course! Being from the Bronx is totally apart of me. It is funny because I am so soft spoken so people never believe that I’m not from the Bronx. Growing up I was often told I spoke like a white girl, whatever that means. However, if people come see me dance, a different beast comes out. I think it is becasuse of my life experience of being from an inner city. Although I am vulnerable and poised, I have a tough side to me. As a performing artist you have to have tough skin. Being from the Bronx added some personality to my dancing and to my life. I love where I am from and I want to bring positivity to my community. I rep it hard!!!
Who are your biggest inspirations?
Carmen de Lavallade, Debbie Allen, Judith Jamison, Syliva Waters, Lisa Attles, Theara J. Ward, Ebony Williams, Francesca Harper, Camille Brown.
What has been your greatest accomplishment to date?
Winning a Princess Grace Award for Dance. When I got the phone call that I was selected, I instantly broke down into tears. I was in a weird place at the time because I had no idea what I wanted next for my life or career, but at that moment I felt God confirming that I was on the right path. Plus, I was able to bring my parents to the gala recpeption and that was such an special moment for me. They have invested so much into my dreams and I was so grateful for the opportunity to make them proud.
If you could, in what ways would you give back to your community?
I recently launched my non-profit foundation “The Paige Fraser Foundation”. We are in the beginning stages, but my goal is to provide opportunities for those from the Bronx with or without disabilities that want to dance. We are currently setting up workshops throughout the year, ending the year with a 3-day workshop where students from the Bronx can apply and get the opportuity to learn from professional dancers originally from the Bronx. I’m really excited and I am looking forward to making a difference in my community, even if it is small.
If someone were visiting the Bronx, where would you tell them to go?
Golden Krust on Gun Hll Road. I am an island girl (my family is from Jamaica) and I love a good beef patty with coco bread and a kola champagne. It is my ritual to go to that specific location wheneveer I return home. I also love me some from fried chicken from the Chinese restaurant.
*Paige is hosting her first event with her organization, The Paige Fraser Foundation, next Saturday 4/28 and Sunday 4/29 in the Bronx. Check out the flyer below for more details!*