Interview & Photographs by} John Russo
Makeup by} Emily Moses
Hair by} Frankie Payne for Opus Beauty
Styling by} Jennifer Austin
The word inspiration comes to mind when talking with Ingrid, she is overflowing with passion and dedication to the causes close to her heart. From mentor and coach for the NAACP’s Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics, to inspiring women through her movement teachings, Ingrid is not only living the dream, she is dancing it.
Q: You are such a creative force and inspire so many people. Tell me some of your current passions.
A: My passions in life are resolute. I derive the greatest joy from using my talents and skill set to uplift and empower other people. From a young age, dance has been an outlet of expression and creativity. It has taught me so many valuable lessons about myself and the world we live in. It is a universal language that requires no words. To be able to impact another person through movement is profound. My greatest passion is the ability to share this information through instruction and witness the growth and healing it has on my students. For this reason, I believe in the necessity of arts education. Artists have always been at the vanguard of positive change in society. It’s why I am building a foundation to foster the education of students who may not have the financial resources to pursue their dreams. This is my greatest passion project to date.
Q: Of all of your amazing talents and passions, what work brings the most meaning to your life?
A: As a Board member of Alzheimer’s Los Angeles, I am able to help families affected with this progressive disease. My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the age of 50 and passed away earlier this year. When my mother lost the ability to speak we still communicated through movement and music. Movement is medicine and it has the ability to heal. Through my mother, I witnessed the benefits of movement experientially. I was able to assuage her emotional states through movement exercises. It became a form of communication and healing for both of us.
Q: How has teaching movement had an effect on your life and your students?
A: Dance is a metaphor for life. The discipline, commitment, artistry, leadership, tenacity and respect of community relate to every aspect of life. I teach my students to always give their best effort because training to be a professional dancer is life training.
to learn more about Ingrid, visit Ingridgraham.com and follow her on instagram @ingridgraham1