Our LA show produced by The TLC Foundation, is January 22, 2017 - a mere 6 days from today! Do you have your tickets yet? We are thrilled to introduce you to cast member Elijah Solomon!
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in Los Angeles, and I’m a senior at New Roads School. All of my extended family lives on the East Coast, so I’ve spent a lot of time on both sides of the country. I started dancing in fifth grade, and hip-hop was my main area of focus for the first few years. At New Roads, I’ve been fortunate enough to gain experience in many other dance styles, including ballet, contemporary, and jazz. I also began performing on stage as an actor within this time period, and theatre has since become another important aspect of my life.
How has mental illness affected your life?
Growing up, I was constantly picked on, and as my insecurities were inflamed by the bullying, I reacted more and more severely to it. It only took a few words from someone for me to completely lose control, and at times I had to hide in the bathroom until I calmed down. I could never understand why it was me that was getting bullied; it felt as if I was being targeted. I spent many nights at home convinced there was something wrong with me and desperately trying to figure out what it was. Between my discovery of dance and theatre, and a lot of support and effort on my part, I was able to overcome the bullying to become the more confident and outspoken person I am today. Because of this experience, I’ve become much more sensitive to other people who are having issues with mental health.
Why did you want to participate in This Is My Brave?
Given my own past experiences, any small contribution I can make towards increasing awareness and ending the stigma around mental illness is significant to me. I’m extremely grateful to be a part of This Is My Brave because it’s an opportunity to connect these issues that I care about with my passions as a performer. Dance has always been a way for me to express myself when words aren’t sufficient enough, and performing in this show is sort of like coming full-circle for me because beginning to dance was the first step I took towards being more mentally healthy.
What inspires you to stay mentally healthy?
All of the great things in my life inspire me to stay mentally healthy. It’s so easy to take things in life for granted, and for someone who struggles with mental health, life takes on a completely different feeling. Staying positive is very important to me because there are always opportunities for people to be taken on a downward spiral. I always try to make the best out of whatever situation I’m in in order to enjoy my life as much as I can.
What do you hope the audience takes away from your performance?
I hope that, if they aren’t already, people leave the show wanting to become more active in creating awareness around these issues, and that they have a greater understanding of the perspectives of those affected by them. If even one person leaves the show feeling inspired to make a change, then I’ve done my job.