Jori O'Grady and Iris Utoske

 I’m a self-taught dancer.  I usually come and do dance covers I see online. [I do] hip-hop. [I think I got into dancing because] I was seeing other people dance online, so I was like, “I wanna do it,” but it kinda takes time, you know? And I would say I made more progress during summer than I did last year’s summer, like, I have more flow, everything just kinda connects with each other.

Also I like to do art, that’s another thing, I really like to do art. My first picture was actually “Starry Night” by Vincent Van Gogh.  I remember I was so fascinated by it I drew it on my sidewalk at home. Also, I really do like to write poetry; I think poetry is just another way to connect with humans. ‘Cause I’m all about connecting with people.

I was adopted at age three. I know my birth mom was… not a good person, so, right when I was born I guess, I was taken away to be in a better home, which I’m really thankful for. All I remember [from before I was adopted] is just wearing a pink dress, and going to a different family. I really don’t consider, like, I had a childhood, ‘cause my birth mom was doing all this stuff, drug dealing, my dad left, so it’s kinda like was did I ever have a childhood? That’s the thing I always wonder, you know?

Interview and photo by Nia Wright, Iris Utroske, and Jori O’Grady