Dillon “DLite” Thomas
DLite Blog / My Story
*Hi-Lite VIDEO REEL Montage- Then&Now
*Photo Montage -Then & Now
* MY STORY BLOG- Links -Videos - Pictues
*Additional Dance Photos at the bottom of this page
Hi-Lite Reel Of DLite Lite Feet Dance
--Then & Now--
Published on Feb 23, 2013
What's Spankology? A Highlight and History Reel of the Best Dancers in the
New Hip Hop Phenomenon Originated in New York City, Litefeet.
Music by SGFLOW
© 2013 Family House Ent
MODELING WAS IN MY DNA - AS LONG AS I CAN REMEMBER
- - -I noticed one, then another - - -
Soon I matched all my younger pictures with more recent photos
--Then & Now--
Dillon DLite - My Story / Blog
I am 18 years old and my entire life I have had a profound passion for performing. Since I was 7 years old, I was a competitive gymnast and along with baseball and basketball, I was able to resolve my desire for performing through sport. I excelled in gymnastics and mastered the skill set for level 9 by the time I was 12 and began competing against gymnasts 3- 4 years older then me. I had found my passion and planned a life around continuing as far as I could go. We were even considering relocating so I could elevate my training, I attended an exclusive Gymnastics Camp during the summers. A college scholarship was realistic goal.
BUT I DREAMED BIGGER - Like most young gymnasts, I believed I could be an olympic contender!
Then a tragic twist of events ...suddenly my life as I knew it, the dreams, the plans were no more...I faced my first big life lesson when my father became ill and a was was supposed to be a short break ended up being the end of my gymnastics journey. I faced watching my father suffer a terminal illness while having to sacrifce the one thing I had in my life that gave me balance and purpose.
For almost 7 years, I had a year round schedule of five days a week -- four hour sessions, and this mandated that everything else in my life be organized. I designed a life of routine and order, almost every minute of every day accounted for. Now with entire life plan no longer an option time became the enemy it only served to remind me there was nothing to fill it with. As my fathers illness progressed my family was unable, at the time, to help me adjust to this new reality. Chaos replaced order. The loss of everything caused a grief that I could not even comprehend.
I was 14.
I have a strong family, and even though my fathers illness had been a tragic interruption for all of our lives, we quickly regrouped and my parents took the time to help me confront the grief and begin the process of getting my life back in order. They encouraged me to get involved with the community, to seek out and help people who may have equal or worse circumstances then you have, that when you help someone who is suffering a hardship greater then your own, then you begin the process of healing. They told me it would not be easy to choose to just move on initially but the sooner I did it the sooner things would get better. And they were right, at first the first instinct is toindulge your self pity and focus on the unfairness of it all. And you can, maybe you even should, for a minute. But, eventually you have to accept the reality of what simply is and then decide how you will live with that fact.
They discouraged me from seeking out another exhaustive routine to fill the void I felt. They reminded me that my identity is not defined by what I do or how many trophys I have.
It was the summer before I was going to start high school and we all agreed that it was time I had a summer where I could just be a kid and hang out with my friends. Allow myself some down time and a chance to grieve and start thinking about my future in a new light.
I had a choice, I decided that this loss would not define me, I would explore what my new options had become available. I began to volunteer with the local gang prevention unit, some of my friends had started drifting to the lure of the gang way. We were about to start high school and I knew that we would be facing temptations to make choices which may not be the best move. I was vulnerable, but they were even more so, labled "at risk" by a system with little resources to give them options. It was a critical time, major life changes and adolecence combined, we were all "at risk" , any of us could easily have made a choice that could have serious consequences to our lives. Joining gang prevention was my way of providing support for my friends. The problem remained however, free time was abundant, and I was looking for something I could do, something to be part of, something that would help to fill the void that the loss of gymnastics had left.
Hanging with my friends in the gang prevention program, I soon realized that other then a church basketball court and a few planned outings, there was really nothing for us to do, nothing that would prevent gang affiliation, nothing that would inspire or offer youth in the program any viable alternative activity to the gangs. While I recently felt lost with this excess time, I realized my friends had been living a life that had significant spaces of time unfilled. I could understand why they were easy targets for the gangs.
But the idea of "having a purpose" and to be "be part of something" is tempting, I get it. Even though it is a bad choice, it was literally one of the only choices available. The lure of easy money and a lifestyle that has recently been glorified in rap song lyrics and the rising popularity of the "Hip Hop" lifestyle. But the reality is in the statistics, there is no glory in a life that results in so many young men incarcerated or dead. I felt determined that we would beat the odds and I was going to find a way to keep my friends on the right track.
The Lite Feet story; Dance saves a community
An amazing thing happened, that summer before high school, it changed all of our lives forever. It was a chance happening, a moment that will forever be cemented in my memory, I saw the first video of a dance that fascinated me. I had discovered on YouTube, the NYC born urban dance phenom and YouTube sensation, Lite Feet dance. I was intrigued, this was perfect and it was a new challange, I was up for that. First of all it was competitive, Lite Feet is a battle dance, and what made it so appealing, it was fun.
Along with a few friends we spent every free moment watching videos and learning the dance. Lite Feet dance is really not one dance style, it's a mix of multiple dance genre, each dancer has thier style and signature. It also is not danced to music It is a reliant on a dancers timing, based on beat count and danced in bars. Team promo dances and solo videos are created to showcase the team and it's members on YouTube.
There exists an entire underground subculture that was created in the urban centers of New York city, a world that revolved entirely around this new dance movement. We soaked up knowledge and immersed ourselves in the world that is Lite Feet Nation.
Lite Feet is a group activity, you are part of a team and also part of the bigger community. We adopted a team name and as part of the Lite Feet dance culture, we all created our individual dance names. I became DLite (pronounced dee lite). I had found a new identity, I was a Lite Feet dancer, and I was determined to become the best dancer I could be. We were all determined, this was a unique opportunity, we had become members of a community of artisitic young people, who probably like many of us, and had few choices, so they made the choice to do something, and it was something that turned out to be something great.
We began to post our videos and soon we were invited to NYC to battle. We began as battle rivals but we quickly became friends, and a group of us began traveling to NYC as often as we could to participate and battle. A few of us were even invited to be part of the NYC dance teams, but we also kept it in our community. Lite Feet encourages growth by incorporating the concept of the "creation", a dancer who takes on a new dancer and encourages them to develop thier skills and educates them on the Lite Feet dynamics is the creator. Since we first began dancing, when Lite Feet was a relatively obscure dance style and limited to NYC and other urban centers in the N.E., it has exploded in growth. It has spread to communities across the country and most recently even dancers in Japan have begun to post Lite Feet dance videos. It has gone global.
Lite Feet was now part of our community, what began with a small group of "at risk" kids, bored and with nothing to do and who decided to dance had become something that for all of us changed the course and direction of our lives.
We made a difference
I began to host regular dance battle events in my community for all the new young dancers coming up behind us. We would fill the hall with several hundred young dancers and spectatators, who would attend our events regularly. Often a group of NYC dancers as well as dancers from other upstate towns would travel to attend our events. We have connected our community with communities across NY State. Our early involvement and the commitment we showed to the community was recognized when the NYC dancers who are highly esteemed in the Lite Feet community they host and manage the the Lite Feet Battle dance sites and maintain the C.O.L. "Center of Lite" which is the dance center where battles are hosted, came to our event and announced that our commitment to Lite Feet and our involvement in hosting events and connecting our communities, has earned us the honor of officially representing Upstate New York officially recognized in the community as "UPSTATE LITE FEET". We were legitimized in the community LITE FEET NATION that we spent years respresenting and supporting, we had earned our placed
CLICK PIC FOR VIDEO CYPHER
When I discovered Lite Feet I knew it was something I could do and that my friends would join me. What I didn't know, it would become something that was bigger then we could have imagined, Lite Feet is now one of the most popular activity's of our community youth, it has changed our community forever. Everywhere I go I see a groups of kids in the lunch room, the park on the corner and when I see someone filming with a phone or camera, I know they are dancing. They are making videos and sharing them oniine, making new friends dancers in other communities, and they are putting the same effort into keeping Lite Feet a cohesive and growing community that we had. I know for a fact, just like us, if they are dancing, they are not getting into trouble. They are us five years ago and dancing is what is going to make sure stay on track. They already are showing their commitment, posting videos and coming to my events practiced and battle ready. They are Lite Feet dancers, they are our Legacy.
Gymnast to Dancer
The transition from gymnast to dancer required that I evaluate how I look at competition, life and the relationship between my mind and my body. This transition was unexpected, due to circumstances out of my control and resulted in dancing replacing gymnastics in my life. On multiple levels this transition required a complete paradigm shift in how I approached my life. As a gymnast I was an athelete, I existed in a world with clearly defined parameters and success defined by conforming to those parameters. A dancer, by definition is an artist, after so many years being an athelete, it was difficult for me make that leap; athelete to artist. Initially I would apply the tenents of my gymnastics training to dance. I would choreograph routines for battles leaving no room for me to be creative and spontaneous. The advantage, I had the confidence of an athelete prepared and battle ready with a routine that was practiced, designed to flow and incorporated moves that would stand out. The disadvantage, as an artist this approach woutd confine me creatively. In a Lite Feet battle there is an inherent benefit to be spontaneous, both crowd hype and your opponents dancing should inspire your dance. I have grown artistically and am learning the nuance that is Lite Feet dance.
Dancing requires I tap into a totally different side of myself where movement as a means of artistic expression is inspired by what I feel. Being able to express emotions creatively has allowed me to confront the profound pain from the sudden and unexpected loss of the life I had and I am able to utilize those emotions as creative inspiration.
I have grown from this transition and gained insight about loss, just as my parents had adviseed me I would. Over time I have learned that that the something gone will inevitably be replaced by something gained. I gained confidence from the knowledge that when you lose something you don't lose everything, you can never lose the experience of having had it. You can choose to use that experience as a foundation to rebuild the road in order you can travel in a new direction for a different life.
I learned you can make plans but things happen, plans change, and thats ok.
As I prepare to make this next transtion and take on new challanges. It is only because I have been down this road that I even have the confidence to take this leap. When I set my sights on a goal, I put everything I have into mastering the skills required. I am ready to redefine myself again, this time I am planning the change, making preparatons, developing a strategy. I am lucky, I possess valuable insight about transformation that my life has given me.
Gymnast / Dancer to Model ...
I have new goals now, I have spent some time working with photographers and joining blogs and groups that pertain to modeling as a career choice. I feel that I my gymnastic and dancing training have prepared me for a new future that those activities have given me a unique skill set. From gymnastics I gained determination, patience, endurance and focus. As a dancer, I learned how to utilize movement as a form of artisitc expression and to let go of the rigid routines of gmnastics. As gymnast you start out as perfect, a 10, and points are deducted as you perform your routine, as dancer you are an entertainer and your "score" is based on how the crowd responds and how intricate your dance moves are. A skilled Lite Feet dancer, will be sitting in the judges seat and will notice when your moves incorporate commentary meant for the opposing team. Both gymanstics and dancing have judges, who "score" your performance.
TRANSFORMING AGAIN ...
Now as I transition to modeling, I realize I am learning another form of movement, only it is nuanced and controlled and less about the movement of the body and more about the expression the movement portrays. Each new pose ideally should convey a new emtotional expression, even if you only slightly move, a tilt of the head or lowering your chin. I am taking a series of seminars from an experienced model of 20 years, who has given me a wealth of knowledge on how to tap into the emotions, your own pain and joy from your life, and then convey them during the shoot. The seminars also cover how to identify your strengths and weaknesses and how to utilize that knowledge to help photographer capture the best shots.
I have had multiple shoots now and worked with some coaches and consultants, I am still dancing and coaching so I am in great shape and my confidence is high. I feel like I have been preparing for this transition for my entire life. I know it won't easy, I expect to work harder then I ever have, but I am ready for this next stage of my life. I am building a network and I have my loyal dance fans behind me.
My goal is simple, I love everything about modeling and I want to work with professionals who are equally as passionate. I am excited to see what my new journey will bring. I know that things can turn out completely different then how you plan, so I am keeping my options open and not expecting anything, while preparing my self for everything.
Just when you think it's Over.. it get's Better
-From Gymnast to Coach-
Just when you think it's Over.. it get's Better
I have been employed since I was in 10th grade, I have worked at the same place and have been promoted twice. This wasn't just a job for me, it was a chance to have something in my life, something that was a part of who I was for most of my life and something I thought I had lost forever, back.
Gymnastics remains a big part of my life, just not how I had planned, in a way that I never considered or even dreamed possible. Quite possibly the role of gymnastics in my life now is even better, as a gymnast there is a singular path to higher levels of competition the role of gymnastics in my life now has provided me countless opportunities and a resume that demonstrates I am serious, competent and reliable.
The gym, where I had spent most of my life as a gymnast, offered me a job as an all ability coach and camp counselor when i was 16 and entering 10th grade. Before long my skills as a gymnast, along with the in-between years spent coaching and mentoring youth in my community to dance, contributed to me having the confidence and competence to be considered as a candidate for the job of coach for the boys team.
I was promoted to interim coach until they filled the position. After only a few months as interim coach, I had earned the respect of the boys, the trust of the parents and was slowly proving myself to the NY State coaches, who only knew me as a gymnast, in order they could know me as a peer. After our first competition season-- all of them--the parents, the coaches and my employers, learned what my team boys and I already knew, I was as formidable a coach as I was a gymnast.
I had a team of 15 boys, I undestood each one and their unique need, I knew what motivated them and I knew where thier limitations were. As I had been coached, when they had mastered a skill set and were ready, I would push them just past that limit. An athelete's competency in sport only comes when you push yourself to to face your fears and do what you think you can't
I feel like this was meant to be, I was prepared for this opportunity when it presented and I have had the honor to build them as gymnasts and guide them as they make the critical transition from being little boys to becoming what ever they choose to define themselves to be. I remind them they are not what they do, but what they do reflects on who they are. My advice to them is simple, whatever they choose, be commited and be the best they can be at it.
A VERY SPECIAL BOY
MY GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT
At the age of 17 I became one of the youngest USA Gymnastics Certified coaches in NY State. My gymnastics training and the community youth outreach made it possible for me to have a job I love and have a new feeling of purpose that transcended my own aspirations. I have the honor to motivate and inspire young boys, both my team boys and the young boys in my community. I share my own life lessons of overcoming loss along with teaching the technical and creative skills of gymnastics and Lite Feet dance.
My team boys and the young followers who have taken to Light Feet look up to me. I have become a role model. I understand that comes with great responsibility, I need to live a life that reflected the positivity that I expect of them. Truth is, just knowing these young eyes are watching me has kept me in check, they have helped me far more then I could ever help them.
What I know for sure:
* Nothing can happen if you don't try
* Things may turn out completely different from how you plan.
I am ok with these truths, it makes life an adventure and not simply a series of successes and failures.
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