We had the good fortune of connecting with Cersha Burn and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cersha, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I think risk is unique and individual to each person. Something I might think is risky may not feel like a risk to somebody in a different position than I am in whether it be life, love, financial or physical risk. Risk is an act on which an individual extends themselves past what they in particular think their capabilities are, whether the results can be or is measurable. It is when an individual decides on taking a step into an outcome that is truly unknown to them. I think risks are exciting because of their unpredictability and can only put an individual more firmly on their path. Risk has played its biggest part in my life AND career when I made the move from Australia to the United States of America. The decision was always in the back of my mind for years, I always wanted to live and work as a professional dance artist internationally and when the chance came there was no doubt about it. At the time I did not think of it as a risk but looking back at the move and process leading up to that one way flight I see the risk and chance I had taken on myself moving to a foreign country by myself on the possibility that it may or may not work out. I think that is the biggest defining point of what ‘risk’ is, a chance taken on an unknown future/outcome. By taking this risk and immersing myself in the act of taking the risk I have found myself in an environment surrounded by the best in the dance industry. From studying at the prestigious Alvin Ailey School of Dance to performing as a professional dance artist on some of the best stages with some of the greatest audiences to scholarships with LA County government for professional artist pursuit and a scholarship with the national organization for professional dance – danceUSA. I can look back and into the future and see the projection of my career that was never promised when I took and am taking that risk in my life and career.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am most excited about the future that lies ahead with the achievements I have left behind. I don’t think life or career is ever ‘easy’ I think we just manage it better some days then others. Professionally I am an independent dance artist, educator and autism advocate. From growing up in a small, rural town in Australia studying dance at one of the only dance studios in town I went on to obtain my Bachelor of Dance majoring in performance. After pursuing a professional career in dance in Sydney, Australia I was offered a position at the Alvin Ailey School of Dance where I studied in the Professional Division program. I have gone on be a recipient of scholarships from dance|USA, Los Angeles County Arts and the Association of Performing Arts Professionals. I am also a member of the Los Angeles County Arts Ed Collective supported by the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture, Office of Education and Arts for LA and to get here was no small feat. With a lot of grind, movement every and which way and trust in the Universe challenges like living in a foreign country, getting into and studying at a school where everybody was a great dancer and achieving a professional career in dance have been met with total gratitude to where I am today. Hard work, sweat and tears really is a cliche for a reason. I have extensively studied the Royal Academy of Dance ballet technique, Horton technique and Graham technique. I have had the pleasure of performing on live stages, music videos, television, in festivals and shot for brands in Australia, United States and the Philippines. Performance credits include; Los Angeles Dance Festival, CBS Stephanie’s Day, Generosity Water, Walang Tulugan Philippines, Disney channel’s Walk the Prank, Buildabeast Experience, McDonald’s Flashmob, Amaysim Australia. Throughout I have learned being humble and curious are the best assets a creative artist can posses.
I have been blessed enough to be the recipient of scholarships from dance|USA, Los Angeles County Arts, the Association of Performing Arts, all scholarships that supported a deeper dive into my dance career and performance focus. I am also a member of the Los Angeles County Arts Ed Collective supported by the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture, Office of Education and Arts for LA another initiative that has supported my endeavour into sharing my dance experiences with the autism community. Support from these government bodies and the national governing body for dance in the United States has been a big factor in solidifying my position in the dance industry.
*23 Famous People With Autism Who Accomplished Incredible Things, by Mark Oliver
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
First stop is always home to freshen up and get ready for the day ahead, Australian flights usually arrive at 6am/7am and we have the whole day ahead, We would then go to Malibu Farm Cafe for a breakfast/brunch situation on the pier. A peaceful atmosphere with beautiful sights. Take the drive down Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) to Venice beach. Take in the culture, walk along the boardwalk, visit Gold Gym and watch some skaters hit the park. Before leaving we would take pictures by the iconic, classic Los Angeles (LA) palm trees. We would then move on to Santa Monica to visit the iconic pier and look out on to the Los Angeles coastline/beaches. Then shop. During the week we would also have to visit; Boba Loca in Van Nuys, depending what season it is get a seasonal drink from Starbucks to keep awake on the time difference, visit Blue Jam Cafe and get their classic French Toast. A hike is always on the books Fryman canyon for an easy walk. A visit to the Hollywood sign, Griffith Observatory, the ‘Urban light’ installation at LACMA, Weller Court Light Tunnel. A cocktail at the Highlight Room, lunch at Catch LA, dinner at Tao.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
SHOUTOUT to all the people who have stood by my side and held me up through this thing we call life! To family and the friends that have become family, dance educators that saw that need to take risk-Australian and internationally.
Drew Forsyth Jin Chohan Snvps photography