The Balancing Act

"Creating my way to a more balanced life"

“Balance is not something you find, it's something you create.”

One of the biggest challenges for me is to balance work & life. I’m always working, even when I’m “off” I’m creating more content. And, When I do have time off, I feel like I’m wasting precious time. Relax? Really?- I could be stretching right now, working in my pointe shoes, reading, maybe I’ll rent the studio for an hour or take another ballet class, anybody want to go to the gym? Yup, I’m that girl. (Just ask my family & friends) This year has been busier than most years, which has required me to find my own balance or else I'd be depleted & not able to work. Our bodies will definitely give us warning signs of overexertion. As a result, my overuse resulted in tendinopathy in my right foot. Which finally healed after prayer, physical therapy & some rest.

Everything around me was dance or cross training.(Oh, and the occasional watching of SportsCenter or The Stephen A. Smith Show) So when people asked me what I like to do for fun or what I’ve done lately for amusement, I would say dance?!!

God wants us to follow our dreams however he doesn’t want us to be drowned by the responsibility of what it takes to maintain the projection furthermore accomplishment of that dream. He still wants us to enjoy life on our way towards that dreams, closer to our destiny.

So when I got word about possibly having the opportunity to go the California (which I haven’t been in almost 9 years) I slowly hopped on it(*slowly- because I’m still trying to work on this balance thang Okurrr)

Collaborating with photographer Greg Mcfadden has been almost 5+ years in the making. As old high school friends we’d always talk about catching up in a city to collaborate but it would just never happen. (He says I’d always drop the ball lol & he’s probably right ) This time the universe worked in our favor. Hallelujah. -I know you’re like who would turn down a trip to California? Yup, I’m that girl. Sometimes I can be so overly set on a task that I can’t break the rhythm until it’s accomplished. (I take pride in streaks btw)

Getting closer to the trip, Greg asked if there was anything in particular that I wanted to do or a specific location I wanted to capture on camera. I couldn’t think of anything in particular. I’m not hard to please- just give me Starbucks... no really just give me Starbucks lol ( he and some others say I need help haha! Blah blah blah) My response was more like oh.. let’s just go with the flow and see where it carries us.” (Actually, I don’t know what I said I just made that up lol it just sounded really “Chantaly.”) So he came up with some wonderful options that I couldn’t resist. It was a semi work trip but the perfect balance to enjoy life & all of Gods creation. Inspirational & Rejuvenating

Day 1

Arrive. Rainy day in LA. Some random breakfast spot. Pancakes that I saved but never finished. Airbnb check in. Such a beautiful Airbnb ( referral worthy) Nap. Gym flow at 24hr Fitness. A little cardio before hike in the morning. Strength training so the muscles can pop pop on photo. Night Fall: Prep for shoot in Morning. Sleep.

I feel most restored after a good workout & stretch session. I have this really awful- quite funny belief. That is, if I don’t wake up the next morning feeling slightly sore or something doesn’t crackle (a good crackle- Dancers you know what I’m talking about;)) when I get out of bed in the morning, I didn’t accomplish much the day prior. Lol I know, I know thats a bit much but I love the feeling. Especially when you wake up & your calves feel bigger and your abdominals feel like God chiseled them when you finally got to your REM sleep. A glory moment that I, Chantal’ Ashantè Hill must experience every morning.

Day 2

Hike (My first hike:)) The hike wasn’t bad at all. It was so beautiful-in awe of Gods creation. The day brought a warm breeze & just enough sun. A couple of snaps for the IG from me to capture the moment. Greg did his thing of capturing my many handstand balance attempts and other contortionist poses on the hike peak. I always reflect and laugh at how courageous I am while creating. It's like I feel invincible. Afterwards, my words usually sound something like, 'umm yeah- something could have went terribly wrong but Hey we got the shot!” *high five

-Rodeo Drive adventures.

The outstanding venture of Rodeo Drive! Shopping, creation that cause crowds, dancing with a pop up orchestra & heart racing poses.

“The Balancing Act” photo (check December 11, 2018 IG/FB photo post) is one of the most heart racing photos I’ve taken to date. Balancing on some sort of rode divider with ongoing traffic at my side was the most daring pose I’ve ever performed. ( My old gymnastics training on the balance beam worked to my advantage) A cinematic view that Greg saw (photographers always find the most outlandish yet brilliant angles... well the photographers I’ve been fortunate to work with) The energy from photographer to artist just flowed like an electric current. It takes vulnerability, a trusting, a togetherness to get a great shot. Both operating on the same wave in a split second. The communion of the creative force at one within us.

Day 3

- Walks down Hollywood blvd. Vibey coffee spots, vintage shops & really cool bookstore finds (also our love for Audrey Hepburn realized )

So when we navigated through the bookstore we noticed an incredible selection of books, posters, screenplay covers and magazines. An instant beam of pure inspiration from the books browsed upon. (Great inspiration for my 2019 coffee table book)

I spotted a few books pertaining to Makeup, Women in Hats & Swimwear through out the years. There was a photo that captivated me. It was a black and white photo of a women on the beach joyfully dancing amongst the waves. I had to re-imagine the photo and make it my own. We didn’t intend to shoot at the beach but it was so irresistible.

-ignore our food cravings for BaBas (Chitown Cheesesteak restaurant) #combospecial w the icy

-Outlet mall and finally Santa Monica Beach & boardwalk shoot. THEN-Literally race to the airport. ( that story deserves a whole other blog post in itself lbs- shouts outs to a real one Greg AKA “E40 cousin dem” for getting me there lol- thats not his real nickname-I play all day!)

So I travel a lot as a Spiritual Ballerina but I never go to a city and have/ make time to explore or enjoy the city. It’s always fly in, practice, perform, hotel, airport and goodbye. This trip was most enjoyable because I took time to seize the moment. Everything was prepared and planned for so there was no missed opportunities to find or create balance. Keywords : prepare, plan & create. We must take hold of the little moments in life because they are most precious and life’s treasures . Little moments of breathe, laughter, fellowship, nature, culture, good vibes, and anything that warms the soul from the cold chills the world may bring. I must say this trip was a highlight of my 2018 because I really had a phenomenal time & after years of delay, finally got the opportunity to collaborate with such a beautiful spirit, artist & friend- Greg Mcfadden.

My new found balance has me feeling more powerful and more purposed than I've ever felt before. My hope and prayer is that you will find more balance in your life. Try to find things to do that invoke joy, that allow peace to bloom gently as a flower would in May, that allow you to glorify God in all that you do- in creating & embracing life’s precious moments.

..But on some real-This trip certainly has me questioning why I still live in the shivering bitter cold Midwest!

All Photos by Greg Mcfadden @Wally_west24

Next blog post: “The Return”

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