**Fair Warning: This is extremely long.**
Let me preface by saying I can’t claim to know Larry. I’m not that fortunate. But I have had the chance to meet and observe him on several different occasions.
Besides being a great dancer Larry inspires me because every single time I met him he was gracious, kind, and loving. How many people can you honestly say that about? If we’re being honest, not many. If you met me four times, at least one of those times I might be a bitch just because sometimes I get like that. And I’m not even famous. Compare that to the fact that he’s an uber-talented, dancing genius with tons of fans clamoring for his attention most anywhere he goes. Yet, I’ve seen Larry be kind, truly kind, even at times when I know he might have been stressed or tired or aggravated on the inside. The effort he puts forth means a lot to me. It’s the little things that show who a person truly is.
I’m writing this because it needs to be said. It’s been said before, but some folks seem to have short memories. People are always so quick to jump on any scrap of negative bullshit and spread it—sight unseen and facts unknown. I guess that’s the way this world works. Bullshit sticks. Positive, good deeds get buried and ignored. Well, not on my watch. Take a seat and let me testify. Again.
Lately, I’ve been too busy to be quite as active in the LT tumblr fandom as I used to be. The main reason for that is because my life got exponentially greater after discovering Les Twins a year and a half ago. I’m doing things I never did before and maybe never would’ve done.
Larry was a big part of that. He motivated me when I was at a low point. I felt like I was walking through my life without actually living it. If you’ve heard this story before I don’t care. I’m going to tell it and I’m going to keep telling it to anyone who’ll bother to listen.
Thursday March 22, 2012 I was sitting at my desk at the job I hated having a very bad day. On my lunch break I checked the LT tags on Tumblr as usual to take my mind off things. I ended up clicking on Larry’s video (this one) and it moved me to tears. Especially the part about making mistakes and when he asked why are you dancing if you don’t feel pretty? I asked myself, why am I living life if I’m not loving it? In that instant I knew I didn’t want to spend one more moment of the precious time I’ve been given on this Earth being anything less than happy.
I used to watch Oprah and I read a lot of books. Therefore, I’m sure I’d been exposed to all the positive self-image stuff before. But somehow when Larry said it was the first time I could really hear and understand it. Maybe because he wasn’t simply saying it, he literally is a walking, talking, dancing embodiment of the Joy he’s asking us to reach down and find inside ourselves. His words changed my heart.
Within four months after watching that video I lost 40lbs and I’ve managed to keep it off. Recently, I was accepted into the top master’s-level graduate education program for teachers in my state. It’s something I’d wanted to do for a long time but I was scared to change jobs, scared to take all the hard ass tests to get in…mostly I was scared I might fail and of what people would say if I did. Those days are over now. Like Larry said, failure is nothing but an opportunity to get back up and do it better with everybody watching. Now, I’m on my way to achieving my dream of teaching English and literature to children with the haters and naysayers in my rearview.
At the New York workshop this year Larry was teaching his class a dance move and some of them weren’t getting it. So he told them to look in the mirror and do it like they loved themselves. He said that’s what he does to make the movement better. He said even on some days when he’s not feeling that way about himself he pretends until the feeling returns. Then he danced toward the mirror winding and grinding and making all these dramatic love faces. That made everybody laugh and then I noticed some of the students who had been shy and holding back started slowly moving up next to him doing it with him. Suddenly, they were looking in the mirror laughing and loving themselves without a care. And I wondered if Larry even realized that he may have changed somebody’s life that day. Probably not.
I’m not naive. Neither am I blinded by the wonder that is Les Twins. They’re human. At the end of the day they put their backwards pants on one leg at time just like the rest of us. If anything that makes me love them more because they have to deal with the same real life problems and issues as any other young men their age except they have to do it with a spotlight shining on them. To me they’re perfectly ordinary and beautifully extraordinary at the same damn time.
Larry Bourgeois is a powerful inspiration and I’ll always stand for him. I’ll tell anyone who’ll listen.