Megan Gibson: BTGP's criminology - studying dance mentor

As you know, we regularly feature the people and mentors who form the Bridge The Gap Project. Allow us to introduce to you the amazing MEGAN GIBSON: our dancing mentor who studies criminology. For more on MEGAN, check out her profile here.

WHAT DO YOU DO? I’m studying a double major in Criminology & Sociology at Auckland Uni. I’m stoked I’ve been accepted by Auckland Uni into the Honours Postgraduate program where part of what I’m looking forward to is undertaking my own research project in criminology. It will involve the #BTGP, of course!

And I’m a commercial dancer for the two leading dance agencies in NZ: Soul of Siren & Momentum Productions, I’m a member of the Skycity Cheer Team, and teach many genres of dance at Warkworth Performing Arts.

WHAT DO YOU DO FOR BTGP? I mentor at-risk and vulnerable young people and youth justice/young offenders in self-expression and movement through dance. This week, I took a girl who has so much talent but not the resources or means to the Palace Dance Studios. If you could’ve seen her face… In March 2016, I also taught & mentored young women at Auckland Region Women’s Corrections Facility to perform a dance routine as part of the BTGP's 'Freedom fro within' youth development program, one of the greatest days of my life. 

WHAT DO YOU KNOW TO BE TRUE? That “truth” can be a social construction. You need to peel back the layers of these truths to see the real economic, political or social ideology or agenda behind it. You can create or live by your own truth, as long as its motivations and constructions are pure you can continue with your own truths, rather than the ones they want you to follow.

 WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER BEEN GIVEN? While studying I became fascinated with Angela Davis and her work. I listened to many videos of her speaking and read her articles, and this statement has really stuck with me: I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.”

WHAT'S THE LAST BOOK YOU READ? “Patched: the History of Gangs in New Zealand” by Jarrod Gilbert

WHEN YOU WERE UPSET AS A TEEN, WHAT CREATIVE OUTLET SOOTHED YOU? I’m lucky enough to have danced all my life, and have now made it into a career. Therefore dance, especially lyrical, was always my favorite outlet as a teenager, I would just turn on the radio and dance to whatever was on. Even now after my teaching is finished for the night and I have the studio to myself sometimes I stay behind, dim the lights and just let it all out on the dance floor.

WHAT ARE YOU MOST PASSIONATE ABOUT? Inequality and inequity. 

IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY SUPER POWER, WHAT WOULD IT BE? Healing powers; to heal health issues, a broken heart, the mind etc.

IF YOU WERE GIVEN 100K TO DO ANY JOB FOR A YEAR, WHAT WOULD THAT JOB BE? Half of me would want to be a back-up dancer for Beyoncé, the other would love to be doing something along the lines of a restorative justice facilitator.

WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF? That everyday, whether it be dancing, studying or working within the criminal justice system sectors, I’m happy, passionate and have a vision. I’ve worked elsewhere and tried other things but I’m proud I’ve found who I am and what I stand for at the age of 21, and everyday I work for that.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE INSPIRATIONAL SAYING? My dad and I have grown up together always reciting to each other, “It’s not about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s learning to dance in the rain.”

WHAT’S YOUR GO-TO MOOD-BOOSTER SONG? Definitely “Love Myself” by Hailee Steinfeld – it hasn’t failed me yet.

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST FEAR? Failure.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO SUPPORT THE ‘BTGP’? 

WHAT’S THE WORST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER BEEN GIVEN? “One person cannot change the world, so don’t bother.” BTGP is disproving this directly: individuals who knew they could make a difference have by getting together to become even stronger, promoting and creating change for youth and women currently moving through the criminal justice system. 

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO SUPPORT THE ‘BTGP’? It was the blessing of finding another group of people who had the same vision to help our incarcerated women and youth who’ve ended up moving through the criminal justice system, and who understood that crime and recidivism should be viewed as a public and societal problem, not just as an individual fault, really inspired me to jump on board with the work that Amanda and BTGP were already doing. I was excited to be able to weave in my passion for dance and criminology experience and knowledge to help youth help themselves.

Watch out for Megan’s new Facebook page coming soon! In the meantime, connect with Megan on her Facebook here

The Heartspeak Collective