"There’s no greater gift than to honor your life’s calling. It’s why you were born.
And how you become most truly alive."
I have always admired Alicia Graf Mack, her grace, temperament and talents. So imagine how I felt when one day, I am on the platform at Newark Broad Street, getting ready to board my connecting train home and I see her standing on the platform. I looked around to see if
anyone else was as stunned and in awe as I was. It seemed to everyone else, she was just another commuter but to me - she was an icon! As my train started to pull into the station, I noticed she was moving towards the train. "OMG, she was getting on the same train as me!" I knew I needed to say something - so as she walked past me, I blurted out, "Excuse me, are you Alicia Graf Mack?" She answered affirmatively and then asked my name. By this time the train had pulled into the station and people were boarding the train. She graciously asked, is this your train? I was so star struck, I answered no. She waved goodbye and boarded the train. I looked up and realized this was my train and I rushed onto the train right before the doors closed. I found a seat right behind Alicia and we talked the entire way to my stop (which I almost missed because we were so heavily engaged in conversation). Alicia agreed to an interview at The Julliard School that next month. I learned so much about her life. She has inspired me to honor the call that has been placed on my life.
Alicia identifies first as a mover. She is a mother, teacher, wife and dancer. She enjoys inspiring people to move and transform their lives in different ways. She believes the physicality of moving keeps her alive. Alicia was encouraged to pursue her passion from a young age. The daughter of an African American Howard University professor and a Jewish American community organizer, both parents contributed to her base. Growing up, Alicia would accompany her mom to her modeling school. As her mom taught aerobics to the models, Alicia would imitate her. Her paternal grandmother was an avid ballet fan so when she learned that Alicia loved to dance, she really exposed her to ballet, taking her to performances and sending her photos.
Alicia is motivated by the idea that you do your best and then let God take care of the rest. Her mom instilled putting perseverance in her. She aims to put her best foot forward, especially when she is having challenges. "I don't like to do anything halfway." When asked - why do you dance?, Alicia replied:
"I dance because I believe I was called to dance. I don’t think it was my decision. I know I was given a gift and everyone is called to do something. We are all guided by the gifts we are given."