Louisiana native Danielle Toliver is a professional dancer and creative director in the visual and performing arts. For the past decade, she’s maintained long-term, working relationships with inner city and private schools in Houston like The Imani School, where the arts are just as important as academics. She works with all age groups, from kindergarten through the 12th grade. On weekends, she hosts classes for women who are on a physical and spiritual quest to tap into their feminine power through dance. “I feel deeply connected to women and children and being able to help them hone their power through my gifts means the world to me,” Danielle says.
“Being an instructor is about gaining trust and allowing others to be vulnerable in my care and in return, it allows me to do the same so that we can grow together as an instructor and student.” Danielle is an active member of Save Our Sisters United, Inc. (SOSU) of Houston. SOSU is an advocacy organization for both cisgender and transgender women of color to coexist and break stigmas and gender norms while navigating spaces that were never meant for these women to fill.
“It’s imperative to be visible or gain knowledge to pass on to others,” Danielle says. “I’ve said before that HIV is not just an LGBTQ issue. It affects everyone and it’s important that my cisgender family and friends, male and female, etc., are all informed about PrEP and I am Life™ — young adults, in particular.”
I come from a culture where you keep pushing against the current or you ride with the wave while still remaining true to who you are and your mission. Sometimes, you have to be a little clever to get ahead of the tide.
I would love to do more commercial work in the arts, whether it’s directing, casting or as talent. Create or be a part of spaces for young femmes, trans and gender non-conforming individuals. Write a few books, become a household name while being extremely stylish.
“I’m here, I exist, I matter.” To me, the term represents inclusion and bringing everyone full circle.