All in Purpose

Gwen of Gwen Rakotovao Company

“I didn’t decide to combine dances, being both Malagasy and French it was not me to be trained in one style, to be very ballet or strictly jazz. I had so much range of movement in my body that I could not fit exactly in a specific technique. So it was a need for me to do my own dance. It was not really a choice. The solo show ‘Esperanto’ is my story and also the untold stories of those like me who were not born in the land of their ancestors. I’ve always wanted to talk about coming back to one’s roots through dance, how cultures define us and also divide us but that we can connect with our human spirit and be together. I want to explore that and make it happen.”


"You always wish the next milestone will lead you to your purpose --graduating from college, working, getting a higher paying job, getting married. It’s always been an elusive idea to me and somewhat a source of frustration. It's honestly embarrassing that I worry about finding meaning when many can't even find food to eat. But as they say, "the struggle is real," and I wonder if there are others out there who share the same sentiment. Reminding myself to be grateful helps me get by. I ask myself what success is for me, not as defined by society. There is no one formula to living. It's okay that I don't know. It's okay that I don't have things figured out. But I have to try. Try anything. And if I fail, that's okay, too."


"'The Wheel' (Urdhva Dhanurasana) is one of my favorite yoga poses. It's an 'opening your heart' pose, intended to ignite the heart chakra and to heal oneself from emotional hurts from the past, keeping the body in harmony. To open your heart is to be sensitive, passionate, vulnerable and free. When your heart is open, you go with the flow and allow for new opportunities for growth and Love. Trust that you are being supported and being loved, and that no matter what happens, the Universe is on your side. Believe that everything will work out beautifully in God's divine timing. As I bend my back and open my heart to the skies, I learn to just let go, breathe, and surrender."


"It's very easy to get lost in numbers and sales targets in a job like mine. But I've been blessed with leaders who consistently encourage, recognize, and reward marketing with purpose – the kind of marketing that makes a positive impact. And so I’ve continued to be a proponent of meaningful work. I recently moved to another country to take on a challenging role that just might be one of the 'make or break' highlights of my career. Good thing I am married to a man who not only supports me so much that he dropped everything to move with me, but also celebrates and loves my individuality. We are completely different people, total opposites even, and he has brought so much color into my life. Because of him, I’ve become bolder to the point of experimenting with wild hair colors, and more passionate about doing work that matters."


Photo by Jan Parma


"I hope for more people to have a better relationship with light and dark. My dream is for a world full of beautiful colors, without stigmas or judgments. If I could inspire one girl to continue swimming or playing football without the fear of being let down for her dark looks, I feel that we could be on to something. This movement is for anyone who would like to support such a cause. Our challenge is to begin this among Filipinas, then go beyond borders, cross-racial, cross-gender, cross-faith, cross-class."


"Creativity is not confined in art. The trick is to be creative with a purpose. I still often ask 'Why am I in the art industry?', 'What is this all for anyway?' I hit a wall… and then I answer these questions with my work: it brings people together, gives all of us the sense of community with music and culture at its foundation. That’s the best kind of art."


"I once learned that life doesn't happen to us; it happens for us. On hand, we only have the cards we're dealt with, but it's always up to you -- and how you react to it -- that can dictate how your life will go. Since then, I've started putting more belief and faith in the Universe. I always just trust the Universe, and if it's not happening for me, then it's probably just not the right time -- especially if it's something that has to be forced."