The Dancing Biochemist #ArtWeekSeries

I first met today’s scientist-creative at a financial literacy class for campus students. She is a bubbly and intelligent lady and I noticed this especially when we were given a group-task to come up with a business idea in such a short time.  Her ideas were intriguing and we eventually chose one of them to present as a group…and greater so is her story. I admire her dedication to her art and I’m so glad I get to share her story here. (PS- I know I’m not the only one stunned by her dance outfits! They are simply breathtaking! )
You can find more of Njoki on www.thedancingbiochemist.com and her social media pages as The Dancing Biochemist. FB IG

 

Hello, my name is Njoki Wairua but I am also popularly known as ‘The Dancing Biochemist.’ I am a professional dancer and a biochemist. I am vast in ballet, jazz dance and hip hop dance, more specifically break dance. I recently completed my undergraduate studies with a major in Medical Biochemistry.

For the longest time, I felt the need to constantly explain myself as to why I chose to study biochemistry while still pursuing a career as a professional dancer. Comments such as “Biochemistry is so hard, why not study a bachelor of arts”, ” Are you sure you’re a scientist?” and “Why not drop the dancing and simply focus on biochemistry?” were all too common and it bothered me at first. So much so that I would take the time out to explain to all these people who seemed to have such strong opinions on my career choices, that in fact, I could do it all. Needless to say, very few were convinced and I would end up frustrated, distraught and sometimes in doubt about my choices. 

 

Life is better when you dance

I eventually chose to ignore what people thought and said, and simply worked on myself; my dancing and my studies. Soon I saw results. I was excelling both academically and in my dance career. This brought on more support from those very people who had strongly discouraged me to pursue both the arts and science. It was a relief of course but I thought it quite unfortunate as they only validated my hard work once they deemed it ‘okay’ according to their standards. This realization further reinforced what I had slowly come to learn, ‘do you and march to the beat of your own drum! Otherwise, you’ll drown trying to please the world!’

 

Dance is like wine, it matures with every performance

Fast forward to today and I can confidently speak these words without second-guessing myself, ‘Hi, my name is Njoki Wairua, I am The Dancing Biochemist, and I am slaying at both my careers!’

Show Case of my art

 

How art has built my Christian Faith

Throughout my dance journey, I have seen first hand, God’s grace and abundance in blessings. When I first decided to take the steps to becoming a professional dancer, I never imagined I would accomplish some of the great feats I have thus far. From appearing in newspapers, magazines and even BBC to being a brand ambassador for my previous performing arts school, not to mention winning Sondeka Awards 2018 in the dance category. All these accolades are for me proof that God indeed walks with me in my dance journey. 

Besides all the good, I have faced quite a few challenges as well. From racism to literally being laughed at for pursuing a dance career. God has given me the strength to keep going even when I felt like giving up. I have felt God’s presence and comfort every step of the way! And as I have kept going, better opportunities have come my way and I have had the chance to embrace them. God gave me my talent and I am making the most of it as my gift back to Him.

Advise to anyone wishing to join the arts as a scientist

Just do it! Forget what the society expects of you, simply follow your heart! I found that pursuing a career in dance while simultaneously pursuing my biochemistry studies helped me balance off the pressure that comes with sciences. Biochemistry is a pretty tough course and I often needed to blow off some steam. Dance gave me the opportunity to do that!

Everything in the universe has rhythm. Everything dances.

What Njoki has shared resonates with many, including myself. For so long I felt I had to choose one or the other. Question being, is art a science or is science an art? Sounds a lot like the chicken and the egg question huh? Well, here’s what Raysam had to say about it;

” I was checking out the difference between “science” and “art”. I guess the key terms that stood out for me are “understanding vs skill“. The end game or final result gives the stark difference. On one end you basically ask a lot of questions and discover to know. On the other end you know in order to use practically.

 I can rephrase that to mean:
On one hand you have discovery as the objective; while on the other hand you have practical solutions to an existing challenge/problem as the objective. Or rather “discovery vs application“.

Then it makes sense why research and experimentation are so crucial in the scientific world.  

And why experience is so crucial in the art world.

Though of course there’s a thin line between the two terms that can easily be crossed.

I think there’s truth in both statements. Science is an art and art is a science. The art science and the science of art. “

I’ve have literally reported verbatim what he said and would love to hear if you hold similar or contrary sentiments. Go on and share your opinion in the comments section so that we can try figure this out together!


PS- Don’t forget that tomorrow morning, they’ll be another interesting story I’ll share. I’d advice you to subscribe/follow the blog so that you don’t miss out on any new posts!

Soli deo Gloria.