tiffany steigerwald | spoken word + dance
help tiffany advocate for twloha
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"Faith will set you free."
My name is Tiffany Steigerwald, and I am 17 years old. Currently I am a member of Chicago Onyx Dance Alliance (C.O.D.A). Up until this year, I have spent most of my dance career competing with an All-star dance gym. I have competed for and won national titles over the years in every division, and have competed at the USASF Dance Worlds twice. I began to take multiple classes and attend events like World of Dance or Hip-Hop International, and have been inspired to enter the Chicago dance community ever since. I was also fortunate enough to be invited to perform at this year’s Fall Benefit, and I cannot wait to express my story through both dance and writing. My biggest goal is to have the audience feel something when I am dancing as well as when I am done. I always dance with a passion, and I have always danced with/for a reason. I hope that the love and emotion for my art can be extended into those who experience it.
why this cause matters to the artist
I will be representing "To Write Love on Her Arms" (TWLOHA) when performing my spoken word piece. I chose this organization because I absolutely love what they stand for. Being a girl can be very challenging, and TWLOHA understands that. After reading their story I felt like I was fully understood in so many different aspects. Although our stories are different, they are very alike.
I’ve dealt with a lot of hardship in my life as has everyone, but one of my biggest obstacles was my first love. In just two years, I experienced things that I never thought would actually happen to me. One of the hardest things about being involved in any type of abusive relationship or environment is awareness. Even though I was experiencing the abuse and was constantly reminded of it by the people who surrounded me, I could never fully comprehend it. In my mind, this was the man I loved and he was only reacting that way because he was hurt or because he "cared too much." Eventually I fell out of love, and fell into a rabbit hole of paranoia and fear. Lying to myself did nothing but kill me and our relationship more. Suicidal thoughts and outbreaks of self-harm increased, and so did his anger. I experienced every form of abuse. To the point where I felt like my thoughts, feelings, and desires were worthless because his should top mine. It was like he held up this massive glass wall and I still wasn’t noticed. I was so addicted to him and fighting for his love, that I forgot about myself.
A little over a year ago an unforgettable incident took place, and I had never felt more awake or aware in my entire life. Since then, I learned that you can move on and be comfortable living for yourself. Through the course of a single year I have raised my GPA impeccably, repaired relationships as well as gained new ones, improved my entire outlook on life, decided on what colleges I want to go to, as well as expand my passions with everyone I can. I’ll soon be 18 and graduating high school. I hope to live these upcoming months growing, laughing, struggling, and most of all, living.
This piece contains my raw emotions, and pure intentions. I want everyone to walk away knowing that having faith in yourself will take you anywhere you want to go. I want to inspire people to take the first step in becoming the best version of themselves. Everyone deserves to be happy, and I hope my piece can help show that to people who may not feel that way when it comes to themselves.