Dancing is something that I have admired for a good while now after my best friend introduced me to it. I met many new and wonderful people as I went along many different forms of dancing such as ballet, breakdancing, and choreography, and one of them was Mimi Pham.
All of the dancers were so impressive to watch, usually at practices held after school, and it made me want to continue dancing. Boston Latin Schools’ Tet Festival is a show held every year by the Vietnamese Students Society and features a variety of performances. After the dance performance, Pham messaged me on Instagram.
As the school year passed by, I got to know more about them. They claimed to be 5’6”, but that was far from the truth. She also had an intriguing addiction to isosceles triangles for an unknown reason. She was a gamer like I was, hated school as much as I did, and most importantly, they were also involved in the dance scene. Pham was a hard worker that performed for our school’s annual events pretty often.
The next event, BLS Asia Night came around and I was able to see all of the hard work Pham put in. She was a great choreographer– something I really admired. Hours and hours were spent by her after school at dance practices and it sure paid off. Being the considerate and generous friend I was, I made sure to congratulate her for making it through. Without a doubt, I knew she was one of them; one of the so-called “Slay Queens.”
Mimi Pham was born in the United States in 2006. She is mixed white and Asian, which allowed her to grow up with different influences. Raised in Boston for most of her life by her two parents, Pham is a full-time high school student that also interns at Mass General Hospital. Her dance hobby started back when she was young, and there is fondness while she reminisces about this. “When I was young…my parents often watched fan dances, and I thought it was pretty. I guess it’s like a way for me to relax, and something that I really enjoy doing.” Ever since, she has been teaching herself how to dance.
Back when Pham was in kindergarten, she was offered a spot to help out with a Vietnamese Fan Dance that was being held at the time. She volunteered for future performances and events held by nearby schools and communities. In middle school, Pham studied hard to make her parents proud, and as a result, she was accepted into and is a rising junior at BLS. She is involved with many of the cultural clubs at the school including the aforementioned Vietnamese Students Society. However, she is also a part of BLS’ Dance and Koreo Clubs. Through these clubs, she is able to practice dancing with friends and become more involved with the school community. She eventually became the co-president of Koreo following a long interview process and hard work.
However, having to sing, dance, teach, choreograph, and lead people is not an easy task. She performs for various big events, and juggling all of these things is stressful, she tells me.
“During the earlier process of [preparing for events] it’s not as scary…but as you get closer, it’s very nerve-wracking and you have this pressure of being perfect on stage or people will laugh.”
When Pham first started out, she struggled with stage fright and anxiety. The internal pressure of being perfect and not messing up a performance recording scared her away from being on stage. However, she has managed to pull through and be able to perform. She feels blessed to be able to dance alongside others. “I dance with quite a lot of people, so one of the struggles that I face is seeing someone mess up, but being too afraid to tell them or just hint to them that they’re messing up,” she admits. “You don’t want to seem bossy or harsh and most importantly, you don’t want them to feel guilty for not doing them properly. At the same time, you wouldn’t want them to go on stage and mess it up.”
Dancing is fun, especially with friends, Mimi says. However, it can be exhausting for a lot of people. “The energy and commitment it takes– it’s not an easy thing to do. Many of the moves are hard to do too, but you have to keep going. It’s very frustrating to realize that you’re getting it wrong, but you have to keep going.”
Mimi still feels hopeful for her future performances, and wishes that people knew how the dance experience really was. “It just gets easier,” she said. “I’ve had a lot of people tell me that they didn’t want to dance or join any dancing clubs because they ‘couldn’t dance’. Which I think is impossible because technically you can. It just takes a lot of time and practice…I was NOT good at dancing at all when I started,” Pham admits. Her ability and confidence didn’t come from just anywhere. “As I got more experience, it just became easier,” she said.
Dancing challenges her to strive for more as she learns difficult moves. “Just try it out. People will know it’s your first time and nobody’s going to make fun of you. I love dancing and I hope other people will enjoy it as much as I do.” The feeling of wanting to be perfect is something that many struggle with even outside of dancing. To truly get better at your craft, you need to put in the time, and effort, and simply give it a chance. “I also can’t wait to get back to school,” she said, “and teach others once again.”