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Get to know our trainers and entertainers!

Blog Post
Sunday Parkways will be highlighting our talented entertainers throughout the 2020 virtual season. Find out more about these talented Portlanders and how our communities can support them.
In this article

One of the reasons Sunday Parkways feels special to so many Portlanders is because it brings community and neighbors together. That’s obviously harder to do online, but we can still build community from a virtual space!  

We invited some of our recent Sunday Parkways at Home entertainers to answer questions and help us get to know them better. Read on to find out how they each are handling their mental health during COVID-19, why they love what they do, and how our Portland communities can support them. 

** Find saved videos of our trainer's Sunday Parkways at Home classes on our Fitness at Home page or the Portland Sunday Parkways Facebook page. ** 

Meet DJ Prashant 

DJ, singer, choreographer

Pronouns: he/him

You’re a DJ, singer, AND choreographer. Do you like one role more than the others?  

A photo of DJ Prashant singing and smiling: He has a dark beard and mustache, is wearing a green scarf and multi-colored baseball cap. He is wearing a headset and looking at the camera.

I have never been able to choose or spend more time and energy on one more than another. I like them all in different ways. 

Being a DJ allows me to have bigger events where I can have a lot of people all at once. It’s also sort of one place for everything. I can teach dances, I can also queue in a song to sing, and I can really explore. I can’t sing in Spanish, Portuguese, or other languages, but I can definitely play music from all over the world. I really enjoy that about being a DJ.  

Singing is something that’s really close to my heart; it’s something I did growing up just to entertain my mother when I was in Mumbai. It’s something that I go to just as a spiritual practice. Even doing Riyaz, which is Hindustani classical practice, is part of my daily routine and really helps me stay grounded.  

Dancing is really special and important to me. That’s kind of how I found a safe place. I used to be 40 pounds bigger than I am and now feel so much more accepted in social dance circles from Zydeco, Contra, to Latin dancing. It really empowers me to teach dance and see the life changing experience it can be for people who take classes with me, either at Portland Sunday Parkways or other places. 

What is your best memory from your time as a performer or instructor?  

If I have to pick one, I would share about my DJ set in Cusco, Peru. I went there last year to spend time with a friend, and also just to explore the city with no intention to DJ. But Cusco has such an incredible vibe: beautiful people, it’s 14,000 feet above sea level, it just has a very different energy to it. I just felt extremely inspired while I was there.  

I went out social dancing like five nights in a row, and made friends with the DJ’s and a lot of dancers. I shared the Latin and Bollywood mash ups with them I’ve been making for the last 3-4 years. They really liked it and invited me to DJ in the club. I all of a sudden got to play for 700 people in a basement club! I got to mix my two favorite genres, Latin and Bollywood, together. It was just out of this world.  

I even had some of that suspense element: my laptop was overheating because we were down in the basement and there were so many people. The [former] sound engineer of Nirvana (!!) was helping keep my laptop cool by wrapping up ice cubes in toilet paper and putting them on top so it would remain cool enough for me to finish my DJ set! It was quite an incredible experience. 

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. What’s something you’re doing right now that's helping you stay positive? 

An orange image with the backdrop of a cityscape. A mirrored image of DJ Prashant in a black baseball cap and sunglasses bookend information about his weekly virtual events (listed in the article).
DJ Prashant is hosting free weekly virtual events. You can find out more at www.dreamsperfected.com.

It’s a mixture of a few things: The COVID-19 outbreak is probably extremely challenging I’m sure for everyone. I am somebody who thrives on going out there, sharing really good vibes, and getting feedback from people, or just knowing that I’m adding value to people. It’s a big part of my mental health and that’s totally missing.  I have no idea when or if I’ll be able to start again, and that’s a real challenge.  

One of the ways in which I am tackling that challenge is by offering virtual events. I’m hosting MixTape Mondays, offering dance classes on Wednesdays, and parties on Fridays. It’s an insane amount of work, and the revenue just isn’t there, but the feedback and support I’m getting is really helping me to stay focused on music and dance, and sharing vibes.  

Another thing I’m doing is spending a lot of time with my family, talking, and meditating with them. And spending a lot of time with my cat. In general, I’m also taking better care of my body.

Which famous person would you want to be quarantined with and why?  

I would really love to be quarantined with The Rock, because he is just so full of positivity and he is working out all the time and just has so much wisdom. And obviously so much money, so it would be great! And I see him supporting his new brand of tequila, so I’m sure it would be a fabulous time. 

Share a musical artist or song people should know about:  

Her name is Jasmine Sandlas. She has a lot of tracks, but one of her newest is Panjeba.  I think everyone should follow her. She is amazing! 

Where can people find you outside of these Sunday Parkways classes?  

Website: Dreamsperfected.com

Anything else you want us to know about you, or to share?  

I am offering virtual events right now, Mondays, Wednesdays and parties on Fridays. They are completely free and totally donation-based. I would love for anyone and everybody to be able to join. 

Meet Keyante Watkins

Director, choreographer, actor, Rip City Crew dancer 

Pronouns: he/him

You're a choreographer, dancer, actor AND director. Do you like one role over the other, and why?      

A photo of Keyante Watkins. He is standing in front of a bridge in a red Nike sweatshirt with a hood. His arms are crossed and he is smiling with his head tilted.

 I love directing because I can form a vision in my mind and I can bring that vision to life, which is an amazing feeling. 

You're a part of Rip City Crew, the male dance group that performs at Blazers games. Do you have special skills or talents that you bring to the Crew? 

I have a strong stage presence as well as energy and personality when I am performing, so it naturally captures the attention of others.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. What’s something you’re doing right now that's helping you stay positive?  

I am currently spending a lot of time in Ohio with my family which is where I am from to stay positive and happy. 

Which famous person would you want to be quarantined with and why? 
I wouldn’t want to be quarantined with any famous person. I'd rather be with my family than a famous celebrity.

Where can people find you outside of these Sunday Parkways classes?

At just 24, Keyante is an experienced director. Here is a show he directed in 2019 for Black Cultered Performing Arts.

Meet Trainer Tyra

Fitness nutrition coach, personal trainer, group fitness instructor

pronouns: she/her

A photo of Trainer Tyra. She has her arms raised in the air while wearing a white tank top. Her head is back and her eyes are closed in a powerful and peaceful pose.

You teach Vinyasa yoga, high intensity interval Pilates, and more. Do you have a favorite class you like to teach, and why?   

I love teaching HIIT (high intensity interval training) because I can make it accessible to all bodies. There is even a chair option available. I love to watch people see just how powerful they actually are when they move joyfully. It’s beautiful seeing them blow their own expectations. We are more than we think. 

In this video of how you became an instructor you talk about loving the physical and emotional connections you get with people in your classes, and how important that is to you. How have you been making those connections during the COVID-19 physical distancing measures?  

Video streaming platforms are the next best thing since I can see them and they can chat during and we chit chat afterwards. I also love when folx message me. I want them to feel that I’m here for them because I am.  

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. What’s something you’re doing right now that's helping you stay positive?  

I’m reaching out more to friends and family. We are talking more than texting. It soothes my soul and helps to focus on my blessings during this time of distress. We need our communities more than ever to survive until we can thrive again.

Which famous person would you want to be quarantined with and why?  

Frederick Douglass. He said, “ The soul that is within me no man can degrade.” In 2020 it is still hard to be Black in America. I would love to receive a pep talk from him. I need to be recharged since I’m feeling so low in believing America can ever see us as whole persons and not property that’s easily dispensable.

Share a musical artist or song people should know about:  

Anything Celia Cruz, if you like Latin music you’ll fall in love with her. ¡Azucar! 

Where can people find you outside of these Sunday Parkways classes? 

I’m online until the world reopens! 

Website: trainertyra.com 
Facebook: Facebook.com/TrainerTyra 
Instagram:  tr8nrtyra 

Anything else you want us to know about you, or to share?   

Keep moving! Everyone deserves to take up space and joyful movement. XOXO