Michela Adjei Ocran (The DreamYard Project)
My name is Michaela Adjei and I was born and raised in Venice, Italy. I moved from there when I was ten years old, first to New Jersey and then to New York. It was fun living in Italy! I understood that not many people get to live in the center of Venice, so I enjoyed it. My family loves to travel and being in Italy, it was easy to travel within Europe to places like France and Paris with just trains. I went to Switzerland for Halloween once and then we would go to Sicily to the beaches—all that kind of stuff. We lived in the countryside of Venice, most people know of central Venice where the water boats are, but there’s also the countryside—it’s called Veneto. That’s where I was mainly raised; not many people live there so it’s nice and quiet. My family is originally from Ghana, Africa, but I have British blood in me too, so I have cousins and aunties who are white and some of them in Italy have my same name, Michela. The name Michela runs in my family a lot so they always call me Michelina, the small one, because if they call me Michela everybody would turn around.
I’m going to the 11th grade. I go to Marble Hill High School of International Studies. When I graduate and go to college I want to major in arts & business management or fine arts because I’d really like to do art directing. I don’t want to just draw and act, I also want to make animations—things like “Despicable Me.” I just started doing the arts when I came to DreamYard recently. The arts are something that’s been passed down through my family—everybody has loved the arts from my great-grandparents to me today. Everyone was naturally gifted at doing something, whether it was fashion, hairstyling or cooking, but nobody ever tried to pursue it seriously. DreamYard taught me that you can actually do something amazing with the arts. They taught me that the arts can change people and bring people together, because in this world everything starts off with an idea, a drawing, or with something creative before it comes to life. They’ve helped me understand that I can actually do something with the arts and I’ve actually inspired my brother to start music producing because he loves music. So DreamYard has not only impacted me but also my family, and now my family is like, “Wow you can actually act. It’s pretty good.” Even my dad has been inspired to go to cooking school, which is great! I think next year he wants to start taking cooking classes; he’s already good but he wants to improve even more.
The Shakespeare Summer Intensive we had with Tiffany from the Public was mind blowing. One thing that really touched me was the dance pieces we created. I loved everything about the intensive and I honestly wish it’d lasted the whole summer because it was just so great. I was really amazed at myself, and also at my group, at what they were able to create. Tiffany asked us to use our bodies once to create gesture phrases to communicate something about Love—the good parts, the bad, whatever. Everyone came up with these amazing pieces that almost made me cry. So it’s just amazing, what we all probably thought was small when we created it, turned out to impact others very deeply. It made me realize that small ideas that you think are not important or you think are worthless can be so powerful and can actually change someone. It made me realize I shouldn’t take my own ideas for granted and that I really want to continue acting. I think I’ve improved a lot and I want to keep on improving because there’s always room for improvement. Hopefully we have the intensive again next summer!