Meditation The Meditation Lizzo’s and John Legend’s Choreographer Can’t Live...

The Meditation Lizzo’s and John Legend’s Choreographer Can’t Live Without


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When stay-at-home orders swept the globe this spring, Jemel McWilliams was at the height of his career. The 39-year-old choreographer and artistic director has been climbing the artistic ranks, touring with and crafting dance routines for celebrities such as Janelle Monáe, Alicia Keys, Lizzo, and John Legend—earning him an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Choreography for his 2020 Oscars opening number “Come Alive” featuring Monáe.

With live events paused indefinitely across the globe, it’s his morning meditation and yoga routine that McWilliams says is helping him stay grounded in these times of uncertainty. “I’m used to touring and being in different cities every day—waking up on a bus or in a hotel room,” says McWilliams, who’s been meditating and practicing yoga for nearly a decade. “But quarantine has really given me a chance to start anew. I now have very intentional morning practices: I’ve spent a lot of time going inward to figure out what I want. Because even though this is as successful as I’ve ever been in my career, it wasn’t the happiest I’ve ever been—and I realized it was because I was being inconsistent with my morning practice.”

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