Welcome to episode 109 of the DanceSpeak podcast with Taylor Thomas. Credits include Justin Timberlake, Pharell, Snoop Dogg, and more... way more.
Taylor sits down and opens the door to her experiences in the dance world as she discusses her 3 biggest breakthrough career moments so far, and one of the most heart-wrenching industry experiences that many go through but most don't discuss. It becomes immediately clear to me why Taylor thrives on and off the job and what keeps her working in this highly competitive field (once you listen, you'll understand).
We gush over industry and teaching veterans, connect on a human level, and I believe once you listen to this you will feel like you have gotten a unique insight into Taylor's mind and journey. You may even find yourself... deeply inspired.
Listen, subscribe, share, and enjoy!
Podcast 108 - Brittny Sugarman - Running Multiple Businesses While Dancing on Film/TV... Make-Up Artistry and Co-Founding DANCEKIT
I've been running into Brittny Sugarman for the decade that we have both been in Los Angeles. I always knew Brittny was a 'booker' as she's worked on films such as Pitch Perfect 3, Ghostbusters, Footloose, and Nickelodeon's Fresh Beat Band to name a few.
What really caught my eye with Brittny (besides her unreal fulloutness and plié in second) was when I learned that in addition to being a legit dancer and makeup artist, Brittny started a brilliant business as the co-creator of Dancekit (basically it has the necessities for dancers who are training hard, auditioning tough, performing...). So, of course, I had to sit Brittny down on the DanceSpeak couch and learn about her whole life.
While the first 40 minutes of the interview go through thriving on camera, what makes the great choreographers consistent in their getting-hired, things you want to know when getting your make-up did, starting a f*ckin business and more... we also couldn't help but get human AF, do a shot, and talk about life, friendship, and expectations for the last portion of the episode.
This episode delivers on tactical information for the career and also appeals to human conversations about being a PERSON before career drone.
Enjoy, share, and subscribe!
In 2015 my career was building the momentum I had worked so hard for. Opportunities seemed to be flowing when I received one of the hardest pieces of information to digest. I learned I was sick with Lymes' disease; a condition that can be chronic and that the medical industry still has much to learn about. It was one of my biggest fears to be 'knocked out' from my dance career. At the same time I learned one of the greatest lessons, which I spoke about at Jojo Diggs' Im-Power-Meant Event: The Power Of Sitting On The Bench.
This episode covers the recording of the first time I shared so openly about my experience with the illness and the way it ultimately shifted my career for the better. The talk is followed by a Q and A where I answer questions around balance, energy maintenance, and my background as a personal trainer. I get vulnerable in this one, and after 3.5 years of having others open to me on the DanceSpeak sofa, I thought it was time to share this vital piece of my journey.
Other episodes to check out with this one are episode 97 (a panel from the Im-Power-Meant weekend), episode 91 (Jojo Diggs: Deepening Your Relationship with Self), and episode 15 (the original Jojo Diggs interview where she shares about her unbelievable journey with dance).
Original Im-Power-Meant Episode:
Podcast 106 - Flii Stylz - From Richmond CA to Conquering LA, Creative Directing for Chris Brown, and Thriving In the Long Term
With all of the topics that we covered, I really struggled to settle on a title for this episode. Flii Stylz is the man who has auditioned the people who dancers currently audition for. He spent years as the choreographer and creative director behind Chris Brown. He came to Los Angeles decades ago as a member of Housin Authority (who’s members also include Rich N Tone Taluega).
With credits that include Usher, Missy Elliot, J LO, Gloria Estefan, Michael Jackson, and more…way more… Flii knows the ins and outs of greatness. Although the dance world might know him primarily for his signature movement and artist credits, Flii is also an entrepreneur, recording artist, director, father and wears enough hats that it is straight up jaw-dropping.
Topics that we cover include Flii’s upbringing, what it was like move to Los Angeles in the 90’s, observations on the hardest working entertainers he has met, why his movement stays… FLY(II), how he wears so many hats, what fatherhood means to him, key ingredients to his success within dance, his process in choreographing for artists, mistakes (yes we go though), and… well… more, so just listen to the episode because it’s jam packed with gems.
Podcast 105 - Nicole 'The Pole' on Booking Cardi B, How to Get Your Money Together, and why NO Industry Is Oversaturated
Welcome to episode 105 of the DanceSpeak podcast with Nicole 'The Pole' Williams! Also known as Nicole 'The Soul Coach' Williams. Yup, not only is she is a renowned pole dancer who you may have seen dancing for Cardi B, Rihanna, Miguel, Snoop Dogg, Ludacris (and more), but she is also a certified life coach that will make you feel like you are listening to a TED talk.
Of the many topics we explore, Nicole extra wow'd me with her view on why she doesn't see any industry as oversaturated, in-depth talk about finances (I promise it's not boring), how TF she started her pole career at an age where many dancers think they need to retire (and she's STILL working), owning her own dance studio, how she manifests work, being body positive even if your body type isn't 'on trend' and MORE!
Listen up, share with a frand, open those ears, SUBSCRIBE, and enjoy!!
podcast 104 - Queer & Female In The Dance World - A Real AF Convo w/ Jasmine Rafael, Amy Morgan, and Alyssa Stamp
Welcome to episode 104 of the DanceSpeak podcast as we celebrate pride month with a powerhouse group discussion around being a queer female in the dance world. The group is comprised of Jasmine Rafael, Amy Morgan, Alyssa Stamp, and curated by your host, Galit Friedlander.
Topics that are brought to the table include coming out of the closet, actions that can be more harmful than supportive, bringing recognition the queer people who are not highlighted in the media, experiences in the professional dance world as a non-straight woman, uncomfortable social interactions around sexuality and how NOT to ask questions, how TO ask questions, not knowing who is in the queer community, a conversation around non-binary language, laughs, tears, and more.
We hope to serve a larger purpose in this episode, to have EVERYONE know that they are LOVED, cared for and that DanceSpeak is here to support all members of our beautiful dance world (and beyond).
Subrcribe and Enjoy!
Podcast 103 - Moncell IllKozby Durden: What You May Not Know About Dance & How To Go From The Cypher To Teaching Dance In Universities
Moncell IllKozby Durden: What You May Not Know About Dance & How To Go From The Cypher To Teaching Dance In Universities
Welcome to episode 103 of DanceSpeak with Moncell IllKozby Durden. Moncell is currently on faculty at the widely respected USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. Not only does he teach at USC, but some of the universities where he has taught include Drexel, Yale, Princeton, NYU, The New School, and Temple University. What is even more impressive is that Moncell did not gain a degree from college, rather he has lived the culture, learned from the elders, read continuously, and has never stopped learning.
The topics we explore in this episode span from an eye-opening perspective on how a teacher can go above and beyond to serve his/her students, to Moncell's entry into academia, to his cultural perspective as an African-American sharing a heritage that many have not lived (but want to participate in)... Moncell is inspiring in his unapologetic love for dance and the absence of needing approval.
One of my favorite aspects of this episode is the information that Moncell shares on different dances that I have barely heard about before. He begins to answer my question: who are the teachers of my teachers and how do I find their teachers?
Empower yourself with knowledge, let us know what you think, share with a friend, SUBSCRIBE, and make sure to keep the dance alive!
Podcast 102 - Episode 102 - a Live Interview at Chapman University With Kachi Alcazar talking Tour Life and the Preparation It Takes To Be a Pro Dancer
Welcome to episode 102 of DanceSpeak, recorded LIVE in front of a senior class of dancers at Chapman University. And whom did we interview? The wise and glowing goddess that is KAchi Alcazar (she's 24 but don't get it twisted, she's like a Lil' Yoda). Kachi originally entered the DanceSpeak world in a shared episode (episode 37) two years ago, as she was in the earlier part of her journey pursuing dance professionally. A little over two years later, Kachi has toured the world with both Kehlani and Camila Cabello, danced in awards shows, and gained a new perspective on her role as a movement artist.
Kachi shares with candor about how the experience of touring with an artist compares to the daydream version of if. She gives tips, insights, and stories from before she booked Kehlani and the realizations that have opened up new possibilities for her future. We talk about Kachi's choice to leave college to pursue dance and why she feels it may or may not pertain to others.
We get into conversations about stress, managing your health while on tour, handling your finances as a working/touring dancer, looking at the 'bigger picture' and... more. The interview gets rounded out with a question and answer from the dancers of Chapman University's senior dance class, and we do not hold back in giving as much as we can offer with every minute!
Podcast 101 - Phil Wright - How You Get Creative When You're Broke... Building A Career And Massive Social Media Presence From Scratch
Our guest for episode 101 is none other than one of the most undeniable forces in today's dance world: Phil Wright. Phil has made a name for himself as a social media maven who graces our pages with high-energy dance classes and most recently has been named the choreographer for MC Hammer's upcoming tour.
This episode is so rich with gems and stories that we could write a book for the blurb, so here are some of the highlights (hehehe): Phil shares about the ups and downs of his journey moving to Los Angeles, how he built his YouTube and social media following, the earlier days in Los Angeles when he had to drive an hour to take a dance class and didn't have a home of his own, hearing "no" a lot, what MC Hammer is like off stage, what Phil had to sacrifice on his journey to success, getting signed to a major agency but then not booking work, his business and the phenomenon that is The Parent Jam, Phil's typical day/schedule, his outlook on more difficult days and the self-talk he recommends, lots of giggles, and more!
Podcast 100 - Robin Antin - The Creator of the Pussycat Dolls and Co-Founder of Playground LA Shares How She Made It All Happen
Call your mom, auntie, uncle, bff, ex boo, cousin and let them know DanceSpeak has made it to episode 100 and our guest is none other than THE Robin Antin! Robin has established herself over the years as a choreographer, producer, director, designer and entrepreneur. She is a BOSS LADY and in our humble opinion represents what it can look like to blow the roof off of what it looks like to be a success in the dance world.
In this episode Robin shares about her family's influence and inspirations that ultimately lead to her thriving in the dance world. She walks us through the process that developed the Pussycat Dolls into the phenomena that they are. We then get into the creation of Playground LA, lessons learned in the process, and what has had it do so well!
Thank you to Playground LA and Robin Antin for hosting this episode in your studio space. We are geeked to have you have us have you. :)
After 15 years of experience in the dance world, Galit has worked as Assistant Choreographer for Prince, danced in numerous music videos, including Pharrell Williams' "Happy", has been featured in two dance publications, and currently works as a dance instructor and conditioning specialist in Los Angeles and around the country.