Podcast 128 - Jamal Josef - Black Boys Dance Too. Pitfalls of the industry. Teaching the world to listen to your unique voice.
Welcome to episode 128 of the DanceSpeak podcast with dancer/choreographer/author Jamal Josef (Beyonce, Kirk Franklin, author of "Black Boys Dance Too"). I was sorely mistaken thinking that this episode would be around writing a book. Just a few minutes in and Jamal started speaking candidly on one of the major taboo topics in our world: men being sexually harassed.
Needless to say, the ice was broken as Jamal began sharing about his journey from a work-study at the Debbie Reynolds Dance Studio to choreographing for Beyonce at her acclaimed 2018 Coachella performance. We talk about pitfalls in the industry (like the ones that are often not brought up... at all), protecting yourself as a dancer/choreographer, and stepping 101.
By the time we make our way to the final leg of the interview it is beyond clear that "Black Boys Dance Too" poured out of Jamal as a way to build new possibilities and normalizing diversity in dance. An overarching theme that my ears perked up to is all of the ways in which Jamal has created opportunities for himself and how even during the recording of this episode (during the great Covid 19 pause) there is so much that can be done to continuously create much needed products.
Welcome to episode 127 of the DanceSpeak podcast with dancer, choreographer, and activist, Emily Chamberlain. Emily first caught our eye with her call-to-action-for-voting choreography piece for the Civic Life Project. It is the perfect example of one of the tools we have at our belt as artists to be HEARD. Whether you are already registered to vote, or not there yet, this episode is for YOU.
Okay, so the episode... we get... political! Yikes! We haven't before, but it's time to vote and so we explore some of the issues that are impacting the dance world RIGHT NOW. One of our favorite aspects of this episode is that we dive into why and how the dance community can be powerful in making real change.
Enough with this blurb... this episode is poignant, short, and sweet (like your host). Please listen, share, subscribe, let us know your thoughts, and... VOTE!
Podcast 126 - Debriefing 'Cuties.' To out or not to out an abuser on social media. LA dance industry to advocacy with Leslie Scott.
Welcome to Episode 126 of DanceSpeak with Leslie Scott, the founder of Youth Protection Advocates in Dance (YPAD). Leslie Scott has held long-term teaching positions at the famed Millennium Dance Complex and Edge PAC in Los Angeles while also having years as a professional dancer under her belt. What we focus on in this episode is Leslie's pivot into advocating for the youth and addressing sexual abuse in the dance world while she was still in the industry. What had her go into a direction where she met immediate disapproval? Leslie speaks on her clarity and how she moved forward in the face of backlash.
We then go into a conversation around the controversial Netflix featured film: 'Cuties.' In case this does not ring any bells, Cuties is a film that has received tons of flack for its provocative posters and dance scenes which have underage dancers front and center. While holding space for the gambit on thoughts on this, Leslie helps us unpack the conversation around this film existing in the first place and how we can approach what it might bring up for many.
Last but not least we get into the recent outings of many teachers and community leaders around sexual abuse. Leslie helps us explore the impact of having much of this unfold in realtime on social media and ways for survivors and community members to best handle allegations when they come up.
*Inhale and exhale* There is a community to support survivors.
Podcast 125 - Ezama Lo'i Resident Poleography Trainer and Stunt Double for P-Valley. How she got to where she is, tomboyisms, knowing yourself feel-good-isms.
Welcome to episode 125 of DanceSpeak with Ezama L'oi (P-Valley on STARZ, Usher, Ne-Yo). Ezama's story takes us through her introduction to dance, becoming a professional dancer, and how she got into pole. Ezama's multifaceted career journey shows us how much is possible when you stay true to yourself and follow your visions.
Ezama speaks to us as the resident poleography trainer and stunt double for the show P-Valley on Starz. She shares about how she became a part of the show, what it's like on set, working with Jamaica and Katori Hall, and insights as to what makes the show click so well.
We quickly learn that there is nothing typical about Ezama or her journey. She grew up in a handful of places across the U.S., is a fan of pole dancing in sweatpants and grandpa socks, runs her own businesses, and embraces her tomboy side in the most unapologetic way. Ezama opens up about racism in Mississippi, her life-changing trips to Africa, and so so much more.
Listen, enjoy, share, learn, subscribe!
Podcast 124 - naTonia Monet - What It Was Like Performing On Broadway As COVID Hit. Surviving Devastating Auditions. Plant Motherhood.
Welcome to episode 124 with actress, singer, dancer, sketch comedian, writer, director, Cinnabon-lova: NaTonia Monét. Stage credits include Westside Story, The Wiz, Tina on BROADDDDWAY. TV includes Ray Donovan and Z: The Beginning of Everything (eowww).
NaTonia opens up about her journey as she discovered her dream of Broadway, made the big move from the South to New York City, and how she moved through her fears to make her career happen.
We learn about what it's like to go through the winding process of getting on a Broadway show and then an insider perspective on the experience of getting your dream job as Covid shut everything down. This episode leaves you with hope as NaTonia shares about keeping creative during the lockdown and coping in a very beautiful way.
Listen, subscribe, and share!
Podcast 123 - India McGee. How to prepare to be in period pieces. Dancing and acting on TV. What gets lost with binaries. The good in releasing a dream.
Okay, my title is long here. Episode 123 with India McGee inspires a long title because her voice, her intelligence, her variety in topics shared is a celebration for the ears.
Yes, I was hyped to hear about India's experience dancing and acting on Netflix's The Get Down and BET's American Soul. Yes, I was hyped to learn about her experience teaching at a top university (Emory). But what really gets me is India's empowered outlook and confidence in what can seem taboo to talk about. We talk facial hair on women, why binaries can be harmful, even the benefit of letting go of a dream (listen, we LOVE dreams, but this episode will give you another side).
India shares with us ways to prepare for roles that take place in a different time, how comedy and improv improved her career, and... babies (yes, babies come up here too).
Listen, enjoy, subscribe, and share!
Podcast Episode 122 - Dr. Bluestein on working with hypermobility. Training, nutrition, and prolonging your dance years.
Welcome to episode 122 of DanceSpeak with Dr. Linda Bluestein (we got a docta in the house!!). Dr. B is an anesthesiologist who started off as a ballerina and is now working as a specialist with hypermobility.
We discuss how to work around the challenges of being bendy, ways to approach strength training for a longer career, Dr. Bluestein's inspiring and fascinating story, and nutrition (#WeLoveFood).
Listen, enjoy, subscribe, and share with a frand!
Podcast 121 - Carlos Neto. Child Actor in Portugal. Pro Dancer in the UK. In-Demand Teacher + Chor in NYC. How He Made It.
Welcome to episode 121 of the DanceSpeak Podcast with Carlos Neto (Creative Dir. for World of Dance, Broadway Dance Center + Peridance + Alvin Ailey faculty member, Circolombia on Broadway, and more). First off, it was tough choosing which credits to put between those parentheses, because Carlos' intentional work is known by different people depending on the country (e.g. our UK listeners would've appreciated if we put the credit he has from London's West End). Secondly, did we just digress?
Our excitement for having Carlos on the podcast has to do with his multi-layered success. Carlos has the story of immigration, not once, but two times in his life. He has worked as a professional in three countries, on two continents, managed to succeed in one of the toughest cities in the world (NYC) AND in one of the most competitive fields: dance.
Carlos walks us through his journey, how he discovered dance and the inner workings of how he progressed in his career regardless of geography. Get inspired by Carlos' tips on connecting with the people you want to work with, what to do when work gets slow, and his approach to making the most out of criticism.
Listen, share, subscribe, and rate... aaaand review us!
Podcast 120 - Chloé and Maud talk Syncopated Ladies, Standing Up For Yourself On the Job, and Making It All Work
Welcome to Episode 120 of the DanceSpeak Podcast with Chloe and Maude Arnold (Syncopated Ladies, The Late Late Show with James Corden, Beyonce, Snoop Dogg, The Chloé and Maud Foundation). These two powerhouse sisters collectively have inspired people around the world as dancers, through directing, choreographing, philanthropy, and the space they hold as women in the often male-dominated tap world (hope the wording here does this justice, I am but a podcaster).
Listen to our conversation as we explore what motivates these high achieving women, what has had them succeed, their inspiring views on giving, how to balance it all, well-being before and during the time of Covid-19, founding and being part of a long-time group (and how to maintain longevity), and, well, more!
Be sure to subscribe, rate, share, and check out www.chloeandmaudfoundation.org to support and learn about learning tap from the best!
Chloe and Maud:
Podcast 119 - Princess Lockerooo on How To Create an Alterego, Singing on Subways and Why Waackin is Empowering... also... Madonna
Welcome to episode 119 of the DanceSpeak podcast with Samara "Princess Lockerooo" Cohen. You may have seen her audition on SYTYCD, parading (literally) in NYC, DJing in Thailand, or one of many clips where she CRUSHES it with her waackin performances (and battles... and when she holds events).
We go through Samara's journey from training as a vocal major in New York's 'FAME' school (aka LaGuardia, aka, the same high school I went to, whaaa?!) to finding dance and training her way to be the best in her lane. We discuss oh so many things, including: working on a project for Madonna, how to take control of your own career, why Waackin is empowering, how she built her brand (hint: it involves clubbing), and how to hone in on what makes YOU... YOU (my favorite topic, always).
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.