Podcast 134 - Noel Bajandas from dancing at home to booking movies. Learning to trust yourself and be your own artist.
Welcome to Episode 134 of the DanceSpeak podcast with Noel Bajandas. Noel is a dancer and choreographer with decades in the industry and credits that include the upcoming movie “In The Heights”, LA LA Land, Circue Du Soleil’s Delirium, Madonna and Toni Braxton.
This is the most perfect time for Noel's episode to be released as his story is inspiring, fun, and he keeps it REAL. Noel shares about how he started his professional career in dance at the age of 18 with little formal training. The genres that Noel has spanned are numerous and we get to the core of how he has managed to jump into the variety of projects that he has.
This episode dives into one of our foundational styles of episode: the journey of the dancer from humble beginnings to great successes... what works, and how to get there.
Listen, subscribe, share, and enjoy!
Welcome to episode 133 of the DanceSpeak podcast. In this unprecedented year, one of the major guiding factors I've experienced is having our guests share how they have been navigating Covid times. After nearly a year of physically distanced interviews from around the country (and Paris too), I have been bursting with information to share, because there are some major things in common that our thriving guests have.
This episode distills this year into 6 major lessons and key ways to navigate this time. While opening up about my own journey as a solopreneur, multi-passionate business owner, and dance teacher-student-choregrapher-podcaster, I refer to lessons that our recent guests have taught us and deliver them with the intention of inspiring actionable steps and clarity for what we can do when so much has been limited.
Some of the topics include boosting your work from home, navigating the often triggering social media landscape, and managing burnout. This episode as a whole speaks to how one can make the most out of any time in life where there might be a major industry slow down or rough patch that requires one to change their approach.
Enjoy this episode and remember to be kind to yourself!
Podcast 132 - PT for Alvin Ailey dancers, Marissa T. Schaeffer, on cross-training for dance, Staying dance-ready from home, and insights for dancers wanting to become a PT.
Welcome to episode 132 of the DanceSpeak podcast with Marissa T. Schaeffer (Licensed Physical Therapist and NCSA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist). Marissa has worked with dancers from Broadway to ballet serving companies such as Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, José Limón Dance Company, and Doug Varone. She has also written and contributed to dance articles in Dance Magazine, Dance Teacher Magazine, and Dance Studio Life.
Marissa and I talk about her journey from a conservatory dancer who was on a professional track to her becoming a personal trainer and eventually a physical therapist. Of course, I just had to ask about her experience giving cross-training and treatments for Ailey dancers. Marissa shares about her approach when working with dancers, gives tips on how to stay dance-ready while at home (when many of us, well at least, I have become more... couch-ified... is that a word?). We talk about what to do if you need a PT from home, go on a few fun tangents, and learn about what Marissa and her colleagues have created to get us moving without overdoing it as we enter the new year.
Listen, subscribe, rate, review. To get more information on the Dance Ready Project go to https://www.danceready.org/
Podcast 131 - Laure Courtellemont. Dancehall, France, Pandemic Realizations. Mapping out dreams and what it looks like to not give up.
Welcome to episode 131 of the DanceSpeak Podcast with Laure Courtellemont (Neyo, Major Lazor, SYTYCD and more). Laure means so many things to us, the podcast. She is the story of having passion beyond fear, of having a dream that takes her across the ocean from Paris to the US, of being pulled into her career of dance by an inexplicable force.
Our interview takes place remotely as we are hunkered down by the pandemic. From here, Laure shares about traveling back to France for a longer than expected period of time (don't worry LA, she'll be back soon) and the realizations that have come to her during the quarantine. Laure opens up about her journey with dancehall, as a student who became a world-renowned teacher, and how she navigated proving herself and persevering through resistance... and internet shade.
We talk about France's relationship to social justice, how Laure's passion took her to places she never expected, and so... much... more. Listen, enjoy, subscribe, and share!
To listen to the full KM panel we reference in this episode check out podcast episode 115!
For Mature Audiences Only! If you are familiar with us at all, you probably know we are all for sharing unfiltered and enlivening conversations with our audience. Episode 130 of DanceSpeak delivers an interview with Alicia and Erwan, the relationship coaches of Erwan Davon Teachings, who work with singles and couples to create soulful and sexy relationships.
Nothing is off guard here. We get into topics including navigating being in the same industry as your partner, bumping into exes, what an extended orgasm is, who pays for the date, how to build a healthy power dynamic with your partner, do's and don'ts if you go into business with your significant other, gaging someone else's interest, questions around pornagrpahy consumption and more!
Enjoy, share, subscribe, rate, review, and... enjoy some more.
Welcome to episode 129 of the DanceSpeak podcast with Tiffany Mellard (Hamilton, Chicago, West Side Story). What got me super geeked about Tiffany is that while I'm trying to navigate not eating all of the cookies in the jar during Covid, Tiffany, who was in Hamilton prior to everything shutting down, is obtaining a Master's degree from Harvard. Not that this is a comparison game... no, not that! It's just jaw-dropping, inspiring, and gets my daydreams going.
While the first thing we talk about is High School (shout out to La Guardia/ LAG Arts), because um, we had class together in H.S. and just now reconnected... wait run-on sentence... while we start off fun and light, the conversation starts diving into a deeper arena as Tiffany shares about her passion for bringing dance to the community, the injury that first hindered and then ultimately gave her career a major boost, tokenism in dance (a must-listen), getting onto Hamilton, what it was like when Covid hit, and her journey to Harvard where she is currently obtaining her degree.
The world needs this energy in it, listen, review, subscribe, let us know your thoughts, and... let's do this!
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!
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.