Podcast 96 - How A Dancer Took Over One Of The Greatest Studios In Los Angeles - Teresa Espinosa On Preserving the Debbie Reynolds Legacy
Holy Moly! We are up to episode 96 of the DanceSpeak Podcast and this time our episode 52 alum, Teresa Espinosa, is coming through for her second interview. She is on an unimaginable journey the world could've never expected to take place! Am I excited enough?
A little background... Teresa Espinosa is a veteran dancer and choreographer with credits that include Magic Mike, Britney Spears, Janet Freakin' Jackson, and... so many many more. So... yeah... Teresa is a big deal and yet she's very humble. Flash forward to 2018-2019, Teresa is now the owner of the widely respected Debbie Reynold's Studio now known as Debbie Reynolds Legacy. This is the studio where Michael Jackson rehearsed for Thriller, and decades of venerated dancers have learned and rehearsed.
At the end of 2018, the dance world gave a tearful goodbye to the physical Debbie Reynolds studio, as it was torn down for construction, in spite of the efforts of Teresa and the dance community. Here we are in 2019 and the Debbie Reynolds Legacy is being hosted in the space of Starwest Studios, Burbank, CA.
I have been beyond curious about Teresa's journey since we last spoke, and in this episode she sits down with DanceSpeak at the new space and shares with us openly, vulnerably, with inspiration brimming on the edges of her words!
Podcast 95 - From Broadway to LA, How to Show the Industry What You're Made of with Dominique Kelley
Welcome to episode 95 of DanceSpeak with Dominique Kelley. He's done Broadway, he's toured, he was in Disney's the Princess and the Frog, he's danced on film... and on your favorite TV shows, he's got wit for days, and will warm your heart. With over 25 years under his belt as a professional, Dominique is the epitome of a seasoned dancer.
Topics that we explore in this episode include: what some of the pillars of a successful career are, what Dominique would be doing if he wasn't a dancer, the choice to go to college as an artist, training as a young professional dancer, getting unstuck around inspiration, what a proper jazz dance education looks like, Dominique's rare love for auditions, audition advice for dancers, transitioning into becoming a choreographer, dance activism, negotiating on dance jobs, tips on getting specific around the work you want to book, advice on working with professional kids and teens, the gems that can come out of rejection, and more!
Welcome to episode 94 of the DanceSpeak podcast with Peter Pinnock: an influencer who aspires to inspire. Peter shares how he's made his career his own and the journey that has lead him to the opportunities he has today.
Peter is as open and conversational as one can be as we dive into topics that include overcoming injury, recommendations to those considering traveling as a dance teacher, views on what his generation wants for dance, his dreams as a dancer, booking work before having representation, and more.
Also, we talk about love, dating, and all that good stuff. After all, dancers are people too... right? Trust, we had fun on this episode and did not hold back one bit!
Episode 93 delivers a candid and poignant conversation with last week's guest, Amy Allen (Usher, Chris Brown, Britney Spears, Aaliyah, and more) and her mother, Betty Allen. As our interview with Amy was coming to an end, we found it impossible to ignore the fact that her mother, Betty, was in the room with morsels of insight to share.
The conversation starts with a simple question: "what would you like to acknowledge Amy for..." and flourishes into a talk around opinions, nature vs. nurture, and the darling dynamic that occurs between a parent and their child (which is now a grown woman, but still... we are all someone's child). Trust, it was informative and precious in such a way, that it demanded an episode of its own.
Following the episode is a motivational and personal segment from your host, Galit Friedlander
Episode 92 sits us down with Amy Allen: the savvy and inspired dance extraordinaire with credits that include: Jason Derulo, Chris Brown, Usher, Beyoncé, SNL, American Idol, Pitch Perfect, 2 VMA nominated videos for choreography and way way more. What adds a unique dimension to Amy is that she has worked closely with so many of the best of best within the dance world's top tier creatives, including: Fatima, Hi-Hat, Rich & Tone, Jamaica, and Aakomon.
Amy's warmth and openness lends itself to an interview with breadth and depth, as we explore topics that include: recommendations on staying fresh and recharging within a busy career, her path as an assistant to the best of the best, what Amy learned specifically from the most successful choreographers/leaders of the dance industry she has worked closely with, her unparalleled diversity in training, the injuries that she has had to overcome, empowering thoughts around aging in the industry, the recreations of self she has had throughout her career (and continues to have), toughest jobs she has been on, embarrassing stage moments, keeping your spirits up in a difficult industry, how to learn from choreographers who don't normally teach, and... well... more.
Enjoy and get ready to be inspired!
Welcome to episode 91 of the DanceSpeak podcast with our guest: Jojo Diggs. When Jojo gave us her first interview (episode 15) in 2016, she blew us away with her unique perspective and clarity + strength in the way she has made many a life-shifting decisions. Two year later, Jojo has moved from L.A. to Vegas, is a member of the esteemed Jabbawockeez cast on the Vegas strip, and has taken on a major focal change from dance dance dance to the psychology of movement, mental health, and coaching. So, naturally, I had to pick her brain.
The main points we covered in this dynamic interview include: an empowering view on taking non-dance jobs while pursuing one's career (I lurv this topic), working as dancer on Jabbawockeez and how Jojo (a veteran + seasoned dancer) pulled up for it, learning to enjoy frustration (whoa, chew on that), learning to move through not feeling 'good enough' for a job, choosing to leave Los Angeles, moving to Las Vegas, a conversation around mental health, procrastination, thoughts on people thinking she is intimidating (we love you Jojo), how she created her new health + wellness event, creating events in the dance world to affect change, why Twyla Tharp is awesome, and a whole lot of giggles.
Enjoy, take notes, don't take notes LOL, whatever floats your boat, be ready to dive into a fascinating and beautiful perspective!
Podcast 90 - Getting Unstuck And Re-inspired When Turning Your Passion Into A Career | A Coaching Call
Episode 90 of DanceSpeak brings you a unique delivery of the podcast as a recorded coaching call between professional Life Coach: Tania Friedlander, and Dancer/Choreographer: Bryant "B.True" Anderson.
During the coaching call between Tania and Bryant, common issues that come up when taking the leap to pursue a passion as career, quickly surface and are powerfully explored.
Within my 18 years in the dance world (also dabbling in acting) I have heard a plethora of conversations about where people get stuck, and it boils down to a handful of basic themes: struggling to pay the bills while investing time + energy + into working within your desired field, burning out, losing inspiration, fear of having to move back to wherever you came from, not feeling good enough, losing a sense of self while pleasing others, and...well...you get the idea. All of these topics are covered here and Bryant, who vulnerably shares what he is up against, gets empowered around navigating through his circumstances and creating a breakthrough around his career in dance.
Welcome to Episode 89 of the DanceSpeak podcast with the beautiful Jasmine Rafael. You may have seen Jasmine dancing with Ariana Grande on the recent VMA's or in her class videos from Millennium.
Of course, I had to geek out a little on Jasmine's teaching and ask her about how she prepares for her classes, etc, but, the heart of this episode lives in us having a REAL human-to-human conversation about the 'less glamorous' aspects that might be harder to discuss in an industry that praises perfection.
Jasmine shares about her focus on being a professional dancer in the midst of teaching success and her big move from Los Angeles to New York City, followed by a choice to move back to Los Angeles. This is a brave person right here who takes the reigns on her destiny!
We then explore topics that I hear a lot about in confidence, but I'm not sure they are discussed in the open. We talk about depression, addictive patterns, body image, relationships, and being 'in it.' AND, how we can still stay plugged into the world and seek help and not ignore our state of being, when we are going throw a low time.
Jasmine: I applaud you, I admire you, I respect you for sharing yourself so fully, in the belief that this conversation let's us all connect in a deeper and more meaningful way.
Podcast 88 - Melanie Mah - Creating A Breathtaking Career and Staying Zen During your Biggest Opportunities with Mel Mah
Welcome to episode 88 of the DanceSpeak podcast with Mel Mah. As a dancer, credits include Janet Jackson, Justin Bieber, Kanye West, Britney Spears, and more. As Mel has been pursuing directing, in addition to her own projects, she recently assisted the director on the film: The Hate U Give. That's a big deal y'all.
This episode covers stories and insights from Mel's experiences as a professional dancer, her passion for mindfulness as a yoga teacher, her journey as a film director, her business life with You Got This Girl, and, life lessons as a human being.
From Mel's dance life, she shares what she did to stay working and empowered during the 'slow seasons' as well as her choice to drastically change her look, even if it meant booking less work. We then explore Mel's choice to transition out of dance and into the film world, even if it meant turning down a potential second tour experience with Janet Jackson. Mel shares some of her favorite takeaways from touring with Janet Jackson for over a year (again, before diving completely into film).
Then, we get into the FILM journey and how she knew when/that it was time to transition into a new role. Beneath all of her stories in dance and film, Mel's path as a yoga teacher intersects and plays an important role in her success and staying grounded.
I almost feel like I'm writing a novel with this blurb... but we cover sooo much (and in a relatively short time)... there's also Mel's life as a business owner with You Got This Girl (YGTG). Mel shares about this important company, overcoming a split with her business partner, and how she ultimately had and continues to have it all work.
And...we talk about LOVE. I had to ask about it, as Mel does it all and also opens up about the positive influence her hubby has had on her professional life, and I feel this is something we need to hear and can be inspired by!
If you're still reading, you are awesome. This interview is a gem that I am excited to share.
Podcast 87 - Devin Solomon & Jimmy Weeden - Moving from Indianapolis to LA, Training Outside Of Class, How To Be Persistent In A Good Way
Welcome to episode 87 of DanceSpeak with Devin Solomon and Jimmy Weeden. Both originally from Indiana, these two friends bring a sense of calm in their demeanor, with a work ethic that is undeniable. I believe that this episode fulfills on the podcast's intention to have listeners feel closer to the guests they listen to and hopefully more connected to the sometimes-enigmatic dance world.
Devin and Jimmy discuss their experience of moving away from their hometowns and the cultural differences they noticed. We geek out on the dance styles of the Midwest, pay homage to YouTube and the doors it opened for them, discuss teaching as a passion that is also becoming a trend... We talk about what drives these talented men, their strengths, their weakness, making lemons out of lemonade (hayy), and their biggest lessons on 2018.
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.