187. Tobias Ellehammer’s World of Dance

October 25, 2023 01:04:51
187. Tobias Ellehammer’s World of Dance
Words That Move Me with Dana Wilson
187. Tobias Ellehammer’s World of Dance

Oct 25 2023 | 01:04:51


Show Notes

Dana Wilson hosts Tobias Ellehammer this week on the Words That Move Me Podcast! Join us as we dig into Tobias’s creative path and process, from breaking in Denmark to breaking boundaries in Los Angeles and beyond. Tobias’s body of work is singular and spectacular. His choreography is built to leave your jaw (and possibly your body) on the floor. His mind is built to tell stories. His spirit is built to connect. Simply put, this episode is built to inspire!

Watch the episode here. 

Show Notes:


Connect with Tobias on IG

Subscribe to Tobias’ channel 

Take Tobias’ class at Millennium 

Watch Zuce’s Episode #186 

Watch Codie Wiggins Episode #185

Watch the opening scene of LA LA Land 

Watch Marty’s Purple Rain Carnival performance 

Listen to the In the Heights episode #78 

Listen to Kat Burns episode #16 

Listen to Mandy’s episode #125 

Listen to Vincent Paterson’s episode #158

Read The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp

For more DANA

For coaching with me, join the WTMM COMMUNITY 

To donate to WTMM through our Fiscal Sponsor, THE DANCE RESOURCE CENTER


Watch and Subscribe on YOUTUBE 

Stay connected with us on IG and TikTok 

Full Episode Transcript Here

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Episode Transcript

Hello. Hello. I'm Dana Wilson, and this is Words That Move Me. I move people. I choreograph movies, music videos and TV shows. I dance for pop stars. I coach some really awesome people. But what I truly love is to learn, share, and inspire clarity and confidence in my fellow movers and shakers. So if you are navigating a creative career or simply want to live a little more funky and free, then settle in, because this is for you. Hello. Hello. I'm Dana. This is words that move me. Thank you for being here. I am stoked about this episode for many, many reasons. One of them being there is an obscure Lord of the Rings trivia section in this episode. Gasp. That that hasn't happened before. I am so excited about this. I love this so much. Even if you don't love Lord of the Rings and or obscure Lord of the Rings trivia, which I simply cannot comprehend, but we'll take that up another time. You will be interested in this episode because Tobias whoa. His work is remarkable, and so is he. And I'm excited to share this conversation with you. But first, let's do some wins. Let's see. Today I am celebrating a reunion of sorts. This was not an actual reunion. This is a birthday party for the one and only Christopher Scott. If you do not already know, Chris, I'm going to go ahead and link to a podcast episode featuring the in the Heights choreography team. Chris was the head choreographer of that film and many, many more. Much love to you, Chris, and thank you for bringing some of my favorite movers and shakers together under one roof. It was actually open night sky, but thanks for that. Oh, and my date was the most fun. Kat Burns. Also, previous podcast guest. Kat, going anywhere with you is the same as going to a party and going to a party with you, especially Chris's th birthday party. That was awesome. I wish I had, like, a party favor, like a noise maker of some sort right now that would be appropriate at this moment. Anyways, I digress that's my win. Now you go. What's going well in your world? Awesome. Congrats. I am celebrating you from the sidelines. I don't really go to many sporting events, so I don't really know how that works, but I do know how to celebrate people, and I know that you're crushing it. Keep going. Now, prepare yourself, my friend. Prepare to be a fan of dance, of storytelling, and of the one and only Tobias Ellehammer. I wasn't prepared, but it's so good. Hey. Oh, my God. Tobias. Welcome to words that move me what the hell? Thank you. We're here. Thank you. We are here. And Rizz is there. Yes. I want to say this has been a long time coming, but I haven't even known you that long, so this has been like, several months coming. Thank you for carving out time you're jet lagged because where are you coming back from? I just came back from China and then Denmark and then Italy, so I'm. A little short journey through Middle Earth. That's what my brain literally said. That yeah. All the way to Mordor. So we're mutual Lord of the Rings fans. We're mutual fans of dance. And we're fans of each other. This is going to be very fun. Tradition on the podcast. This is how we start. Everybody starts this way. You have to introduce yourself, tell us everything you want us to know about. Oh, what to know? I am from Denmark. Originally. From Denmark originally. I also lived in London for eight years prior to moving to Los Angeles, obviously. I dance, I choreograph, I teach. I love movement. I love creating in general. I love exploring boundaries, and I love connecting with people. Yes, exploring boundaries. Not like pushing boundaries. Exploring. Exploring. We're going to navigate up into that. No, I would say that you push boundaries. I've watched a lot of dance right in my lifetime, and it takes a lot to surprise me or to get a genuine jaw on the floor moment. And when I watch your shit, that's what happens. Wow. And anytime I show your work to someone, I see the same thing. Like, wow. So, yes, I would say push, explore and push boundaries. That's a lovely introduction. Yeah. Is that it? Do you have anything else? I don't think well, then I'm also, in many ways, I would say a nerd about movement. A nerd about so many things. I love comics. I collect comics. These are the things no one actually knows about me. Collect comics. Almost. Except for a few, I guess, except. For people who take your class. I think you've been open about the things that light you up. I've only taken your class a few times, but you're very generous with your students, and I think it's like taking someone's classes, knowing them. But I think you've shared a little bit of that before. But I don't mean to stop you. Carry on. You're a nerd. Oh, full on nerd. I love, obviously, like you said, Lord of the Rings, love Harry Potter. I love reading, I love movies. I'm a fan of storytelling in general, and it's always been the main thing that has pushed me throughout my entire journey, I think from the get go up until the point where even when I was eleven years old, I was writing a lot. I wrote a book in my hand. It was like pages or some shit like that. And that narrative sort of transitioned into dance at a later age, and it's been that way ever since. Just exploring storytelling in different ways. Smooth transition. Let's talk about transitioning into dance, because I think, if I'm not mistaken, that breaking was your first introduction to dance or your first love of dance. Correct. Oh, there's a good pun there is that how you broke in to dance? When Marty was here, we were just talking about is it a funny joke for you? She's asleep. You're a punk. When Marty was here, we were talking about like, oh, we're old. I mean, he's older, but the words that I use aren't the words that young people use anymore. And I just made a pretty bad pun about breaking in. Tell me about it. How did you find breaking? Is it still a love of yours? Who were your influencers? That was four questions. You can choose any of them. Definitely still a big love. It was the starting point for me. The way that I got introduced to breaking was my parents took me to watch a show in Sweden by a street dance group called Bounce, and in this show, they were fusing different styles. One of the guys called Banker, he had a solo, and that solo was a fusion of he was doing a lot of breaking, and then he was also tapping into ballet. All of a sudden, he was switching, and I was watching that, and I was just blown away by how he was able to do that. And then as soon as I went back, as we moved back to Denmark, I started to pursue breaking, and I went in and I took a class, and I was the only student there, just me and this dude that was teaching the class called Troels, which is not trolls. Not troels as in trolls. But oh my, the name is spelled. It'S a good B-boy name. I know, right? How about B-boy cave troll. Be boy cave troll. Come on. It's spelled T-R-O-E-L-S. Okay. In Danish you would just say trolls, but yeah, trolls. So you got a private lesson. Got basically a private lesson. Then you kind of just and you kept going. Things kept going, and then gradually more people joined the class. I still remember the first thing he taught me, which was an elbow freeze. Yes. I was like, yes. Whoa, I can do this. Yes. That's everyone's thought that was my thought. When I learned that move, I took a break in class at my dance studio. My teacher was named Fate. Oh, snappy doodle. Yeah, he was great. I did have a crush. He had a crush on Fate for sure. How do you not have a crush on your breaking teacher, who is fair, awesome, and named Fate? Come on, that's a dope ass name. You were how old at that time? Eleven. Okay. I want to say I was eleven, and that was sort of the opening of the freestyle door for me. Then I started to well, I've always kind of been dancing around, but never enough for me to understand what I was really doing. So breaking made me sort of understand different pathways, et cetera. Okay, so then I battled, I freestyle, had a good time with that and later then it moved on to different things. Okay. I asked Zuce this question earlier, and I'm curious what your answer would be as well, because I have never battled in my life, and I'm wondering what the moment was like for you when you were like, oh, yeah, I'm ready to battle. I'm going to battle someone. Like, what was that moment? I've never in my life felt in fact, it gives me a slight terror to think about that, which tells me I really have to do it. I can't wait. I told you to say, Today I'm. Going to do it. Can't wait for that. I can't wait for that. Maybe we'll do it together. Do you want to wait? Do you want to battle or do. You want to same team. Oh, hell yeah. That would be fun. Oh, my God. Yes. Okay. She's going to hold an event, a locking event. She's creating an event here in La. And I just saw wrist rolls. Paw. Really cute. We're back. It's really cute. I'm going to just snap a quick new dog. Mom, over here. Oh, God. We'll be right back. Where were we? We're going to battle. Oh. What was the moment? Explain to me the moment when you were like, I want to do this against someone. Funny, because there wasn't particularly a moment where I went, now I want to battle someone. I was just gradually being introduced to just sessioning and exchanging in the class space of breaking. Because that's the nature of the style. Or that was how it was introduced to you anyway. Yeah, exactly. And it was just the way it was. Like, we took rounds and we were in, I would say, the last I'm really trying to think how it was because it's been it was a kind. Of a long time ago. Yeah. Sorry. But maybe the last ten or fiveteen minutes we had been up until that end of the class, we had been going over different techniques, et cetera. And then the goal was to test it all out at the end in a free open circle space, and then we all had to go out. Got it. And then eventually that transitioned, and then I started to actually kind of I got introduced to the battle, the Danish battle scene, which was very low key because I lived in a small village outside of Copenhagen, so it wasn't even the grand scale. But I started to sort of battle alongside my teacher eventually, and that was just kind of how it happened. So he sort of helped me through that whole process and made me feel okay and comfortable with it. So I wasn't too scared about it or too anxious, but I would say now more than ever, now I'm actually more anxious about doing it. Oh, yeah. Which is fascinating. one hundred %. That's just the nature, because back then, I was just so green to the whole industry and to the whole world. So I wasn't scared about throwing myself out there. But now, in a way, it's a little different. Even though you preach, because I've been there to hear it, that, oh, man, I'm going to get the words back. Ass words. Perfection is the enemy of greatness. Is that what it is? What is it actually? What is it? Death of greatness. The death of greatness. Well, it doesn't mean that you won't be afraid. Like, you're a person who actually believes that. I know you actually believe that. That doesn't mean that you don't want to be fucking perfect great when you do anything. And I think thinking that way is part of why you are great is because you strive for damn near close to perfection. Or we'll call it greatness. But yeah, I'm similar in that it took a long time for me to rewire for myself the idea that failing is actually winning. Like, doing it wrong and losing one hundred is the right direction. Like, yes, that more that. But no matter how many times that lesson gets underlined, and no matter how deeply I believe it, I really do still want to be perfect, and I do still want to win. And I do think that I would lose if when battle happens, because it's not. And I'm also realizing my absolute naivete in even asking, like, what was the moment you decided to battle? It's like asking somebody that grew up in dance class, what was the moment you decided to go in groups? Yeah, right. It's the moment when you're there because that's the water that you're swimming in. You just do it eventually. It's just not the water I swim in. So I'm like, tell me everything about that. But also because now for you, it'll be more of a decision to do. It rather than it's not going to happen naturally. No, exactly. In my world, I will seek it out. I will sign up. I will do it. Well, first I will train, then I will seek it out, then I will sign up, then I will do it. But I'm excited about it. I can't wait for that. Yeah, okay. But let's team battle for sure. Because I will need emotional and maybe even physical sport. Which brings me to oh, another good segue. I love that breaking was kind of your first love and introduction to dance, because I found it one of the most challenging forms for myself personally, and that is because my motto is strength is not my strength. And I found so much limitation from what I saw about breaking that I loved that I wanted to do physically could not do it. Part of that is like strength based, but I also blame my proportions a little bit. I'm all legs, which makes a windmill really hard. Yeah. So I'm all arms, all legs, and no torso, which actually means I have a lot of space. Like, when I'm doing floor work. I have a lot of space underneath me. I think I could probably be good at that. Maybe power moves, not so much. But anyways, I stopped breaking because it was hard. And at a certain point in my life, I liked doing hard things. Like, I would take Brian Friedman's class, and I wanted it to be the hardest combo that he had. And I wanted know roast it and know fell in love with things because they were advanced. Like, there was a chapter of my life and I've told you this before, but there was also a time when I don't know what the shift was, actually, but I had this great dislike, like a distaste for things that were hard for heart's sake, like, hard just to be hard. Like, can I add another eanda in there? Just to fuck people up. And I hated that. I would actively roll my eyes when I saw Rika ticket, tick ticket. And in my recent life, you're one of the first people, or one of the few people, I should say, whose work is, I think, objectively intricate. I think you could ask anyone, like dance experience or not show them your work and ask, Is that intricate? And they would say, yes, and I love it. I don't roll my eyes at it. I think it's wonderful. I think it's meant to be. I almost said perfect. Did you see me catch my I did see that. Zoom in on his real. Oh, I forgot. Did I tell you in the email, ahead of time, be prepared to be flattered? No, but I'm very much being flattered. I feel it all. I'm being very Danish about it, but I'm super flattered. Put that in the parking lot, because I want to come back to that. Yes. Where I was getting at is you started with breaking, which I think is also objectively hard. Anatomically, spinning on your head is not natural. Yeah, I never got there, but yes, no headspins ever. Wow. Okay. I tried. I do want to know what your moves are. Okay, let's start there. Ready, set, go. Breaking moves, go. I was extremely good at top rock, basically. Just a lot of footwork, a lot of six steps, all those things. I was able to pull up a pretty decent windmill and coin drops. Yes, I can see it, et cetera, et cetera. But mostly my strength was that I was yes. Yeah, I'd say Fuck, it felt good. Sorry. That's it. Your friend Cody also mentioned his speed as being one of his kind of superpowers. Yeah, it was always this thing that seemed to be impressive for people that was watching it. So I just leaned into that while also having a mild panic attack dancing in front of people for the first time. So I was like, right. So that actually fuels the develop that sort of technique. Again. Oh, my God, that's so funny. But you were on Beat, you were just moving fast. Yeah, most of the time I was on Beat. Interesting. I want to see that footage of you not dancing on Beat. But it's excitement. Like that happens a lot. It still happens to me sometimes. Oh, my God. For the real fans out there. Oh, the real fans. When Marty taught like I love you in class recently, you were was. I always feel like Dorothy from The Little Mermaid. Cool. No, it's fine. Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. When I say, and you were there, and you were there, and you were there, but anyways, you were there. I was there. It was my number one objective, my chief goal. My only focus in that class was to be so deep in the pocket that I actually fall out the pant leg. I wanted to be as close to late as possible without actively being late. I was blown away by it. I kept watching you over and over again in all those groups. Thank you. I can tell you have a point. Sorry. I do have a point, and my point is that if you're a true fan and have watched the clip that I posted on Instagram, once, I start the combo early. Yeah, I know, but I only know because you told me. Oh, did I tell you that? Yes. Okay. Yeah, I start it. I start early, and I have a verbal outburst about it. I say, you can hear me on the tape. Word. Shit. I didn't know that. Yeah, I got to watch it back. So my actual question that I was trying to ask is, have you always been attracted to things that are challenging? Is it intrinsic to you that it be hard in order to be good? Is that part of what lights you up? Does it have to be hard? It's a good question. It's almost like you do a podcast. It is, right? Yes. %. To an extent. I think when I'm creating, a lot of the time I use the space where I'm creating to explore my boundaries, and in that process, that's when I challenge myself. So I'm not just creating material in order to just create. I'm also creating to push myself. And that happens every single time I create anything, which means that obviously it gets harder and harder. Once I've created one routine and I figured out all these new pathways and challenging ways to do things, and then I start to conquer those things, then that becomes the norm for me. Then it becomes organic movement eventually. And then once I choreograph something the next time, then I'm just starting from there. Therefore, it continuously just becomes more and more tricky and awkward for a lot of people when they jump in at first because it's building on so many layers of conquering awkwardness. But I get such a high out of finding new pathways and discovering things that I wasn't able to do before. And it makes me feel alive in a way that I don't think a lot really tops that sort of, Whoa, I just came up with that shit. I wasn't able to do that a week ago. Sometimes it'll be a week before I'm able to actually pull any of that shit off. That's cool. But I think you might be missing something. Go on. May I show you a blind spot? Yes. I don't think boundaries exist just in the difficult direction, like in the harder direction. There's also an edge on the simple side. Yeah, this is true. So I wonder what you would look like if you pushed the edge of simplicity. Fair of easy. Yeah, I know that you could, but it would be I bet that you've strengthened that muscle so much. Like the edge the edge, the edge. The harder the harder. You know so well what that feels like. And the reward that you just explained, you're going after that so hard because it feels every time, so good. And there is equal reward in the opposite direction, %, which is how many step touches can I do without losing anyone's attention? Yeah. Like, how simple can I get before I am boring? That's a challenge in another way that I would definitely show up to see how you answer that. I mean, it's very true. And every single time I try to do anything that's fairly simple, less is more approach, it is a challenge for me. You want to fill it up because. Eventually I'm addicted to that feeling of conquering something new. But it's new there, too. That's new. You'll have it. It's just in. And sometimes I'm able to go down that route, but it's way more difficult than the other just because I've done that. It's stronger. The muscle is stronger. Correct. I get it. I choreographed once at old ML. It might have been on the spot. Oh, snap. Anyways, the combo was entirely pre dance movement. Okay? So if you watch footage from Millennium of people going in groups, all the moves that they do before the combo starts, like turn your hat the other way. Or like, get the shirt right, adjust the microphone. This was two minutes straight of choreographed pre dance, and it's hysterical. It's a joke. I love it. And I love a joke, too, actually. I don't remember why this came up recently, but somebody asked me what I would do with a million dollars, and I was like, Honestly? Jokes. Like, I would just play jokes. I would buy really elaborate costumes and put on joke shows and just be playing jokes all the time. This is my answer. How about you? It was not one of the questions that is on my list. What I would do with a million dollars? Yes. I would buy a lot of dogs. Maybe. I don't even know. Okay. I don't even know. That's a beautiful question. Yeah, maybe I would create movies. Okay, well, try to with a million bucks, you'd probably create one. Create one. Create a low budget, one movie. Low budget single movie. You know what I would do, actually, right now, if you ask me that question? I would wow, this is true. This is an honest truth. I would stop taking new work and I would train. Nice. I was like, I wish I could get paid to train. And if I got a million dollars, I would be able to. Oh, my God. Just go. Go. Yeah, I feel that. And just I would love to do that. Stop. Yeah, stop. I'll join you. That'll be nice. I definitely need that. Do you feel a void because you've been teaching a lot? I always right now, I can tell when I've been pouring out instead of pouring in. I can tell when it's time, when I need to refill, when I'm stale, when I'm tired of hearing myself say the same lessons. I'm like, oh, I need to be training. I feel that heavily right now. Yeah. But obviously I love teaching. But I do read because I just finished my second week of my intensive I did two weeks in August. Congratulations. Oh, thank you very much. And that led into then going to China and et cetera, denmark, Italy, and then got back and leaving again tomorrow. So it's been a lot of teaching. So I do really miss just getting I know. Getting. Oh, my God. Better than a movie. And I also love movies. But going to class, you get to watch live a dance show happen one hundred%. And also dance your actual body. And also learn. Are you kidding me? Dance class is the best place on earth. I'm in a slightly opposite I have been teaching a lot, but relative to recent years, I am more in class now than I have been in probably. Ten years, which is awesome. Awesome. Yeah. People would be mad at me for saying but, like, nearing forty, I'm like, I guess you could still call me Mid. Am I officially mid to late thirty’s if I'm thirty seven? Like, mid to late? Do you have a saying for that in Danish? We say mid to late thirty’s. No. Okay. We don't talk about age, Denmark. We don't speak about age at all. I might be moving. Just a number. Yeah, I think it's a cool I'm having a renaissance in terms of training. It's fucking awesome. It's fucking awesome. I love it. Exactly what we all should be doing. Okay. Go on. I don't know if that's true. Making is important. Training is great. Making is also great. Good Lord. It's as if we emailed about this, right? Which we did. But you didn't read I didn't read any of that. That's a pimp move. Who says that? People who hang out with Marty a lot, I did want to talk about. And that's a good segue into a little peek at your creative process. Let's do it. I am still finding my own, so I'm always curious to hear about other people's, talk me through beginning to end, creating a thing. How does it work for you? And we'll say most of the time. Yes, I think that's good to say. Ahead of it, I guess it's usually the structure, but it might differ sometimes. But what I always do is that I listen to the track, obviously to the music. The music is the main thing that speaks to me before anything. And it kind of gives me an idea of where I want things to go and what I feel from it, which is the most important factor, what it makes me feel. So it starts with the feeling of the music and then it leads into me kind of freestyling, but structured. So I have a freestyle session of maybe the two first eight counts. And then I try to do it again and I try to revisit elements that felt good or just necessarily maybe I feel like it's a little challenging, a little more difficult and interesting. Or then I go back to the track. So there's like this little ping pong of feeling, challenge and groove and freestyle in that first segment of the session. And that's all freestyle. Do you film it? Do you watch it? Do you? No, I don't. I don't do it with a mirror. I stay away from a mirror, always. The mirror is my enemy in many ways. The floor is my best friend. The mirror is my worst enemy. Interesting up until the point where I start to feel like I'm happy with what it sort of is, then I'll take it to the mirror. But that doesn't happen until I want to clean it up. So I basically over. It could take me one day, it could take me two, three, four. It could take me hours. It's all different, but it all starts the same way. It starts with the feeling, then it starts with the groove. And then I add challenges. Not just to add the challenges, but to challenge myself in that process, if that makes sense, to explore and see where things can go in different ways. And if it feels a little too organic for my body, if it feels a little too natural, then I will go back again and I'll revisit and. Go, how can I make this unnatural? Too predictable for me? Incredible. That's nuts every time. Yeah, that's kind of the way I believe that that is exactly what creates the effect that I have when I watch it, which is like, that's unbelievable. Why would you that oh, my God. And now we're that process, the result of that process is what happens when I watch your shit. Well, that's hilarious. I mean, it's definitely not a goal that I go in and say I want it to be challenging, but if it feels. Too repetitive or if it feels like it's something that I've done before then I always want to change it up somehow. Catch yourself in habits and then break them. Break them? Yeah. And then the second half of it is to clean it all up. Which means that that's the only time when I'll I'll rarely use a mirror. I'll probably just put my phone down or an iPad and then just record myself doing it. I'll try to add some shapes and maybe some arms, some lines but I do that prior to filming it and then I'll film it and then I'll look back at it and I'll adjust it's kind of how it happens. And then I'll try to test it out on bodies. Only then when I'm somewhat satisfied with that. That's the process most of the time or sometimes there's always those magic moments where it just flows and you don't have to do all those stepping stones. But I do find it. Yeah. Flow. Oh my God. The elusive. I mean yes, it's rarer for me that things just fall out but when they do, what a gift. And also to not question it. Just because it fell out doesn't mean that well, it doesn't mean that the other way is wrong. Right? Like you've had a lot of gratifying work and probably pieces that you really love that didn't just fall out. The fact that it was simple or natural, the fact that it flowed doesn't mean necessarily that it's the best. Sometimes it just gets delivered to you somehow. It just flows into your mind and sometimes you have to kind of work for it to happen. And I think it's important for me at least as an artist to have somewhat of structure to that approach a little bit because that way I can't always rely on it to just hit me. No, sometimes you just got to create something. Have you read Twyla Tharp The Creative Habit? No. I have it here. Well it's on white stack. Want me to read it now? We can pause everything and I'll just. You should take it. I'll take it. Where the fuck is it? There she is. In between white fragility and nonverbal communication. Welcome to my bookshelf. Love it. You're leaving with it. Except I have on good intel that some of that book is full of shit. Oh she's all about like the book is called The Creative Habit and how showing up for your work is an essential part of the creative process. Being disciplined, being regimented not trusting that it will just come but actually assuming that it will not putting yourself in the place all the time so that it does happen because you are always doing it. Like she talks about being at the gym at five a.m. Every morning and then going to the studio after that. But she talks about an exercise that I have borrowed. I haven't done it in class actually. I do, I do it in class pretty often. She calls it egg. Egg. And egg is a challenge, a task where you would put yourself, your body into the shape of an egg. And then she asks because Twilight doesn't dance her own stuff much anymore, she's working with bodies, but she will ask you to crack or to break in a way that you never have. So, like, I could naturally come out of an egg, like right, left, right, left. Or I could break out of an egg like shark fin swim and that's how I might break the egg today. So in her book sorry, Riz, did I scare you? Tiny wrist roll. Oh God, she's got her arms folded under her body right now, bro. Like, I'm looking at her left paw on the right side of her body. Y'all, she's the cutest. I'm telling you. The video format of the podcast is what's up? I can't believe it took me so long to do this. What's up, Riz? She knows we're talking about her. Yeah, she does. Okay, look at that. She's going to pose now. Yo, she's turning towards camera. Listen, she knows what's up. She's her mother's daughter. There you go. She loves peanut butter. She knows when the camera is rolling. Although sometimes I don't. You love peanut butter. I love peanut butter. Interesting. Have we not everything on everything? Try me. Pizza. I would dip crust in pizza. I wouldn't put peanut butter, like on the cheesy saucy part. But I have definitely gone and got a spoonful of peanut butter to enjoy with my pizza crust. What about broccoli? Broccoli, wow. I put it on broccoli. Hard boiled egg. Wow. I know. Found it. Okay. And we're back to egg. There you go. So the exercise of egg, that was great. The exercise of egg is to kind of, as you mentioned, push boundaries, break patterns. And once you have done something that you have never done before, there are more possibilities. So when I was struggling with freestyle, and when any of my students struggle with freestyle, instead of continuing on, like trying to find the next step, I tell them to stop and egg. Or either that it's, either egg or like put yourself in a shape that you've never been in before and then whatever happens from here is going to be freestyle. Just because I've never done that, that's dope you feel me? That's a great shout. Why did egg come up again? Creativity. Showing up, trusting the flow. It came from the book because she was talking about an egg. Yes, that was my favorite takeaway from that. She has a couple of other tasks and thoughts that are really useful, but yeah, the idea being creativity is a muscle. Just like anything else, you need to exercise it and be regimented with it. I am less so how long have you been teaching at Millennium? Since February . That's when I officially started okay, that's not that long. But you were like religiously every Friday. For the most part, for sure. And how often do you think you teach new material? It depends. Mostly I will teach the same routine over the course of either two or three classes. Okay, so that's a year of every three weeks, something every two or three weeks, something new. Your make muscle is strong. Yes. I am envious. I definitely don't create combos that often. I move that often and I create work mostly for other people often, but like combos just to teach quite rarely. I'm kind of envious and inspired, for sure, but to make that ask of myself and see what it's not always. Been the way I mean, I always loved creating and I think even before I moved to La. And I decided to actually teach weekly, I always just taught whenever I wanted back in London, whenever I felt like I had something to give. But in order to, like you said, push my creativity on a regular and see where it would lead me, I said, you know what, let me try to do that in Los Angeles and see where it leads. It's always been something I love doing because it's just free there's. There's no rules, there's no anything. I get to do whatever the hell I want. Nobody's telling you what song to use that you have to have a certain person in front for this chorus or for that verse or whatever. It's just there. It's just freedom. It's so much freedom listening to what I want to do and what feels right in the moment and what song speaks to me. And then I get to do that shit. And that's a part of why it's getting easier, I guess. But then there's another thing funny. I was actually talking to Easy Twins about that. EZ Twins. Some of my good good friends from Slovenia that I've danced a lot with back in the days and when we always used to create together. I always told them that we should try to finish on a high so that we are excited to return to the project. Because sometimes when you're creating something and you find yourself dried out and you go, okay, now I have no more energy, then it's like you don't want to return to that feeling again the next day. But if you finish, as soon as there's something dope you just made, then you're excited to return to that dope thing you just made. And that's been also something that I've been trying to incorporate in my process. I love that. Taking it similar but different. Thanks. I think it might also be a Twila thing where she says, oh, fuck, I could be wrong. The idea is, in fact, to end before you know you're done. So, like, actually leave it definitely on a high note, but leave it with a few more steps left to go that you know you have to take so that the next day you come in and the first steps are there. Yes. Instead of like, what am I going to do today? What do we do? Like, what do we do? So let's take like last night, for example, riley was helping me out Deliver for some movement for animators, and we had like the deadline was that night, so we had to fully ship it. But if the deadline was tomorrow, I would have said, okay, I know for this last section that I want to do a move that turns around to face upstage and we just fake bow to the back and then realize that, okay, sorry, there are no other way. And so we'll figure that out tomorrow because I know what we want to do. Instead of just like, oh, let's just finish it tonight, which I'm tempted to do because I love finishing things. I would leave that for the next day so that you get the ball rolling the next day and then everything else can flow with it. I really like that idea. In theory. In practice in practice I don't do it so much, but in theory it sounds really good. Hell yeah. Do you have any other work hacks or things? Tricks maybe? If you ever find yourself in a block or something like that that work for you? Like egg, for example? Like an egg. I usually don't have a lot of blocks when I'm creating, if I'm being honest. I love that answer so much. I was on a panel with somebody who answered that. They were like, what do you do when you have creative block? And she said, I don't. And it was like, oh, wow, this doesn't happen to you that much. I guess when I'm creating to create for myself and explore Aka, when I'm creating material for when I'm teaching, et cetera. No, there's rarely a block, but there will be blocks when it's more professional, maybe, or it's something that I know that I have to fit it within a specific box. But then I'll have a bit of I guess you could call it a textbook material that I can always tap. Into in a way, like vocabulary, like moves, like things, phrases. Yeah, that just speaks and is easy for me to transition into. Excuse me, he was saying transition into as they were transitioning out of my neighborhood at a high rate of speed. Love it. Riz. When we're on walks, she really gets interested. Are we having this talk right now? Yes, I'm very much into what Riz is doing. She gets really interested in people coming and going, and she will wait for them to come, and then she will watch them go until they're far enough away that she knows they got where they're going safe, and then she can carry on. Same is true with cars. If she watches somebody get in their vehicle, she'll wait for them to pull out and down the street, and then she'll go, oh, my God. And you know what's funny also, so do I. I sit there and I'm like, okay, yeah, we'll blame this on. You, but you do the same. Match made in heaven. What up? I'm sort of, in general, I'm curious about people. I guess podcast is a perfect example of it. That makes sense. I care about what drives people and where they go, and I think it's pretty clear. You're driven by challenge. You're driven by expanding what is possible for you and for people. I think you've extended that beyond yourself and into your students. Well, that's great. I don't think that you being a regular teacher is for you. It's a bonus that you get to a free space to exercise your stuff. But just speaking from being in the room, you're very generous. And the consistency, it's not easy to be that consistent. It's tough. Unless you see people coming back and doing better. That's the best. That's actual the best. That's the best. That's the actual best. Yes. That makes being that kind of committed a lot easier, because the reward of that is fantastic, which is why I. Think I can still do it after starting in February twenty twenty two. Honestly, it's tough. And there's moments where I go, oh, my God, can I pull this off? Am I still doing this? You love it. You're lit up about it. I love it. You love it so much. Every single Friday is my favorite day of the week. Yes, it just is. Yo. I tell people this. I talk about things being difficult and things being easy a lot when I coach, because, as you know, the way you think about something has a dramatic effect on the way you experience it. So if I think teaching every week is really, really hard, it will be. And if I think that teaching every week is an awesome gift, then it will be, and I will be a gift, and it will be a gift. So true. It's very true. I'm glad that you still think it's a gift, because I love that you teach. Oh, it definitely is a big gift, and I wouldn't want it to go anywhere right now. It's great. I'm just saying class is one of those things that will be there forever, but my finger to the wind tells me that your regular class schedule will be interrupted. Yeah, you probably I mean, I wouldn't be surprised if it were to happen. There's obviously elements and things that I would be open. It's not that the Friday class is, like, the thing that I will do and no matter what, but I just love it. Class will always be there, and I think Millennium will always be there. This is could you you know what? That's something we take for granted. If the podcast if the pandemic p words are hard, if the pandemic taught us anything, it's there. You're doing great. Give it up a day, then let's go. Studios. Spaces where we can do what we do. Yes. And I like to say this all, I say this all the time because my mom is from a big family. I am from a big family, but it's going really well. My mom is one of eleven. Okay? My mom is one of eleven and she's got two brothers who are both professional snowboarders, which, funny enough, gave me false confidence in my skill as a snowboarder early on in my teenage life. My first time going snowboarding, I got good fast because my uncles taught me and because I'm a person who understands how to use my body. I was going really fast and I fell really hard and I really broke my tailbone. And I couldn't dance for a month in some change. And I had to sit on a little inflatable donut thing and I hated that. And so I never did that again. No, thank you. I'm good. But anyways, the requirements for them to dance are mountain snow, board, boots, bindings, jacket, pants, helmet. Goggles. Thank you, Higgins. To keep a complete list. And the requirements for me to dance are literally my body. Yeah. I don't even need music. But spaces are easy to take for granted. Big spaces. Because when I create here, I create this size, and I'm pointing at my studio over there. I'll show you someday. I couldn't have created the opening number for La La Land here. No. And actually, most dance studios couldn't have accommodated that we worked on that outside. So bad example. But having a space where many people can move their bodies and listen to music, literally shaking the walls and floor, that is a special thing. And we are so lucky that we have that. Communities, it will not always be there. We have to feed those things. I agree. Definitely agree. Okay, are you ready for the next segment? Go. It's funny you say go because oh, snap. Don't put it on. You know what's happening. Holy shit. That's crazy. I gotta believe it happened. This I'm gonna require my phone for okay, bring it. This segment is called Obscure Lord of the Rings. Trivia. Are you ready? Yes. Feel free to play along at home. This is for everyone, not just for you. But I'm pretty sure you guys playing at home are about to be roasted. Because this guy do you ever watch Stephen Colbert? Me fuck up. What? Stephen Colbert is a huge Lord of the Rings fan. Huge. And sometimes he'll do trivia on the show. Oh, it's ridiculous. He's incredible. If I'm not mistaken, he actually learned Elvish. No way. That might be full of shit, but it's like, actually that level. He's insane. Damn. And he has Kate Blanchett on as a guest once, and he's oh, it's riveting. It's so good. Okay. SWILD. Okay. Elvish. I learned ORC language and I'm just kidding. I didn't do that. Okay. This is not part of the oh, can we just circle back? Another one of the things that I really like about you go ahead. Is that you make being a fan look cool. And there are people on the Internet who do this very well, but I think that for a while, at least on my end of the entertainment industry, the F word is kind of a bad, you know, she's a fan. Like, look out, they're a fan. And I think that that's a shame because I think it's very cool to get excited about that. Yes, it is. Okay. Marion. Pippin. Mary and pippin. They run into Sam and Frodo. When Sam and Frodo are on their way out of the Shire, they're stealing from who? Oh, come on. Stealing from a farmer farm? A man pharma hobbit. Keep going. Remember the name going. You're so close, Farmer. I'm really rooting for you. Yeah, no, I don't have that was hard. Not even close. Okay. Should I just keep going? Absolutely. That one. Okay, because here's the difference between you and I. When did you watch the movie? That's my question. Well, two nights ago with Riz to make sure that she's a part of this family, because if she didn't like it, it'll be back to the rest. Really? I don't think you'll be that. No, I'm kidding. She did fall asleep, but to her defense, the movie is quite long. I've seen it times. Also, the best one, in my opinion. The Fellowship out of the Hard. Well, if you like a lot of battle, then The Two Towers is your favorite. Yeah, but it's just it establishes and. If you like Vigo Mortensen, then Return of the King is your favorite. And if you like tickle fights, then Return of the King is also your favorite. Because there's, like, three or four tickle fights in that one. What? If you like Legolas? I am a huge Legolas fan. Oh, my God. We're back. Let me leave for my fantasy. And we're back. Farmer Maggot. Oh, yeah. Well, that was definitely not in my head. The reason okay. You and I are different in that you actually read the books. I'm a fan of the films. I think they're perfect. I would not change a thing about them, specifically. Not Orlando Bloom. He can stay. Actually, no, everything about it. I love everything about it. Not a shot, not nothing. Not a wardrobe element or nothing. I love everything about it. And the delivery of that line. Now I'm going to lose. I lost the line. I have a question. It's like you've been into Farmer Maggots crop or something like that. That's what Sam says to Marion Piven. And so Farmer Maggot, and especially because his name is Maggot and Farmer I'm like, that doesn't make sense. And so that really stuck with me. Farmer Maggot. I thought you I do remember it sticking out, but not enough to remember it. Okay. Shall I go a little easier on you? Maybe? Maybe make me look a little bit cooler? This one's multiple choice. So you've got interesting. Sam. Wise Gamgee. Is Frodo's a cook. B, come on, wait for it, because it's actually a trick question. B, gardener, c, taylor. Or D, secret boyfriend. I think it's D, but obviously it's gardener as well. It's a combination. % secret boyfriend. Obviously there's no less. No way. There's no way around that. Secret boyfriend, gardener. Oh, my God. There's some very tender moments. Deep love in there. Okay, but I was going to include this one in and then I just thought was too much Sam oriented. Sam's Frodo. Sam's Hobbit. Girl crush. Do you remember her name? She's beautiful as well. What is her name? I'll give you a hint. I'm not pointing at myself, but I'm pointing at my cheeks. Look to your left, by your elbow. Left elbow. Yes. It is something with rose. Is it rose? Rosie. Rosie. Good job. I gave you a pretty hard hint there. This one's also tough. Go on. The inn where the Hobbits meet strider. The inn? It's in what's the town called? Oh, you'll know the town. I wouldn't know the town. Oh, wait, I know the name of the inn. Like the hotel. I don't remember the name of the village. Oh, you're so close. Meet me at Tanda's Inn. Oh, my God. You're going down in flames. This is great. I don't remember it. The inn of the Prancing Pony. Prancing Pony. Prancing Pony. Holy shit. You need a rewatch. The next one you'll get time for a rewatch. The Elvish word for friend. Melo. God, that was beautiful. Well delivered. Of course. That was great. This is way Gandalf says it. That's exactly it's the only way to say it. Fantastic. That's all I have. Do you have any for me? You will stump me because I got one for you. Go at the black gate to the entrance of Mordor how many trolls oh, fuck. Are on top of it? To operate it? Oh, my God. This is my favorite maybe my favorite question I've ever been asked. Legit this question. I want to say three. Is it three? No, fuck it's. Two. I know that there are the I really wanted to say three. Okay, I have another one for you. Go. And this will be hard, okay. Because it doesn't have to do with the movies. Is it? Some of it might be extended. I think there's some of it in extended edition. Okay. I'm really bummed I got the trolls one wrong because I love the way they fucking have to push that thing. Yeah, it's dope. It's really cool. But I really thought there were three. I thought there were two, like, doing a push and then I thought there was another one, like on another side of a wheel or a gear or something, but I'm just making it harder than it is. I'm doing a Tobias carry on Galadriel. What about her? She gives the entire fellowship gifts. Yeah. What does she give to Gimli, son of Gwen. What does she give to Gimli? Oh, that's a good one. Oh, man. You know, he is kind of my least favorite. Damn. Well, because you can't toss him. I'm obviously only a fan of things that you can toss. Listen, go on. He's got some really stiff competition. This is fair. I understand. I mean, personally, Gimli is one of my favorites, but okay. It's cool. Who plays him in the film anyways? Go on. I'm asking the questions on this. Right? Oh, God. Okay, so Sam gets rope in a box of Seasoning. Frodo gets. Oh, my God. Oh, he got mithril from Bilbo. From Bilbo and also sting from Bilbo. From Bilbo. Oh, my goodness. But they're Elvish, so you can understand why I made that fatal flaw. Great. Not perfect. Oh, my God. I can almost see it. This is so funny. I love things that are tiny, obviously. Is it like a small axe? Like a hatchet? Like a magic? No, but definitely something small. Oh, my God. It's a lock of her hair. Yes, it is. Thank you for that hint. Thank you. I needed that. Anything else? That was pretty good. No, I think that was great. We'll do this again. Okay, final round of questions on the podcast. I'm calling it Wrist. Roll with it because just roll with it. It's going to go fast, right? Okay. Favorite character from the Marvel Universe? Iron man. Okay. Favorite villain from the Marvel Universe? Thanos. Wow. Well, okay. Yeah. Favorite Stan Lee cameo. Oh, my God. Into the spiderverse. What is it? It's when he gives he's selling Spider Man suits. He sells one to Miles. That's right. And he says eventually it fits, or something like that. And it's beautiful. That is very well done. Good one. What's your dance superpower? My mind. Okay. What's your human superpower? Patience. Nice. You get to do a duet with anyone, living or dead. Who is it? Prince. Nice. Amazing. Did you notice I chose your color as purple? Yes. Deliberate. Did you also know that in my world, there are very few excuses for the color purple? I did know that. Prince, I think we spoke about Prince is one of them. I do not like the color purple. This is kind of a have you ever taken on somebody that you admire? Like, taken on their taste, like they have some arbitrary bullshit rule, and then you're like, oh, yeah, that's cool. I'm going to do that for sure. That's me. And my favorite artist, Tom Sachs, has a beef with the Color Purple. He says there is no excuse for the color purple, but he also does love slunk and Prince. And I think that Prince is an excellent excuse for the color purple. I think, actually, Purple Rain was supposed to be playing when you came here? Well, I imagined it. I forgot. As Rizz came over and said hi, I was like Purple Rain. It was just there in my head. It's a good one. Have you seen Marty's carnival performance to Purple Rain? No, I actually haven't. Wow. Marty, myself, K-Mel, Ivan, and for one performance, also Twitch. And this was like one of my favorite dance memories is Dancing with Those Friends to that music almost too much. Actually, here's a question I've been asking a lot of people. It was not on your wrist. Roll with it. But is there a song that is kind of untouchable to you that you won't approach work wise because it's too good? Yes, there is. What is it? There's several, honestly. One is Smooth Criminal for Me by Michael Jackson. That music video. And the choreography is just so phenomenal that I don't even know what I would do. I mean, it's just too it's very, very good. So iconic. There's others as well, like, I love you, stuff like that. Yeah, great. I would never, ever touch that. Some things are just sometimes, and it's rare, but sometimes you see something that is just so well put that I don't even want to I just want it to be that it's good enough like that. I have that, too. Okay, that brings us to our final question. Can you handle that? Go for it. What are the words that move you the most? Could be a quote, a poem, a guiding principle, or literally actual just words. Perfection is the death of greatness is one that I always say. Last night I was teaching and I was talking about how important it is to remind ourselves to connect and exchange energies with dance and as movers and use that and not forget what that means. You mean like, with each other? Yeah. And at its core, that's what I'm falling more and more in love with. I realize it's connecting with people in all the different ways. Yes. So connecting and to me, that also means love in a lot of ways. So there's many layers to it, but that's definitely one. Just connecting with other humans in all the different ways is one of my favorite things to do. Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Allow for the mistakes to be there. And just be proud of yourself for making them and learn from them and move on. And if you go wrong, go wrong. Strong things like that that I very much believe in, for sure. Same. I think that if I sum up the words that move me yeah, those were several. Golden nuggets. Golden nuggets. You should be on podcasts. You're very good at this. You should host a podcast especially for English as a second language. Are you kidding me? Oh, I was about to tap into Danish. A couple you know what was hilarious? I was back in Denmark and. I was having this fun little debate with my parents, and I was saying, well, I'm kind of the only one here that speaks two languages fluently. And they look at me and they go, it's kind of only one language at this point. Hey. And I go, what do you mean your Danish is off? And I was embarrassed, and I was like, well, what do you mean is off? And then I started to realize how bad it's gotten. Oh, man. Because I don't maintain it ever speak it. Do you know anyone here that speaks it? Yes, I know one person that I still speak with. Yeah. Wow. No, actually, two. But even then, it's so often we're in a scenario where there's multiple people speaking English, so then that's just the language we tap into. And I only ever speak Danish when I talk to my parents. They called you out. And I understand it because it's a little like there's this awkward way of switching between Danish and then English when I can't really get my point across in Danish. And I used to think a certain way about those people back in the day when I was young. I was like, oh, they think they're so fancy. Hollywood and OOH with their little Danglish is a real thing. And now I'm one of them. And it just hit me, and I kind of laughed about it. And then I really tried to just purely speak Danish for the whole five days I was there, and it got a little better. Yeah, I remember actually, after in the Heights, anthony Ramos was working on an album, or he had to do a track entirely in Spanish and got a coach to coach him on it. I was like, yeah, are you serious? And he's like, oh, yeah, I'm a mess. My accent is all over the place. I'm not good. It's crazy. It's interesting. It's been ten years of speaking English, so it makes sense. That makes sense. That is another, actually, great segue into the wrap up. I'm not sure if there is a direct translation, but how do you say funky in Danish? You would probably just say funky. Oh, amazing. Well, thank you for being on the podcast. Thank you, everybody who's listening and everybody, whether you're listening or watching or doing both, keep it funky. Wait, how would you say keep it funky in Danish? Halde. Funky. Like, say that one more time. Well, I had to think about it as well, because now I'm holdifunky self aware. You can say funky or you can say Holde funky. Holde. Funky. Haldefunki. Yeah. Keep it funky. Thank you for watching, listening. I'll talk to you soon. Bye. This podcast was produced by me with the help of many big, big love to our executive assistant and editor, Riley Higgins. Our communications manager is Ori Vajadares. Our music is by Max Winnie, logo and brand design by Brie Reetz, thumbnails and marketing by fiona Small, you can make your tax deductible donations to Words That Move Me, thanks to our fiscal sponsor, the Dance Resource Center, and also many thanks to you. I'm so glad you're here. And if you're digging the pod, please share it, leave a review and rating. And if you want to coach with me and the many marvelous members of the Words That Move Me community, visit wordsthetmoveme.com. If you're simply curious to know more about me and the work I do outside of this podcast, visit thedanawilson.com.

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