Speaker 0 00:00:00 Welcome to Words That Move Me, the podcast where movers and shakers like you get the information and inspiration you need to navigate your creative career with clarity and confidence. I am your host Dana Wilson. And I move people. I am all about the tools and techniques that empower tomorrow's leaders to make the work of their dreams and live a full life while doing it. So whether you're new to the game or transitioning to your next echelon of greatness, you're in the right place. Hello. Hello my friend. I'm Dana. Thank you for being here. This is words that move me and this episode, this conversation with our guest today, moved me to tears, my friends four times. This conversation with Arnell Calvio had me silently sobbing, not one, not two, not three, but four times here in my little pod booth. Uh, not because it's sad, but because, well, yes, it is sad a little bit, but mostly it is heartening.
Speaker 0 00:01:04 It is affirming. And I'll talk about that more in just a second. But first, let's do wins. Today I am celebrating a small, but very important. When I found my noise canceling earbuds, my little ear buddy booze, they are not the apple ones. I do have a pair of those, but they're not my favorite. They fall out, they just fall right outta my head. I think I have, my ear holes are tiny and they, anyways, uh, I have Sony ones that fit really well, and dang, I forgot how effective they are at Denoising. Um, but also at like, what is the opposite of D Re uh, I don't know, whatever. They de-noise and they refocus me. They really help me get into go mode. So I'm celebrating finding those and having a super focused uninterrupted, like couple solid hours of computer work. Um, yeah, man, they really helped me focus.
Speaker 0 00:02:04 I really, really thought they were gone. Like I had full, I had released that I no longer have them, uh, until I found them in their little black case, nuzzled into the corner of a little black tote bag. And now I'm going to line all my tote bags with bright material so that this never happens again. Or I could just stop buying black tote bags, I suppose. Um, this is something interesting to ponder though, that I've been thinking about losing things. I think knowing how you tolerate loss is important. Um, but specifically items, like for me, sometimes when I lose a a, an item, especially an important one, sometimes I disengage completely. I don't even try to find it because the pain of looking everywhere and coming up totally dry is so awful to me. Like imagining a lost item, laughing, laughing at me from its unknown location is truly one of my least favorite things to think about. I hate it. I hate things being lost, which means this is not such a small win after all, this is a huge win because those Sonys are no longer silently laughing at me from inside of a tote bag. Now I am laughing at them <laugh> from the silence of my own head. Uh, okay, that's me. That's what's going on in my world. Now you're clued into that. Tell me what's going well on yours. What are you celebrating today?
Speaker 1 00:03:40 Yay.
Speaker 0 00:03:43 All right, my friend. I am so proud of you. Please keep winning, keep doing what you're doing, uh, and keep cheering yourself on along the way. I certainly am. Okay. Today's guest, as I mentioned, is Arnell Calva. And if you don't already know, Arnell prepared to be elevated, my friend. This man is so special, so spirited, and so kindhearted and so generous, and his sharing it is almost too much to handle. Uh, in this episode, we talk about the idea of being good enough, the whole concept of enoughness and the sense of belonging. Uh, we talk about the many different islands of dance and the bridges and pathways between them. We talk about creating the spaces that you want to exist versus seeking them. And we talk a lot about locking, which makes this one of my new favorite episodes. Get ready, my friends. This is the one and only Arnell Calvio, Arnell Calvio. Welcome to Words that Move Me. I am so glad you're here. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you my friend.
Speaker 2 00:04:59 Such an honor to be here. I'm such a fan of your soul. First and foremost. You're such a pure good unicorn status soul <laugh>,
Speaker 0 00:05:11 So thank you. That's quite a compliment.
Speaker 2 00:05:13 So it's an honor to be here, and I love the podcast. I've been listening for a while. I love it. So it's an honor to be here.
Speaker 0 00:05:20 Thank you so much. And, and thank you for leading with, uh, a soulful human note. I have been working a lot on finding value for myself outside of my work <laugh>. Um, and it does, because this is a podcast that is focused on navigating creative careers, specifically the dance and entertainment industries. I do like, that's what so much of my mental chatter is, um, you are, I I I, I would consider you a huge influencer in the dance landscape, especially in Southern California. You're a founder of Kaba Modern. You are one of the one of the catalysts that helped the community dance space flourish and grow even before there were shows like America's Best Dance Crew. And, and, and, and, um, but again, there I go, kind of defining you by your work happenings. And I do like getting away from that. So here's what I'm gonna say.
Speaker 0 00:06:16 You and I got to cross paths recently, coincidentally at Vibe Dance Competition, which you founded and are like Super Chief Wrangler of and PS Don't think I'm Too cool to like Keep the sign was hanging in our dressing room <laugh>. Um, 100% not too cool for that <laugh>. I love that too. Um, but, uh, I got to listen to you speaking about dance period, your role and your calling towards community. And that the way you spoke, not even the words that you said, but the way that you spoke is what gripped me in my heart and said like, this person must come on the podcast sooner than later. Make it happen, <laugh>. And was that the day for me to invite you? Probably not. You had a lot going on, but I was like, Arnell <laugh> podcast <laugh>. Um, so thank you for that heartfulness and that humanness and um, really grateful to have you. Again. I'm gonna shut up. I'm gonna yield the floor, let you introduce yourself. How about that? Um, tell us anything you want us to know about you.
Speaker 2 00:07:24 Okay, well, I'm, obviously, I'm Arnell Covario and I, um, I grew up actually in Harbor City, California, um, which is kind of a really super duper small city that's nestled in between Carson, Torrance, Hawthorne Englewood, uh, long Beach. I'm so adjacent to all of those, uh, cities, which was an incredible blessing for me because I had access to, uh, such a diverse community that it was so many different offerings depending on where I rode my bike <laugh>.
Speaker 0 00:07:59 So, oh, right, yeah. What direction do I leave the house? Right or
Speaker 2 00:08:02 Left? Yes. Yes. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And it's so interesting with dance because I, my journey with dance started off as an, uh, a tool for freedom in a closed room, which is so weird to say. But I, um, it's funny, the first person I saw on television, cuz at the time I saw dance on television, but I didn't see anyone that was remotely like look like me. So I looked for things that looked like people in my neighborhood. And my neighborhood was mostly black Hispanic, and then we were the Filipinos <laugh>, so that were mistaken for Hispanic, usually mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, but I saw, I watched Soul Train because of that. Cause it was like, that was the dance show that would be like, oh my God, look at all these people of color and they look like my neighborhood. And it was the only show that I saw this.
Speaker 2 00:08:51 And I saw one guy in particular with a Red Hat, and I was like, I wanna meet him. I wanna dance like him. And then I wouldn't know till the decades later that that person would become my mentor. Don Campbell was the first person that captured my eye. And because of that, I rode my bike to the park every day, every Saturday after I would watch Saturday morning cartoons, soul Train, and then I would ride to the park and learn popping, locking and hip hop from OGs at hanging out at the park. And I, in my mind, I was so shy, I would learn and then I would go to my room and I'd dance. I'm gonna, I'm like, I wanna be like that guy with the Red Hat, not knowing later on that the art form he created and he, his spirit would be so life-changing for my journey as a human being. Um, yeah. So, um, that was the spark. But I was so shocked from elementary all the way up till high school, I didn't feel like I was cool enough to dance. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> public. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, so I would dance in my room, dance in the Cro <laugh> dance at the
Speaker 0 00:10:00 Park. Dance at the park with the dancers. <laugh>.
Speaker 2 00:10:04 Yes. Um, and it wasn't until later in high school, of course it would be the song, the Black song Leaders and cheerleaders. I'd be like, boy, you can dance that actually, I was like, maybe I can dance in daylight and, you know, at a school dance.
Speaker 0 00:10:18 Yeah. In, in public <laugh>, you know,
Speaker 2 00:10:20 <laugh>, of course they would be the one to be like, you're cool enough. Not even my old, my older cousins were these dope e boys and poppers, but they even saw me as a scrub and said, I, I couldn't dance with them course. But it would of course, you know, be these cheerleaders that, and song leaders who said, I can, that was the beginning of me feeling like I have a place, a sense of belonging, you know? And that was the beginning of seeing what's missing out there and just saying, you know what? Like, I can't wait another <laugh>, you know, 15 years to feel like I belong. And no one deserves that. So whatever I don't see out there, just like, you know, these people that, um, welcome me in, I'm gonna spend the rest of my life creating spaces where everyone feels welcome, you know, where everyone feels safe. And, um, and that wasn't in everything I was learning and doing. Um, whether it's hip hop, waving, locking, or popping, that wasn't even in the studio spaces. Cause they weren't, you know, deemed
Speaker 0 00:11:22 Safe. They were fully street, street dances.
Speaker 2 00:11:24 Fully street or clubs. Yeah. That's only, or the house parties, you'd find it. Um, so I just said, you know, one day that's gonna be different. And of course it, it ended up being so different. <laugh>.
Speaker 0 00:11:35 Here, here we are, we're in that one day where things are so different. Yeah. Because of, you know, time and the trajectory of mm-hmm. <affirmative> our culture, but also because of people like you who create institutions that outlast, you know, trend and, you know, fad, um, and really create little subcultures of things. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, and, and like you mentioned, safe spaces. Maybe that's a good way to kind of segue, which, first of all, not, not segue actually gonna back up. You learned from Don himself?
Speaker 2 00:12:11 Yes, I did.
Speaker 0 00:12:13 I'm just rocked by that. I feel very privileged in my timing and placement in the world to have learned, you know, a a a lot of what I know about popping from Pete from Pop and Pete, who's been a guest on the podcast and almost everything I know about locking from Tony Basil, who's an original locker. Yes. I also, uh, trained a lot with Sugar Pop. He was teaching in LA pretty frequently for a short stint there in my kind of earlier training days. But mm-hmm. <affirmative> locking was a style of dance that once I saw up close, I could not not be in it and don't, uh, like I was unf funky with it at first. I was not a good walker at first at all. It took a deep dive, but I couldn't pull myself away from it. Was your experience with it in the early days, um, did you take to it well? Did you feel like, oh, I've got this? Or did you feel I I felt wack. I felt terrible, but I knew I had to keep going cuz it was so fun to watch.
Speaker 2 00:13:11 Okay. So it was, it's a kind of up and down. So first when I saw it, I felt I was amazing. Cause I was a little kid watching and I felt like I looked like them in my room. I felt like I Right, right, right. That like half split and get up and I'm amazing and, you know, cause oh, I can see smiling out in my room. Um, and it's funny how that is our innate being is before society tells you what you can and cannot be. You know what I mean? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you're just you and that's such a beautiful thing. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but holding onto that's so hard. Right. Uh, once I started getting my ed, of course, I, I never thought I was cool enough. And then in, um, and then when I got to college and when I created Cabo Mater, and that was when I was around so much affirming energy, I felt like I had something, you know what I mean? I was like this. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I do have something. And, um, as long as I'm with people, um, I, I'm a communal dancer, so I've never been that person I wanted to be front center. I don't particularly love solos, you know, um, or
Speaker 0 00:14:15 Energy or battle.
Speaker 2 00:14:17 Yeah. I've never been a battler. I love the exchange of ciphers and circles and stuff. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but I don't like battling. It's just not in my particular essence, you know? Um,
Speaker 0 00:14:27 Cosign <laugh>. Pardon Too
Speaker 2 00:14:30 <laugh>. So I fell, you know, I, but to participate, um, part of my training, so in, when I took over Culture Shock LA in 2000, uh, three, one of the things that we did in those beginning years was to have a locking crew, a breaking crew and popping crew in addition to our choreography, hip hop choreography, um, company. Uh, and we did that because we had access to these OGs, one being Don Campbell in our proximity. And we felt like we, we can, if we devote a couple of years to these crews, then we can spend focused time on, um, honoring these OGs, knowing them, participating in those spaces, and then being bridges for the future. So, um, awesome. So, uh, for <laugh>, the beginning before I met Don Campbell, I was training with Shadoo. I took Tony T's class at Debbie Reynolds. I, I was just like, um, I really wanted to be the perfect locker.
Speaker 2 00:15:27 And when I was trying to chase perfection and doing the fundamentals perfect, I just was never, I never felt like I was good enough. And our locking crew, which was a Tiffany Bong, Donna Ante, uh, Josh Ventura, um, IRA Emma Houston, a bunch of us in Culture Shock, we were like, we just wanna be good enough, you know? And so we were like, we can only learn a certain amount in rehearsal. We need to go to the clubs and the best clubs are the ones that have live music. Because then you can really play with the horns, right. And the baselines. Ooh. So we went to this club called Larchmont, and in the corner of the club we saw this guy with a black top hat. And he was, most people play with a handkerchief, but for some reason he was playing with this tissue Kleenex, and it was getting ripped a shred, but it still at the same time, we're like, how is he making that tissue dance?
Speaker 2 00:16:18 And we were just dancing with him for hours. And when the lights came on, I said, what's your name? He said, I'm Don Campbell. And we were like, we literally fell out and fell to the floor. And we were like, oh my gosh, Don Campbell. And he was so generous that day. He followed us out to the parking lot, talked to us in the parking lot for another hour and a half. And one of the things that from the very beginning, he was like, he went to each of us was like, I like, I like it when you use your hips. Your arms are long. So you, whenever you use your arms, you're really powerful. And he told me, he was like, you have a smile that lights up the whole room. That's your superpower. And I realized as I got to have conversations with Don, the foundations and the fundamentals are important as a stepping stone, but you become a real locker when you embrace who you are, the specialness in you.
Speaker 2 00:17:11 And he, and one of his quotes was like, you can't, no one will ever beat you at being you <laugh>. So he can be yourself. Like, learn the circles, know the history, know past respect to the, all the people who created it himself, included, but, but be yourself. Because he said one time he said, the show really begins when, no, the show, the show begins when you let yourself go. And I was like, oh my God. You know, Latin means not thinking in your head, just being yourself. Right. And that's when, oh my God, it changed because I started relaxing into like, my genius is different than Tiff's, which is different than Donna's. And then when we would go out, so we would go out and freestyle in our own circle because at least if we look bad, we have each other <laugh>. You know,
Speaker 0 00:18:04 <laugh>. I know that. I know that.
Speaker 2 00:18:08 And you know how in the beginning you just try to do everything, you know, and then you start thinking your head, oh my God, I'm repeating, I'm just doing the same
Speaker 0 00:18:15 Old thing. Uhhuh uhhuh, <affirmative> want things outta Blame Uhhuh. Oh God. Oh, that spiral, that cognitive <laugh>. Yeah. That co you gotta get outta that, that head space spiral.
Speaker 2 00:18:26 But after that pep talk and he started coming to Cult, we started inviting him to culture talk events. W we, we created an event called Hi H four, which is hip hop has history, which is a full day of offering a bunch of different art, dance, art forms and then having pioneers as well as, you know, current like progressors, all in the same space. <affirmative>. So you could learn locking from Don Campbell and then you could also learn it from Keeley, you know, all in the same day. Yeah. It's four hour, four slots. You can take four different dance art forms or you can take the same one and in different offerings and hopefully come away learning history, heritage, and you know, community and dance. Right. And we invited Don, we also used this event as a way to honor pioneers. So we had a community leader award every year. We, you know, we honored Don as one of the first ones cuz we also knew they're not here with us forever. So we can, we can, we can't wait for the Grammys <laugh>, you know, somewhere Right, right. Thing to honor our pioneers so we can do it ourselves by creating awards within our own events. And so yeah, we, we've honored him, we've honored Victor Manuel, a lot of other brilliant pioneers. And, um, and so yeah, that's just when my locking changed forever is when I finally saw myself in it, you know, and
Speaker 0 00:19:47 Yeah. Embraced your Eunice
Speaker 2 00:19:49 <laugh>. Yeah,
Speaker 0 00:19:51 Totally. And I have actually, you and I connected on this in our very short time, you know, kind of cross crossing paths at Vibe this year. Um, was that kind of over the pandemic? My appetite for dance and where I'm at in my personal life really shifted and I had this almost resentment for the thought that I had to be happy when I danced. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it's kind of an identifying quality I think for me on the whole, but especially with locking, which is such a joyful thing. And I, I don't think I'm alone and I don't think that I'm wrong when I say I didn't want to be happy. Yeah. I don't, in the face of all that is going on in our world, quote unquote, escaping to my happy dance didn't feel honest or good or, or, um, I just wasn't compelled to do it.
Speaker 0 00:20:46 It, but I did find something during that time that I had never had before. And I'm envious of you and your exposure to kind of this like consistent training and the, the foundation, you know, the, the actual, like the drills and the things like that over the pandemic. I found drills. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I found that you don't have to be happy or inspired mm-hmm. <affirmative> or a performative to do a drill. You have to simply be moving. And on the days where I simply needed to be moving my body mm-hmm. <affirmative>, that's kind of what I latched onto. And you mentioned to me, you were like, Hey, thank you for sharing some of those drills. It was nice to remind myself of that part of that dance. And I can imagine how going from being somebody who trained the elements, right, the wrist rolls, the sandpoint, the, the, the, the up the lock. Like if you were really in that and then somebody like Don comes along and says, but you smile, then I can imagine wanting to never drill again. Ever, but to just only do the Eunice part. And so, I don't know, maybe you could speak a little bit about your relationship to the dance now and what that pandemic moment helped you to discover for yourself.
Speaker 2 00:21:57 Yeah. I mean, I was the same because this, this dance was created during the civil rights era. So there's a lot of celebration and, um, and hope. Right. And of course it's also during, um, the funk
Speaker 0 00:22:10 Vietnam war.
Speaker 2 00:22:11 Yeah. Vietnam War and people needing to like rely on each other. Right. And so, and it's a soul dance, so it's all about connecting people mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So when you're isolated in quarantine and you're not, you're,
Speaker 0 00:22:23 You're so right. It was awkward to do it.
Speaker 2 00:22:25 It's awkward to do it. And it was so difficult because Don Campbell also passed away during the pandemic. And we, um, luckily I got to hug him right before the pandemic. You know, when he got his, his intersection, I was able to go there. I called off work, thank God, <laugh>, I was debating cause I'm such a goodie two shoes. But I called in sick and I was like, I need to go. And I, I just had a feeling I needed to go. And I went to his, when he was honored with his intersection, um, and I got to hug him and we did a soul train line for him. And he, I got to see his whole family. So like, that was a few months, like three or four months before he passed. And then we had to honor him during the pandemic and try to be funky. And his essence, that was really hard, you know, because
Speaker 0 00:23:15 Oh, that's a tall order.
Speaker 2 00:23:16 I'm feeling it <laugh>. I was not feeling locking. Um, but you know what, uh, I think it's best to just be authentic. Like, for me, the only way I was able to do locking was when we tributed him, because I had to think for him and just re like kind of access memories of like, um, God <laugh> of just like, yeah, it's okay. You know, when he like, you know, gave us the tightest hugs and like, would affirm us every time he saw us, he would always affirm us. Like I, I, so I accessed that like, um, like he's giving me like a, um, heavenly hug, you know what I mean? And I was able to, yeah. But after, to be honest, that after that, um, I didn't lock again for like another year. I, I just, I think I couldn't mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it was kind of painful in a way because I missed him. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and I couldn't even mm-hmm. <affirmative> with my locking community either, because locking to me is also most joyful when I'm around other lockers. <laugh>, you know, I love
Speaker 0 00:24:10 Being around
Speaker 2 00:24:11 Yeah. Hundred off other people's expressions and stuff. Um, um, but at when I climbed out of the pandemic, when we were starting to gather again, it was one of the first art forms that came back right away because mm-hmm. <affirmative>, that's the thing about all of these art forms I feel like, you know, whether it's crump locking, hip hop, um, you know, popping, whacking, <laugh>, any of those, they're all, I feel like they're really like languages for us to tell our human story. You know, they're, they're different. Uh, when we underst that's why it's so important to understand the history and heritage and essence of all these different art forms because when we get exposed to all the different ones, we can be like, that one is a part of my soul and that one's a part of my soul. And then no matter what we're going through in our lives, we have these beautiful dance languages to tell our story of however we're feeling.
Speaker 2 00:25:05 And so locking is definitely a part of my liberation as a gay man. I, when I came out was when the, around the, the same year I met Don Campbell is when I came out as a gay man. Wow. Um, and that's like how powerful affirmation is. I'll never, that's why affirmations, well hopefully be part of my legacy cuz I feel like I, I try to affirm people in a very authentic way, but I try to be conscious of that when it's real. And, um, but, um, like I was saying, yes, but now my art forms I love too are house because since we were separated, now I wanna be out there <laugh>. You know what I mean? And
Speaker 0 00:25:44 Yes, I relate. I feel that so hard.
Speaker 2 00:25:47 Yeah. And I love light feet. So now even in my last year of my forties, I'm still, um, discovering new languages to tell us the story of who I am, you know, and who I will.
Speaker 0 00:26:00 Isn't that incredible? Yeah. Isn't that incredible? Yeah. That after 49 years you are still finding newness. Yeah. New forms Yes. But new ways and new Eunice within the, those ways. Yeah. And that's, that's so inspiring. That's so cool to hear. Thank you for sharing that. Um, maybe that is a good segue into the story of vibe. If, if, if all of these forms are tools for speaking yourself mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I would love to hear about how you decided to create something that helped a a whole community speak.
Speaker 2 00:26:37 Yes. And thank you so much for asking this too. Um, so, um, to be super duper accurate, accurate, my, it was actually my roommate that created Vibe because, um, this is 19 92 9, going into 93, I created couple
Speaker 0 00:26:53 Jason Park, was it Jason?
Speaker 2 00:26:55 No. His name was Joseph Leasing and then Joseph. Yeah. And then later on their fraternity bestowed and trusted it to Jason Park because, and for me to be honest, like, um, well here I'll start from the beginning so that we
Speaker 0 00:27:10 Yeah, yeah. Go back. Go
Speaker 2 00:27:11 Back. In fact, Jason Park, it makes sense that it's him. So, um, my roommate was complaining for his fraternity, Lambda Theta, Delta <laugh>, um, needed a new and fresh fundraisers that's tired of doing the same parties and the same thing. And then I was complaining that for Cabo Mater, we can, we only, we only get to perform on a nice stage at Culture Night once a year, you know, and oh day, the only other spaces we were invited to were like clubs and car shows, which were never the, like the same stage or even the same audience. So, um, <laugh>, I was complaining to him and he said, I'm gonna create a, then I'm gonna create a dance competition called Vibe. And I was like, do it brother, do it <laugh>. Um,
Speaker 0 00:27:55 And I said kind of like, you won't, but like go for it. Sure. See what happens. Do with no idea that it would become all of this mm-hmm.
Speaker 2 00:28:02 <affirmative>. But we, I said that if we do it though, the things that we don't like about the events that exist currently is what I would like to change. And one of those things are, I want all the dancers to be greeted and treated with so much value and appreciate, feel like they're all appreciated. Right. When they walk in, I want each team to have an ambassador, um, to have snacks in their room, to have a handwritten note. Totally. I want all the judges to know that, like, to have to feel like they're, um, trusted, but that their focus is on the dancers, that they're there to serve the dancers, you know? Totally. Um, so that's not something that existed, that's a culture that we, from all our different upbringings decided together that this is how we want vibe to be different because there were studio competitions of course, like, um, and conventions for like the, and things in the industry, but there was nothing in the community for people who found dance outside of that to perform on that stage. And there were battles too, which are amazing as well, but nothing for this choreograph art, you know? Um, and I, yeah. I didn't want it to become so technical that it's a fundraiser and you're making money exploitative, like you're just making money off the
Speaker 0 00:29:17 Uhhuh Uhhuh <affirmative> Uhhuh <affirmative>. That's a fine line.
Speaker 2 00:29:19 Yeah. I wanna make sure that the focus, the only reason this this dancer event was even created was for the dancers to give them a space to express themselves and to feel safe and to belong. You know? Um, now there is a disadvantage creating it on a university campus <laugh> because mm-hmm. <affirmative>, when you create a university campus that isn't as diverse as you would want, then you're not gonna have as much diverse teams. And so those are Right, right. Things that we had to evolve eventually to like seek out teams outside these universities
Speaker 0 00:29:52 Yeah. Of the bubble of the university. Yes.
Speaker 2 00:29:54 Yeah.
Speaker 0 00:29:55 That makes so much sense. Yeah. <laugh>. Um, and how long did that transition happened? How long was it from when like, you know, birth of the vibe to the Surgat Drumm Theater all these years later? Yeah. How many years? 20
Speaker 2 00:30:09 Something? Yeah. It's, um, it is 27 years, or 28 years. 27 or 28 years. Yeah. And
Speaker 0 00:30:18 Happy birthday looking good or looking good. Late twenties
Speaker 2 00:30:22 <laugh>. And, um, and Jason Park was trusted because, you know, when you, when you have a fraternity running it, a competition and they have different leaders running it, um, there's a big difference between when the person running it as a dancer or not a dancer, when it's a
Speaker 0 00:30:40 Dance, palpable, it
Speaker 2 00:30:42 Takes you to its mission to serve dancers. And when it's not a dancer intentionally or unintentionally, it can not feel as, you know, up close to its purpose. And so Jason Park was a part of C A D C, you know, when he was at uc, Irvine. And so he had the right idea. He, he knew the ideals and so there was a time where they were debating who does it, does it go back to Ja Joseph leasing my founder, who is like so far out of college and not dancing anymore. Um, does it stay with the fraternity or does it go to Jason Park and Sonia Park, you know, who have been running it and bringing it so close to how the, the essence of when we started it? So I that's piped in and I was like, Jason Park, you know what I mean?
Speaker 0 00:31:30 I
Speaker 2 00:31:30 Recommend Jason Park. And I talked to Joseph Sp directly and asked him, I said, I really hope that you will use your voice to, um, just trust me and, and know that Jason Park is the one, you know. Cool. And so I think it because of Jason Park and Sonia and their, and Tim Wu, they were able to take it from the Breen Events Center to the Segerstrom, um, I would say about eight or nine years ago, or maybe, yeah. Seven or eight years ago maybe.
Speaker 0 00:32:02 Is that how you pronounce it? By the way? Segerstrom, I've been wrong for, and I also never remember the name of that thing. <laugh> sometimes I, I'm actually Seman, which is that stinky fish that people on YouTube can't eat without throwing up <laugh>.
Speaker 2 00:32:16 I'm actually not a hundred percent sure.
Speaker 0 00:32:19 We're gonna leave it. It's fine in writing. Yeah. We'll just go with it. Just take a look at the show notes if you're really curious. Um, I do think it's a, it's a magical skill and an important one to be able to conserve the parts of a thing Yeah. And grow a thing. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, because both are, are essential for longevity. Yes. You, you, you know what got you here will not get you there. If you wanna keep going, you must evolve, you must grow. Or I mean, actually some people can start a thing and just wanna do that one exact thing forevermore. I, and I think there's value to that. There's something to be said for, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. But if you would like to grow and reach more, help more, have more impact, then yeah. There, there is this quality, this adaptive quality that you must have.
Speaker 0 00:33:07 Yes. Um, but it's very cool to see examples of of, of people and entities that can preserve that original feeling. And to hear you say that you think that they've done it. That's so cool. And I will tell you firsthand, I love being a guest on that stage. Mm-hmm. I have judged before. Yeah. And I feel both very flattered and very focused on the work. Uh, I feel very, very well taken care of. Mm-hmm. And when I, when I spend time with Vibe, I know it will be good time. Um, and I think that's, that's like, that's my perspective as kind of an outsider. Um, and you know what, maybe that is a good way to kind of segue into <laugh>. I'm, I'm starting, we started small and now we're kind of ballooning outwards <laugh>. So I am used to the dance world kind of being broken down into these digestible pieces like commercial world heavy air quotes or concert world or classical world, like heavy, heavy air quotes.
Speaker 0 00:34:09 And generally I'm not a fan of that kind of separation or, or breaking things down and dividing them, especially when they're the same freaking thing. Right. Like in essence it's dance, but there is this segment, this kind of, you know, piece of the global dance pie that really captures my interest and attention. Yeah. And that is the one that you are here talking about, which is the community. I don't know how to explain it other than in those heavier quotes, <laugh> the community, which, which, you know, competitions like vibe and, um, oh my God, I'm blanking. Body rock things that kind of came, came after you are huge. And so much talent is, is there, it's like hard to ignore. This is a massive force in the dance ecosystem. Um, and since you have played such an integral part of like, curating that and nurturing that world, how would you explain the community?
Speaker 0 00:35:13 Like who is it made up of? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you mentioned the choreographic element. Who are the choreographers? How does, yeah. How do these people do what they do? The numbers that I see on the vibe stage, and I'll link to some of my favorites in the show notes of this episode, are unlike some of the things that we see on TV and film. I mean really high level, uh, dancing and, and thoughtful choreography, composition, the staging that there's so much great. Um, and I just would love for people who have no idea what we're talking about right now. You know, people who grew up in dance studios or, you know, aiming for Broadway, perhaps maybe have no, no exposure to the community. So I'd, I'd love to hear how you explain Yeah. What the community is. Oh
Speaker 2 00:35:59 My God, it's so fu no one's asked me this before.
Speaker 0 00:36:02 <laugh> <laugh>
Speaker 2 00:36:04 And you read.
Speaker 0 00:36:05 Well, I, I
Speaker 2 00:36:06 Mean I wish I actually had a chance to answer this sooner in my life, cuz that is
Speaker 0 00:36:11 Oh, great. Let's hear
Speaker 2 00:36:12 It. Great question. Well, okay. So we know hip hop was created, at least as we know it, with the four elements and everything in 1973 formally, I mean, of course they were, it existed before that in, in, um, in certain,
Speaker 0 00:36:27 Hold on, I'm gonna pause you right there because I just had a conversation with somebody at UCLA and the dance department and they said five and I was like, back up and I know we could argue about this till we're blue in the face. There are five, there are five now. MCing five now dj. Yeah. DJing, graffiti. Bboying and Knowledge. What's number five? Knowledge.
Speaker 2 00:36:49 Knowledge is the fifth element. Fifth recognized <laugh>.
Speaker 0 00:36:55 Okay. Well also the fifth element is one of my favorite movies. Sidestep. We can, we should make a remake of the Fifth Element with all the same costumes that they have
Speaker 2 00:37:05 On now
Speaker 0 00:37:06 In the future of driving taxis <laugh>. But it's about the five elements of hip hop. Okay. Carrie, I'm sorry to interrupt you, but that wasn't,
Speaker 2 00:37:14 I wouldn't be surprised if someone did that because this year I always know, because I was born the same year as hip hop. This year hip hop turns 50. Right. So this is the year where we should see, I actually know a couple of dance, um, dance, um, organizations or families that are like creating sets and working on it for like different Yeah.
Speaker 0 00:37:36 Preparing something real special for this year.
Speaker 2 00:37:39 But yeah, so, so growing up during that time, um, where I saw dance was at the parks at in and the block parties, even on the West Coast, you know, and at, um, battles and ciphers. And then there was a concert world, right. Where you see recitals and things attached to studios, and then there was the industry commercial work. Right. So those were kind the kind of islands that I grew up knowing. And since I didn't belong on the other islands, I was fully immersed and found a sense of belonging in this island. Uh, by the time I got to college in the early nineties, the island, these islands were really defined. So you really saw the, in like if you are auditioning for things, you really wanna dance for an artist or you really wanna be on a video or on a Broadway show.
Speaker 2 00:38:31 Um, so they, there was really like the North Hollywood industry like community. And then the, the Freestyle Battle community was really underground at that time. I mean, uh, in the early two thousands started becoming more underground. So you would only find those at the clubs or, you know, at, at certain events like Freestyle Session or Bboy Summit, which are like some of my favorite events. Oh, yes. Um, before that Radiotron <laugh>, I loved Radiotron. Um, and so if you were in the university space and you weren't part of, you know, the, the dance department, but you wanted to dance, there was nothing for us. Right. And that's also why Kaba modern in those, even till now <laugh>, um, because we're not part of the dance department, we don't have access to dance space. So that's why, uh, these dance entities are creating, starting to blow up everywhere on the universities and the communities.
Speaker 2 00:39:28 They were rehearsing in parking lots or in between buildings because they weren't given granted spaces to create. So that's why I would say that that sense of belonging and having a place to express ourselves had to be created. And, um, I didn't understand it now, but I understand it now as I l understand my intersectional identity a little bit more. But, um, for as a Filipino American, like, um, who Filipinos have been through two different colonizations and the only way they held onto their identity was to have their cultural dances from their province, from their city. And that be how they held onto their identity. And that's the same thing with these dance art forms. Breaking, locking Crump. Um, they are connected to specific communities, a specific heritage, and they're a way of us letting us, uh, kind of tell who we are. And that needed to be expressed.
Speaker 2 00:40:31 And we were at that time, one thing that all Asian Americans had in common at that time, as we felt invisible, we felt relegated to stereotypes. Like, we're the nerd, we're the martial artist. You know what I mean? You don't, I didn't see a single person. Like that's why I, I was so like happy for Soul Train cause at least felt like people that look like my neighborhood on television. But other than that, I, all the way up until I was 18, I didn't see a single per Filipino on television ever. Nia Peoples on Fame was like the closest <laugh>, you know? Yeah. Yeah. And so I was like, you know what, like everyone deserves a, a sense. So anyone that wants to dance on this UCI campus, we're gonna promote this vibe. We're gonna create more events, we're gonna start teaching workshops, we're gonna be friends with the studios so they trust that what we have has value and is safe or whatever, and we're gonna bring it there and then we're gonna tell get our pioneers in there.
Speaker 2 00:41:32 Um, and, and so I feel like there was a real exciting time in the nineties all the way up to 2004. That was in a very exciting time cuz it was an unstoppable time where we were like, if it doesn't exist, we'll create it. You know, buy the community for the community. Um, cool. You know? Yes. And that's where the community, we call also our teams, we don't call them dance crews and we don't call them dance teams, we call 'em dance families because have a modern, we were basically, we not only rehearse outside, but we eat together outside, we sometimes have mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you know, rehearsal till in the mornings we brush our teeth together. <laugh> like Really?
Speaker 0 00:42:14 Wow. Yeah. Family status for
Speaker 2 00:42:16 Sure. Right. So we called ourselves Dance Families and that's when the quote unquote community was done because it felt like we were actually out in the community because we were rehearsing in these open spaces as a collective and as a family. And something about that energy of wanting to be seen and also having a family, um, was very, people really resonated with that and connected to that. So once 2005 hits and we have social media, see it growing globally and especially like Philippines grew really fast, you know, they started throwing their own events and they had way more teams than in
Speaker 0 00:43:00 <inaudible>. Cool. That's so cool. You know what I mean? Oh, that's so
Speaker 2 00:43:03 Cool than Canada. I, I say I think Colorado, wow. Colorado had so many dope dancers. They were, Def Colorado to me, um, was closer to my upbringing, the, the work that, like I know when I talked to Larkin and the block party and all the things that, and how they brought so many OGs to Colorado to train in, in foundation Yes. In history. That was like, dang, that's like what I grew up with. You know? Um, so you saw these kind of one social media hit. The good thing is this showed exposure so other people who create what's needed in their communities. Mm-hmm. Uh, the bad thing is people started just looking at videos and imitating off videos versus building community, actual community and actually going to live events versus relying on videos for enjoyment.
Speaker 0 00:43:52 Whoa. Huge, huge kind of polarizing effect there Wow. At
Speaker 2 00:43:57 The same time. Right. So it's like such a pro and, and such a, a loss at the same time, you know? So. Yeah.
Speaker 0 00:44:05 Yeah. Okay. That is a great answer to that question, <laugh>, thank you so much for that. I, I remember, you know, learning about, or like first really interfacing with this community, um, when Sean Ariso opened the movement lifestyle mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and we had been friends before then, and I knew about where he was from and what he was about, but the, the movement lifestyle was the first, we'll call it like a tangible example of the community. It was brick and mortar and I could see it, and I I, I knew it when I saw it, you know? Yes. Um, and then it wasn't until several years after that that I got to visit Body Rock mm-hmm. <affirmative> and vibe and was really absolutely blown away. Truly blown away. I, you know, I, I come from the dance studio background also. I do come from Colorado where I, I, I must admit the training is fantastic.
Speaker 0 00:45:04 <laugh>, uh, shout out Michelle, er I, the dance studio I grew up at is, I certainly would not be here without 100% mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, yeah. But I, my training experience was quite privileged in that, you know, it, it happened in a dance studio with a sound system in mirrors and guest choreographers and conventions on the weekends and so much exposure to, you know, really top tier training and um, and opportunities that extended far beyond training days. You know, it was like quite, quite, um, a part of conversation to like consider this a career. Do you think that people who come up through the community and compete on stages like vibe, do you think that they visualize a career for themselves in this? Or is this a place that, you know, as you mentioned, it's this space, the community space came because of the space, the void that the other spaces were. Right. Commercial already exists. Yeah. Like that's a thing, you know, concert work that exists, that's a thing. This is something different. Do you see there being crossover? Do you see people coming up there and tr and parlaying their dance family into their dance, like down payment on a house? Like
Speaker 2 00:46:22 Is that Yes. Yeah. For sure. Well, I'm so glad you mentioned movement lifestyle, because that is actually, I feel, and this is just from only my lens in California. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, there are three groups that I think took those islands and started smashing the barriers between those islands.
Speaker 0 00:46:44 Let's go. Yes. It's already been done. 100%. You're so right. Yes.
Speaker 2 00:46:49 Um, one was the grus because the were people who were battling free styling, teaching and also touring <laugh>. So they're from all those worlds. And same thing with Culture Shock, culture shock, San Diego, culture, shock la. And the other physical space was movement, lifestyle, because you had a mixture. You had people from all those islands we mentioned before coming in. Um, Sean, who's like one of my brothers, I love and respect so much, had a vision for promoting diversity, creating bridges, and making sure it's also supportive environment, uh, for people.
Speaker 0 00:47:28 Ooh. This will be the third time that I cry in this episode, by the way. <laugh> like hearing you say that. Yeah. It's like, yes, that's him. That's him.
Speaker 2 00:47:35 That's that guy. I love him. All our hearts broke at that. One of the losses of the pandemic was movement, lifestyle, that was terrible <laugh>, um, because of what it meant to all of us. And, um, but it, its Spirit will live on. And that was because that place existed. I feel that contributed to people seeing pathways of dance, um, being of course touring. Um, but now also there's this whole big desire to be a traveling dance educator too. <laugh>. Cause we had
Speaker 0 00:48:10 Yes, that's true. That's a new Aula Island
Speaker 2 00:48:13 <laugh>. So many people that taught at ML were teaching around the world and then they were meeting people of, of equal brilliance in other parts of the world and having them come through movement, lifestyle to teach as well. And so you saw this inner global inner, uh, connectedness. Um, cross-pollinization, you know, you can see all these mu um, pioneers teaching there as well as people from all over, all over teaching there and then, and also doing it in a way that's encouraging and, and is a safe space. And that's, that's curated. See, it, it, it all depends on, that's why also dance events that are created by dancers, dance studios that are opened <laugh> curated by dancers. It's a different thing. Yeah. It really is a, it's
Speaker 0 00:48:59 Different. Different thing. It's different. Um,
Speaker 2 00:49:01 Yeah. It's different. And so I, I feel like, like you said, I think there was a time, I would say in the nineties and early two thousands where everyone just wanted to like book that tour <laugh>. Right. Everyone to book that tour or book that commercial. Yes. That was everyone's dream. Yeah. But a lot of us had changed after it cuz we were like, oh, actually I wanna do something different. And once we all started doing that, whether that's being a director of a dance team or that's being a, a dance educator locally or traveling where that's opening up a dance studio, which is like getting into social justice, a you know, activism through dance. Um, there are so many pathways now and, and now I'm so excited to see, um, dance educators breaking the barriers even in the university spaces because what we've learned mm-hmm. <affirmative>, these university spaces are not as accessible and not as diverse and the dance departments. Mm-hmm. Especially like, there's no reason why whacking and locking and all these dance art forms that are not necess, that are not fads, they're not styles, things that go on in and out of dance, art forms just like ballet and jazz and tap. And they belong and, and and, um, dance departments as not an elective but as part of the major. Right. And so
Speaker 0 00:50:21 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>,
Speaker 2 00:50:22 Ucla, they're like, their dance departments are changing, you know what I mean? Totally. We have hip hiphop professors. Yeah. I think Renny Harris is another like pioneer who really broke down
Speaker 0 00:50:34 Huge. Yes. Thank you for saying his name and
Speaker 2 00:50:36 Theater and of course Jackie and Lee at ucla. And then Tiffany vg Vela, you know, uh, Mon Durden. Um, people are breaking down the barriers and it's about time that we have diverse voices and diverse art forms and diverse teachings and cultures appreciated and, and given its platform. Because the more we have this inclusivity of the things we grew up in, in different spaces, the more people have opportunities to have a sense of belonging and a, and an opportunity for transformation. Right. Um, so we have a long way to go, but we've come such a long way from being invisible to being a part of. Right.
Speaker 0 00:51:20 So oof, oof. To to being also permanent. There's like almost like, not just because it rhymes, but invisible to in a way immortal or invincible. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> like the, the the making permanent of things that really, I mean dance itself is Im permanent until the video camera came along. And even then still the experience to be dancing is, is Im permanent. I, I think I said the wrong word a second ago. So dance is, IM permanent. It doesn't last it itself, even when it's captured, it's not the same. It's a two-dimensional representation of the thing. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> remind me to get back on, I had this r and d concept back when I lived in the South Bay area and was surrounded by <laugh> <laugh>, you know, the tech startup, super monster, big money things, <laugh>. I was like, you know what, you know, there's uh, what's the name of the dancing dog?
Speaker 0 00:52:25 The robot dog? I forget his name. Boston Dynamics made him, I don't remember his name. Anyways, I was, I was like, you know what, there should be a robot that can dance you <laugh>. It's like an exoskeleton that you put it on and it dances you so that you can feel what it's like to dance like wiggles <laugh>. You can feel it's like to dance like Don. And because I'm telling you, for people who have only ever, ever observed specifically funk styles, man, I'm not even that good at them. And it feels so good. Oh my god. So could you imagine being like the nastiest, like getting put into a suit?
Speaker 2 00:53:02 You are so
Speaker 0 00:53:03 Good. You're too kind,
Speaker 2 00:53:04 But you are. So you know what? Funny, like I saw you on the 2020 tour and at the time, you know, I didn't know you but, cause I was mainly like watching Lyle Uhhuh cause I knew Lyle from Kak.
Speaker 0 00:53:16 Oh yes.
Speaker 2 00:53:17 I remember seeing you from far away and being like, wow, that girl is funky. If she ever tried locking, she be so good at it. And that's why I remember when I saw you, I was like, ta I can't believe it because my theory back then came true And you're even better than I even imagined.
Speaker 0 00:53:39 Cause it's in
Speaker 2 00:53:39 Your soul and your spirit, you know what I mean? It's just, it's
Speaker 0 00:53:43 In you. I mean, at, at that point it was in my training, although not as embodied, not as, um, you know, I hadn't had the moment with locking that you had with Don where you find out that it's yours or how to make you the driver of it versus, you know, continuing as um, a, a guest in the culture and always feeling, even in my even training next to Tony, basil, <laugh> feeling like an imposter, you know, um, in the style. And so that was the 2020 experience was the beginning of me really defining my fingerprint. And locking is a small, you know, like locking is one of the lines of it, you know, goes all the way around. Um, but I certainly kind of thanks to the pandemic have a greater sense of confidence with it, with simply the fundamentals. Um, I've been taking Suse Morales class at Millennium. I really love the way she teaches and damn can she get down,
Speaker 2 00:54:48 Get down. Like, um, so Tiffany Bong was like a person I kind of went up with and she had taken the mantle of being, spreading the knowledge and just being a, um, really extension of Don's spirit in terms of like the why, like his particular thought of freedom and connection and celebrating people. But Zeus say is now like the torch bearer. Like I look at her and my other friend Al and I, I look at them, what they're doing with locking lab and I'm like, that's it. That Yeah,
Speaker 0 00:55:20 It's funky. It's funky. And she does how do
Speaker 2 00:55:22 Choreography and for you, she, she can do it all and, and do it in a way
Speaker 0 00:55:26 That
Speaker 2 00:55:27 Oh yes, she can actually teach. She's a, well we know that teaching and dancing are two separate skill sets. So to be a good dance educator, you have to be good at dancing.
Speaker 0 00:55:37 Talk about islands. Yes.
Speaker 2 00:55:39 And she's one of
Speaker 0 00:55:39 The, there are, there are a few people that have a boat that can get between those two islands very quickly. <laugh>. But you're right. Not that, that doesn't mean, uh, doesn't mean access, doesn't mean, um, yeah, yeah. Correct. Right. Um, okay, wait. But I do know that we're running out of time and I wanna play a quick round of like a burnout question round of Zoom. Okay. <laugh>, are you ready for this?
Speaker 2 00:56:02 Yes.
Speaker 0 00:56:03 Okay. Okay. What would you say to people who are interested in competing at vibe or a competition similar but have never danced before?
Speaker 2 00:56:15 I would say start the journey of dance first within, so you have to know, so each of us, this is one of of my quotes that I, I tried to live by, but each of us are a brilliant mosaic of many extraordinary parts. And the more you, you should start your dance journey with first understanding who you are as a person so that you, when you're exposed to different dance art forms, you'll really stay connected and, and pull towards you and con and commit to dance art forms that are you. Um, that's how you are original because my combinations of art forms that that kind of sh connect to and shape my style of dancing that are connected to my soul are different than yours Dana. Right. And that's what makes original and you original is when, but how we become great is when we're the most ourselves.
Speaker 2 00:57:06 Cuz when we try to be the best of someone else, we'll always be good or moderate, but we become excellent when we're fully ourselves in, in our dance. And that's when movement becomes dance because movement becomes dance when we're more ourselves through that movement. Right? And so, um, I say to everyone first find out who you are. Um, try so many different dance art forms, so you can really find what is your right combination. And once you understand that, then find the group that matches what that is. <laugh>, because g problem, modern, the bead freaks, you know what I mean? Like every group has their own essence. And so
Speaker 0 00:57:54 Yeah, there are collections like attract, like yeah, we
Speaker 2 00:57:58 Flock. And so, you know, if you try to chase something that re isn't really who you are, you'll never reach your full greatness. So know yourself first. So then you can find the right, um, the right group to grow within. And even when you find the right growth movement and artistic wise, also make sure it, it's the same vibration of who you are as a person and the way you like to learn. Because there are certain teams that are very much more disciplinary and materialistic style, and that works for a lot of people. But maybe you may not thrive in that way of, of learning. So also knowing how you learn Yeah. Is important. Um, and I think if people start thinking with that mindfulness first, um, they'll, they're less likely to run into situations where they feel disrespected not seen. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> not good enough. You know what I mean? Because when you have a sense of belonging that unlocks a certain part of your potential, that's really hard to, to stop when you have that sense of belonging, because then you're more confident, you're, you're more willing to take risks, you're more willing to be authentic, you're more willing to be vulnerable. And in that vulnerability and, and courage is a sweet spot where your growth becomes that. The greatest. The greatest,
Speaker 0 00:59:17 Yeah. Like exponential growth. Yeah. Yeah. I think that that all that especially is kind of one of those preparation meets opportunity moments, um, where the work you've done on yourself, the, uh, the designing of your personal mosaic mm-hmm. <affirmative> introduced to right place, right time, right people. Right. You know, you know, the, the cultural temperature, the moment, um, the zeitgeist, if you will, all components. And that's why we're all kind of taking off and plateauing and settling and resting, recovering, charging at different times because of our mosaics being so infinitely different. I love this because we're,
Speaker 2 01:00:00 And we're just, we're discovering different parts of that mosaic, like you said, like uhhuh <affirmative>. Yeah. It's gonna be an ebbs and flow, you know what I mean? So, yeah,
Speaker 0 01:00:10 Yeah, yeah. Um, I just wanna call out what I said earlier about not, not really loving the unification of dance and the, the breaking it into smaller bits is because the advice that you just so beautifully crafted for this person who wants to dance on, on a competition team is very, very similar to what I would tell a person who's interested in entering the industry. Yes. Like, start with you, find a team that, that is complimentary to you and your values and, and mm-hmm. <affirmative> correct accordingly. Like, lather, rinse, repeat, keep doing the work, keep trying and don't quit. Like, that's it, that's all you gotta do. It sounds so easy. And
Speaker 2 01:00:55 When you, and like, nothing's a waste because even when you work with a group of people or a person that just is not the right fit, you also learn what you don't like, what you will not tolerate, what you draw boundaries around. Yes. And so everything is a learning opportunity. Yes. The times when you thrive, the times when you fall, the times when someone does you wrong, and then you have a choice to either to do better and be better and also, uh, do better and be better for yourself too. Right. So
Speaker 0 01:01:25 <laugh> love that. Okay. So much for burnout round because that was a podcast in and of itself. <laugh>. Um, fantastic. Okay. So that's what you would say to somebody interested in competing or joining a team. What would you say to somebody who wanted to start their own space? Let's say somebody out there listening is like, I see a void, I see a group that's not represented. I see potential to build a thing. What would you tell
Speaker 2 01:01:50 Them? Well, so during the pandemic when I couldn't teach anymore <laugh>, you know, um, in person, I decided to create a leadership program called Leadership Tools for the Dance Leader. And I created for this very specific purpose because I heard in the community a lot of people wanted to open up studios, they wanted to create community events, they wanted to create like, um, shows and teams. And I was like, wow, we don't have any support for the leaders <laugh>. You know what I mean? Mean, and Mm. Yeah. So one of the things we went over, I think starting a new space or anything new that serves people starts first with your mission. I always tell people you have to write your mission statement, um, because when you understand your mission and your vision, it becomes your moral compass. Because later on Yes. When it grows and you build your team and you invite people into this said space or said event, um, your filter for what fits and doesn't fit what's harmful and what's like helpful. Yeah. Is your mission statement, does it align with the mission? Right. And so, woo, I encourage leaders to write a personal mission statement first. Like that's how our leadership program
Speaker 0 01:03:06 An internal, internal one, not, not what the public would,
Speaker 2 01:03:09 It's, it's really of serving yourself, writing a mission for yourself. So where you are at in this time of life. Yeah. Because it's gonna change. It could change a week later, it could three years later love. But it's really more the practice of like love. What is the why between what you do? Yeah. And what do you really wanna do if you had to pick it in three or less,
Speaker 0 01:03:29 You know what I mean? <laugh>, the why is so important. Yeah. It's what comes up every, every single opportunity that you have to quit. Yeah. If you have a sticky why you can keep going. Of course. And actually I'd never thought of this before, but the way you explained a mission statement just now as a tool for decision making, um, a, a tool for deciding what to cut, it's like, like a mission statement can be a knife that cuts things away. And it is also like glue, which sticks things together. It is the most essential tool in, in the toolkit because it both cuts and, um, sticks. Like it cuts. And men's <laugh>, this is, is so, so important.
Speaker 2 01:04:14 But mission statements also like when you're ready to evolve or change, it's from what you can evolve from. So you're like, oh, you know what? Our services are different. Let, let's look at what, how we're evolving so we can actually have dialogue around it. This needs to change because I think we need to move in this direction now, you know? So yeah. I love mission statements. I started really embracing it like about a decade ago. Um, cuz my mentor outside of dance mm-hmm. <affirmative> saw me as a person trying to do everything at the same time. And she asked me, you had to pick three things or less, what would it be? And then she challenged me to write a mission statement, a personal one. And it helped me focus on, this is what I really wanna do as the human r l versus what the world expects me to be. You know, um, this is who I am now and this is what I wanna do and this is what I believe. Yeah. So
Speaker 0 01:05:09 That's fantastic. <laugh>. Okay. I love this. I love, okay, I love what you would tell a person entering a competitive space or a a, a more organized dance space than say like mm-hmm. <affirmative>, occasionally dancing at weddings, <laugh>. Um, we know what you would say to somebody who wanted to create space. What would you say to your young self, like you at the age that you met Don?
Speaker 2 01:05:33 When I met Don? Oh my God.
Speaker 0 01:05:37 Yeah. If you could talk to that person, what would you tell 'em?
Speaker 2 01:05:42 You are enough as you are. I would say you are enough as you are. Yeah. <laugh>
Speaker 0 01:05:49 Yo,
Speaker 2 01:05:49 Because that was,
Speaker 0 01:05:51 And every day I'm still <laugh> working on this concept. The enoughness, I swear arnell, it shows up all the time. I, I am also a coach and the concept of being enough, it shows up for my clients. It shows up for me all the time, all the time. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> all the time. And man, I would also tell my young self that, and I would hope that young self would listen. I hope that I could find eventually a way to say it that is, um, empirical. Mm. You know, that is, that is undeniable because still I find ways to doubt that statement even today. Um, so I love that you brought that up and I, I hope that you feel that now. Cuz when I look at you, I certainly see somebody who is far more than enough <laugh>. I mean, whoa, whoa. The, the, the, the way that you are in addition to the what that you do is so remarkable and such a great example mm-hmm. <affirmative> of what is possible in terms of being a leader and a creative person. Um, I, I just, I, I marvel and I applaud and I'm so grateful to you for being
Speaker 2 01:07:00 Here. Thank you so, so much. Yeah. It's a pleasure. And, uh, I I I don't take that lightly, um, because I'm just like you, that that is the thing that I had the hardest time believing that I was enough. Yeah.
Speaker 0 01:07:14 Enoughness.
Speaker 2 01:07:15 So, yeah. And I, it's an, it's, uh, a day to day, sometimes you believe it and a lot of days you don't, you know? Totally. So
Speaker 0 01:07:22 Yeah, totally. <laugh> spinoff podcast coming soon. Enoughness, Arnell and Dana, I'm not gonna lie, that would be fired. That would be fantastic. <laugh>. And trust me, when it's just me in here by myself sometimes I'm like, Ooh, damn, really wish I had today. <laugh>, you, you have so much to offer, such great things to say. Thank you for sharing with us today. Uh, let's do this again. Sometime you can, you can co-host
Speaker 2 01:07:50 Down the road. It's always an honor and a blessing to share space with you. And can I just say one more thing before I leave? I just wanna also compliment, um, the seaweed sisters because
Speaker 0 01:08:03 Say it take, take more than a minute, we need
Speaker 2 01:08:07 More of that. I'm meant to say this to all three of you at Vibe, but, um, I always love the Seaweed Sisters because there's two things that I think of when I look at you all. I look of course, artistic brilliance. Um, it's very extraordinary. You definitely, like I mentioned earlier, unicorn status for sure. Um, but I feel like it is one of the greatest manifestation of true belonging, if that makes sense. Um, the three of you have a synergy that you can sense that ind individually you're extraordinary in the world, but when you come together mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you have such a, a strong sense of trust and, um, authenticity and belonging to each other that it spreads this light that is magnanimous and, and pretty unlimited. So I just want you all to know that I'm rooting for you. Um, you inspire people to just be who they are. Um, and it's literally unlimited <laugh>. I think your light is so strong. Oh my God. And so I just want you, it's like I'm just, when I hop on this podcast, cause I keep forgetting every year, I have a picture with y'all. Last, last vibe of this one. I, I was like, I meant to tell you then I meant to tell you.
Speaker 0 01:09:27 Oh my goodness. We did, we get one, we got one with a group judges,
Speaker 2 01:09:32 But we had one last year. Get one
Speaker 0 01:09:33 Together. But,
Speaker 2 01:09:34 But
Speaker 0 01:09:35 Okay. We, we'll share it with
Speaker 2 01:09:36 This episode, but now it's here. Immortalized in the episode. <laugh>.
Speaker 0 01:09:41 Oh, Arnelle, thank you so much for those kind words that it marks the fourth time I have cried during this podcast. Uh, first time, first time was literally 12 minutes in. Um, and now we, we polish it off with a tearful cherry on top. Thank you again for, for those kind words and for all this
Speaker 2 01:10:00 Much love, Dana. Thank you for having me.
Speaker 0 01:10:03 Thank you Arnelle. Talk to you soon.
Speaker 0 01:10:09 Okay, my friend. I hope you were as, as heartened and warmed by that conversation as I am. I really, really loved what Arnell had to say about affirmation period is this reminds me of the power of a sincere and heartfelt compliment and how offering reflections of the good in people can really change the dynamic, especially in learning environments. I'm grateful for people like Arnell for being such a great example of this, but also for sharing his story of how Don did that for him early in his dance training. Um, I specifically love the, the idea of complimenting someone about their way. Uh, he said that Don complimented one of his fellow dancers by saying, I love the way you use your hips versus, I love your hips. I think dance educators would do well to keep the focus off of the, the, the person's body itself and maybe more on the way of movement or the technique that person is calling upon.
Speaker 0 01:11:17 Certainly their essence is another thing like Don, uh, commented on the essence of arnell s smile, the essence of his, his electricity, his vibration, his ability to light up a room. Um, I, I definitely learned several years ago in my, in my dance teacher training, which was not formal by any standards, but I, I learned the difference in saying, you know, I want everybody to look at Elizabeth and do it the way Elizabeth does it, versus look at how Elizabeth uses her supporting leg here. Could you use your supporting leg like that? Look at the way that so-and-so does this and try implementing this part of that into your practice. Um, versus, you know, Dana's long legs. Make her great. Try to be more like Dana. I just think that's not the way to go. But I do love this concept of leading with affirmation.
Speaker 0 01:12:20 It's not harder to lead with affirmation. It's not less effective to lead with affirmation. I think it's more effective. I think it is a wonderful and effective way to lead. I hope this episode engages you to be more of that for yourself and for your community. Oh, and I hope also that you get out there and write yourself a mission statement that was such a great reminder. Um, a great tool to help focus, a great tool to edit, a great tool to make decisions in general, which is a North star kind of a compass like Arnell said. So, uh, please, please spend some time with yourself, shoot yourself and your dance family some affirmations. And if you're feeling brave, share your mission statement. I think it is, it's important to have it an internal one, but if you are able to prepare one that is forward facing or you know, community facing, share it, share it with me, share it with your community.
Speaker 0 01:13:19 Um, we are words that Move Me Podcast on Instagram. I'm Dana Daners. You are fantastic. Now go out into the world and keep it funky. I will talk to you soon. This podcast was produced by me with the help of many music by Max Winnie Logo and Brand Design by Bree reets. And big thanks to Riley Higgins, our executive assistant and editor. Also massive thanks to you, the mover who is no stranger to taking action. So go take action. I will not, cannot stop you from downloading episodes or leaving a review and a rating. I will not ban you from my online store for spending your hard earned money on the cool merch and awesome programs that await you there. I will 100% not stop you from visiting words that move me.com. If you wanna talk with me, work with me, and make moves with the rest of the words that move me community. Oh, and also, I will not stop you from visiting the dana wilson.com if you're curious about all the things that I do that are not words that move me related. All right, my friend, keep it funky. I'll talk to you soon.