Words That Move Me with Dana Wilson
Ep. #62 Small Girl, Big Dreams with Nika
The chapters of the Nika Kljun story read a bit like a fairy tale of a girl who followed her heart, but if you read between the lines it is the story of certainty in uncertain times. Nika is an example of dreaming big and achieving BIG THINGS. This episode dips into the strategies behind big moves (geographically and otherwise). Movers and shakers, (and fellow ambassadors) Please welcome the Dance ambassador to Slovenia, Nika Kljun!
Nika Kljun: https://www.instagram.com/nikakljun/?hl=en
Intro: This is 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 master mover, Dana Wilson. And if you’re someone that loves to learn, laugh and is looking to rewrite the starving artist story, then sit tight, but don’t stop moving because you’re in the right place.
Dana: Hello, my friend. And welcome to the podcast. This is Words that move me. I am Dana. I am thrilled that you are here. This is an exceptional episode. I’m very excited to share it. Uh, today on the podcast, my guest is my friend Nika Kljun. And let me tell you what if, if there is an example of dreaming big and achieving big things, it is Nika Kljun. And if, if there is a bright and vivacious explanation of doing exactly that it is this episode between Nika and I both, uh, there, there will be a lot of smiles in the next hour. I’ll put it that way. Um, and while we’re speaking of smiling, let’s go ahead and do wins. If you are new to the podcast, I do wins in every episode. I do think it’s super important that we celebrate the things that are going well in the world. And today I am celebrating, nurturing my space, specifically, the podcast space. Now we’ll give you a little bit of backstory. Uh, when I moved into my place, it had those popcorn ceilings and I spent a sum of money and a lot of convenience to have those replaced. I’ve flattened the ceilings, this beautiful even drywall ceiling top, and ever since then, which is 2009. I have been very resistant to hanging anything from the ceilings. And just this week I decided, you know what, I’ve had it. I’m putting a hanging plant in my podcast booth because my technical director, Malia Baker gave me a disco ball hanging planter. And this thing is just the coolest, Oh, I’ll for sure. Go ahead and link to this, a photo of this in the show notes of this episode. Um, so I, I spiffied up the place and then like, right as I completed this task, something started going wrong at the carwash across the street from me. One of the vacuums that they use might’ve sucked up, uh, a hairball or an, an actual living creature, perhaps because it is making a sound that is inexcusable it’s right at the top of the frequency I think that humans can hear, um, and I’ve had a headache for three days. So actually the podcast booth is one of the few spaces that I am seeking sanctuary. Um, so I, I, I love that I’m feeling good about this space. And all I had to do was drop a couple drywall screws into my precious perfect drywall that was precious and perfect for years. So I’m thrilled with the job that I did and I love my disco ball hanging planter. Thank you, Malia. That is my win this week. Okay. Now it’s your turn. What is going well In your world?
Congratulations. Keep on winning. I’m stoked for you. All right. Now let’s not take another beat. I’m so excited to share this conversation with you, particularly because although this story, this Nika Kljun story, reads a little bit like a fairy tale about a girl who followed her heart. If you read between the lines, it is actually a story about certainty in uncertain times. And I can’t think of anything more fitting than that today. So enjoy this conversation with the dance ambassador to Slovenia, Ms. Nika, Kljun.
Okay. Nika Kljun. I am so excited that you’re here. Thank you so much for being on the podcast. Yes!
Nika: Thank you so much for having me.
Dana: Oh my gosh. I’m thrilled about this. This is a really big moment for me because you and I go back years and years and years, although we haven’t overlapped much in our professional life, I’m really, really excited to just sit uninterrupted and get to know you and your work a little bit better. Um, as, as the first step to that, it’s hard. It’s challenging. My guests hate me for this, but I’m going to ask you to introduce yourself. What do you want us to know about you?
Nika: This is very, very hard part for everyone. I’m assuming. Well, um, okay. So very simple. Um, I’m a human being that absolutely loves to dance. Um, its in my blood. My parents were also dancers. They still teach dance. We have dance school Bolero in my country Slovenia. So yes, I am not from here. You can hear it in my, in my voice. So, um, my accent is from Europe, small country, 2 million people. And I was just, um, you know, small girl with big dreams. Um, as a dancer, I wanted to be professional dancer, choreographer, international teacher, and here I am, I achieved everything. And I also achieved that I moved to LA in 2010. So, um, that’s just real quick.
Dana: There it is in a tiny nutshell. And I think Nika you, might’ve just named this episode, small girl with big dreams. That is what you are and a big appetite for learning. I would like to add, um, we actually met in 2007.
Nika: I don’t remember the year.
I do remember that I was assisting Marty on a teaching tour in Europe and I, and that’s when I first met you. I don’t know it was, uh, Who Got Skillz workshop. Oh my gosh. I’m so embarrassed that I don’t know the year Marty would, Marty would absolutely remember. Um, and I recognized you right away, long blonde hair, phenomenal dancer. Um, and you really do stand out, you sparkle, but the thing that stood out about you most, to me, it was your curiosity and your, like you followed the workshops, you took several, I mean, it’s, uh, workshops in Europe are a little bit different than in that travel between countries is simpler, right. Quicker relative to in the States, perhaps. But, um, I remember you taking several classes, asking brilliant questions, but asking questions, not just about dance, but about life, about all of it. Um, and I would like to start this interview by asking, what are you curious about today? Like, what is, what lights you up right now,
Right now? Um, you let me up, you are such a, you don’t even know you’re such a light, you know, that you’re a light, but for me, you are one of the biggest inspirations and reasons why I moved to LA and, you know, just dreaming big watching you on TV. Uh, when I came from home on MTV music channel, you know, with, uh, music videos and tours with Justin Timberlake. Yes. So I was just like, okay, I want to that blonde girl. At one point you were blonde and I’m going to be dancing with her on tour period. So I just followed, I followed my guts and I was just really working hard. And you know, you like lit me up yesterday. I couldn’t even sleep well. Cause I was like, I was so thrilled because yeah, you’re such a big inspiration. I have like few people in my life that, um, inspired me when I was in Europe coming over here. And that’s you that’s Teresa Espinosa . Oh yeah, that was so I was like, I’ve got to be that red very next to Brittany and Tiana Brown next to Christina Aguilera. Oh yeah. Um, the younger ones were Tucker and Laura Edwards.
Love, love. All of these are great inspirations. Thank you for those shout outs. And for those extremely kind words, I am sweating and I have an ear to ear grin. It’s actually, I’m wearing these giant headphones right now and it actually creates pressure on my like makes it actually harder to smile, but I am grinning ear to ear. Thank you so much for your kind words. Um, okay. So I had Diana Matos on the podcast in episode 47 and we talked a little bit about her move. Uh she’s from Portugal. And she talks about how, um, she sort of compartmentalize is or makes chapters of her dance life based on where she was living at the time. Um, that’s sort of like how she sees, you know, there was the London chapter, there’s the LA chapter and maybe somebody has a New York chapter and there’s the home chapter. Um, could you talk about how you chapter your dances?
All right. Okay. Very fast. Cause I know you’re cutting this right. So very fast. Um, my big chapter of course is Slovenia. I was born there. I was a competitive, very.. Yeah, I’m competitive person, but I was a competitor on competitions. That’s our life in our country. So I did so many years of that. So basically when I was nine years old, I went to London and with my dance teacher for jazz, cause my parents always wanted to educate our teachers so that they could teach our students better. And that teacher was like, well, your daughter is extremely talented. I think I should bring her with me to open her eyes and introduce her to- to musicals. And you know, maybe, maybe one day she will have big dreams. We don’t know, let’s try and boom. I was nine. I was dancing in my pink outfits in all hip hop classes and jazz and tap and pop and lock and uh, everything that’s possible basically in Pineapple dance school in London. And then I saw so many musicals and I was going, I was back. I was actually going there with my teacher for quite few summers. And then at one point I came to the audition DANCE2XS where, um, I was 14 years old. I got introduced to DANCE2XS company that the owner basically is in Chicago, Patrick Chen. And that basically opened my world. Um, and I started going, you know, flying just to London sometimes for the weekend on to have rehearsals with this, um, uh, company. And that’s, I feel like now looking back, that’s a big commitment, you know, and such yeah. I was so enthusiastic about my, my future in dance, you know, so that was not no problem for me. So basically dance success company, Sisco Gomez and Kim, Kimberly Taylor, they were my teachers, they opened doors for me. Patrick brought you guys with Marty to Euro, have workshops with, I had workshops in Europe with American choreographers and that’s where I kind of started getting to know you guys. And so basically I was professional dancer in Paris and in London for quite some time. But at the same time I was juggling my school, my high school in Slovenia finishing my high school, uh, and also teaching about hundred students in my dance school. And because, um, I want to say this very humble humbly. I was pretty much always, um, first, so unbeatable as a soloist in jazz, tap, you know, and a lot of other different hip hop styles and that pressure of me teaching that many people. And then also people expecting these groups to be amazing as well. It was very, very hard for me, but I somehow did it. And, uh, we were national European World Champions and, you know, I was just missing always something. And that was the real move. And that was in 2010 with visa to America. But I did Monsters of Hip Hop show before that and all this stuff. So that’s where I actually, I got my agents so that, that visa started, you know, easier for me, that process. And since I did so many things and work with, uh, in Europe with American choreographers, they already knew me so much. I started coming to LA when I was about 16 or 17, I was still going to dome at millennium.
Oh I miss that room!
Oh yeah. So, you know, um, I’ve been in and out of LA, what would I say right now for like 15 years or more, you know, but I just moved here when It was 2010 and close my chapter in my school with my students and being European, you know, professional dancer and I opened one in America. So it was a tough decision.
Okay. I have a couple spinoff questions from that. We’ll stick with where we stand right now, but don’t let me forget. I do want to go back to having an agent, getting the visa. I have so many questions about that and I know it’s changed. I think it’s much more difficult to do that today. I know several people going through the process and, and the requirements of getting a visa are, are harder. Now becoming a citizen is much harder. Now I do want to touch on that a little bit, but I want to know how do you make difficult decisions? Like when you find yourself with that, you know, on one hand, I really want “blah”, but on this other hand, I’m making the situation up, but I love my home studio and I love my parents and I love teaching, but I really want to pursue a career for myself. How, how do you make decisions like that?
Okay. It’s a very simple question for me. Um, because everything in dance, when it comes to my career, um, it came spontaneously. So to me, these decisions were never, I need to make a decision. I knew that this is going to be my life. So there was no decisions. So it’s very, it’s very hard to understand with the, for the people that are very connected to families and they need to have, you know, family around and close friends. But I never, I was so driven, Dana. I never, that was not an option. Me being in Slovenia or me, you know what I mean? So don’t ask me about dance. Like I do everything in dance because I love to dance and you know what? It comes to hard decisions for me, it’s an everyday basis. Okay. Which restaurants do I want to go eat? Or order food from? Like, this is crazy when I’m telling you, sometimes it takes one hour between me and my boyfriend to decide he is also, um, he’s also, I’m a Capricorn, so I don’t know why I’m not, I’m so bad at making decisions that he’s a Libra. So we’re both just undecisive. So for me, it’s like more, you know, every day I can make choices and then you, I mean, you just have to make it at one point, but like, I know it’s funny. Right. But when it comes to life of my career, I it’s very clear to me, you know, very clear what the hardest decisions were. Um, do I take all the workshops abroad when I was already living in America or I say no to what I love to do the most and no to money. And I take time to go to auditions here in LA as a dancer.
Okay. Let’s talk about it. So you have, so, so on one hand you have, you know, you’re a new transplant to Los Angeles or establishing a career as a dancer. And yet you’re coming off of this European teaching circuits, which is pretty high dollar, you know, there’s this celebrity element to being a teacher on one of those circuits. So you’ve got this known quantity, that’s praise and it’s, um, profit. And then you’ve got this uncertain thing in LA. That’s like hard work, not a lot of recognition, but you know, you have to climb the ladder. That’s the type of hard decision we’re talking about. So what, what did you do? What was the move?
Um, I, you know, I always ask myself about the integrity. I always want to have integrity. And if I said yes to people, let’s say in Asia, I’m coming, then I’m going to come to you and I’m going to teach you, you know? Um, unless there was a job that it absolutely was like on my priority top list, you know, and goals. Um, but if I make a decision prior to something to some audition, then I usually always went with teaching. And, um, and I, I’m not regretting, I’m not regretting anything because I feel that sometimes we need to listen to higher powers because they are guiding us. They are guiding us and tell us, telling us where we should go, what we should do. What, why are we here for, and I know when I’m on stage or okay. I say stage, cause I do convention so much now. So I’m always on stage, right. But when I’m in front of the room, when I teach, this is where I, I need to be, this is my purpose. I can feel it in every cell, in my body. It’s a very interesting, um, topic to talk about. But if you feel me, you understand what I’m saying? Right. And, um, and I always wanted, I always was listening to God or something, what you believe in up higher in the universe. And, um, I had this feeling for people since when I was very young already. I saw my mom teaching to so many students right. In Slovenia. And I think I can adapt to that automatically came in me, you know, how she’s teaching. And she also is not just a normal teacher. She’s actually, um, teaching other teachers in our country how to teach so psychology of teaching, how to work with people. So I feel like I got these in my genes. And, um, I always said, you know what? I booked as a dancer, as many jobs as, uh, it was given to me, I was supposed to, you know, even that deep down in my heart, I still wanted to dance some more till now, but I believe God. And I’m, you know, choosing to believe that I’m here for the bigger purpose, not just to be a dancer behind a singer
Copy that, that that’s a gorgeous segue. You’ve done the background. Uh, I almost said singer, you’ve done the background singer thing before. Um, you’ve done the background dancer before, right? Uh, Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bieber, Pitbull, Neo, Jason Derulo. I’m just naming a few. Um, and you’ve also done the choreography thing. So you’ve made it abundantly clear that, that you find tremendous purpose and fulfillment in teaching, but when it comes to dancing versus choreography, do you feel more comfortable in run in one role or the other?
I don’t feel more comfortable in, I don’t feel, I feel like every role is so special. And, um, and I love them both very, very much, uh, when it comes to choreography, there is way more way more other things you have to, you know, just deal with and responsibilities that comes with it. And, um, you really need to have a lot of patience, uh, with celebrities that we work in, we are in Los Angeles. We are not in small Germany, a German city where everybody’s kind even the artists, right. So we deal with so much
What are you trying to say here, Nika? Hahaha
Celebrities are one of the kind, it’s very hard sometimes for me to navigate through managements through the right words, because I am very much, uh, I’m very much honest. I very much am genuine. I feel like I kind of created my name in this, um, in this industry because of that, because I’m so genuine with what I say or how I am with people and being genuine. Sometimes it’s not the best when you work with such a big, you know, not problematic people, but it’s just, it’s just different. Right. So, um, I would say if I have to, if I have to rank things, I would say teaching and being a dancer is on first place. And then second is choreography.
I think what, you’re, what you’re talking about here or what you’re pointing to is one of the things that most people don’t plan or prepare for when they embark on a career as a choreographer, they’re learning about movement, they’re learning about techniques, they’re learning about their creative vision and taste. And, uh, they’re learning about composition and structure and story and all of these things, but very rarely do people put navigating different personalities on their list of things to, or on their list of muscles to strengthen when becoming a choreographer. And, um, it is such an important skill, um, in our industry because you will be working with powerful, I’ll call it powerful in one direction or another, right. You’ll be working with powerful personalities, right and left and navigating relationships is 100% part of, um, uh, of our job as choreographers. So I think that’s, I’m glad that you mentioned that, um, and having a strong personality yourself in a very honest one, uh, I believe is, um, Oh, what’s the word I’m looking for? Uh, I believe it’s virtuous. I believe it’s an asset or it can be, but I can see where there might be situations how that could come back and bite you in the butt.
Yep. Absolutely, yeah.
Okay. I’d like to segue a little bit. Um, I, for some number of years, I don’t know the actual number of maybe four or five years was in ambassador for SAG-AFTRA our performers union. And I’m actually quite proud of that. I loved that. I love that 10 of my life. I would go on set visits, um, with sag after reps talk with the members, make sure that everything on set was going according to contract. Um, I would help if I could answer questions or point people in the direction of answers if I didn’t know the answers to these questions. Um, and anyways, long story short, I just found out that you are a dance ambassador to Slovenia I’m blown away. And I’m so curious about what, um, the responsibilities of a dance ambassador to your country are like, what does that look like?
You’re so sweet. Thank you very much. Yeah. Um, well, um, I don’t have any responsibilities, um, written down, but I got a title because, um, I achieved so much outside of Slovenia and, um, and I was first one in modern dances. So that’s in modern dance. That means in Slovenian, it means hip hop, um, jazz funk, you know, not Ballroom and Latin or rock and roll and stuff. Right. So street stuff, uh, nobody before me did anything like that or achieved so many achievements outside Slovenia. So, um, also when it comes to teaching worldwide, so my, I was always very proud Slovenian. So I always, always said and introduced Slovenia to other countries and to other dancers. So I think Slovenia, just got very, very proud of me
Because you were proud of it.
Yeah. Because I’m very proud of it. And I’m spreading my Slovenian roots around the world and I am a big idol to our dancers in our country that it is possible to dream big and to achieve something big. Um, we only have to believe in it, you know,
That’s a beautiful sentiment. And I think that this might be a perfect opportunity to do a little audience participation. We don’t have a live audience right now. You and I we’re, we’re the only people here, we just have my assistant engineer Riley Higgins in the room, in the zoom room with just us. But everyone that’s listening could get involved right now because Nika, I want you to teach me how me and us, everyone listening, how to pronounce the name of the city, where you’re from, it’s the capital city of Slovenia. And I, I can, I can see it in writing. I can spell it, but no way in hell and I pronounce it. So I’m hoping you can, we can, we can all just jump on for a little, um, a little lesson in Slovenian.
All right. So this is, this is the cutest, everything Dana, you’re so awesome
Should we do a before and after, should I try to pronounce it first? And then you teach me and then
You go, go,
Okay. Okay. Here’s my guess. Um, Oh, *gibberish* Hold on. *gibberish*
Dana. You’re making it away harder. Okay. So that was cute. J in our country is pronounced like Guh
Ah, okay. Um, uh Ljubljana
There we go.
Really? Okay. Yeah. Beautiful. Thank you. I hope everyone, everyone listening got a kick out of that. I think it’s a beautiful thing to be proud of where you’re from. Um, and I do think Sylvania has a lot to be proud of, but I think the thing that I’m taking away in this conversation is that you put where you come from first and you’re proud of where you come from. You’re not ashamed of dreaming big, you are not afraid of claiming ownership of your accomplishments. Um, and I, I think that’s, I think that’s stellar. So congratulations, ambassador to Slovenia. I’m so honored to have you, um, okay. So on the subject of big accomplishments and worldwide, um, aclaim, I want to talk about social media for a second. It comes up on the podcast a lot. Oh my gosh. The face you’re making it. She’s going, Ooh, here we go. Um, I guess what I am curious about, maybe we start broad and then we can work our way, uh, to specifics. What would you say is your relationship to social media? Um, if I had to answer that question, I’d say it’s a little bit of a love hate. I find a tremendous value in connecting with people. I get inspired there. I love sharing my work and I love sharing what I’m learning. I love sharing I’m working on. Um, but I also, uh, have watched the social dilemma and I’ve watched what social platforms can do to behavior. Um, I don’t think it’s any secret that they are designed to a T to be addicting. Um, and I know most artists don’t dream of spending 12 hours a day on our phone. We dream of spending 12 hours a day in a studio or on a stage or on a tour. So, um, I’ve got a love, hate relationship, and it sort of depends on the day, but I see it as a useful tool. And I see it as a tool that can also be harmful. Um, and that all depends on how you use it, of course. But I see you as being a person who, uh, you know, you mentioned being genuine before. I see you as being a person who is genuinely comfortable in front of, uh, a device, whether it be a cinema camera or an iPhone, and you simply show up and share what is lighting you up and you dance and you twinkle and you sparkle, and you do all these things. Are you deliberate in how you interact with social media? Do you do it because you love to share, do you do it because your manager told you, you have to, like, what is, what’s your relationship? How do you work with social media?
First of all, I don’t have a manager. But I do have an assistant. And my assistant was specially, um, her name is Johanna. She is awesome because, um, you know, she was first here for the emails and very quickly it turned into, can you please help me with, um, getting these texts together on Instagram or like, you know, just make me on, on, on my toes, like, okay, Nika, I think you have to post something about you now. You know, I know he like to post others, but people following because of you, as you know, she started guiding me a little bit. Um, and it’s much easier right now for me to relax. Um, but I do come up with all the, all the topics I want to, you know, talk about or, uh, if I post a photo, what topic I want to talk about in that, under that photo. So it’s very genuine in one way, but I physically don’t want to spend an hour and a half on posting. So it’s different with stories, stories I love to do. And also, you know, I, I love to engage with my, um, followers and fans and people that they love me. You know, sometimes family actually, I connect through Instagram with my family, you know what I mean? So, um, I love to be genuine and then, and show myself without makeup, show myself with makeup, just see that we are all normal people, because I think that so many young, young dancers, they think that we are, I don’t know, such a, such a idols that we don’t, we are not same as them, but we are. And I want to really share that with them so that they feel better on everyday basis, you know, that they need, they don’t need to post every time when they’re happy. They don’t need to put that. I’m not happy every single day. Like it’s important for me that they know what’s real world, you know, so I don’t have problems with being me on social media. Um, I must also say the social media and I would say starting with YouTube and also Instagram Facebook, that was very spontaneous with me. I’m not one of those, um, choreographers or dancers who were planning on gaining followers. So, um, I always, I would say I’m still kind of old school, but I got lucky. I was there at the right time as well. That Instagram really picked, picked me up also, you know? Um, but I know that that is all connected with YouTube because I had a lot of views on that years ago, but I started with YouTube when it was nothing. I started literally when it opened, I started also uploading my YouTube stuff. So, um, I think that everything is connected. And, um, when I started teaching, especially posting more at Millennium dance school, you know, there’s so many great dancers in my videos as well from there. So, um, it’s just wonderful that when you follow me or if you follow me, I think I, all I wanted you to see is a light, bright, light, um, happiness that is genuine and that I dare you to be, to be you I’m daring you, cause it’s so much fun when you go to bed and you know, that you are trying everyday to be the best version of yourself to be right. So I dunno, it’s just something when it comes to that and, and that connection that love between people. I want to, I want to share that, you know, with people genuinely.
Yeah. But I wanted to say so much more, but it’s so much like, I didn’t say like we are, it’s so important that we are, um, uh, like we have big platform and we can change people’s worlds. We can change people’s, um, people’s day, you know, just by connecting through social media with people around the world. And we, we have to think very smart, how to, what do we put out there and how do we guide our audience to, so did we lead to, to better worlds. Um, you know what I mean to better new generation, that we are good leaders. That’s very important. And that’s what I didn’t say,
Except for we’re still recording. So you just said it,
Okay. Haha awesome!
Step away from the social conversation for, for a second, but thank you for sharing your perspective on that. That’s, that’s, that’s enlightening and you know, it’s interesting to me about that actually is that everybody’s relationship is a little bit different and rarely is their relationship. What it looks like it is from the outside. Um, I’m sure there are people that on upon first glance, I would say, Oh my God, they must be obsessed with their socials. And then I find out, Oh no, they have a small team that’s obsessed with their socials. And they don’t actually even look at it, not even once a week, or there are people that I might think don’t care much about it at all, but they’re quietly in their rooms scrolling through it three hours a day. You know? So it’s an interesting question. I, I love hearing the various different answers that I get to that question. Um, okay. So we talked a little bit about your journey to the States. Um, it did, from what I gathered, uh, did you already have an agent? Did you already have representation when you made your way over?
I did. I did. MSA Agency, um, saw me at Monsters of Hip Hop show and, and helped me sponsor me for first visa, uh, Patrick Dance2XS company that I was, you know, in London with, uh, they gave me a deal memo. So that’s how I will always be quite grateful for this one. You know, these people for the first visa and then second visa came. It was a little easier. And then I, now I have green card.
Nice congratulations. Um, would you make any recommendations to people that might be listening overseas that want to make that jump?
I, I want to say that think twice, what are your, really your dreams? Don’t be a sheep and just follow everyone to Los Angeles because it’s cool to be here. It’s not, uh, such an easy life out here, especially now. And I feel like, especially in the last few years, I think it’s so many dancers and, and not a lot of opportunities. And, um, but if you are that girl that actually was me, right. Completely knowing like that, is it like, can I be different then, um, focus, uh, on how you gonna gather all the information and all the, proof that you are good enough to come here to LA so, or to America. Right. So the biggest problem is, um, that to, to have proof that you are legit enough that in America with like very simple words, you are not, um, you will be able to pay Taxes. What I mean? So did you will be something, so that’s what they care about that you are good. So if you’re just a phenomenal dancer without any proof, it’s very hard to get visa. And I think it’s so unfortunate and I’m so heartbroken for so many European dancers. They wants to come here or around the world, but, um, really you have to think stretch strategically, what, what get, where can I have, where can I get all of that? So I usually recommend European dancers to move to London or Paris, Germany, Amsterdam and create their, you know, career their first, um, or if they are lucky already, they live there, you know, dance with a lot of celebrities, people that they know, be a brand for big, you know, Nike Adidas, whatever big companies, um, have a lot, a lot of views on YouTube, like all that, like, it, it it’s, it branches in so many ways, you know? So just have to be very smart about it.
I appreciate your transparency. Thank you. I can, I can only imagine, um, to, to be in a position where you have to prove that you are able to make money doing a thing before you are actually making money for a thing, it’s kind of what came first, the chicken or the egg conversation. You know, if you’re hoping to aspire to be a professional dancer in LA, but you have to prove that you are professional level, it’s sort of comes, uh, it comes actually, and this might be a beautiful, a beautiful place to end. One of my favorite concepts and ways of being in the world is by making decisions behaving and, um, treating myself as if I were my future self already. So I imagine what I, I imagine how I would talk. I imagine how I would treat people. I imagine how I would behave. I imagine how I would train. I imagine how I would wake up and make breakfast. If I was already doing all the things that I Dana today in 2021 want to be doing. And that, that really changes something in your perspective, it changes the speed with which I move. It changes the efficacy with which I with which I operate. And, um, I obviously am saying this from a tremendously privileged position of, of so many things, but being an able-bodied white woman who grew up in suburbia with access to a lot of training and access to a lot of people I’m already in the States. I don’t, I am certainly not the person to advise a European on what to do, but it might be helpful just to treat yourself with that kindness, to embody your future self now, and that might help you get to a place where you’re presenting or where you’re producing and presenting more professional level work simply by treating yourself and talking to yourself like a professional.
Absolutely. I believe in visualization. And I believe that if I was not visible, visualizing me on big stages with big artists, with, you know, my idols, um, on stage, I don’t know if I would actually work with them, you know, because I put this out in the universe, I, there was, um, I never, ever doubt that I am not going to get visa because I already saw it happening, you know, and this is exactly what you said. And, um, and I just want to say that it is very, very true. And I, I tried it in my own skin. So visualization, it’s a real thing. You do have to 100% believe in it, but it all comes, comes down to how much you love yourself and appreciate yourself. So if, if that’s why self love is so important. And in these days, it’s very important that you work on that. I personally am going to share something that I didn’t share with anyone before. Um, but I feel like this is the moment. Um, I am working on my mental health, um, with a woman every week from Slovenia. We are on zoom and we are having the best time ever. And that is, she’s not a psychologist, she’s anthropology, she’s social, she’s so much, right. She’s very clever woman, but it is some type of, you know, I need to learn how to stay stable. And, um, how do you say, um, I need to clear all the trash that is this in my mind. Absolutely. So that you can continue being grounded and see what is important in life and love yourself. Because if you don’t love yourself, it’s very hard to also generally love others, because you always interfere with some kind of fears and, you know, jealousy and you’re angry at someone, but it all comes down to you. I stopped pointing fingers at others. I came, I started searching in me and you cannot visualize yourself, you know, somewhere with big dreams, somewhere in the future. If you don’t first believe that you, um, are worth of that, did you deserve that? You deserve that. You see what I’m saying? It’s so complex. Our mind is complex. So I always believe, and I say that if you are, um, mentally stable as a person, I believe that your career can also shine even brighter than it shines already. Now,
I think that that’s a beautiful sentiment. I happen to agree. I think that, and I do not. I mean, that is a gorgeous high flying note. I don’t mean to bring it down, but that type of training isn’t taught in most dance studios. That may be something that you need to seek out for yourself. And as you mentioned, you’re just now starting to do that work for the first time as an adult woman. Uh, and it is, it is work and that’s hard to hear maybe that it takes work to love yourself. But the good news about it is just like with dance with the fouette turn, there are techniques, there are tools and with practice, it does get easier and you do get better at it. I’m thrilled to hear that you’re on that journey. Um, I love you unconditionally. I’m jazzed that you are loving yourself and learning to be, um, uh, a proponent of self-love and self-care. And, um, I think that’s such an important message. Thank you for sharing it today. And always you’re you just, you sparkle.
Dana you are, you are so wonderful. Please don’t ever change. Like, you know, if I have a bad day or something, I just, I go to the grocery store. I just put your podcast on and you’re with me on the way to grocery store and home. Like, it’s really tremendous what you’re doing to a younger generation or just, um, you know, people that are listening to podcasts and, um, it’s, it’s wonderful. Cause you always been smart. I’ve always felt sense that, um, not just in, on stage and mean in dance space, but like you, I feel like you always loved, um, words. I don’t know. I don’t even know you much. So I feel like I’m so I’m so glad that you open this path for you and not just being a choreographer teacher, dancer, creative, whatever you’re doing. Right. I think it’s very, very important. And you actually inspired me. You don’t know that, but you inspired me to start doing professionally makeup. So I’m in online makeup school and, um, that’s completely something out of my world. I never done anything but dance, Dana. I never had any job that was not connected to dance. That’s completely different worlds. Right. So I started going to makeup school and I also learned how to do nails professionally because of your podcast.
Get out of town. I’m floored. I’m so thrilled for you. Congratulations.
Thank you. But thank you. You know what I mean? You’re doing big thing. Um, so keep on doing it and I’m going to keep on listening to podcast. We have to support each other. We have to support each other dancers, choreographers, friends. That’s so beautiful to feel that, uh, how, when you’re happy for someone else, it makes you happy. But you cannot do that if you don’t love yourself and checking with yourself, right? So again, it comes back to that. So I wish everyone love and you know, calmness in the wild wild times and keep on going, keep on going. It’s not over. We, they time can, I mean, this situation that we’re in right now, right? Especially us. We are in California. Nothing is open since March. We can’t even go together and dance in the room. Right. So you just have to believe in, in good. I always believe in good focus on the good and I feel like the good times are coming soon. I feel it
Well you’re creating them. You created one just now for, for a whole hour. Thank you so much for that Nika. I appreciate you so much. Let’s do this again sometime.
Yes, please. Thank you for having me. Bye everyone.
My pleasure. Bye.
Alright, my friend that is that. And I do hope you enjoyed it. Um, I really love this idea about worthiness, the importance of self-care and self-love and um, I hope this conversation has brought a bright spot, um, and enduring twinkle to your day to day and far beyond. All right, everybody. That is it for me today. Take care. Be good. And of course, keep it funky.
Me again. Wondering if you ever noticed that one more time. Almost never means one more time. Well, here on the podcast, one more thing actually means two more things. Number one thing. If you’re digging the pod, if these words are moving you, please don’t forget to download, subscribe and leave a rating or review your words, move me. Number two things I make more than weekly podcasts. So please visit thedanawilson.com for links to free workshops and so much more. All right. That’s it now for real talk to you soon. Bye.
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