Intro: 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.
Dana: Hello, Hello, my friend. And welcome/welcome back. <laugh>. This is words that move me. I am Dana and I am so glad you're here and I am so glad that you care about words and movement, because same. So do I, uh, and also, so does this week's guest, my guest today is Teresa Barcelo as in T. Boogie, as in Teresa Toogie Barcelo, and she is sharing a very special story about her relationship to words, um, right at the top of this episode, which I think sets us off very nicely.
Um, oh, speaking of words, though, there is a, a, a splash of adult language in this episode. So if you have little ones around you, you might wanna pop in your old earbuds or, um, or slap on the old headphones <laugh> or what am I saying? <laugh> pop in and slapping pop in, slap on, uh, these actually are, are really great descriptors as a segue into this episode, I think, um, because if, if this episode were a song, it would definitely slap <laugh>. It would, it would slap in a very subtle way, a very, a gentle banger, if you will. Um, <laugh> oh, I'm gonna keep going. Yeah. If this episode were a dancer, it would pop because Toogie get into the popping part a little more in part two. Oh, did I tell you this is a two-parter this is a two-parter this week Toogie and I are digging into Metanoia which means profound transformation.
It is the title of her new work honoring the 10 year anniversary of her mother's passing. Uh, we also discuss her new app, which is in development and her ideas about the difference between choreography, movement, direction and movement coaching. Uh, she, she works with some of the brightest and best of our time, and she wears all three of those hats often. So I am thrilled for you to hear what she has to say. I'm thrilled for you to hear all of it. Um, again, this is part one of a two part episode, but this is actually the kind of the second half of our conversation, um, that I'm sharing with you first. So wrap your head around that <laugh> we spoke for two hours. <laugh> this is the second part of that conversation, but I'm sharing it with you first, because I want you to have enough heads up to get yourself a ticket to toy's show.
Metanoia June 23rd through June 26th at the Odyssey theater here in Los Angeles, so much. Good. Um, can't wait for you to hear about it, of course, but first we're starting with wins. Um, I am celebrating right now, a very steep learning curve in preparation for the first ever <laugh> words that move me screening and fundraising. Holy smokes. Y'all I don't know if you are caught up on the podcast, but we recently received fiscal sponsorship through the dance resource center and were celebrating that with a big old fundraiser and screening event, um, in J today, because the event hasn't happened yet, which I'm sure will be next. Week's when, um, I'm, I'm celebrating how much I'm learning about bit rates, <laugh> theater, specs, and DCPS, AKA digital cinema packages. AKA didn't calculate the price of that into my budget for the event. But again, I'm learning, I'm here for it more on that next week. I'm sure I'll be celebrating a successful event, but for now it is learning. I'm celebrating. Uh, that is me. Now you go, what's going well in your world. Hit me.
All right, my friend, congratulations. Imagine me giving you a big old squeeze. I'm proud of you. You're doing it. Keep doing it all right. Now. Let's do it. <laugh> time to get into it with Toogie. You are about to learn all about the ingredients that make Toogie’s work so tasty and that make her so damn stylish Um, so played up my friend and enjoy this conversation with Toogie Barcelo.
Dana: Toogie welcome to words that move me. This is long overdue. I, I adore you. I am thrilled that you are here. Welcome. <laugh>.
Toogie: Thank you so much, Dana. I love you as well. Oh, I'm very excited words. Uh, words that move me. Yeah. Words. Words in general are a new, a new venture or a new-ish venture for me. Mm-hmm <affirmative> uh, yeah, I relied heavily on dance my entire life to communicate and to process, uh, uh, and when I was about 29 mm-hmm <affirmative>, uh, I, that I went through a breakup and the boyfriend I was breaking up with was like, uh, you're so pleasant and wonderful. And I love you, but you don't talk. Wow. And I was, and uh, he was just like, are you aware, are you aware that you don't, you don't tell me when you don't tell me when you don't like something you don't tell me when you do something. Yeah. Wow. Uh, and I ju and, uh, my mom had just passed, uh, in that, in that same year. And I, it was just like a really big, uh, moment of just like, oh, wow. I, I, I don't, I guess I don't, I guess, uh, yeah, I guess I should try to figure that out. I could try try that.
Dana: I'm open to becoming a person who talks more. I mean, is it about communicating more really? Or is it communicating specifically or, I mean, since starting a podcast for me, I certainly am talking more, but I'm also understanding more, you know, when I, when it was kind of a coincidental timing thing, the pandemic plus podcast for me actually started before the lockdown happened, but man, no better way to get to know th myself than talking to yourself alone. <laugh> in a room at least once a week for hours, and then listening to it and has been also a very, a very moving process, a very important part of me, uh, over the last couple years. So I'm very glad to hear that words are also important to you. They matter my friend, man, if, if there's one thing I've learned from the pod, it is that they matter
Toogie: Mm-hmm <affirmative> yeah, absolutely. We're we're gifted these voices, just, uh, learning, learning how to use them as a tool of expression mm-hmm <affirmative> is, is just special and important because most people don't speak dance.
Mm let's talk about that, that multilingual part that we get to do <laugh> um, although before we do that, I will back us track a little bit <laugh> um, it is customary on the podcast, although not the favorite part for most of my guests that you introduce yourself. Um, so I'll yield the floor. You can tell us anything you want us to know about you. It can be bio related or not. Um, but I'm, I, I'm so excited for people to get to know you. Um, and I'm curious to hear how you'd introduce yourself
<laugh> Hmm. Yeah. Well, I am fully there. Teresa Maria Barcelo, AKA Toogie. lover of wiggles, uh, and living things <laugh> and, uh, yeah, I, I think that sums it up. I mean, born and raised from, uh, born and raised in Miami, raised by a Cuban and a Spaniard and, uh, a bunch of other amazing people, uh, kooky, kooky, crazy awesome, talented people. <laugh>
I like this recipe. This is sounding rich
Yeah. Yeah. I feel, I feel like that in, in short, that's a good, good place to start. Mm-hmm <affirmative>
Well, I am a big fan of your work and I'm a big fan of your way. Uh, anytime I encounter you, it's, uh, it feels like a relaxation station checking in with you is calming. And, um, I already feel that the essence of that the bird's chirping set us off so strong <laugh>. Um, so here here's where we might begin. I definitely want to make space and yield the floor for you to talk about the work that you're creating right now, a personal project. Um, I would love to hear everything you're able or willing to share about it. What you're most excited for, what you're learning from it right now. I mean, like, give me the download.
Hmm. Okay. So this piece titled Metanoia, the definition of Metanoia is a transformation, a profound transformation. Um, this piece has been marinating for, uh, for 10 years. Um, this year marks the 10 year anniversary of my mother passing. And when she passed, I said to myself, uh, I need, I need to, I need to create a piece about my mother. I need to create, I need to honor my mother in the best way. I know how, which is through, through performance, through dance, uh, through movement, through creativity, um, uh, and, um, that it was just something that I knew that I needed to do. Um, quick shout out to Michelle Murray, my high school dance mother, um, who, uh, who taught me that art is a space for healing. Art is a space for processing grief. Art is a space for transformation, um, digestion transmuting, like, uh, through her work because, uh, she, or specifically remember this piece title journey on that she choreographed on us.
Speaker 2 00:13:17 That was about, uh, a dear friend of hers that had passed away from cancer. And so in that, in that experience, I, I downloaded that like, oh, okay. This tool that I'm, that I'm learning is, uh, going to is going to like really be invaluable in my life. Mm-hmm, <affirmative>, it's gonna give me, give me a place to, to process my life. Um, and so, yeah, uh, fast forward, um, years kind of chunks of my, my time in LA work shopping, basically this, this work is kind of like an accumulation of all of, of these tiny little, little worlds that I've created in the past 10 years. Like my, my delving into, and my admiration for dinosaurs and like where, where that comes from, why like dinosaurs to me represent the, the fickleness of life. Like you are here one moment. And in a blink of an eye, you are extinct, you are no longer in physical form.
Um, uh, and that really, you know, like showed up for me in the experience with losing, uh, losing all of my parents. Cause my, my dad passed away two years before my mom passed. My mom passed. Then two months later, my sort of second mom passed. Oh, so it, it really, uh, it really made me appreciate, uh, all, all, all of this loss really gave me such a, a beautiful appreciation for life and, um, and really inspired me to, uh, just like live fully and live in my truth and be honest and be transparent and love on people and touch people. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and, uh, and like, look at all of the beautiful, I mean, it all ties in because like site work is also so much a spiritual practice for me of like, look around you and look at the, in the moment in the space.
Yeah. Look at the magic. Look at this matter, that is made up of the same Stardust that you are made up of, but is somehow solid form and you get to interact with it and you get to dance with it. And most people might look at something and be like, oh, that's an inanimate object. But really if you zoom in, it's just a bunch of vibrating, buzzing, atoms, you know, it's like losing, losing, uh, these important people in my life really kind of peeled back this, this fog, uh, and gave me so much clarity and gave me like new perspective on, on, uh, on, on life. And really, you know, like the day after my mom passed the colors in the trees, it was like during fall in Atlanta mm-hmm <affirmative> and the colors of like the oranges and the reds and the, like the, the color of life just like got bumped up. I just was like, I could feel, I could feel my mother in the color of the trees. I could just like, feel that magical presence in the ether. Like it obviously was, uh, hard mm-hmm
You know, yeah, you Weren't having, you weren't having this, um, joyful psychedelic trip. That was like, life is good. Nice. Yeah.
Yeah, totally. But it sounds like I was on mushrooms, but I was just grieving mm-hmm <affirmative> and, uh, through grieving with informed by art, right? Like how lucky am I, and also grieving informed by meditation, um, which is something we haven't talked about yet, but is such a huge factor in who I am, how I create, how I see the world, who I am, um, as a, as a leader, um, who I am as a, as a friend, as a lover, as all, you know, just as a human being existing on earth,
It's foundational. It's, it's part of your structure.
Yes, absolutely. Uh, really has been such a, a vital tool in my life. Um, yeah, so Metanoia is, it's like an ode to my parents. My parents were amazing. I don't think I, I mentioned it yet, but my, my mother was an incredible dancer, but my dad was also an incredible, uh, entertainer, a proper title for him of the like golden era of Cuban entertainment. Mm-hmm <affirmative> singer musician, actor, dancer, comedian,
Right. Post, like a, like the, the glue that holds the show together.
I mean, the basically Ricky, Ricardo, like
That's what kind of, what, where that's what my mind went. Yeah. Yeah.
<laugh> um, uh, so, and even though my dad wasn't my, you know, my, my siblings would all agree. He wasn't the best dad. He wasn't around that much. He wa he wasn't, you know, he wasn't the, the best husband, he, uh, to either of the wives. Um, he, wasn't a great, a great dad, but he did pass down some gems. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, you know? Yeah. Yeah. The ingredients that he contributed were just like real spicy, real, savory, real good. Mm-hmm <affirmative> uh, so really, really grateful, grateful for him. Definitely musicality, definitely sense of humor. Uh mm-hmm <affirmative> that's that's all, all that guy. Um, <laugh> but, so there's all these stories. My dad was very old. When I was conceived. I was like a surprise child. Mm-hmm <affirmative> I was expected to be a boy and have down syndrome, um, surprise. Wow. I, uh, and I don't have either, I, I don't have either of those things
<laugh> but super duper funky though. <laugh> did, did the doctors predict that yes, super funky. This one's gonna be able to get down?
Uh, yeah. Mm-hmm <affirmative> you see the way she just slipped out of the womb? Uh, yeah, already already's like already stepping, ready step mm-hmm
<affirmative> I can imagine.
No, I was caught, I was caught like a, like a football. I, I like in motion projected out of the womb. Um, and, and like the, the way that my mother would, would recall, it was like, she's telling the nurse, like the baby's coming, the baby's coming like right now. And the nurse was like, looking, she's like, no, you're still not dilated. And as my mom is like, looking out the doorway with like the widest eyes ever, she's like Don Julio, which was the doctor's name Uhhuh. Uh, he comes running in and catches me like a football projecting out of my mother.
Not only E exquisite speed, but also timing like, and your mom is orchestrating the room, making sure the right people are in the right places. She is calling the show. Mm-hmm <affirmative> I love it. Yes. Oh my gosh. Toogie Okay. So, so the show is, is honoring both parents. Yes.
Honoring both parents and life. And, um, these sort of like remixed imagined memories where like, I wasn't around, but, uh, I won't give away too much. Yeah. Yeah. Um, but there are, are a couple scenes in the show where there, there it's just like things that I didn't witness, you know, like Uhhuh <affirmative> that I, but I heard these stories my whole life from my older siblings. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, um, that are much older than me. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and I have these like, imagined things that I'm now manifesting and putting onto a stage with dancers, which is like pretty amazing. Um, and then a, and also to like, talk about where the title comes from, um, Menno transformation, uh, that's that what that's, what happens? That's what happened to me when I lost my mom, uh, I needed to look at myself. I needed to look at myself. I needed to look at myself and assess what are the things I inherited that serve me? What are the things that I inherited that do not serve me? And that will lead me down the same path, uh, of depression and disease. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, uh, essentially mm-hmm Um, wow. So I really, you know, saw, I see still I'm so much my mother, like, I look like her, I move like her. I I'm a little carbon copy you of her
Samesies, but of, yeah, So mother <laugh> not of your mother. Um, yeah. And it can be, my mom just turned 70. I did a whole podcast episode about it. I'll link to it, but like, man, it feels, I feel like very faced with my own mortality watching her age because we look alike, we sound the same. We laugh the same, our, our, the things that I don't like about me, I don't like about her, the things that I like about her. I like the things that I like about me are the things I like about her and watching them change and, and get brittle and, oh my God break my fucking heart. So I can only imagine the, the, the, you taking stock in that moment and continuing to take stock every day, since then. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. Um, and because it sounds like you are an ingredient master. I, I cannot wait to see taste, witness the ingredients that you put into this show. And I know the talent, the dancers that will be up there, out there exercising these ideas and these values. I'm so glad I got my ticket weeks ago. Um, I will link to, um, I will link to tickets and you're also doing a, a GoFundMe for the show. Is it, am I tripping?
Yes. You are not tripping. I, I need help. I want to pay my dancers, dancers, Alliance rates.
Yes. We want that. We all want that.
Yes. Yeah. I think it's important that when we are creating our personal work, our passion projects, um, that we at least try that we at least try to raise funds
Instead of writing, write it off as a passion project and say like, sorry, it's not gonna happen. Which happens a lot.
Yeah. It happens a lot, a lot. I do so many free things because I, because I want to, and mm-hmm <affirmative> and I, and I will continue to do things for free that I, that pay me in a different way. Mm-hmm <affirmative> that is not money. Um, but there's, so there, I feel like there's so much momentum right now. Mm-hmm <affirmative> in, in the direction of like, yes, we need to pay dancers. We need to pay choreographer,
Huge momentum, big change, honor,
Honor artists. And, and the amount of work, um, that we put in and the amount of skill that we have and the, and the, the, the plethora of, of things that we bring to the table in our, in our collaborations. Um, uh, yeah, so I am raising funds so that I can not only my dancers, but costume designer, mm-hmm, <affirmative> lighting designer, production designer, composer. It's an original score by, uh, Joe Berry. That is absolutely stunning. Can't wait. Um, and, uh, yes. So if anyone that's listening would ever consider paying for my ma at the coffee shop. Yes, please. Right now, or when this is over, go to the, give a give butter campaign. So it's not a go for, or
Kick, give butter, give butter, give butter. We will link to it in the show notes of this episode. I will put this link everywhere.
Thank you so much. Yes. Because we've gotta ways we've gotta, we've got about three weeks left till first show day, and we are nowhere near our goal. And these dancers, Dana, like you said, mm-hmm, <affirmative> are mm-hmm, <affirmative> the cream of the crop. Mm-hmm, <affirmative> the, some of the most incredible artists yes. In LA humans, in the world. Um, amazing human beings. And in casting this, I will say all of these people have been shoulders for me to cry on mm-hmm <affirmative> ears lines. Mm-hmm <affirmative> to exchange with all through the past decade. Mm-hmm <affirmative> at some point or another, these people have come into my life and offered me really, really beautiful, good, good friendship, like really real friendship, honesty, generosity. And so I, you know, they're taking on this really, uh, like big,
Yeah, it's a, it's a, it's an emotional task cross to bear. Yeah. And, and they're doing some heavy lifting and
Yeah, they, that's a great way to put it. They're doing some heavy lifting and they're doing it gracefully and beautifully and generously mm-hmm
<affirmative> um, as, as, as you are leading them gracefully, generously and, and beautifully.
Um, yeah. And, and I do wanna say, uh, because I think this is also important to be transparency, to have transparency about, um, what people are bringing to the table. Mm-hmm <affirmative> all of the dancers are collaborators in the show. Mm-hmm <affirmative> I, when I choreograph, when I, when I create it is a collaborative process, I am working with, um, the, the, you know, what's in front of me,The minds, the material, the, Yeah. The material, the bodies, the minds, the energies mm-hmm <affirmative>. So the, all of these, all of these pieces are, um, these dancers are not just, they're not just doing the Chord, ballet them. Yeah, Yeah. Yeah. They're not just doing the moves that I made up at home and went through rehearsal and, and slapped onto their body. She's not that Yeah. These people are in the creative process with me in the deep conversations, in, in the, you know, like they're, they're very much, um, they, what, what do I wanna say? They're, they're taking up creative real estate. Mm-hmm <affirmative> they are they're mm-hmm <affirmative> the there's they're yes. The show is a, a, um, you know, uh, bit of a biographical autobiographical situation, but they are very much also pulling from their personal experience and their creativity. And, um, because yeah, this is the way that I work. And I, these collaborators are just, uh, brilliant, brilliant creatives, brilliant humans. And, um, and I wanna, and I, I wanna pay them. Yeah. Decently. So please help me.
We will help you. <laugh> I have a solid community of listeners out there. I know that their values are in alignment with <laugh> with yours, the way you're speaking about the work and the people creating it. Um, and I, I, I know we'll show up for you. I am showing up for you. Thank you so much. I'm so excited to be sharing. This cannot wait to witness. And, um, I know that this is not the only exciting thing happening in your world. Um, you mentioned last time we talked that you are preparing to launch an app and you have peaked my interest and curiosity. So tell me what you can tell me. I know that we probably, if it's a proprietary situation, probably not everything. How far out is this? What do you, what do you, what do you aim to do with this?
My, uh, I'll start with the last question. Okay. What do I aim to do with this? My, my goal is to help people, access tools to, uh, access tools to improve their health, their mental health, their physical health. Um, so, um, their spiritual health, it it's basically, so the app, in a nutshell, I'm offering three things. I'm offering breathwork meditation and guided movement. Nice. Uh,
This is a, this is a, a golden trio, a beautiful trifecta when paired all three of those things.
Yeah. Wow. Breath and meditation, um, were introduced to me as part of the creative process by, uh, one of my mentors, Dee Castanos, um, and, uh, which he's a Zen practitioner. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. And when I was in his company in Miami, uh, the company name is Dee projects. Uh, we started every rehearsal with 40 minutes of seated meditation. Wow. Well, first we would clean the space. Um, we would, uh, mop.
Oh, I love starting versus cleaning after, after the studio's closed. Mm-hmm <affirmative> this is a constant cleansing
Cleansing the space. Yeah. to Create it from a, from a clean cleaning it before from a clean mm-hmm <affirmative> a literally clean slate. Yeah. And then 40 minutes of seated meditation. Uh, this is Zen meditation, so no guidance, Just silence,
Sit down, breathe, observe your Thoughts. And is the focus a clear mind or an observed mind?
An observed mind, Mm-hmm <affirmative> yeah. Yeah. An observe mind practicing non-attachment. Mm. So observing thoughts as clouds, they're just passing. I'm not, I'm a not getting involved in the thought and B I'm not judging the thought Uhhuh every time there is a thought, I let it go and bring my awareness back to my breath. Um, uh, and that's specifically Zen, the kind of Zen meditation that we, that we were practicing mm-hmm <affirmative> in the app. Um, I, you know, Zen was like my gateway, my gateway meditation. Okay. Um, then I became just like, whoa, this meditation, this is cool. This is awesome. How many different kinds are there?
I wanna do this way all
The time dance, you know, I wasn't like, yes. Oh, there's this one, one that I wanna be really good at. I'm like, I want all of them. Mm-hmm, <affirmative> <affirmative> I wanna know everything that I can possibly learn about this. Uh, so I went on my journey, uh, you know, just checking out all the different kinds of meditation. So the app will have a variety of meditation styles, um, and modalities in it. And then my study of meditation and meditation practice brought me to breathwork mm-hmm <affirmative>, um, which I sort of approached in the same way of like, oh, here's this one kind of breathwork well, how many different kinds of breathwork are there? I wanna learn all of them. Oh my gosh,
I get you. You've been doing all of the deep dives,
Deep dive. Ooh. And especially the past couple of years, mm-hmm <affirmative>,
Um, prime for deep diving
Time, prime time for deep diving. Mm-hmm <affirmative> really, really dove deep, even deeper. Cause I already was, the seeds were, had already been planted my interest in neuroscience, my interest in neurobiology. Mm-hmm, <affirmative> my interest in just the mechanics of how the human body functions. Um, uh, and I really, really loved the agency and, and that, that I felt with through breathwork. Mm. I mean, meditation was great to really get to know myself. Mm-hmm <affirmative> to really observe, like, what are my thoughts? Mm-hmm <affirmative> mm-hmm <affirmative> um, and then also self acceptance of like, oh, these are my thoughts, whatever mm-hmm <affirmative> that, that my thoughts are not who I am. Yes. Um, if I, if I have a weird thought, doesn't make me weird or bad, it doesn't make me broken weird or bad, or exactly. Mm, exactly. Um, and then breathwork when I started practicing breathwork and feeling the transformative effects immediately, like just right away, I was like, this is such a easy, powerful tool were full tool. Huh. To kind of have, I feel like I have like a, a control center for my nervous system. Whoa. You know? Yes. When you understand the way that your breath and your heart and your nervous system, all communicate with each other to and inform your experience of the world.
Mm-hmm <affirmative> yeah. To assess like safety, to assess like threat level to assess, like just yeah. Your, your world and how, how you exist in it. Um, you know, there's breath work. Like I don't drink coffee anymore. I don't need to take melatonin anymore. I don't have insomnia anymore. I don't have a really hard time getting out of bed anymore. Uh, I, I, through breath work have learned to really just like alter my state,
Whether that be like stimulate or calm endure or, or balance mm-hmm <affirmative> yeah. Endure like, yeah, exactly. Very interesting. Um, yeah. Uh, and then the third element is that I wanna offer in the app is, is like for all of the people that, that aren't in LA that can't come to my class or that aren't dancers that don't get to come to wiggle room mm-hmm <affirmative>, um, uh, or get to work with me, uh, in other creative contexts and experience, um, the, my, my process, they have access to those things. So I've, I've been, I have had several many people reach out to me. And, uh, especially during, during the pandemic, during lockdown, I like did a couple of guided improvisations slash meditation things on IG mm-hmm <affirmative>. And I have people coming up to me still being like, I still do those. And I'm like, what really? Oh, wow. So there's oh yeah.
There's a market. <laugh> there's there's Yeah. There's, There's a demand there's space.
Mm-hmm <affirmative> yeah. There's space and demand and desire. Yes. For, for this kind of guidance where you don't need to be a dancer. Right. You just need to, uh, be,
Speaker 2 00:38:35 Um, willing, willing to listen, willing to observe yourself and move your body and practice, not judging yourself and just move your body for the, the sake of like moving energy around, getting stagnant energy, to like, you know, shake up and release and digest and just like, uh, getting to know your, your body in that way, uh, uh, through moving it and through feeling it and through listening to it. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Um, and also I love that like meditation was the gateway to breath work mm-hmm <affirmative> and then for a lot of people, breath work is a gateway to dance to movement. Cause when you say dance people, some people freak out. Totally like I can dance, I have two left feet. Oh my God, blah, blah,
Blah, blah. Right. We talked also about the, the, the Trop of the choreographer being this like dictator, this antagonist that's and, and a dance classroom being a, um, a place where you might get slapped with a stick or have to do it by yourself or be, you know, be punished for being wrong. Like that idea definitely, definitely penetrated our culture. Like, I don't know if you've seen sing too. I talk about it a lot. It's a great movie, but the like the, oh, so good. The antagonist of the film is the Wolf, the billionaire guy, but like the second bad guy in the movie is the choreographer <laugh> and I'm always like, oh, that's where people get it. It's all over the place. This idea that dance is scary and hard. And that choreographers are mean anyways, sorry, go ahead. Yeah. People, no people, people can get into it. As you also mentioned before, like through the Jedi way, which is like, actually movement is human. If you're walking, if you're twisting, if you're shifting your weight from right to left, if you're wiggling to put your skinny jeans on, if you're bobbing your head to music, you are doing it. <laugh> mm-hmm <affirmative> you might not be doing choreography, but that's like, yeah, the that's the, But that's not the same thing.
It's the side door down. You're right. No, that's not. Yeah. It's not the same thing. And that's one thing you do so well. And the wiggle room is this is what you call your class. And it is not about choreography. It's not about eight counts. I've I've, I think I've only wiggled once with you. And it was that ML and I will so fondly remember that space and how special you helped to make it. It was a really, really awesome space that you fostered in there. Um, but yeah, it's not to do at all with choreography, but entirely to do with movement human movement. I, I think it's yeah. I think to be able to gift that to people. If, if I could have that in my pocket, I would, I would. I mean, come on. That's what a gift Toogie in your pocket. Yes. Is that what you're calling it? Are you allowed to tell me what you're calling it?
<laugh> I'm I'm calling the app Togi
Yeah. Good one. Yeah.
Yeah. Do people often “raising my hand” Do people often mess it up and say Toogie I said Toogie for a long time. That's what I thought it was. Is it like Toogie like boogie? Uh,
Yeah. Mm-hmm <affirmative> yeah, but honestly I don't, it doesn't feel like a mess up. Oh, okay. I'm I'm not tomato motto. It's any like <laugh> yeah. I don't have any attachment to an, a specific pronunciation. The name came from my previous sort of like popper, alias being tea boogie. And then when I moved, uh, or when I started to, when I started to become familiar with more of the popping community, I was like, oh God, or the am boogie and a J boogie, less boogie and a pee boogie and a O P QS boogie. And, uh, that
T. Boogie, that would be my name There's. So there's so many, so many boogies. And, uh, you know, my Miami roots don't really allow me to be to, to, to be like everybody else, like that's is just not allowed. I can't have mm-hmm.
So you became the one and only Toogie.
Uh, so I, yeah, I took the, the, the boogie enough and I wiggled them together in true wiggle fashion. Yes. Uh, but yeah, I mean, I work with British people all the time. They're like too gauy.
Oh, too gauy, too gauy. <laugh> and you answer it. I love it.
<laugh> that's adorable. I love It. This, this might be a gentle segue and maybe, and maybe a close, you mentioned like the, um, real people element. I call them normies sometimes with fondness, um, non dancers being attracted to your style of work. And we've talked about how you, your aim is to nurture and not to put your signature on, but to help someone refine their own. Um, at least that's how I kind of took it. And to me, that is probably, it's not only what makes you a great leader. Um, but certainly what makes you a wonderful movement director, which is not about steps or eight counts or signatures at all. Um, and I've been getting, um, on, on June 24th, uh, Baz Lermans, Elvis comes out and I was the pre-production movement coach for Austin Butler, um, for many, many, many, many months, and got to be flexing my movement, coach muscles. And so lately, as I've been talking more about that project, I'm getting a lot of questions about what is a movement director, what is a movement coach? What is a choreographer? How are those different things? And so mm-hmm, <affirmative>, I won't do the thing again where I answer that question before ask you, but I would love to know what, how, how you kind of compartmentalize how you differentiate between those, those titles and you wear all three, you wear those hats.
Yeah. Mm-hmm <affirmative> yes. Uh, so I guess the, in my approach, the ways that I see those things as different is, um, choreographer is when there's actual steps. Mm-hmm <affirmative> right. When, when there's, um, even a, even if it's a, a, a structure, a blocking structure, mm-hmm <affirmative>, uh, moments, you know, I work this way with a lot of people. Um, they don't wanna be bogged down by trying to remember the steps the whole time. So we pick moments and we create a, a, a language mm-hmm <affirmative> um, like one of my favorite examples of this is, uh, working with Mike from perfume genius. We, there was a, a song we were working on and, uh, the vocabulary, the term we came up with for this specific way of moving was booty drama. Oh. So, oh,
Please tell me more.
It was <laugh> <laugh> um, so it's like, okay. On the, on the bridge of the song, it's like, give me booty drama. Give me drama. This is, this is the language of this bridge, the physical. So it's like, we'll work on what are all different approaches to booty drama. You could do it this way. You could do it that way. You can do it, but it's like a language. Yes. Right. And a feeling mm-hmm <affirmative>. Um, and, and then we'll place these different things. Also, I've worked a lot with, uh, with, uh, Tolo mm-hmm <affirmative> in, in that way where it's like, okay, on, on this chorus, we're we really love the, like, this musical flourish that's happening. So like, every time that little flourish happens, we're finding some like mermaid snake vibe. And there's like through movement coaching, which is something that a lot of times informs the movement direction and the choreo choreography process. Mm-hmm <affirmative> um, uh, so yeah, so to break them apart, choreography is actual steps, movement being, being identified, created, placed. Um, sometimes it is 5, 6, 7, 8 mm-hmm <affirmative>. This is the one here on 2, 3, 4, you know, the traditional, I can still like choreograph how we're, uh, I'm using quote fingers here, supposed to choreograph Uhhuh <affirmative>. Um, and we're learning how many ways there are to do that. Mm-hmm
<affirmative> yeah. And then movement direction, uh, and movement coaching are different movement. Coaching is basically teaching someone how, how to move in ways that, that, uh, maybe they haven't moved before or taking moves they're already doing, and maybe refining them a little bit mm-hmm <affirmative> and expanding from there. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. Um, but most of the time I feel like with movement coaching, I am, I am just offering new ways to move mm-hmm <affirmative> new ways to move new ways to embody the music that they're making. Mm-hmm <affirmative> new ways to think about how they move their body and to, uh, really realize how powerful their bodies are as, as something to like aid the per and like strengthen and empower the performance mm-hmm <affirmative> and then movement direction. I see more as like big picture, where are you in this space? And what is your energy in that space? How are you engaging with that space? How are you engaging with the narrative or the non-narrative or, you know, whatever the creative context is, um, what is the, what's the vibe, you know? Yeah. So when I'm doing movement direction, I'm looking at a lot of times I'm looking at, um, like the perspective, right? Mm-hmm <affirmative> the like camera yeah. The frame big picture or the Prum, the big pictures what's
What's seen and what's felt.
Yeah. And a lot of times that is so nuanced and it's so subtle. What is your hand doing? What is, what does it say where your hand is? What is it, what is the feeling I get? If your hand is on your hip, in comparison with the feeling I get, if your hand is on your chest, mm-hmm <affirmative> um, how, uh, two things that I, uh, sort of really hone in on when I'm doing movement direction is eyes and breath. Mm. Um, right. Studying really subtle body language. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and seeing what that communicates. Right. What is it like 90% of communication is nonverbal. Mm-hmm <affirmative> right. Face in your eyes. It's in your face, it's in your gestures, it's in your, in your body language, in your posture. Um, it's, uh, in the way you look at things mm-hmm, <affirmative> it's so I, when I'm doing movement direction, I am looking at those nuances, those details. How are you, how are you breathing in this part? What are we, what are you, Are you breathing? Have you breathed? Where are you breathing from? Can you put more breath here or here or here?
Mm-hmm <affirmative> cool. Yeah. Love it. Uh, and then what are, yeah. What are your eyes doing? Where are you looking? Yes. Why are you looking that way? Intention, a lot of, um, with the movement direction aspect. Mm-hmm, <affirmative>, I'm pulling a lot from my theater background. Cool. Yeah. Of like, what's the subtext here. Mm. Uh, right. Oh yeah, sure. It might look good if your hand is over here and your eyes are over here and you're breathing this certain way. Cool. But what is going on internally? Energetically, what is emotionally, what is going on in this moment? Cool. Um, uh, how, how can I direct you so that you transcend into experiencing mm-hmm <affirmative> and not just emulating or acting or reacting? Uh, yeah. React. Exactly. Um, and, uh, and so, yeah, that, that's kind of how in my head, I sort of see those roles cool, different, but I find, I always find myself, uh, very fluid in, in those definitions and Pull, pulling out whatever tool you need in that moment. Like this needs, this needs a 5, 6, 7, 8, this needs not a
5, 6, 7, 8. There's yeah. There's never a job. That's like, oh, we, we only want choreo. We don't want move movement direction. Or we only want movement coaching and not movement direction. Like they just want me mm-hmm <affirmative> mm-hmm <affirmative> and, or they just want a, a collaborator that is, that has the, the, the, the like perspective, the specific movement and body language focus perspective that I bring to the creative context, whatever it is. Awesome. So, um, I'm also generous in that way, you know, because it's a creative process and doesn't matter how much money people have, they're allowed to change their minds. They're allowed to have a process and realize, oh, well, I thought I only wanted this, but now that we're doing this, now I'm feeling inspired to do this other thing. And so it's my job to make that happen and to say yes, and yeah, and we can do this, and yes. And we can do that. Not like, no, that's not what I'm here to do. Right. Like, uh, so that's what I mean by like, I'm generous as far as like, um, whatever the creative situation is. I'm just pumped to be there. And I'm pumped that I get to do this. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. And so I, I wanna, I wanna give, um, I would just wanna give, um, without any hesitation or without any, like, uh, putting any limitations on myself because of what my, the title title is is, or
Yeah. What a terrible limiting factor, especially when you have such a wonderful many titles to be like, oh, well, I have to do that when I have to do this one, I get it. Well, if there is, if there is a note that I have picked up from this conversation, it is the generous one. And the, um, the, the, not an, not an absence of boundary, because I do think you're a person who's who knows themselves and certainly the landscape that they work best in. So I think you're such a great example of generosity with boundaries, not boundaries that keep people out, but boundaries that keep you well, propped up in your selfness, in your tu. Um, and I'm so grateful for you for sharing with such generosity today. It was lovely to hear about your projects to peek into your world and your past a little bit. Um, I just, um, I'm thrilled by you. Thank you so much for being here.
Thank you, Dana. Um, you are so good at, uh, yeah. Uh, at conversation.
Oh man, I love it so much. Yeah. I mean, podcast, natural fit, but voice and you, and I can talk off, off the clock about this. When I had my vocal cord surgery in July, I had cyst and that I had a three week silent recovery, no speaking. And that was my nice, yeah, exactly. But for me, I mean, just imagine nice. Yes. But a, a huge adjustment to say the very least. Yeah. And that was my kind of peak into meditation. And, uh, Rushma, Gujjar helped me out a lot. I did not do any breath work during my recovery. Although several people mentioned it before I had surgery, I met with a vocal coach who noticed in my breathing, um, very up high and very forced. I have all sorts of reasons why I think I do that. Many of them dance and being told that I needed to suck my belly in mm-hmm <affirmative>.
But I think, uh, my, what I recall also, my coach telling me is that, and have sort of, kind of kept this with me. She was like, you should not yet. You're not there yet in a place where you can engage with forcing your breath into a pattern, your primary focus should be to breathe naturally, like a baby, like go back to being an infant. Once you can do that, then you can take all the yoga, all the breath, work, all the things. But like right now, remember that you breathe from your belly, not your chest or your neck or your shoulders. And once you've got that, go have a ball. But, um, so that's where I am. And once I figured that out, <laugh> you will be hearing from me.
Yeah. I, I, I agree with that completely. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, uh, that, that is step one in my approach to teaching breath work. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, uh, I, I think it's kind of irresponsible to have someone that's never done breathwork before show up and like go into whim H right. Or like, you know, Tropic or just like really intense. Breathwork like, um, most of the time people are fine, but, um,
It's like any tool if used incorrectly can be harmful.
Yeah. And it's like, any, anything that has to do with the body, um, right. When you're lifting weights, you like, don't go and like lift up 500 pounds right away. Mm-hmm <affirmative> you first, you need to like, have form mm-hmm <affirmative>. You need to understand where you're lifting from. You need to understand the mechanics of how you should be lifting. Um, and so many people are breathing too much, too high mm-hmm <affirmative>, you know, it's all up here. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, it's all it, uh, it it's shallow. It's fast. Mm-hmm <affirmative> um, and so the first thing you'd need to do before you start trying to do all this crazy breath work is learn how to breathe naturally with ease mm-hmm <affirmative> so that you're yeah. You have to retrain, retrain your diaphragm, retrain your belly. Mm-hmm <affirmative> retrain like all of, all of, uh, all the parts to
I'm in it. I'm doing it. I'm in it. Every, all the reminders all the time. Yeah.
It's good stuff. Well, thank you for your encouragement in that direction. I'm very much on the lookout for the app. All of you listeners out there will be hearing about it. I'll stay in touch with you. As soon as we have more, I will be pushing it out there into the world. I hope that people visit your, um, fund butter. What is it? Money, money, butter. What's it called?
<laugh> give butter,
Give butter, give butter
Campaign. Just because I'm plant based. So, uh, is, it's kind of funny that that butter would show up in that way.
Yeah. But you know, there's, I guess there's vegan butter, but I don't eat. There's also smooth, like butter. It doesn't have to be butter. We can, we can be like butter. Have the texture, the quality of butter mm-hmm <affirmative> could be melty. Mm-hmm <affirmative> I, um, you're ma you're reminding me, there was like a chunk of my life where I was around a lot of park horror people all the time. Oh goodness.
I haven't had that chapter yet. <laugh> I wonder when mine will happen. Yeah.
And park war. Uh, so I made my own version of it and I call it Parque. And I just like melt along surfaces instead of, I love It so much Instead of leaping and, you know, flying through the air, like a superhuman I'm like, you can park core, but I'll par
Soft, soft core, soft core Parque. I love it. Melt. I'll melt into the building.
That's very much my myself. Um, can't wait to share this, this episode, which honestly must be two. So, so much gold. I have all the, all the 11. Thanks for you. Can't wait to see your show. Can't wait to tell everybody else about it. Um, get out there, go buy your tickets. Donate if you can, and toy I'll text you soon.
Thank you, Dana.
Dana: All right, my friend, what do you think about that? Do you not love to toy? Um, I know I told you that was a gentle banger or a, a subtle slapper <laugh> and I'm so, so excited to go round two with Toogie next week. Um, and I'm gonna get into that in just a second, but first I wanna recap some of the things I really loved about this episode. I love the way that Toogie shares and, and gives real estate to her dancers during the creative process. So if you can please please donate so that she can pay her team handsomely. Um, the link will be in the show notes, right at the top of the show notes, because it is right at the top of important things. Uh, it was also so fun to talk about movement, coaching, movement, direction, and choreography, and the differences.
Um, I love this question. What does it say when your eyes or your hands or your breath, you know, fill in the blank, Austin and I worked so much on eyes and hands during our preparation for his role as Elvis. Um, this topic is something I am, I am getting a lot of questions about, I hear a lot about it in general. So you better believe I will be weighing in more on that in upcoming episodes. So be sure to check out Elvis in theaters June 24th and grab your tickets to toogie’s show metanoia, which is here in LA at the Odyssey theater, June 23rd through 26th, and holy freaking smokes.
Y'all let us not forget if you are listening to this on the day of its release. Tomorrow is the first annual words that move me screening and fundraiser, and I'm losing it. I'm so excited slash nervous. Um, we are premiering our first ever words that move me production called eight counts. The words that movie along with four other films that are absolutely fabulous, cannot wait to share on a big, big screen. I'm thrilled and I'm sure it will be my win next week. So you don't wanna miss it. Um, you can stream the screening. So I will be sure to link to live tickets. Um, actually the link to live tickets is the same as the link to stream it. It's our event, right? Page be sure to check that out because this stream is gonna be great. But if you are there in person, you will also get a special Q and a with the filmmakers and access to over $3,000 in auction items. Holy smokes, mark your calendars next week. We're going back in with Togi. We're gonna talk about her progress and her process, uh, starting with like her first actual memory of movement, and then we'll land on her, literally landing on Billboard's top 12, most iconic choreographers of the decade list. Gonna be good, gonna be great. I hope I see you tomorrow at the eight counts premier. And, um, I hope you get out into the world and keep it very funky. Talk to you soon. Bye.
Outro: This podcast was produced by me with the help of many music by Max Winney logo and brand design by Bree reets and a big thanks to Riley Higgins, our executive assistant and editor, and also a massive thanks to you. The mover, who is no stranger to taking action, I will not stand in the way of you taking action. I will not cannot stop you from downloading episodes or leaving a review and a rating. I cannot keep you from visiting thedanawilson.com to join our mailing list. I will not ban you from my online store for spending your hard earned money on the cool merch and awesome programs. That'll await you there. And of course, if you want to talk with me, work with me and make moves with the rest of the words that move me community, I will 100% not stop you. Visit thedanawilson.com to become a member and get a peak at everything else I do that is not a weekly podcast. Keep it funky, everyone.