Ep. #56 Climbing Ladders and (literally) Jumping Through Hoops with Matty Peacock

Ep. #56 Climbing Ladders and (literally) Jumping Through Hoops with Matty Peacock

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My guest in this episode, Matty Peacock, works closely with more than “some” of today’s most influential pop sensations.  The most influential thing about him, however, is not his resume…  It is his respect for the work, the mystery, and the collaboration within the process.   From performing to choreographing and directing Matty shares *almost* all of his secrets and stories that land him where he stands (and moves) today. ENJOY!

Quick Links:

Leon Else’s Dance Music Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbKcv4LyZD4

Fatboy Slim Weapon Of Choice Music Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbKcv4LyZD4 

(Choreographed by Michael Rooney) 

Hoizer Work Song Music Video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nH7bjV0Q_44&list=PL_syrWcl4u8mYiBDsosGxqs6fKmyrH1qp&index=15

Anthony Ramos Mind over Matter:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYRXCaazHSw

Nothing sticks promo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJgtSreFD1s

Crystal Pite and Kidd Pivot: https://kiddpivot.org/crystal-pite/

Shawn Mendes Wonder: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHeQemJJQII


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 dance. I choreograph I coach. And the only thing that I love more than moving is sharing. So if you are someone who loves to work and laugh and you’re looking to rewrite the starving artists story, then you’re in the right place. 

Dana: Hello, Hello. How are you? My friend. Well, I hope good. Good would be good. Great is great. Um, and okay. Is also totally okay if you’re just doing okay today, man. Crappy is actually okay too. I will accept that there is a lot going on out there in the world, and I hope that this episode finds you at very, very least being kind to yourself and hopefully kind to others as well.  Okay. Wow. My friend, I have a treat for you today. My guest on the show, a show, do I usually call it a show? My guest on the podcast is Matty Peacock, director, choreographer, movement, director movement, coach performer, and many, many things he’s about to tell you. And he is also a dear friend, um, and much to his own surprise. I think he is also an excellent talker. I learned so much about my friend, Matty P. I learned so much about myself in this conversation and, um, I hope that you do too. So, uh, we’re going to jump right into it. Enjoy this conversation with the wonderful. See what I did there. Matty Peacock, 

Dana: Matthew Peacock. Holy smokes. Welcome to the podcast.  

Matty: Thank you, Dana. Thanks for having me.  

Dana: I’m so glad you’re here. This is exciting. Um, by the way, I suppose I call you Matty P is that, is that what you like? Like what do you, how do you prefer to be?  

Matty: I think I’ve, I’m kind of indifferent about my name, which probably is kind of a problem. I think when I was like, I, you seem to do some myself as peacock and actually stuck for a long time. And then I think through climbing ranks of different things, I think Matty Peacock ended up sticking more and felt more official, I guess. I dunno,  

But peacock is your real true last name, 

That is correct.

That’s sick. I love it. Okay. This is how it works on a podcast. All of my guests introduce themselves. So take it away. What do you want us to know about you?  

Um, well, first and foremost, I am terrible at talking about myself, but I’m going to give it a shot.  

Oh, you’re going to be great. I can tell already, plus I edit heavily. So if something goes terribly wrong, you’re fine.  

Great. Um, well, my name is Matty Peacock. Um, I am from Long Island, New York. I was born in Korea, um, and I am a man of many talents and a master of none of them. Um, I would say currently I’m mostly focused on, um, being a director and a choreographer, um, and leading up into present day I’ve, um, danced and still dance as a professional dancer. Um, I’m a writer, artist, uh, creator, movement coach, movement director. Um, friend’s son, uncle, um, lover of good food and good movies and, um, a human being. How about that?  

Yo for somebody who doesn’t not much like to talk about themselves. That was really good. 

Yeah. Are we done with this? 

Yes, well thank you so much for coming. Bye. Um, all right. So very broadly, this podcast is about navigating creative careers, but what it actually is about, I think is learning period point blank. The end. Its what I always find myself talking about is what excites me the most. I love to learn. So, um, I thought we might start by you talking a little bit about your training. Like how did you learn and what did you learn about on the come up?  

Alright. Um, I would say I fell into dance, like kind of late. Um, I started dancing at the age of 16. Uh, I grew up again, uh, in a small area, a little small town, a long Island in a middle-class family, quite sports. Um, I actually lived near a ranch, so I would spend a lot of time on the ranch. Uh, it was like one of my first jobs. It was like working at the stables and I fell into horseback riding. Uh, and that was kind of the bulk of my childhood into my pre-teens. Uh, but there was a close friend of mine whose I’m still very close with to this day. He kind of introduced me, uh, it’s a dancer and he went to a dance, a local dance studio, and he would always like, he was like the cool kid in school. He like would like dance at the school dances and all the girls that are like into his moves and like, um, we played sports and he was like, you know, do back flips on the football field. And I was like, Oh man, this kid is so cool. Like I want to learn how to do that. And I, one day I just kind of asked him, I was like, can you teach me how to dance? You know? And then also growing up, like being influenced by likes TV and seeing, you know, Michael Jackson and just great music videos, you know? Um, and so he was like, come, come to my dance studio, you know, kind of take a class. Um, and so, yeah, I, I asked my, my parents who have always been super supportive of everything I’ve done and they’re like, sure, I will sign you up. So I took a hip, uh, recreational hip hop class and I was terrible 

Where it all begins.  

It starts there. Right. So bad. I couldn’t like the thing I couldn’t get over was like having to like learn the choreography and like, and memorize it. So like, I would like try to freestyle like, and like learn how to, you know, I, I would research and watch videos of people break dancing. So I would try to learn in my living room, like how to break dance. And I was obviously like, terrible, like trying to do windmills, like on carpet.  

Can you do them now? I bet you could  

Not anymore. I am learning how too. Um, but yeah, I just started at my local dance studio and I think, um, the director of the studio, I think after a summer of like, you know, you go once a week, that was like the thing I look forward to every week, one hour, every Wednesday I would go and you’d learn, you know, a combo that I would always forget or never remember. Uh, and then at the end of the four weeks, you like basically do the whole routine, but I never, I couldn’t remember it. So I just would, um, freestyle.

I love this imagery that I’m seeing in my head. Do you remember I’m so I’m just, I want to fill out the imaginary scenario that I’m creating. Do you remember any of the music that you were doing?  

Uh, rhythm nation was the first song that I danced too, but specifically the instrumental part then. And it was just like, and I was the only guy in my class. It was maybe it was all girls and they probably had been doing it going 

Since they were three. 

Yeah. Since there were three and like, they were, they were so much better than I was, but I first, I just loved being in the studio. And just like, even though I never did the choreography, I would just dance myself the mirror. And I was like, Oh, wow, this is so like fun. And it was just fun. So I taught like after that summer was over, I was like, mom, I want to do it again next summer. You know? And then I guess my, the director of my studio, Michelle Ferraro, she approached, my mom was like, Hey, like, you know, your son, like, he’s really good at this thing. I would have loved to have him take more classes to get better at learning how to dance. And my mom was kind of hesitant and she, you know, it’s expensive. And again, we came from a lower middle class, uh, and she kindly agreed to like, you know, have a lower tuition or, and things like that. And kind of take me under her wing. And she would give me privates on just the basics of dance. I wouldn’t even say it was ballet. Like I specifically remember like, you know, first learning the positions, but like having to like, learn how to do a leap was like, she would set like hula hoops on the floor and he would have to like jump into a hula hoop and I’m 16 years old. And there’s like three year olds, like also doing  

Incredible. Um, Aw, what are unique start to the journey. I love this also super shout out to parents who put their kids through dance and to teachers who scholarship and put special care into students that they see potential. And that’s so special.  

Yeah. I am forever in debt to, you know, my parents and also my director who I think like, I’m like, what would I have done? Like as a teen, I would probably been in so much trouble. I was already getting into trouble before I started dancing. So I think bands like kept me out of trouble. And, you know, you go to a group of friends and, you know, after I started dancing a little bit more, you start to, you know, I, I ended up doing like competition. Um, but yeah, I mean, I, I started probably similar to you doing dance competition, but, and I was, I was never, I was years behind all the kids in my, at my age level and my studio was pretty decent for the area and like the regional competition. So  

Michelle Ferraro, that’s a name that I know like, absolutely. Yeah. She’s great.  

And I think also what helped is that I grew up, like there were three other males, like at my studio that were around the same age as me that were incredible. Some that you probably know, but again, I was like, I was like an infant compared to them. So it was always great to have somebody to look up and just watch and learn because I am such a visual person of like how to learn. Um, but yeah, I mean, um, Michelle, like really, she was like, you should take ballet, you know? And it really helped me in the sense of like, just being disciplined and, and learning how to, you know, memorize, you know, when you’re the bar, like how to memorize things, you know, and one of my first jobs actually as a dancer was I, I randomly audition to dance for the New York Knicks basketball team. You know, they have a kid squad that would dance, like during timeouts and specifically at their home games and during halftime. Um, but I went, I remember going to the audition and not and doing pretty bad. And I came home from school one day and there was a message on the answering machine that I got gotten the job. I was like, okay, well now I actually have to do this. And I couldn’t remember how to, um, I couldn’t remember the steps. So the captain and the choreographer of the small group of kids, there was maybe 15 of us. They would always create a moment in their routine where everyone would stop or the kids would stop and like go down and I would just get the freestyle and then everything else. I was always like three steps behind and watching the kid next to me.  

Yes. Like full side eye. I 

Completely, completely,

I call it the one at Jack. Yep.  

As we would, some of the dances were only 15 seconds because it’s like a timeout and basketball. So it would be 10 seconds of me doing this. And then five seconds of like, do whatever you want.  

And everybody else is bugging. And you just like feature. I love this. What a brilliant, smart director, again, the smart director. And this might be the beginning of you becoming a smart director. Matter of fact, I love the, this trajectory like, Oh my gosh, it’s so poetic jumping through hula hoops and then probably jumping through actual hoops for the rest of your life right? Now you are working very closely with some of the most influential pop people of our time, Billie Eilish, uh, Shawn Mendes, Justin Bieber, Pink, Blackpink, which is different from regular. And I’m such a fan PS, Selena Gomez, the 1975, which by the way, I am a super fan. Um, so from where I stand the way it looks like you use choreography, not just in the work that you choreograph, but in the work that you direct as well from the out, from where I stand, it looks like you use dance as like a supporting act, a supporting thing, a very essential, but supporting element. In other words, like not the star, it’s not like dance break six, seven, eight. Um, and am I totally off target or off target or is that how you, how you think about dance? Yeah,  

I think you’re pretty spot on, I don’t know if I, if that’s ha that’s how I think about it. Or even like, sometimes the jobs that I get, I don’t even know. That’s what they’re thinking about a lot of the time it’s like I get paired with an artist that is either really interested in dancing and wanting to dance. Um, so it’s, it usually starts with wanting to learn how to dance. First of all, because a lot of the people that I work with don’t dance at all, um, or they say that they don’t dance  

That old wives tale.   

And even just, I think the word dance as a broad term of blanket statement and of, you know, it isn’t a genre, but like, I would say like dance and movements, they’re very much the same, but I think it, I think it just depends how you see it because dance is a difficult thing to do, if you’re a master at it. Which like, or if it’s you, if it’s your career, it’s like us as dancers that have trained years, we don’t think it’s, I mean, it’s not difficult. It is difficult, but we don’t think of it as something that’s difficult compared to like someone who doesn’t train in dance, just like someone, like, I don’t sing, I think singing is a difficult thing, you know? Um, but yeah, it usually it starts with wanting to learn how to dance or move. And sometimes it evolves into a lot of the times, some of the things I’m trying to teach them is like becoming aware, like awareness of what your body is doing or what it feels like to do this thing and how you can connect it to movement.  Um, and every project is different. Like some things that come in, you know, it’s a day of rehearsal and it’s like, someone wants to learn how to dance in a day. That is it’s, it’s a bit laughable, but it’s like, sometimes it’s the job that you have to do. And, um, and some projects you have more time and sometimes it’s like, people are preparing to dance for this one thing, but if it’s, sometimes it is one day and, um, a lot of the time it’s, it’s them, once they discover like, Oh, I actually don’t want to dance and to learn the steps, I just want to be able to move and like be expressive. Yes. Right. And depending on, like, if it’s a music video that has a loose narrative, it’s like, how can we express the narrative through our bodies? Because they’re already doing it, you know, in a music video is so visually and, um, through voice and sonically. So just kind of that added bonus is like, can we do it physically? Yeah. Metaphysically. And is there something that connects to it? And again, there are some projects that if it’s like, they just want to learn the steps and it’s just dance. And it becomes very visual. And like, I guess, like for, for me and my tastes like it’s accessory, you know, and sometimes it’s to amplify the productions, to amplify the song with the artist and not necessarily tell a story,  

Um, on the subject of dance while we are here, can we please talk it, he’s probably one of the lesser known artists that you’ve worked for or choreographed, but it is my favorite music video, certainly that you’ve done. But out of like a bundle, like dare I say, this is in my top 10, um, Leon Else’s music video for dance. I absolutely adore it. And it is one of it’s one of my favorite things about it is that dance is the star. It is big. It is brave. It is expressive. It is bold. And actually I take that back. It is Leon dancing. That is the star. Yes. Dance is huge in that piece. Um, the camera movement, I don’t know if this was intentional. I can’t wait to find out if it was the camera movement reminds me a little bit of Flashdance. It feels like, like her audition sequence, like we’re really following her dancing. And I don’t know, I like my heart rate goes up. Just thinking about that music video. Could you talk a little bit about that experience in that process for you?  

That was like one of the first videos that I was asked to choreograph as a choreographer up until that I was spending a lot of time just assisting and like being a sponge and learning from a lot of my mentors. And I, um, was working on a job as an assistant and I met, um, what they call the commissioner. You know, the, the role of a commissioner in the world of music videos is a basically bring on the teams to, you know, execute the videos. And so I was working, um, on a job for Madonna, I think with Megan Lawson and, um, the commissioner Michelle Anne and who now is like a mentor of mine. She, she, um, approached me and was like, Hey, would, would you be interested in choreographing? You know, this video and this, the artist is here’s the song. Um, this is a treatment, you know, a lot of times you get a treatment, which is basically a rough overview of visually the tone of the music video. Sometimes it’s very detailed and sometimes it’s like one page and just text and maybe one image, uh, and this one was very vague and it was just like, Leon Else, the song was called dance. He, Leon himself actually, he used to dance. He was like, he was a dancer in the movie Nine, I think. Um, and he just, he wanted to dance and the song was very like Prince inspired. And the director was very inspired, um, by  Flashdance, but I think I need to rewatch it and see  

It’s really the camera movement, not the angles or the, obviously not the location, but the spirit of it, the way that it’s championed movement,  

There is a Fatboy Slim music video that he referenced, which is, uh, with Christopher Walken,

It’s weapon of choice. That video is incredible. 

It’s It’s Spike Jones. And I think 

Brian Friedman Okay.

I thought it was Wade 

Well, Brian, Brian plays his dance double, sorry, let me take that back. Brian, Was it Michael Rooney?  

It might’ve been, he was working with Fatboy Slim at the time. Um, so yeah, those were some of the little, um, tonal references. Um, and so I kind of took it upon myself instead of, I didn’t have a reel, at the time I was just assisting. So I spend a few months, a few dollars to get a friend of mine that had a camera rented a space, and conceptually basically shot a concept video, full thing top to bottom, which is very rare. Like you don’t really do that, but I had nothing to show at the time. Um, and I worked on it for maybe three days and then we spent one night shooting. It, it was like four of us paid for some lights. I had a friend of mine like help with some of the lighting and we, and we shot the video and I sent it over to Michelle  and Leon and the director. And they’re like, this is the video. This is, 

Oh, that’s cool. 

And it was, that was, yeah, it was really cool. And that was kind of the start of a, like, up until that point, I had been doing a lot of assisting and feeling like so much learning. And I was like, I wonder if, if any of this is paying off, let’s put this to the tests, you know? And, um, yeah, it, I kind of basically, they were like, we want to do exactly what you did. And top to bottom, you know, I had a chair, all the steps and we, I was like, I want to learn every single step that you did. And he nailed it. And I brought in actually Jillian, cause I’m not a tap dancer and there’s a tap sequence. And I was like, let’s just bring in all the friends.  And she came up with the tap sequence and she taught it to me and she ended up teaching it to Leon I think one day, um, and it was, yeah, I think it was the start of like a nice relationship between, um, me and Leon, me and the director, me and Michelle, again, it’s like strong mentor of mine still. Um, and yeah, it’s yeah, it’s definitely, I wish that he had done more. Um, he doesn’t, he doesn’t do music anymore, but he was, it was such a fun project to be a part of. And yeah. And it kind of like, I think, yeah, again, it was like a nice, like, um, launching pad for the start of like, feeling like a, getting confidence to be, I can do this myself, you know, and testing like, Oh, I have these ideas that I have in my head. Like, let’s put them on camera. Like I I’ve always wanted to. 

Uh, that’s so much fun. Um, that process that you’re talking about, like just trying it, film it, try to try to make on camera, the thing that you see in your head, um, and then submitting that and then getting no notes, but saying like, let’s just do that. It’s one of my favorite things. It doesn’t happen all the time. It sort of happened for Jillian Myers with Work Song, for Hozier, which was, uh, an awesome, shared moment in you and my dance history together. So fond of that period. Um, but I also, I did something similar with Anthony Ramos for, um, his song mind over matter, um, which was so much fun to brainstorm and create. And ultimately the thing we made transferred almost directly into what the final edit was. And it’s, I love that mode of making where you prototype it fast and rough, and then you upgrade it into this beautiful, Epic thing. Is that a process that you have sort of made commonplace in your work? Do you do this kind of pre-vis and then make it big?  

Honestly, that was probably the only time I ever did it. Um, and I think there’s, I mean, yes, I think there is a beauty in prototyping, something and it translating exactly the way you wanted, but I also am obsessed with this idea of collaboration and I’m always the person that thinks that, like I have the worst idea and there’s always somebody with a better idea. So let me throw my worst idea at the wall and someone who can come along and like make it even better. And then maybe someone will make that idea even better. So we get, you know, the, the mega product. Um, so I think, again, it just depends on the project. I love collaborating. I love talking to other creatives that have different perspectives. You know, I may see something in one light as a choreographer and dancer, but there might be a director who thinks of this or a cinematographer that thinks that the camera should go here or it should have this type of movement to translate this type of emotion that I’m not seeing when thinking about, because sometimes like when you’re so involved in the projects, you lose sight of it, you know, at once, like something that you’re seeing as a forest now you’re inside and you only see trees, right?  So it takes somebody from an outside perspective, um, to, to be like, Oh, there’s something behind you that you’re not seeing. 

Yes. I really love that idea.  Those, those prototype videos can be really limiting. If you fall in love with that one thing that you’ve watched 75 times on your phone, it can be really hard to let go of certain ideas. Yeah. That’s, that’s cool. That’s very wise. Um, okay. So, so in terms of like becoming a choreographer for music videos, becoming a director, becoming all of these many things, I am super interested in your trajectory because you’ve played different roles in different dance worlds. So it’s not even just that you’re carrying a different title, but you’ve shown up in different like worlds of dance. Um, you were a touring dancer with Ariana Grande a right. Yes. But you also performed with Kidd Pivot in Reviser, and this is, um, a company that you may not know. Some people, well, you Matty P you know, but if you’re listening and don’t know Kidd Pivot, don’t be harsh on yourself. Um, if you don’t know Crystal Pite, don’t be harsh on yourself, but do go find out because it’s true that some people might not know them, but I don’t think I know anybody that does know, but does not love in crystal pipe. Could you talk a little bit about that for a moment?  

Yeah. I, I th I think, again, it kind of stems from, um, when I first started dancing. Um, and again, going back to my dance studio at Michelle Ferraro’s, she, um, gave a lot of the students the opportunity to take classes from outside choreographers. And one of those choreographers just to kind of a backstory who was became, one of my mentors was Justin Giles, who also, you know, very well. And he came in during the summer intensive and he was the first male figure that at the time, which was called lyrical, which were kind of contemporary, right. He was the first person that was doing something that I experienced that was different. That wasn’t, um, necessarily all the, my leg didn’t go in the air. I could barely do a double turn. He was like listening to music and his physicality was something that I could relate to because he came from a background of the sports and like, it wasn’t just like what your body can physically do. Right. It was like, there was something more behind it. Um, and I was really drawn to that. So I think once I kind of, once I took his class, I was kind of, I was, I was in the, like really in deep and I just reached out to him and I just started following him around the country and taking his classes on conventions. And I think after a year or two, he basically was like, took me under his wing. I started assisting him and, and learning from him and basically his technique, his movement style, um, which like then kind of opened up a door into like contemporary dance. And I was like, what is, you know, I want to learn more, you know, so I would do more research about other choreographers and, um, who else came up, Chris Jacobson, Mia Michaels, you know, all these amazing choreographers and teachers, uh, Peter Chu as well. And I started working with Peter chew through the commercial. Uh, I moved to LA in 2005 and I, I was doing this variety show called Paris by Night, which is an it’s, uh, an interesting projects. But, uh, I don’t know if it’s still even going on anymore, but, um, it’s basically a Vietnamese variety show that it’s all, all it’s mainly Asian and it’s, it was based in a way it’s basically a variety show of comedians, singers, actors, sketch comedy and dance. And that’s where I met Peter Chu, Pam Chu a lot of the working dancers like that work here in LA  

Bryan Tanaka was  in on that mix.  

Uh, um, Tracy Shibata like literally everybody. Um, and yeah, so I met Peter Chu doing, doing that commercial project and he ended up taking, uh, asking, inviting me to, um, be a part of a workshop for a show that he was putting on. 

Nothing sticks?

Nothing sticks, and that was, uh, referred. I was referred to Peter through Pam who again, came to my studio and would teach at intensives. Yeah. Pam taught me. Yeah. Um, and I ended up like saying yes, and I worked with Peter and at the time Peter was working with Crystal Pite. He was part of Kidd Pivot. And he basically introduced me to Crystal Pite, not physically, but, um, the, the movement language. And, and then again, similar, the same feeling of when I discovered Crystal’s work was the same feeling that when I discovered Justin Giles’ work,  

Like this is home in my body.  

Yeah. Yeah. I think so. Maybe not yet, but it looked like it was, and it looked like it felt right. You know, it didn’t. Yeah. But I was like, this is something that it’s calling to me and, um, it’s striking something within a, and so I, I would study Crystal Pite’s work for years, just watching videos, going to any shows that I could,  

Right. Because the videos aren’t  many she’s or has been up until very recently, when you can find some full length works online, getting your eyes on Crystal’s work is not as easy as getting your eyes on Tik Tok or like YouTube dance stars. You had to work  

At the time, YouTube, there was maybe 15 second clips of like a trailer to her shows. And then again, at the time, like on the boards had something where you could purchase Dark Matters for a limited time. And I purchased it and recorded it somehow. I don’t know how I watched the show like obsessively and I learned everyone’s part and I would go into the studio and do it to the best of my ability. And I kind of like tried to, you know, obviously I don’t understand like where the movement is being derived from, but I would try to replicate it. Um, and then I, then I did more research and then I would time block, um, my summers to only go to intensives for Crystal Pite. And I took from basically every single company member that would teach Crystal Pite workshops for like three years.   I would do it. I did it and I just ate it up. And, um, in 2018, a couple of years ago, um, through taking all the workshops and meeting all of the company members and being, um, close friends with some of them, Peter being one of them Cindy Silgado was a teacher and friend as well. Jermaine Spivey um, there, there came a point when Crystal was making a new show and she was looking for an understudy at the time and the three company members and  Beauchesne and who’s the, um, is the associate director now, but I was taking his classes like every summer, they all kind of referred me and I had never met Crystal and she had never seen me dance. It was only just through the company saying like, you know, should email Matty and, and just talk to him. Um, and ironically, she, she did, and it was such a weird time because it was like around the time it was actually like maybe two days before my dad had just passed away. I remember getting an email in my inbox and it was Crystal Pite. And I remember looking at it and being, I can’t look at this right now, but this is really big. And also again, at the time, like that was only two years ago, I kind of like was like, I need to like, put this goal aside. It was a goal that I had for a long time to dance with Kidd Pivot. And there was a time where I was like, it’s just not in the cards for me. You know, I’m going to focus on being a choreographer and directing and stuff like that. And, you know, she came up with, um, uh, basically a proposal of like, can you, you know, she gave me three options. Can you come in to Vancouver and just stay for a week and watch and learn, um, and just get to know each other. Uh, and then option B was, would you want to be an understudy and learn all the male parts? And then the third was like, if you were really interested come for the whole creation watch and maybe I’ll have, I’ll be able to like write in apart for you. And I was like, yes, option three. Like we’re doing option three.  

Wow. How incredible is that? Yeah. Yeah,  

It was, I mean, it was an incredible experience that I’m obviously always hold very dear to my heart. Um, but yeah, I, I went to Vancouver and got to work with who I call the Avengers of Dance, because it’s literally, you know, these masters of dance from all around the world and they’re so good at what they do specifically. And when they come together, it’s like, they are the Avengers.  

Oh my gosh, I’m going to Photoshop a flyer. Um, it’s true though. The, the, I think there’s something special though. I do want to point out like Crystal’s work is not, I maybe similar to yours is not like about dance and like the spectacle of dance. It’s theatrical, it’s comedic in strange ways. It’s dark in beautiful ways. It’s it’s narrative, but it’s, it’s abstract. It is. I am falling short of words and I’m a person that podcasts. Theres also something special about her team there. They’re not just physical bodies that are great physical, um, sculptors, but intellectual being sensitive beings, thoughtful beings, like people that to spend a summer with, it sounds like the dream.  

Summer and yeah. A half a year, you know, touring and performing the show and working on things. And, um, yeah, and I think similar to Crystal when she started her work was very dance heavy, but she other interests kind of stemmed from just doing the one dance thing. Um, and also like there’s something to be said in the people that the environment that she creates, you know, she brings in these amazing people and she has so much trust in them, which gives them a lot of confidence and, um, to produce amazing things, you know? And  

Would you call it a nurturing environment?  

I would say nurturing, challenging. Um, it’s, it’s like all of the, and sometimes like, it doesn’t feel nurturing, but then after you get through the monotony of it, you realize, you look back and you’re like, Oh, wow. She like, she yoda(ed) me a little bit.  

Ah, Ooh. Masterful, like  

It’s, it’s the most physical I’ve ever been in my entire life. Awesome. In terms of the movement, for sure.  

I can’t imagine I have taken her class once before at Jacob’s pillow. Um, w uh, I went to go watch Dark Matters there, and she taught a small workshop and it was very gentle. Like it was designed to be accessible to any, anybody that wanted to explore the work. And I was a baby infant learning how to walk and the next day. My body was like, Oh, you’re you thought you were a dancer? Yeah. Okay. That’s cute.  

When I came in the first day, first week of rehearsals of creation, again, like I wasn’t really actively dancing. I was really focused on in choreographing and everybody else in the company has been company NDT, Batsheva, um, tends theater  

Dance. Down.  

And they’re doing it like the whole year. I haven’t been there. I hadn’t been dancing like that three or four or five years. Yeah. I was shot out of the cannon. Yeah.  

I love where, where it landed you. I mean, that’s a dream.  

Yeah. And I think, yeah, part of the, um, the reason why I wanted to take part in it is a, you know, check that box off of my list of things, but also like to learn from all of these people. Yeah. You know, Crystal and Eric and all the, all the company members, you know, Jay, the production designer, sound designers, you know, seeing how things get put together. So interesting to me, that was why I decided I wanted to choreograph and become a director because like, when I first started dancing, like, I didn’t even know that you could dance with dancing was a career path. And the first time I was on set, I’m a part of this show, but also on the other side of it, there’s a whole show happening that you’re watching that you either take notice to, or, you know, and that was something that I couldn’t get over to show that’s happening behind the show that’s being shot. Right.  

The show that’s being put on for the performer, the performer is standing there performing, receiving this show. Yes. Amazing. Yes. I love it. And it’s a unique, that’s such a unique perspective.  

Yes. Yeah. Yeah. It was something that was like, who knew that things happen? Like how does these things get made? And I think it’s, yeah. And the same thing with Crystal, like, you know, we put on the show in the theater, but people don’t, people in the audience don’t understand, like the sound design that’s being triggered. And during this part of the, you know, choreography or, and why this light means this thing and like all the people that are behind the stage and so interesting it’s magic.  

It is. Um, I’m glad that you mentioned this team element and the many different moving parts of a production. What I would love to talk about now is just like focus in on the relationship between artist and director in this, in this specific conversation. Let’s talk about artist and choreographer. I do, I would consider like crystal Pite the artist and her team, the movement part, but there’s like the artist. And then the movement part, that’s such an interesting relationship to me. And in, in pop, at least there are a few examples of that team working really, really well. Like I’m the one that’s the closest to me obviously is JT and Marty Kudelka, but there are others there’s um, like Ryan Heffington and SIA, or Michael Jackson and Michael Peters who did, uh, who did Beat it and Thriller, um, uh, Frank Gatson and a number of people. Like there are combinations where you find that one plus one does not equal two, but one plus one equals a million. Yes. Um, and I, I guess you’ve got some really creatively fruitful collaborations, relationships going on right now. What do you think is that exponent, or what do you look for in a collaborator that equals 1 million.

I think chemistry for one and intention. It’s like some artists that I work with, sometimes the chemistry just isn’t there and the intention is different than what I’m interested in. And then sometimes, you know, we have the same interests, the same intention, and usually that’s where kind of the spark starts there. And then from there, you can start to, you know, for instance like Billie or, or Shawn, like Shawn is, is a new relationship I have, but it’s a very potent, and it’s a very strong one. He’s very interested in dance and theater and movement, and might not always want to access it, but he’s interested in it because it makes him feel a certain way. And it, maybe it adds to another part of his life that it feels like it’s helping and assisting whether it’s songwriting or just being a kind human or just being more open to other art forms.  

Most all of the people I work with are musicians, you know, sometimes actors, but, um, and being to like wanting to connect to their body is like also really important, um, 

As an instrument. 

Yeah. As an instrument, as a form of meditation, um, and just, uh, connecting to something that feels like, um, that’s, that’s deeper than it’s, that’s inside themselves, you know? Um, and you know, these collaborations that you’re talking about, you know, Marty and JT and Ryan and SIA, like there was a point where I was like, Oh, I really, I really want that, but in net. But I think in the way that I like to work, it never really, at least from my perspective, it never really, I guess my relationships are strong, but they’re not to me. Like when I see JT, it’s like, he’s such a dancer and you know, and him and Marty are, you know, Marty, you can tell it’s Marty he’s, they are one person, the one entity, you know, and same with like Maddie and Ryan and SIA, you know, the three of them were like, I like to be in service to the artist.  I like to work with them and help them discover their own voice. You know, Billie has a dance background, but she’s not necessarily interested in doing, in running five, six, seven, eight. She wants to know. Yeah. Yeah. Where I can propose an idea, try this thing here, five, six, seven, eight, and she’ll learn it and then bend it and manipulate it to feel more natural. Cause she’s saying, thinking like, this feels better for me or, or this makes more sense or, you know, doing this here feels unnatural. So I think that’s, my job is to kind of be that, that honest mirror and say, I’m like, try this thing. This is what I think would work well, and let’s talk about it. Let’s have a discussion. And a lot of the time, these that’s where it starts like having discussions and kind of getting to know each other and trust.  Yeah. And I think the key thing is like making somebody feel safe so they can do whatever they want behind closed doors, when it’s me and the artist, let’s just, let’s, let’s just be around and mess around. Let’s try the things that we can try now, you know, let’s do the most silly, insane thing and get it out of our system because maybe there’s something that we feel that will connect and then maybe we can, you know, let’s get us started on a right path, you know, and then we fine tune it until it’s ready to be, to be seen because I’m a, I’m an advocate for like, not everything needs to be shown and seen there’s magic behind the process and incubation and, and development, you know, and let’s wait, you know, 


Yeah. Think so.  

Ah, yes. You are a magician. I think, um, always something of this sleeve. You don’t need to see everything. That’s the spoils, the magic.  

Yeah. Yeah. Showing little bits and pieces, but I mean, I think there’s, there’s massive behind, like how did they do that thing or, Oh God, yes. That didn’t come from, you know, it makes you want more, at least for me, when I see things that I don’t understand and I’m dying to know what it is, it makes me want to keep watching it, you know? Yeah.  

And that is the goal. Okay. That’s awesome. Right. Like this edge of the seat thing, that’s the goal. Okay. So let’s talk about Shawn for a sec. Can we talk about Wonder, because Holy smokes, it is so beautiful and powerful. It is wonderful. Um, I adore it and I’m so proud of you. I think it’s a awesome example of you and your work. Like I see you in it. I see him in it. It does seem like a service to not like the pop machine, but to expression in general to, um, imagination, to whimsy. And these are all things that I love. I think it’s so great. Um, what, what did you learn on that project? That’s what I want to know. What did you learn?  

Um, uh, man, I learned so many things,  

Right? What did you not learn  

The project? And one of the, probably today, the biggest project that I, um, that I’ve done. And I’m so grateful for, to Shawn for giving me the opportunity, because there were times where maybe, you know, as a new director, you know, having trust and faith in someone that they can execute things is a big deal, especially when you’re a huge pop star and there’s a lot at stake. That’s things you have to realize, you know, and obviously like he, he was willing to take a risk. Um, but I think also at the heart of it, I really connected to the song and  the honesty that he was trying to get across. Um, and like most music videos, you, you pitch against other directors, you know, and whoever has, you know, and obviously the artist picks, and there was a point where I was pitching against another director and he, there was a time where he would potentially just wanted me to be the choreographer, which I’m fine with, you know, I have a great relationship with them.  And again, like, I want to do whatever I’m in service to Shawn and whatever he wants. And he thinks is the best I’m going to do it full force. Obviously I’m going to be bummed that like, potentially if I don’t get to direct it, you know, but there was something in me that like, really, I really cared about this project. And I just had a conversation with him. I was like, listen, I really care this thing. I really care about this thing. And I think that kind of stuck with him and he kind of made the decision, like, let’s do it, you know? Um, but I think from what I learned is like how to be a great communicator as we’ve discussed before. And, um, I’ve never, I’ve, I’ve felt I’ve never been a fan of, of egos. Um, and I think when you can lose your ego, you can receive like so much more, um, and utilizing the team that I put around me to help Shawn and, and, and execute the vision. Um, and it was a long process, but I think like getting to work with all these people that I admire so much, and they’re so good at what they do, it just fuels the fire. Um, and it gets me really excited to see like my friends and peers, like, do what they do at such a high level. Um, and there’s a synergy between like having a strong vision and people also like really, um, getting excited about that vision, you know, and it’s kind of that yes and, um, yes, let’s do this and let’s do this and train and sure enough, we would build and build and build. And I’m a huge fan of referencing. I think referencing is a huge tool that people don’t always use. Right.  

It’s in so many ways how we communicate when we deal in imaginary things and things that we imagination things that are yet to be created. Yeah.  

Yeah. Cause some people don’t have vision or it’s really hard to like, obviously what I see in my head is different, what you see here, but if we have a strong reference points and I can understand that this is solely a reference, this is a starting point. Um, I think that really helped me.  

Do you, do you draw on just your internal database of remembered images or are you a Pinterest person? Uh, a Google images person. I know I have, I have a couple of secret databases that, um, that you listeners will have to pay for it. If you want to know where I get all my brilliant gems. But when you make references, are you pulling from your memory or do you have you have secret places?  

It’s, it’s, it’s a little bit of everything. Um, books that I read, because I love to write and being good, being exceptional with your words and how to illustrate a picture is it’s valuable. 

So valuable, especially if you’re pitching, if you have to get the job before you have the job, you have to be able to explain what you’re going to do with it.  

Yeah. So I think, like I read a lot of books of different genres poetry, because they would poetry it’s really short and make sometimes long, but usually really potent in their words. Um, I have visual databases, shot deck is an incredible database. I don’t know if you’re familiar with that. Um, which basically it’s a catalog of many exquisite films and it’s basically just screen grabs of beautiful films, um, um, YouTube,  

Right? The monster of all database,  

Um, for a long time when I was learning, because I didn’t go to film school, I would go to the public library and just get books and read and study, you know, how to direct and things like that. Um, yeah, it comes from, it comes from all different mediums.  

That’s awesome. I love this. Um, well it looks like you are excited playing in this space. It looks like you are indulging in pop and entertainment. Um, you are able to make and create and live in other areas of the dance world, but it looks like you’re enjoying this, this place that you’re in. Um, I am curious though, because especially because it’s changing so much right now, what is your attitude towards the entertainment industry in general. 

In general? Uh, I love entertainment. I love all the different forms that entertainment offers, whether it’s, um, surely just to transport someone, to make them feel good. If it’s to connect to somebody to tell a story that maybe, you know, the loss of somebody or, you know, graduating high school is something that we can connect to that emotionally. Um, that tells a story. Um, obviously there are bad things about entertainment that, you know, the news is a form of entertainment, which could lead you down a dark path,  

Another episode maybe.  

But I think, I think again, talking about perspective, I think it’s just how you look at it. You know, you could take it at face value or you can look at it and say, you know, it could be, you can take it personally or you can just let it run off your back. And I think it’s depends on how you do it. I like, I love entertainment. I love what I do. I love watching other people do what they do, especially when they’re really good at it. You know, it makes me want to be better at what I do know  

Well said my friend, 

What about you? 

Um, I think actually very similarly people say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but everything is in the eye of the beholder. I think the world of entertainment and of entertainers, I think it is a brilliant medium and speaking of yes, and.. I think that it is best used when it is a, um, a cloak, like a disguise for education. It’s one of my biggest aspirations in life to make education entertaining and to like sneak attack somebody and inform them, introduce them to a new idea, um, get them understanding things deeper, but they think they just watched a movie or they think they just watched a music video, but like they think they just had fun, but actually there was some mastery, some masterminding going on underneath. So that’s, that’s why I love it. And that’s what I think about it. Um, but, but again, all in the eye of the beholder, I’ve certainly had experiences with entertainment where I thought that it was telling me that I’m wrong. So I felt bad. Or I thought that it was not a place that I was allowed. So I felt like an outsider, but those were all just what I thought about it. That wasn’t the industry itself doing that to me. So, so yeah, I, I agree. I relate.  And on that, maybe we, we wrap it up. Matthew Peacock. Yay. Thank you so much for being here. I can’t explain, um, low key created a podcast so that I could talk to my friends in depth like this, about our work uninterrupted for an hour at a time. I really, I really appreciate this. Thank you so much. 

Thank you, Wilson. 

Oh, and you’re great at talking about yourself and your work, by the way, that was so much fun.  

All right. What did I tell you so much? Good. Right. Such a treat. I especially loved the way that Matty talks about collaboration and the evolution of ideas. I so dig this concept that the first idea might not be the best idea. It might even be a bad idea, but only once it’s out there in the open, in the, uh, trusted space, which hopefully includes some bright, brave and bold collaborators. Only, only once it’s out there, can it be built upon or even broken down or otherwise constructed into something? Great. Great. Is his work great is his being, thank you, Matty Peacock for that. Now let’s talk about you and your greatness shall we? Let’s celebrate. Let’s do some wins this week. I am celebrating my past self and a lesson that I learned from her when I stumbled upon a sizzle reel for a web series that I made nine years ago. Holy Smokes. Um, the series, if you call three episodes, a series is called it more than moves and it is still on YouTube. Actually. I think you might have to look More than Moves TV to find it. And, um, I posted the sizzle that I found to my personal Instagram account last week. It is funky. It is smart. It is fun. And it is what Matty and I were talking about at the end of that interview, which is education disguised as entertainment. It was awesome. And it taught me so many things. Um, my long-term lesson learned, however, and what I want to share with you today is that it is wise to spread out your resources. I spend a lot of my hard earned cashola on that project. And I turned it into three 20 minute episodes if given a second chance, which who knows, I would probably turn that into 20 3 minute episodes. Um, yeah. So spread out the resources gang, but do not spread out the enthusiasm, if anything rang true to me about watching that sizzle it’s that I was and am a person that loves dance. It feels so good. Celebrations. All right, now it’s your turn. What is going well in your world? What are you celebrating past, present or future?  

All right. My friend, congratulations. I am proud of you. I am celebrating your win seriously. I wish you could see me. I’m grinning ear to ear. All right. Now, um, before I sign off, I want to let you know that it is not too late to register for the first month of the words that move me community membership. If you’re digging what you are hearing in here, then you will definitely be digging. What goes on in there. Um, of course it is a monthly membership. You can join at any time, but I’m exceptionally excited about this first month, which is February because the group of members that has assembled is simply incredible. So a special thank you to everyone who has pre-registered. I cannot wait to get this show on the road, um, to learn more about that, about the membership and how you might register, be sure to check out TheDanaWilson.com and click on the Membership tab. Yes, indeed. The website has been going through some changes. Thank you so much, Malia Baker. Um, yeah, super simple. Now all you need to do in order to find more information and register for the Words that Move Me Community Membership is go to the theDanawilson.com and click on the membership tab. Boom. That is it for me today. You guys have an awesome rest of your day, night, week, month, year, all of it. And, um, of course, keep it funky. I’ll talk to you soon.  

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 because 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. 

Ep. #55 Doing Daily and Resolutions!

Ep. #55 Doing Daily and Resolutions!

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There are thousands of articles and podcasts and videos about New Year’s resolutions.  You can find countless lists like “Top 4 (or 5, or 15, or 30) Reasons Resolutions Don’t Work”.  You’ll find even more lists of how to keep them!  Well, in this episode, I give you ONE.  ONE REASON why you aren’t seeing your goals through and ONE sure fire way to make sure you do.  This one goes out to all of my Daily Doers, and ANYONE looking to change their life in 2021.

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WTMM Community: https://www.thedanawilson.com/workwithme/membership-tiers

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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: Alright. Alright. Hello and welcome to Words that Move Me, I’m Dana. I’m jazzed you’re here. I am so excited about this episode, although it’s a bit of a tough love type of episode. Um, speaking of love, and speaking of tough, I want to start this episode by saying, I hope that you are finding solid footing wherever you stand. Even if there is uncertainty, when you look out the window, solid footing is what I am asking for today.  It’s what I’m wishing you today. And I did a little Pilates earlier, so I stand a pretty good chance at finding solid footing today. All right, let’s dig in. Shall we? Today we are talking about resolutions, including, but not limited to new year’s resolutions. And we’re talking about why they don’t work. And we’re talking about how to make them work. Now, as far as why new year’s resolutions don’t work, you can absolutely undoubtedly 100% find 100,000 articles on the internet about new year’s resolutions. There’s a lot of research about habits and there, there are a lot of really great and some not so great articles about this specific topic. You’ll find lists on lists like top five reasons, top 16 reasons, top 20 reasons why your news resolutions didn’t work or 14 new ways to make sure your resolution works. Listen, I’m going to sum it up with one, one reason your new year’s resolution didn’t work, and one way to make sure that it works. 

Now, if you are taking on a new year’s resolution or a doing daily creative challenge, it’s probably because of the way that you feel right now and the way you think you will feel once you have accomplished that thing. You think that something is not working for you now, the way you’re doing things now, and you think that you will feel better when you act a certain different way, new year’s resolutions and other long-term commitments are really all about what you think, the way you feel and the actions you take. Yet, for some reason, the only value in that equation, the think feel act equation. The only value that most people think to adjust is the actions I’m going to work out five days a week. I’m going to stop drinking every night. I’m going to start doing creative daily things.  I’m going to start talking to my friends and family more often doing, doing, doing, or stop doing, stop, doing, stop doing. It’s all about behavior. It’s all about actions. Now. It is true that your actions and your inactions become your experience of the world. What you do and don’t do are very important. But if you try to white knuckle grip your way through a year or any extended period of time, to be totally honest, of modified behavior, without modifying your mindset, you will fatigue. Your willpower will run out. Yes, without a strong thought to think you won’t feel capable or worthy or committed to your goal. And you will quit because quitting is easy. It requires far less effort and planning than continuing. And your brain will offer you “quit” as an option every single day, because efficiency is key too. His survival and your brain is all about surviving. You will accept your brain’s offer to quit unless you give yourself a better offer. The one reason that you do not see your resolutions through to the very end is because you aren’t managing your mind. You aren’t changing your thoughts along with trying to change all that behavior. 

Let’s take a look at an example. Let’s consider general health for a second. That’s a pretty popular new year’s resolution. Most people want to improve their general health. So let’s say, let’s say the person X is really hating the way their body looks. The holiday season and COVID really took its toll. They’re thinking ‘I hate the way my body feels because all of my clothes are too tight. I don’t like the way I look. I’ve gained so much weight. I hate my body in general, but man, I just, I really don’t even want to look at my body. I need to lose some weight.’ When person X thinks the thought ‘I hate the way my body looks or I hate the way my body feels or I hate my body period.’ They probably feel disgusting or unworthy or ashamed maybe. Let’s stick with disgusting. Just for this example, the general response to feeling disgusting is not to put on a pair of spandex or chop up a salad. No, the response to feeling disgusting is usually to stay in the sweat pants. Actually unbutton that top button, stay on the couch and eat and drink to feel better and beat yourself up for feeling bad because you know, better intellectually. Yeah. That’s what feeling disgusting. Generally leads to and doing those things, right? The staying on the couch, not being active, drinking and eating more to feel better, generally leads to gaining more weight. So can you see how thinking the thought I hate the way my body looks feels disgusting, and when you feel disgusting, you eat more, drink more, are active less. So gain weight is what happens. Now. Let’s say that this person has had it with gaining weight. They are ready to take control and they think, you know what? I’m going to make a resolution. I’m going to cut out the sugar. I’m going to cut out the carbs. I’m going to quit drinking. I’m going to start working out five days a week. Sounds like a good plan, right? Absolutely. Actually. And in time, an action plan like that will 100% change the way somebody’s body looks. But if this person continues to think, “I hate the way my body looks” they will not make it to see that day. The day where the action plan pays off, they will continue to feel disgusting. If they continue to think, I hate the way my body looks and when they feel disgusting and their brain offers them to just take one day off or just have one sip or just one bite. Just one cookie, Oh, just one day, you know what? You can just start next week. You better believe what happens. They take that offer. They take that offer and the cycle continues. Now let’s say that this person decides to change the way they are thinking. And instead of choosing, I hate the way my body looks. They choose something like maybe I care about the way my body works. When I think that thought, when I think I care about the way my body works, I feel responsible. When I think I care about the way my body works. I really do. I feel responsible. And when I feel responsible, I make responsible and reasonable plans. And I keep them. When I feel responsible, I claim my mistakes. I don’t blame anyone else for them. And I certainly don’t beat myself up for them. When I care about the way my body works. When I feel responsible, I experiment and I notice the way it feels when I don’t work out. And I notice the way it feels when I overeat and overdrink, but I also notice how it feels when I overwork or under nourish. And as a result of all of that claiming responsibility, experimenting, not blaming, not beating myself up, sticking to my plan, noticing things about my plan, making tiny micro adjustments as a result, I become a person that cares for my body and my body works well. Yes, it’s that simple. When I think I care about my body and the way it works, the result is that I take care of my body and my body works well. Can you see how choosing a thought like that? A thought like I care about my body and the way it works could carry you through a whole year of healthier living with ease yet choosing to not change the way you’re thinking, but change everything else is a total setup. It’s a total setup. 

Okay. So it’s simple as that to make sure that you resolve your resolutions, you must manage your mind. You have to plan for the hurdles. You must be prepared for what you will think when your willpower and yes, your excitement run out. You have to decide what you’ll think when your brain offers you to quit. And many of you daily doers that started in 2020 are probably finding yourself right about there right now, tempted with the offerings, the many offerings from your brain to quit. You might be struggling to sustain because you’re running out of willpower. You may be sitting with Rebecca from Episode 54 from our last episode in the pit of despair where your beginner’s luck and enthusiasm have worn way off. And you are now intimidated, self-conscious full of self doubt, and you may not be paying attention to those thoughts up there. You may be avoiding them, or you may be totally overwhelmed by them, but pay attention to them because the way you’re thinking will determine whether or not you get out of that pit of despair or the Valley of despair or whatever you want to call it. So pay attention to what’s going on upstairs, upstairs, your mind, maybe running wild, like a child with a Sharpie pen, scribbling, thoughts all over the walls of your head. Like, ah, I missed a day or two or three. So it over, it’s fine. I’ll just whatever. I’ll start a new challenge next month. I might as well just be done with this one. The child with the Sharpie pen might be offering you things like small bites, just aren’t meaningful. Or this is a waste of my time. I could be doing more important things with my time, or this is hurting me. It’s actually, my body was not built for daily or, um, I’ve already learned what I was trying to learn. So what, I’m just one fourth of the way to my goal. But, um, I’m done. I think I’ve already, I think I, I think I’ve pretty much got it. When you think thoughts like these, you are very likely to take your brains offering to quit. Your brain’s default setting is to survive daily, not to create a creative work daily. It wants to conserve energy. It wants to keep you safe. It does not want you to do something unknown and uncomfortable every single day. So it will certainly offer that you quit. And what will you tell it when it does, if you really believe that small bites aren’t meaningful, if you really believe that you missed the day, so you might as well stop. If you really believe this is a waste of your time and you should be doing more important work than you will absolutely quit when your brain offers that you quit. So here is where the make your resolutions work part happens. Take the pen from that child and find a piece of paper, just dump all of the thoughts that you have about this project in yourself and your ability to do it. Just dump them onto the paper. And when you feel like you’re out, look for more, there are probably more. FULL BLOWN download, like no less than one page. Now, once you’re done read all of those thoughts back to yourself and pretend like your best friend wrote them about their goal, and they’re coming to you for guidance now respond the way that you would to your dear friend with curiosity and compassion. If, if my best friend came to me and told me that they missed one day, so they might as well give up on their goal. You better believe I would not let them out of it that easily, but I also wouldn’t insult them for it. I’d probably approach that with, Oh, of course you missed a day. You are human. You absolutely missed the day and you’ll probably miss more days down the future. But the only way you will guaranteed miss days is if you quit right here, is it possible that you could just keep going? What about the friend that thinks small bites aren’t meaningful? I would ask them, is that really true? Why do you think that? Have you ever been moved by something small that was meaningful probably now to my person that said this is hurting me, I would definitely say, I’m so sorry to hear that. How can I help? What’s going wrong instead of well, you asked for it, you totally deserve that. And you should, by the way, totally stick it out. You said you were going to keep hurting yourself. No, absolutely not. That’s not how I would talk to my best friend. Now, in this conversation with your self and your best friend self, you have found answers to questions like, is that really true? Do you really believe that? How’s that working out for you? What would you rather do about that? You’ve gotten some good answers and you’ve probably found some new thoughts to think about yourself and about your project here is the value of these new, well inspected, more developed adult with a Sharpie pen type thoughts.  

These thoughts will help you keep going, or they will let you know for certain that quitting is okay, these new thoughts, this new awareness and understanding of yourself and your project might even redefine what quitting is to you in terms of this project or in terms of terms altogether. Yes. Hearing me correctly. I am not necessarily saying that you should continue your resolution or your daily creative challenge. I’m actually saying that you should address your thoughts about your project. Not ignore them. You should address them with curiosity and compassion. I’m saying that you should like your reasons for quitting, just like you should like your reasons for continuing. Yeah. Let’s play this game. 

Some of my favorite reasons for continuing are. I chose this for some reason, that one makes me giggle. I look at myself in what I’m doing. And I’m like, wow, I really chose this. This was my choice. And once I start giggling and enjoying my ability to make decisions, I usually typically go all in. Even if it’s on something completely silly and absurd, I chose this. How about this one for a reason to continue, The suffering part is optional. Yes. You don’t have to suffer. How about this one? Hard work feels better at the end, then quitting feels in the middle. I know that one’s kind of confusing. I use it for myself because I know what I’m saying. I don’t know if you know what I’m saying. I’ll say it one more time. Hard work feels better at the end than quitting feels in the middle. That’s when it really keeps me going. Another one is I can quit at any time. Truly. I can literally quit anytime, but what I want the most is growth or change or to show myself what I can do or to see this challenge from the other side, fill in the blank, but I can quit anytime I want. But what I want the most is blank. Okay? Here’s another one I love. The world longs for what I have to offer. Now, guys, I know that might not be true. The world might be like, shut up Wilson, zip it. But when I believe the world longs for what I have to offer and I actually share at very least with myself, what I have to offer.  

Okay, here it is my favorite. My anchor thought, which by the way, is becoming a words that move me, pop socket. As we speak, Merch alert coming soon. Here it is. “I am built for this.” When I think the thought I am built for this, you better believe I continue. Now, these thoughts might work for you. They might not. I encourage you to find your own. What are your anchor thoughts? What are the thoughts that keep your ship steady? When the skies and the seas start getting stormy,  Take a second  Or better yet. Take several minutes. This might be a homework assignment. Matter of fact. All right. So we’ve talked about some of my favorite reasons to continue some of my thoughts that keep me going now, let’s talk about some of my favorite reasons to quit. 

In fact, probably the only reasons in my eyes to quit. Number one, this isn’t safe. I am, or others are being harmed, damaged, or otherwise threatened. And I am a person who looks after my wellbeing. Safety first. No, thank you. The end, I quit. And I liked my reason. I like being a person that protects myself and others. So if something is not safe, if I sense that I or other people are being harmed or damaged or in danger, I absolutely will quit. And I absolutely will like my reason for it. Another one is I’m not being challenged and that’s a tricky one. See, I am a person who seeks growth and learning. So I will go wherever I need to go to find it. But this one’s tricky because it is very possible to find more challenge within the project or within the job or within the place that you’re thinking of leaving very possible to find or create that challenge and that opportunity to learn without quitting, but simply by changing the terms. For example, I am absolutely still going to do every single day, but I’m only giving myself 30 minutes to do it. See what I did there. Now the third one is kind of slippery when I think I have given my absolute best to this project. I love this project and I know that this relationship is complete, then I feel totally okay. Quitting the question there is, how do you know that the relationship is complete? Well, that’s up for you to decide you the individual. And you’ll be able to tell if you’re lying to yourself or not. So when it comes to doing daily, which by the way I want to point out is no small task. Although it might be about small bites, be sure that you have a strong reason for doing it. Decide why you are beginning. Then decide how you will measure your progress. Then decide what you’ll think in the, in the moments when you want to quit and finally decide how you will know when your project is complete and do that all at the beginning, make a plan. The doing daily diary is an interactive PDF that I created. It is on my website, theDanawilson.com/shop and it is an excellent way to organize all of those thoughts. Why are you beginning? How will you measure your progress? When will, you know, you’re completed and more, I highly highly recommended. I also recommend that you go easy on yourself. You choose the terms of your challenge of your resolution, and you can choose to change them. You can decide for example, that you get one mental health screen-free day per month, and that’s just built into the plan. You can decide that you get three, you can decide that you’ll extend your end date, but give yourself weekends off. You can decide that for every day you miss you’ll go two days longer. You can decide all sorts of things. There really is a lot of flexibility. And by the way, as I talk about flexibility, are your feelings about doing daily changing? When you think about how loose this very rigid concept might actually be, are your feelings about the project changing if they are it’s because your thinking is changing. And that is the first and most essential step to changing your life. So find those anchor thoughts, decide why when you begin and remember why all throughout I began by doing daily challenge, because I wanted to become a person who ships. I wanted to change my relationship with social media. That’s why I began. Why are you beginning your daily challenge if you’re taking one on or, or why are you deciding to become a new you in the new year, then decide on what keeps you going. If your initial, why doesn’t last, the whole term of your project that you’ve got to give yourself something else. This is where I stumbled upon. I am built for this, right? I didn’t believe that thought at the beginning of my project, but I found it throughout and I still believe it now. Then of course, decide how you will know when your project is complete. Is it a number of days? Is it a thought that once you believe you will know, okay, this is, this is the end. This is my last step. It’s entirely up to you, but I do encourage that. You make a decision. How will you know you have accomplished your goal. Oh, and one more thing when you find yourself holding two very contrasting thoughts at one time, for example, I love doing daily, but I don’t have time for this, or I love doing daily, but I should probably be focusing my attention on getting a real job or another one that I hear actually, quite often, I am so proud of this thing, but it’s like totally stupid. It’s not even a big deal. It’s just stupid little thing. When you find yourself holding those two contrasting thoughts at once, pull out your Sharpie pen and paper, and probably a magnifying glass so that you can look really, really closely at what is going on upstairs, dump all of your thoughts and be your own friend. You’ll likely find that you are forcing yourself into one or another of those two thoughts when you don’t actually believe either of them, you might actually find a third option, a thing that you actually believe, and you don’t have to believe either of the other two.  

All right, my friends, that is what I have for you today. And invitation to manage your mind, the key to keeping your resolutions and a friendly reminder that both continuing and quitting are both much more enjoyable when you like your reasons. And speaking of liking stuff, segue, here come wins. I am celebrating a big one. Um, Oh man, I can’t even remember how long ago it was now. November question Mark. Uh, back in November of 2020, I got to work with one of my favorite humans, Liza Koshy on a commercial for her new collaboration with Fabletics. This project presented such a delicious challenge. The project was really unique. A because Liza is unique and she is a star and she’s just simply the greatest, but B. because the direction of the spot was to feature dancers, dancing backwards, but also played backwards. In other words, the video is moving in, reverse.  

The dancers are dancing in reverse. So yes, if you understand double negatives, the dancing looks like it’s moving forward, but the world around the dancers is moving backwards. You guys mind bender? I’m celebrating that project, even though it happened a while back because it is finally out there in the world for all to see I’ll absolutely be linking to it in the show notes. I’m super proud of the research and development process. I’m really proud of the team, the new friends that I made along the way, super shout out to Kent Boyd Malia Baker. Um, Avery Zerr dropped in on a session of backward dance. I got backwards dance down with so many of my friends. Thank you all for the, for the fun and assistance in the R and D process. Huge shout out to Liza for being such a trooper. Not only learning choreography, but learning to dance it backwards while speaking backwards.  Okay. So go ahead. Have fun with that. Um, and big, big love to my four dancers. I had a tremendous time working with all four of you. Amari Marshall, your incredible Jaden Barba you are a Ray of sunshine, Alyson Van. After how many years are our paths crossing again. So special and Miki Michelle, you are a gem. Thank you all. And of course the Fabletics team for being a bright spot in my 2020, granted that bar was set pretty low, but still I am celebrating that gig as a win. And so glad to see this project out there in the world. Oh, NPS, the product is awesome. And I’m not a person that wears a lot of leggings, but I would wear these leggings. All right. That is my, when everybody now it’s your turn. What is going well, Hit me.  

Amazing. Congratulations. I’m so glad that you’re winning. Please do keep it up. Keep that chin up. Keep on pushing. Keep on swimming. Keep on keeping on speaking of keeping on man. Oh, the segues are a gift today. Upcoming episodes are big, really big. We’re going to be taking deep dive on commitment, which is important. Now that you have this episode as a launch pad and I have some very, very special guests lined up. So if you aren’t already please subscribe. You do not want to miss a single episode of season two. And speaking of missing things, if you are listening to this on the day of its release, you have two days to pre-register for the words that move me community membership, which officially launches on February 1st, but you can register to be a part of the community membership at any time. Um, however, if you register before January 15th, you get a free words that move me shoe bag to keep your funky things in a funky place.  And you get an invite to our virtual mixer. And if you invest in the whole year up front, you get a free 45 minute one-on-one with me. So go, go, go, go visit theDanawilson.com/workwithme and click words that move me community to learn more and join. All right, theDanawilson.com/workwithme  Words that move me community subscribe 45 minute one on one shoe bag. I think we’ve covered it. All right, everyone go on out there into the world. Think solid thoughts. Get your solid footing. You’ve got this. I’ve got you. Let’s go  Keep it funky. Yeah, I’ll stick to that. 

Ep. #54 Doing Daily Success Story with Rebekah Rangel

Ep. #54 Doing Daily Success Story with Rebekah Rangel

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 My year + of doing daily changed my life more than any other project to date.   It helped me redefine creativity.  It helped me put perfectionism in the passenger seat.  It got me better acquainted with my talents and my taste.  Exactly one year ago, in episode one and two of the podcast, I went deep on Doing Daily. I encourage you go back and get all the juicy details, but today, we are approaching Doing Daily a bit differently.  Today we are approaching Doing Daily with a success story.  NOT MY SUCCESS STORY. Rebekah’s success  (and struggle) story!  ENJOY!

Quick Links:

Skill Share: https://www.skillshare.com/

The Dunning Kruger Effect: https://onlinepethealth-info.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Dunning-Kruger.jpg

Rebekah’s sunnyvale video: https://www.instagram.com/p/B8BBr91B_XD/

My sunnyvale video… which oddly is just a photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/BHFTDsHhc0p/

My Egg video: https://www.instagram.com/p/p4HppIxnP3/


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: My friend, my friend, hello, and welcome to the podcast. I am so jazzed you are here and I am jazzed to be celebrating a new year with you. Happy new year to everyone. Who’s listening to this episode on or around its release date. I don’t know about you, but I am thrilled to be looking at 2020 through the rear view mirror right now. Although of course, positive Patty over here is carrying a lot of appreciation for the year and the tough lessons learned along the way. Shout out to my last episode, the 2020 recap. Um, but I do, I have, I have some genuine gratitude for 2020, uh, for graduating 2020 and a ton of gratitude for all of you listeners that made my year of weekly podcasting go by in the blink of an eye. Truly thank you. I have decided to continue this weekly tradition of podcasting because in it I have found a new way to connect without contact a new way to share a new way to learn and yes, a new way to be creative. And I love it. And I’m going to start a new, new tradition. Um, just like last year in episode one today, I am going to talk about doing daily, the project that changed my life more than any other, the project that helped me to redefine creativity for myself. The project that helped me put perfectionism in the passenger seat, the project that got me better acquainted with my talents and my taste, the project that gave me the tools and the strength and the stamina to tackle all of my other work. And honestly my whole life, if it seems like a big deal, it is, it is signing a contract with yourself to make a creative work daily. And then to not break that contract, it’s about becoming a person that does what you say you will do. And if that sounds like I’m being dramatic, um, Oh, go ahead and go into my Instagram feed from 2014 into 2015 for 400 plus days of consecutive videos and some real drama like top tier micro dramas. Um, I really do encourage you go back and listen to those first couple of episodes, episode one, to get all of the juicy details and episode two for a bit of a technical breakdown of how I actually did all of that for over a year. Um, you can pause and do that now, or you can do that later, dancer’s choice totally up to you.  But today we’re going to be approaching doing daily a bit differently, um, an updated version, if you will, the 2021 edition. And I’m so excited to repeat this in years in the future. Um, today we’re going to be approaching doing daily with a success story, not my success story. After all, when I did daily, the world was very different. This is a real 2020 success story. Rebekah Rengal started doing 279 days ago as of this recording. So way back in 2020, she began her journey after starting listening to words that move me and I am so glad that she did her project has brought me joy and inspiration. And from the sounds of it, it has changed her life as much as my daily project changed mine. In this interview, we dig into the byproducts of taking on a daily creative challenge, some of her tips and tricks, uh, some of the peaks and some of the valleys and the role of feedback in her process. Um, and a whole lot more. So let’s not waste any time let’s get into it. Oh, and if you’re a regular listener, no, I did not forget wins. Yes, we do have new wins music and yes, they’re all coming be patient and enjoy this success story with Rebekah Rengal 

Rebkah Rengal, you probably know better than anybody, how we operate here on the podcast. You get to introduce yourself, what do you want everybody listening to know about you?  

Rebekah: Okay. I did think about this and I’m not sure. I am a person who has been doing daily and that’s what I got.  

And today that is what we are talking about. So that is perfect. Um, this is, this is, this is a celebration episode. I think you have accomplished a lot,  you may not be my first Daily doer, but I I’m certain that you are my longest running daily doing. If I’m not mistaken today would be your 279th, Correct? 

Rebekah: Correct. 

Consecutive do. And, and what is your goal? Do you have a, uh, a number in your mind? That’s when you might stop  

366 is, but also when I think about it, I’m like maybe I would keep going. I feel like the end doesn’t necessarily seem like the end  

I love that! Today. We’re semi celebrating prematurely because you have not yet accomplished your 366 or beyond, but that’s not really the point of doing daily. It’s really not about accomplishing a number of days or a number of videos or a number of paintings or a number of poems. It’s about this certainty in yourself. It’s about this unwavering commitment and doing something, not because you’re inspired or, you know, you’re an artist at heart and you have to make, or you’re possessed. It’s, it’s not even because you want to it’s because you said that you would, and so you will. Um, and so congratulations on being a person that does what you say you will do. I am in. Awe.  

Thank you. Thank you. 

You’re so welcome. Uh, so I want to talk a little bit about your doing daily experience. Um, so maybe we could start by talking about the muscles that have gotten stronger because of this project for you.  

I feel like there’s a lot, uh, I would say like my mental fortitude and just like continuing. It’s so much harder than you think. Like, I don’t know how to describe it. I guess like all the good sentiments are there and all the good, like ways of dealing with like negative thoughts and things, like all the resources are there, but just practicing it is a whole another thing. And like, just cause you know, it doesn’t mean you know it. 

Just because you’ve heard it doesn’t mean that you’ve learned it. Oh my God. Yeah. 100% like, yes. And that’s, that’s why I love seeing people doing, instead of just listening and liking it really, you have to apply and you have to feel and experience for yourself. So many of these lessons. Um, so yeah, that’s huge. Thank you for adding that.  

Yeah. And thanks for those early episodes are really helpful. And I don’t know if you like really intended them to be for like doers, but I feel like a lot of them it’s like the mentality and tools are like,  

You’re, you’re using those. You’re using those tools. 

Yes. So thank you 

Killer. Oh my gosh. You’re so welcome. Thank you. Thank you for doing this. Thank you for being here. I’m just thrilled about you. Um, okay. And what were the byproducts like any awesome or terrible things that have come up for you in the last almost 280 days that you did not expect?  

Well, like this is pretty awesome. Getting to meet other doers is awesome. For sure. I met Alyssa through zoom and I met, um, Stephanie and like people in classes like your class, seeing them being like, Whoa, they’re real people.  

And we’re almost three-dimensional. Someday, hopefully we will be three-dimensional figures in all of our lives, but right now we, yeah, yeah. We’re, we’re real people out there in the world. When I started doing daily, I expected other people in my immediate circle to be annoyed by it or to be jealous of it or to like have some sort of reaction. I just expected that would happen. And actually, I won’t say the opposite happened, but something interesting, something that I did not predict happen. And that is that so many people started coming to me with their creative ideas. They were like, “yo, you should do a video about this. Or, Oh, that thing you did was so funny. Have you thought about doing this or you should do this or we should do this.” And I just became this like bucket that everybody brought their, their video ideas to because I was the person that made videos daily and that, that was such a gift.  I mean, sometimes I made them sometimes I didn’t, but people really stepped up and started offering ideas of what I should/could do. Um, and this is in the days long before the podcast, obviously to, to most of the people that I recommend, Oh, why don’t you do that? And so many people just didn’t identify with being a person that makes videos. They just, they, they just were like, no, that’s your thing. One of the coolest byproducts is that I kind of became a bucket for other people’s ideas. But now even that many years later, I’m starting to see people take the baton. People who consider themselves makers and doers are making and doing. And that is the greatest thing. 

That’s really cool.  

Super cool.  What are the outstanding pieces that you’ve done? What stands out in your memory? Like if I asked for a, a top five.  

Oh, okay. I think of one it’s it was at the Sunnyvale community center where you also had a daily, but, but I was, I was using the steps, um, that if no one knows it like goes across water. Right. And it’s like a bridge. So like obviously there’s people going around this body of water and meeting across, the bridge. And I tried to plan it where like, there wasn’t that many people there, but there’s definitely people there. And like, I’m trying to like balance making something, but then also like letting people pass and like, and like trying to not look questionable, but I think it was fine, but that was like one of my first ones where I was like, it’s kind of a lot of people and I’m going to need to figure out how to do this while not being like an obstruction.  

There is a byproduct for sure. Crowd management, like the language that you use to explain what you’re doing and that you’re not a threat. And like some of the signals I’m filming, please stand back or no, come on over. Come on. It’s fine. Yes. I’m recording. I, I remember I had some, I established some habits during my day. Uh, during my days of doing, I would carry a little bit of cash in case I needed to like pay somebody off to use their location. For example, I’m dancing on somebody’s property and they’re like, “Hey, get out of here.” And I’m like, “Oh, I’m sorry. It’s just so beautiful. Would you? Aye. Aye. Hey, is it worth $20 for five more minutes?” And most of the times somebody would be like, yeah, go ahead. Go ahead. Hey, what are you doing anyways? Um, and then it kind of became a collaboration and more interesting to them, but yeah, managing people and, uh, being working in places that aren’t your studio or your garage or your controlled environment, that is absolutely a skill, a muscle that gets strong over the process. Um, okay. So the Sunnyvale Rec center, those concrete steps across the water, it’s such a beautiful location. Please go back and find that. Or actually I will link to that video in the show notes. Um, what else, what else stands out  

Anytime I’ve worked with other people, for sure. But like more than one other person. Cause like a duo is fun, but like I feel like three or more is a lot more fun.  

Exponentially, more fun. Yeah.  

And I don’t have a specific one for that, but anytime that happened,  

Anything else? 

Um,  I think of the, I recently really got into this mirror in my room. I started to use the mirror cause I was on Pinterest. I don’t know if you use Pinterest like for like video or like composition inspiration, but I’ve gotten into using it for that  

Smart Pinterest for composition. This is a really good hack. I love it. I love it. Um, I have noticed, in fact, I was going to ask you have a couple of recurring themes. Your mirror and mirrors in general are definitely among them. And I love that you use the mirror because it’s in a way that’s very different than the way that most dancers use a mirror, which is for, you know, my body does the things, my eyes see the reflection, my brain computes the information that my eyes are giving me. And then I adjust my body accordingly. Right. But you’re, you use a mirror in a way that’s extremely sensitive and almost sensual. Um, and it’s very curious and it’s gentle and it does not feel at all to me the way that most dancers use mirrors. So I love all of your, all of your videos that have a mirror in them. Um, another theme that I’ve noticed in your work is light. I love the way you use brightness and shadow, um, actual like bulbs, like light bulbs, but also the sun and natural light and natural dark spaces. Um, is that something that you explore intentionally? Is that something that really speaks to you? Um,  

Thank you for talking about so nicely, that way I like when I first started, I wasn’t thinking about composition, I was just like, okay, how do I need to make a thing? And then I need to capture it. And then like, I started to get bored of just capturing it and it felt, it felt super impersonal. Um, and so then I was like, well, I need ideas. So like, let me look on Pinterest, let me look up, um, music videos and be like looking to photographers and stuff. And then I started testing it out and, Oh, there’s this one guy on Skillshare. He’s a director named Ryan Booth. He only has one class. A lot of them have like multiple, but his one class is like how to make cinematic images or I think cinematography. And he said like his biggest tip was just like, you just know when, you know, and I think up until that point, I was like, Ooh, I don’t know. Like, I don’t know. I don’t know. And then I was like, okay, well I’ll know when I’ll know. And so I’ll just start playing around and like looking for things, right. Isn’t that great. 

If you’re a person who’s hearing that right now from the outside thinking, but that doesn’t help me. The thing that will help you is trying and practicing and trying and practicing relentlessly, giving yourself an opportunity to explore very well. The, I don’t know, side, and that actually creates room for knowing. And the more you try and the more you fail and the more you identify what feels impersonal or feels shallow or feels not quite full or rich enough, then you, you actually, from that space, you nudge yourself over into maybe some discomfort, but certainly some learning and then ultimately knowing, and you see it and you know, Oh, it’s amazing. Um, I’m, I’m super glad that you’re sharing these resources. That’s cool. I, in my year of doing Instagram was definitely a thing, but videos were 15 seconds and they weren’t really used for sharing dance so much. And this is way before Tik ToK or anything like that. So my, my references, oddly enough, being a person that came up in the entertainment industry and working a lot in music videos and, and pop music, my references often weren’t, um, music, videos, or cinema at all, but I’ll tell you where I did find a lot of inspiration or a lot of my videos landed straight up commercials, like fake commercials. I remember, um, I did a commercial about sugar. I did a sort of commercial about socks and wooden shoes. And like all of the things like I was very informed by how commercials are made and partially because they’re short form also because I’m a person that raised that was raised in a, um, in a consumer driven era. So a lot of my work was like little micro commercials. I don’t see that when I see your work. I see like I see compositions, little micro compositions, so, so, so good looking. Um, so you mentioned that you’re like going out into the world now for inspiration. Do you think it’s safe to say that this project has changed the way you relate to the world, you know, in, in the way that you’re going out and looking for new things?  

I think so. I think I look at it more like opportunistically and then like more closely, especially like, well, I go outside more now, but like during the beginning of lockdown, I was like, I felt guilty about going outside all the times. So I started to look at my own space more closely. And then I think when I first started going out, I was like looking for, um, like pretty places or like interesting things. But like within those places, like, there’s like other interesting things.  

So it’s not always, it’s not always the first or most obvious place or thing.  

Yeah. But it like never is  

Never no.  

There’s so many videos of me, like trying to like figure out how to shoot something after like 10 or 15 minutes. I’m like, okay, this will work.  

Oh, that sounds like a video in and of itself. I did that several times as well. Repurposing the in-between captures or the bloopers. I think I have a handful of blooper dailies for sure. There was plenty to go around. Um, okay. And has this experience changed your relationship to social media right now you are sharing on Instagram. Um, are you sharing on tick-tock as well? Out of curiosity. 

I’m not, I don’t have a Tik Tok 

Okay. Me neither, which makes two people on the whole planet. Okay. Um, yeah. Do you think it’s changed the way that you think of social media?  

I think so. It’s changed my expectation or like my, what I hope social media to be like, like, I mean, you talk about this, I think, you know, social media episode, like you put your best work out there and I feel like we miss a lot from people just because that’s the expectation.  

Right. Nobody’s sharing the video of them, like changing light bulb or cleaning their toilet or like doing the less flattering parts of life or do they, I mean, they’re not flooding my feed that’s for sure.  

But, and I just wish other people just, cause I think it, it sparks like individual voices versus like, uh, like a standard. I wish more people were more open to that. We’re more open to sharing without thinking that it needs to be perfect. I guess.  

What is your standard for perfection before you post your dailies? Do you, do you have one? Are you like, listen, it’s 30 seconds. It’s it includes dance. It’s fine.  

I have to like it enough.  I might not even like ending, but it’s like,  If I enjoyed making it enough, I’ll be like, Oh, well I enjoy making it. And if anyone’s like, that looked awful, but listen, I had a good time and I learned this and this and that’s fine.  

Ah, that is a good metric for the share. I enjoyed making this thing. So here it is. Whether or not you like what it is actually has no relevance at all because it’s not about the product. It’s about the process.  

Yeah. I think Andy Warhol has a quote and I’m going to mess it up, but he says like, um, like make, basically like make art and then like when you share it and while people are deciding whether it’s good or bad, just keep making more art. And I’m like, Woah. I saw that on Pinterest,  

Super shout out, Pinterest. That is the backbone of the doing daily idea. By the time you’re hitting share or post or what is it? What is it? What’s the last button you, I dunno,  Post?

Is is create?   

No, that’s the first one or it’s the little plus button. You guys, what is the last button that you push in Instagram before it goes out there into the world? Hold on. I’ve got to find out. I’m done. It’s share. 

Oh my God.  

The final button is sharing. Okay. So before you click share, you’re already thinking about what’s tomorrow or what’s the next thing. So in some ways you’ve already released the thing that you’re sharing today because you’re onto the next 24 hours. I think that is such a powerful thing. Um, at least once a year, I work on a new, real, uh, performance real usually, and a choreography real. So every year I work on two different reels and one of the conversations I have to have with myself, cause I also suffer from perfectionism is like Dana, the work is already done. The work is done. Let it be done, put it out into the world and keep going that the goal as an artist is not to create a perfect reel it’s to create period. So package it however you will and send it out there. Cause the work is done. It’s about making more. So that is definitely at the backbone of, of doing daily. For sure. Love this. Um, okay. So I’m curious. Have you ever gotten any really negative feedback about your dailies?  

I’ve only gotten construct, uh, constructive criticism, um, and it’s normally delivered extra padded. Super nicely. So, and I, I enjoy that more because like, I think like I don’t necessarily trust positive comments all the time though. I do like them, you know, so, but if you give me constructive criticism, I’m like, Oh sweet. Like that’s, that’s a conversation like that’s useful. Not that it. Oh my gosh. Not that it’s not useful to have positive comments. Keep, please  

Keep the praise coming, but I’m not really listening to it. 

Yeah, exactly. 

All right.  I thought it would be wise to pop out here and have a quick little chat about social media in episode 10, I talk about using social media as your personal storefront, but things have changed a little bit in the social sphere, especially with Instagram and Facebook’s recent privacy policy changes. So right now I am a little less quick to encourage everyone to embark on a daily creative challenge and share it on Instagram. It is true that feedback and having a quick feedback loop and especially that constructive criticism can be useful. It was a really valuable part of my year of dailies, but view counts and emoji praise are not the valuable thing. The real value is less about developing a sensitivity to feedback and more about developing a sensitivity to yourself and your tools. That is why I created the words that move me community membership.  This is a special place where the members, you listeners doers get a place to learn yourself, learn your tools, and yes, get that constructive criticism without offering all of your personal information up to the greater internet. So stick around to the end of the episode, to hear more about the membership. In the meantime though, let’s get back to Rebekah because at this point in the conversation, she and I went in on the Dunning Kruger effect, which explains the relationship of confidence and competence. You’ve probably heard of the Dunning-Kruger effect or maybe seen a line graph of it somewhere at some point. Um, I will include an image of that and a link to some Dunning-Kruger info in the show notes, by the way, but I’ll try to explain it to you as best as I can here. Um, in words, the graph has confidence as its vertical axis and competence or knowledge like skill level as the horizontal axis and the linear relationship of the graph might not be what you would expect.  Confidence does not increase in correlation with capability or knowledge. In other words, you don’t necessarily just get more confident in something. The more knowledge you have, the more experience you have with it. In fact, the research shows, peaks, valleys, slopes, plateaus, all of which you are guaranteed to be running into during a year of doing daily. By the way. Now the most interesting about the Dunning-Kruger phenomenon to me is that it shows people with very little to no experience. In other words, beginner level, people overestimate their ability, meaning their confidence is high and their exposure to something is very low. In their early days they’re extremely confident. And then as they go on and gain knowledge and get experience, they lose confidence at a very speedy rate because they become more aware of how much they have to learn. They are introduced to the specialists in that field, um, that make them aware of their beginnerness and think that they’re awful and never going to get any better.  So with that, they fall into what some people call the Valley of despair, but I call it the pit of despair because I am a Princess Bride fan don’t even think about trying to escape. The chains are far too thick. Uh, anyway, once the person in the pit of despair starts to change their thinking and use their knowledge differently and simply continue that leads to a slow but steady enlightenment, this upward slope coming up out of the pit of despair. And eventually they plateau the plateau of ability forever more. I think, I don’t know if that ever drops off. I wonder what the end end end of the Dunning-Kruger effect looks like anyways, where Rebekah and I landed today is that any doing daily is better than no doing like 30 days, great, 60 days, awesome. 90 days radical, a hundred days fabulous, but a year or a year plus of doing daily, that gives you time to get in and come up out of the pit of despair, which is where Rebekah is sitting right now, by the way. So let’s go  get her out.  

Dana: I’m going to do my best to throw you some carabiners and ropes and whatever it is you need to get up out of there. Yeah. Okay. So from the depths of the pit, then here comes the question, would you recommend doing daily to other creative types?  

I would. And I don’t know if you know, this is a thing, but like in the graphic design world, it’s like a, like a, a year challenge is like a thing. Like there’s some people I follow where they’re going in their second year or like they did two years. And I think that the challenge attracts dancers, for sure.  

Oh, for sure. I, yes. I think that, yeah, I absolutely did not invent doing daily. Um, I think that today by design people might be doing daily and not even knowing it because of how addictive some of these social platforms are. Um, like I bet people are out there tic talking and not even knowing that they’re on their 62nd day of making a dance or doing a dance  Or being active or making a recipe. Um, so I just, that is always really curious to me, but I do think there’s something to be said for being deliberate, having a goal, saying you will do a thing and showing yourself that you can be a person that does what they say they will do. Um, yeah. I look back on my year with, with great fondness and when it comes to Tik Tok and dailies today, because people have said this before people have said, Oh my God, you were so ahead of the trend, you would be so great at Tik Tok. You should, you should be on Tik Tok. Um, I can’t explain why I’m not, uh, probably with some more time I could do a little bit more digging, but the answer is, I, I don’t feel the same way about Tik Tok that I did about Instagram at the beginning when I had this thing, that was like, I don’t like my reasons for not being more present there. Um, I don’t have that for Tok Tok I’m not there and I’m totally okay with it. So I don’t think that’s the place I’ll be putting myself in the near future. Um, maybe within the next year, perhaps. I don’t know. I hear it’s very fun, but I,  

I shouldn’t, I just imagine I’m like, wow, you would kill it.  

I don’t know. Maybe I would, maybe I wouldn’t, it’s certainly a new, a new thing to learn and I’m all for learning. So Hey, maybe you’ll find me there. Um, okay. Final question. Um, could you share some of the memorable moments that were maybe, uh, less appetizing, less fun to experience so that perhaps anybody listening who’s embarking on a daily journey might, uh, might not feel so alone or it might be able to avoid some, some traps that may be laid out before them.  

Okay. Um, and I’m actually curious if you had had the similar experience, but I find that like, if I just like beat an idea to the ground, that’s not working. That is never a good time. And just like I, so like, this is the thing that I’ve, I heard from a lot of professors and like, they’re like, your first idea is never your best, but I do think sometimes your first idea can be your best idea, but also if it’s not working out, like I just, I go to that thought and then I move on and I’ll try like, like now I’ll try so many different things. Cause like, even though I’m like taking that time, it seemed like in my mind, I’m like, Oh, I’ll have one idea. And it’ll be the most time efficient to just get through that one idea. But actually that one idea becomes like two or three hours of just like not working out when it could have been like 30 minutes to try. I’m just trying to figure it out and trying different things. And then like another, like 30 minutes to who knows how long, but it would be more enjoyable. So I think like just being able to let things go and move on and like try different things and like be really open to be open to failing.  

Yeah. Failing is so not so bad when you’re open to it. And when that’s part of the plan, when you know, going into it like, Oh, this is one of the ones that I promised myself would happen. I knew this, okay, this is cool. I didn’t expect this today, but I knew this was going to happen. Okay. We’re in it. Here we go. Um, I think that’s great advice and I, I love this sentiment that your first idea might actually be your best idea, but you won’t know if it is or isn’t, if you don’t also explore some other ideas. So sometimes you’ll come around to that first idea being the best idea, but you won’t know if that first idea was the best idea if you don’t have others. Right. I love that. So don’t stop having ideas just because you’ve got a good one allow for there to be proof that you have the best idea by all the other, not so best ideas, which could also fill up other days of the year, by the way, it might turn into the best to someone or for some situation.  

Yeah. I’ll also like planted the seed before. Like I feel like, like I’ve tried an idea that didn’t work on a certain day, but then I did it slightly differently another day. And then that just became an own day.  

Yes, it’s its own day. Oh, that’s the other gift of dailies is that there are enough days for everything to get a spotlight. That was definitely a creative, a creative weakness of mine was this idea that I had to be all of the things all of the time and that every one of my works needed to be bright and dark and romantic and funny and have a perfect arc and have a protagonist and an antagonist and be a commercial and be a musical theater number. Oh my God. Nope. It can just be one thing. Your work does not have to be all of the things at all of the time. It can simply be one thing and sometimes that’s the best.  

Yeah. Cause I think, cause I went through, uh, your dailies and like, I remember being like surprised at the production level. I’m like, who has like, who had the ability to plan that much on like a daily basis, but then you also had some that were like, like, I love to think of the one where you were taking a picture in like Russia or something and like almost knock over a sign. And then like also one where you’re like playing air guitar with someone. And I was like, and those are just as quality as like, um, something that had a lot more depth, like with the eggs, I feel like. And like, like where the theme itself is much more deep and like the delivery’s really like there, but I was like, why are these kind of equivalent?  

Right. Because different days for different different days for different ways, I suppose. Yeah. Um, okay. So all in all would recommend daily doing 10 out of 10. 

Yes. 10 out of 10 I think everybody should do it. Honestly. I love that attitude. And so do I, but you would be surprised at how many people I have told this is the secret too. Like when people ask me how I did what I did,  It was this. I mean there were people and there were opportunities and there was, you know, opportunity meets preparation, all freaking over the place. But the reason I’m able to own my talent, and my accomplishments is because of the lessons I learned during this project. I can say that without, without batting an eye, it’s possible that I’ll listen to it later and be like, Oh, I have a small edit to that, but, but I really, I really believe that. And I’ve told more people than I can count to try this, but not very many of them do. Um, and here’s why because of the pit, because of the pit, because of self-doubt because of, uh, paralyzing fear of what other people might think. And I’ve got tricks for that. Keep listening to the podcast. Um, and if you are listening at the day of this release, which is the first episode in 2021, then I am kicking off, uh, words that move me community that will be packed with all the tools and helpful hints and support to not only pursue, but thrive in a daily creative life. And it’s not just for daily doers, but I think daily doers are just the best. So I extra welcome doers to the community, but it’s really built for anybody who has creative inklings and might be saying no to themselves instead of yes. Um, so I’m glad you said yes to this challenge. I say yes, like out loud, every time I watch one of your videos in some way shape or form, I’m like, Oh yes. Or Ooh. Yeah. Um, so thank you for doing, for all of your doings and man, I’m excited to celebrate again with you on 366.  

Thank you so much for having me. This is honestly nuts way I can put it, I guess.  

Well, it’s real. It just happened. And you did great by the way, I know that like dancing and speaking very different skillsets, very different skill sets. And I’m actually shocked that in all of my dance training, we never really rehearsed even like a slate or a short story about yourself. Like be ready to talk about you and what you do. It’s not something that we get trained for, but it’s another thing that doing daily kind of helps you to accomplish in spending all that time with yourself and your work. You get to learn yourself a little better. So I’m glad you got a lot better. I’m glad you got to put it into words today. That was so much fun. Thank you. I I’ll talk to you again soon.  

Bye. Thank you. 

All right. I hope you enjoyed hearing from Rebekah and I hope that you revisit those early episodes for helpful insights and tools for doing daily. And I really, really hope you consider taking on a daily creative challenge of your own to help you out along that way, to help you up out of the pit of despair. I have put together a little interactive PDF. I call it the doing daily diary and it is the companion that I wish I had during my year of doing it includes a contract to keep yourself accountable, a couple of different methods for organizing your ideas and of course, ways of tracking your progress. If that sounds interesting or helpful to you go head over to theDanawilson.com/shop to download. And I should mention that the doing daily project has nothing to do with a new year, um, by no means, do you need to start today? In fact, you can start at any time. And speaking of starting a segue that brings us to our wins segment. If you are familiar with the podcast in season one, AKA 2020, I know it’s a very long season. I celebrate wins at the top of every episode. And then I share the floor with you to do the same. In 2021, we will close each episode with wins so that you finish on a high and mighty note. You head out into the world, victorious and funky and here we go. Let’s give it a shot. This week, my win is that with the help of a stellar team, shout out Malia Baker and Riley Higgins. You now have a place albeit a digital place to connect with me and each other. Yes. The words that move me, community affectionately acronymed, WTMMCOMM W-T-M-M-C-O-M-M. The words that move me community is up and open for pre-registration. So if you are looking for support from other creatives and meaningful connections, this program is for you.  If you are ready to look into the mirror and see clarity instead of criticism, this program is for you. And if you are ready to blow the lid off of what is possible in the next phase of your career, I am ready for you. Let’s go head over to theDanawilson.com/workwithme and click on words that move me community for more information and a preregistration links, all of the details about what the membership includes and the different tiers of membership can be found there. So enjoy that’s my win. I hope to be winning with you all year long. And now before I yield the floor to you and your win, I have some lucky contest winners to announce, Oh yes. Indeedy! Three of you have a win to celebrate and you don’t even know it yet. Jesse Sawyers over at getting unlocked and I were thrilled to see all of the entries for our t-shirt giveaway contest.  So many of you were getting behind the statement. We welcome your differences, and I cannot tell you how glad I am to have a random generator decide who wins this contest. Because if I had to make a selection based on your entries, I would not be able to do it. You all put forward such incredible work with such beautiful sentiment. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for meaning it. We welcome your differences. Um, if you are not a lucky t-shirt winner today, however, you can still find our, our collaboration. T-shirt at my website, theDanawilson.com/shop and of course over gettingunlocked.com. All right, without any further ado, drum roll, please. Our three lucky winners are Brandon Maxwell @_Brandon Maxwell, Cristina McKeever @Cristina,McKeever and Stephanie Lamb @slam.doingdaily Congratulations, all three of you and pretty congratulations to all of you who are about to witness our brand new wins music. All right, everybody shout it from the top of your lungs. What’s going well in your world.  

Oh my gosh. I feel so victorious when I listen to that new wins music. And I hope that you do too. Shout out Mr. Max Winnie. Thank you so much for the tuneage as per usual. And congratulations everybody congrats on your wins. I hope to be a part of your many, many, many wins to come again. If you are interested in joining the community and working closer together, then all you have to do is head over to theDanawilson.com/workwithme and then click words that move me community is all there is to it, all the information you need and the links to pre-register are all right there, that Dana wilson.com/work with me, click on words the move me community, and I will see you there. Keep it funky everybody. Bye. 

Ep. #53 2020: Lessons Learned

Ep. #53 2020: Lessons Learned

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 I learned a lot in 2020 and this weekly podcast was both my teacher and my notebook. In this episode I’ll recap what I have learned from 2020 and a year of weekly podcasting: the good, the bad and the ugly… and the fun.  It was a good year to know how to be alone with yourself.  It was a good year to know how to talk to yourself, and love yourself.  A good year to learn how to connect with people without physically making contact with them. In other words, it was a good year for podcasts… and if I have anything to do with it, next year will be to.

Show Notes:


Want to register for the WTMM Community?
Email us: WTMMPodcast@gmail.com or Visit https://www.thedanawilson.com/workwithme/membership-tiers

Curious about Coaching? https://www.thedanawilson.com/coachcurious

Vulfpeck Christmas in LA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5K3UgrPdbQ

Raspberry Sumac Snickerdoodles: https://mynameisyeh.com/mynameisyeh/2019/11/sumac-snickerdoodles

Get The New Jim Crow, White Fragility, How to be Anti-Racist, and Changing the Conversation from one of these independent black owned bookstores: https://lithub.com/you-can-order-today-from-these-black-owned-independent-bookstores

Favorite Dana Caspersen Talks:


James Baldwin on Dick Cavett: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzH5IDnLaBA

James Baldwin Debates William F Buckley: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFeoS41xe7w&t=937s

James Baldwin and NIkki Giovanni: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZmBy7C9gHQ

Misting bottle: https://www.mcmaster.com/spray-bottles/fine-mist-spray-bottles/

How to teach dance on Zoom: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rW3U2Fv2CY8&t=401s 
Sonya Renee Taylor:https://www.sonyareneetaylor.com


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, Hello, my friend. How are you feeling today? Checking in on you here at the end of 2020. If you’re listening to this on its release, this is the last episode of 2020 everybody. This is the last episode of the year. Whoa. And what a year, it was a very good year to know how to be alone with yourself. It was a very good year to know how to talk to yourself and love yourself a very good year to learn how to connect with people without physically making contact with them.  So, yeah, I would say it was a good year for podcasting. I started the podcast in the last week of December of 2019 actually. Well, before the COVID-19 pandemic knocked out “normal” (in quotes) and I believe, and I plan on continuing my new weekly tradition long after we find our “new normal” (also in quotes), because in doing this podcast, I have found a new favorite way to connect a favorite way to share and yes, a new way to be creative, I suppose. And I have learned a lot in 2020. Um, the podcast was both my teacher and my notebook for all of my lessons learned. And in this episode, I am going to recap all the good, all the good goods, all the bad bads, the goods, the bads, and the uglies, um, and the funs I think. I should mention also that this episode is being brought to you by Purell and Clorox and homemade masks and shields. Okay, kidding. Um, podcast is still totally ad-free, which I am super proud of, but Hey, who knows? Maybe in 2021, I will learn more about advertising, but also maybe not. Okay. You know the deal, before we get into it, we’re going to start with wins. Today I am celebrating my first Christmas in Los Angeles, que Vulfpeck Christmas in LA, which is such the gem, by the way, if you have not heard, heard that song, Holy smokes, I’m linking to it in the show notes. Okay. Just to recap, it was 70 degrees on Christmas day in the Valley and not a cloud in the sky. I ate food. I drink drinks, not too much of either. I want to point out very proud of that. Um, I took a nap and I felt love. I felt like my insides were the actual cotton candy machine, warm and wispy and windy and sweet all day long top to bottom.  So incredible. Oh man. Speaking of sweet, actually I think the real undercover win of this whole holiday thing is that I successfully baked delicious cookies. And that is saying a lot because I do not have a ton of confidence in the kitchen. And I’m proud of these cookies. Also a Testament to these cookies. My husband does not so much love the sweet things. And he said that these were good cookies. He has no reason to lie. Although he has sworn to be the protector of my happiness. Anyways, I’m proud. I made the cookies. I’m becoming a person that has some confidence in the kitchen. Um, so I will definitely be doing that again and again. Um, the recipe, by the way, for the said raspberry sumac, snickerdoodle cookies will be in the show notes of this episode also. Oh, by the way, the quick links to this episode, the show notes of this episode are a gift like an actual gift. You might want to print this out or select all and save absolutely download this episode because there is a lot of goodness going on here. Um, okay, so let’s get, Oh, sorry, sorry. Sorry. Almost forgot your turn. What’s going well in your world. What gifts are you celebrating? Go.  

I can not wait for our new wins music coming soon. 2021 get ready. The podcast is getting a makeover. Um, both visually and audio auditorially auditorily, right? Okay. Lessons learned from 2020 and a year of weekly podcasts. Holy smokes. Um, do you mind if I start heavy? Do you mind if I don’t provide you with a warmup here in this episode, do you mind if we don’t even run it with counts? Do you mind if we go straight to groups? Um, yeah, that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to do today. 2020 has taught me, that COVID-19 cannot kill racism. In fact, disproportionate COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in communities of color, the court ruling of Brianna Taylor’s case and the murder of George Floyd have shown substantial evidence that racism is indeed alive and well in America. I am not excited to report this lesson learned. This year I learned how much I still have to learn about systemic racism in America. One of my lessons this year was to not just share the spotlight, but to shine the spotlight, like step out of the spotlight, climb up the truss, look at the big picture and shine light on the most important things. The things that need to be seen. Thank you, Dominique Kelly for that super teachable moment in Episode 25. Thank you. Jermaine Spivey in episode 29 for, for walking me through a breakthrough about goals. In that episode, I learned that one of the privileges I hold that I had never counted was simply my own belief that my wildest dreams can come true. Thank you. Also Popin Pete for taking 45 minutes out of your funky funky life to talk to me on the phone and remind me that apologizing for my privilege is about as helpful as, oh man, tap shoes in a ballet class, trying to make a dance analogy falling very short me apologizing for my privilege is not actually tremendously helpful at all, but my seeking to understand where I can do that better is, and I’m coming committed to that lifelong journey.  Now I am certain that I will listen back to this episode a year or several years from now and shake my head at how clumsily I was finding my feet and finding my words and I’ll think of a million things that I should have said. I’m sure I’ll wish I had said certain things differently. So I’d like to close this section and this lesson learned with a quote that speaks to, uh, speaking about racism. In her book Untamed, which I have now read cover to cover and posted more post-its in than you’ve ever seen in one place. Um, and I’ve also shared it with more people than I can count, uh, in Untamed Glennon Doyle, the author says “We have fallen into the trap of believing that becoming racially sober is about saying the right thing instead of becoming the right thing.”  

Yeah, I’ll go ahead and bring that back one more time. “We have fallen into the trap of believing that becoming racially sober is about saying the right thing instead of becoming the right thing.”

Well, for me this year and every year forward will be about becoming the right thing, becoming anti-racist. Thank you, Glennon Doyle for that book. Thank you, Michelle Alexander for The New Jim Crow. Thank you, Robin De Angelo for White fragility. Thank you. Ta- Nehisi Coates for Between the World and Me and thank goodness for Dana Caspersen and a return to James Baldwin for a deep, deep, deep dive and masterclass on critical thinking and powerful speaking. If you didn’t learn about James Baldwin in your history or literature classes, then I’m sorry. You have a lot of catching up to do. He was a profound thinker and a profound influence, a poet playwright, author activist, and much, much more for an introduction to James. I might suggest watching his debate with William F. Buckley or his interview with Nikki Giovanni, the whole thing, by the way, which is two hours long. And you do have two hours. Trust me. Um, the, the one that really punched me in the guts though, was a debate that he had on the Dick Cavett show in 1969, links to all of those videos will be in the show notes of this episode, but really please just go for the Google James Baldwin start anywhere and you will get a lot. Next up on my thank goodness for this person list is Dana Caspersen. Dana is an award winning, performing artist, a dancer, a stunning dancer, and also a mediator and a conflict specialist. How jazzed am I to find this combination in one human being out there in the world, jazzed, but not shocked. Actually, Dana points out that dancers carry out transformation and conflict resolution in our daily practice all of the time. So in a way, this dancer turned conflict, specialist trajectory is not unusual at all. Really when you think of it that way, I really, really, really recommend Dana’s book Changing the Conversation. The 17 principles of conflict resolution like 10 out of 10 would recommend. Um, in fact, it is on my words, that move me, words that move me shopping list on Amazon. If you want to go directly take a look at that, but there will also be a quick link to that book in the show notes anyways, the principles and the exercises in this book, champion, curiosity and compassion, my like King and queen in life at the moment. Um, they’re a reminder that although we may not be able to change our situation or the way that other people behave, we can decide how we behave. For example, we can decide to provoke other people’s worst selves in an argument, or we can talk to the other person’s best self in an argument.  We can pin the blame on someone else, writing the problem off as their problem, which prevents us from a full understanding of it. Or we can use our efforts to figure out what is happening instead of whose fault it is. I mean, really, really some solid gold guiding principles. Please, please go do yourself a favor. Do our society a favor and dig into Dana Caspersen’s, work her book. And some of my favorite talks of hers will be linked in the show notes. 

All right, pushing right on ahead through the thickness this year, I also did quite a bit of excavating on my thoughts around gender. I participated in a zoom showcase called a Pangea Live. Shout out Tracy Phillips. Thank you for putting on such an awesome show. I performed at the show in December, but Pangea Live happened on several Fridays I think for months and months on end, every Friday, six soloists were given the same prompt to create two solos. Given, given this prompt. And the week that I performed, the prompt was masculinity and femininity. Now in tandem with the black lives matter movement, much light has been shown on equality with regards to gender and gender identity. I did not feel like an expert or qualified at all to be making a work, let alone two works on this topic. But I leaned in and I dug into the work. I had a lot of really uncomfortable conversations with myself and with others. And here’s what I uncovered the first layer of course, was to simply decide on my definition for each of those words. I decided that feminine is simply a word used to describe things traditionally associated with the female gender. And I define masculine is a word used to describe things traditionally associated with the male gender. Now, what do I actually think about that? What do I think about that? What do I think about those words? What do I think about male and female genders? What do I think about tradition? Well, I think that traditions and our biases about gender formed by comparing the two to each other, I think that femininity is determined relative to masculinity and masculinity is determined relative to femininity. In other words, you cannot have one without the other. I also believe that traditions are formed by thinking and doing something over and over and over again for a really long time. So it takes time to create traditions and it takes time to change them. The tradition of this moment in time, at least in my world is one of celebrating individuality and inclusion. The notions of femininity and masculinity to me are often used to separate or categorize people. And this year more than any other separation and division turned me off.  That’s one of the reasons why I had such a difficult time with this prompt to begin with. I would much rather choose the thought that we are more the same than we are different. I don’t see female or male one or the other as better or worse. I see them as different and I see them as complimentary and I think that’s okay. So that’s what my work focused around. Yes, I’ve been born into a female body and I identify as a woman, but I am also a performer and a choreographer in the commercial dance industry where I’ve lived for 15 years. And this is a place where sex sells. So actually sexuality and attraction have been more or less peak interest to me. And in my early days, my, my training days in my early professional career, I really modeled my movement off of that, of my favorite dancers, who were almost exclusively male. Today, the movement that comes out of my body is more about what I feel, and it’s less about what I see. And today I am way more about being interesting than being cool. And today I’m curious about how notions of gender are changing. I am constantly discovering shades of less traditional gender and attraction to be the most exciting to me, especially when I create I’m so glad that I was given this task, this opportunity to excavate my thoughts on femininity and masculinity. I am proud of my work, although man… With just a little more time, am I right? Like, do you always just want more time? It’s never exactly what I, what I thought or hoped it might, but I am proud. Um, and I’m super curious to see how our society’s thinking. Our traditional thinking evolves over the next several years. 

Okay. Next up! This one’s a doozy behind every high performer, every top athlete, every super entrepreneur business person, every high performer. I believe this, I could be wrong. You’re going to show me 15 examples where I’m wrong, but, but I’m going to dig my fluffy slippered heels into the floor right here and say that behind every high performer, there is a coach, somebody teaching, training, helping them achieve their best. And this year I became a certified coach. I am a certified life coach now, which is funny because in my early episodes, I was like, “listen, I’m not a life coach, but blah, blah, blah.” Well, yep. That was before my 18 week coach certification process. And now as a certified coach, I can tell you my most important takeaway. Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay. Takeaways. You know me? I can never pick just one. 

My most important takeaways are number one, that our emotions come because of the way we’re thinking, not from what other people or viruses for that matter do. Our emotions come from the way that we’re thinking, the way that we’re thinking of course comes from a lot of things, training, instincts, modeling, it goes deep, but that was important to me. The other most important thing to me is learning that feeling bad is part of the plan. She says with a laugh. I believe that being human comes with pain. Now that pain can be compounded, right? That pain can become suffering by resisting it by reacting to it, by avoiding it. Well, what else is there to do with it that you might ask? Well, that’s easy. Well, simple, not easy. Allow it, process it. I have learned and gotten to practice over and over and over and over again, different ways of processing negative emotions this year, holler back at episode 17 for a deeper dive on that. And if you’re curious about coaching, I can definitely understand why, First of all, the industry is completely unregulated and no two coaches are exactly the same. But if you’d like to know more about the work that I do and the way that I work as a coach, head over to theDanaWilson.com/coachcurious, or you could click at the top menu bar on Work with Me and navigate your way through the Words that Move Me community, which is where I’ll be doing some community coaching for y’all out there. 

All right, I’m going to hit a little rapid fire round. Now, a couple of things that I never knew and a couple of things that I’ve always known, but know deeper now let’s start with the things that I never ever knew until this year hit me like a ton of bricks. Are you ready for this? This year? I learned that although LA is not technically a desert climate region, technically it is a Mediterranean region.  Most indoor plants like to be misted. I mean, you guys game changer. I got one of those cool little Mister bottle things. It’ll be in the show notes. Um, and now my plants inside my house are green, not pale, pale yellow. Winning. Um, also I learned that food, uh, when you get it from the earth, not from a bag, you have to wash it. So that’s a bonus because we should all be washing all of the things that come into our house during the pandemic. Um, also learned about loquats you guys loquats are delicious. How about spigarello? Have you ever had, spigarello also delicious you guys. I made homemade chocolate with coriander flowers. We make homemade shabu shabu in this house. Now it has been a great year for exploring food and becoming, as I mentioned earlier, more confident in the kitchen. You guys, I got my husband new knives for Christmas and already cut him with one of them in the knuckle when I was trying to show him the cool design on the side, really that took the kitchen confidence down like four points. I will not be handling the new knives until I get some cut proof gloves anyways, until he and I both get some cut proof gloves. 

Okay. Up next, this year 2020, I learned that the hardest step to dance backwards is consecutive Pas de bourres. You might be able to do one pas de bourres backward, but consecutive pas de bourres like de de de de de de. You have to da da da da da da I mean it’s, it’s out of control. Difficult. Just go ahead, give that a whirl. You can tag us in a video if you’d like extra credit points. Um, okay. 

And the other thing, closing with a bang, no pun intended [totally pun intended] is that if you intend on using Holy powder for explosion effects in your homemade videos, Holy powder, by the way, is that very beautiful, very pigmented powder that you see usually in slow motion in a lot of music, videos and so on and so on.  Anyways, if you plan on using Holy Powder for explosion effects, add flour, it’s going to give you a lot more bang for your buck. 

Uh, more on that lesson coming very, very soon. Oh, more on the backwards pas de bourres coming soon too, by the way, I have some very fun work coming for you in early 2021. So jazzed about it. Okay. Now we shift to the, I’ve always known this, but now I know it deeper lessons. Number one, the power of the vote, need I say more. Number two, the value of nail technicians. I had to remove my own acrylic nails this year. You guys, that is not anything I would wish on my worst enemy, highly not recommended. Okay. Here’s something I would recommend though. The internet and parks are both fine places to learn dance, shout out to CLI studios for helping us all through this really challenging time and super shout out to all of my friends, which is literally all of my friends who’ve been affected by a studio closure. It is not something that I like to see or celebrate, but I do hold hope, optimism and faith for a very, very funky future.  

Oh, and speaking of dance this year, I learned that YouTube tutorials when done well are very, very useful to consume and very, very time consuming to produce. I spent probably more than 12 hours making my zoom tutorial for dance teachers. And that is a lot of hours, but that video has more than 25,000 views. And I have received at least that many [That’s an exaggeration heartfelt messages from educators and dancers all over the world. So thank you for watching the video. Thank you for sharing your feedback about the video. I’m so glad to hear that it’s been helpful in a difficult time. Um, dance teachers, all teachers. I love you. I consider this project a very high return on investment I’m so, so, so happy to help. 

All right. Here’s another one always known it. And this year I got to relearn it in 18 different ways. Friends, brighter is Righter several episodes this season and by season, I mean year, featured light. Episode 25, As I mentioned, Dominique Kelly talks about giving the stage and shining a light on black voices. And I also learned that lighting a show and choreographing a show aren’t all that different. Thanks to lighting designer, Iggy Rosenberg in Episode 20 and my good friend, Nick Whitehouse in Episode 51, also a lighting designer. You guys, Oh man. Illuminating. I’m sorry. I can’t help it. Lighting puns are my new favorite. Okay. Last lighting lesson. Of course, I got to learn the difference between my home movie projector, which boasts 5,500 lumens and a 20,000 lumen projector, which comes his own operator. My opinions are now concrete. Cemented Brighter is Righter always except maybe I suppose, for when you’re trying to sleep. Okay. I can’t always say always about anything.  

All right. Last step on my lessons remembered, okay, babies will be born and people will die. These are facts of our human life. Both of these numbers got dialed up for me in my life. This year. I’m 34. Many of my peers and friends are starting families. I know six more babies now than I did in 2019. And I am watching some of my childhood best friends turn into parents. It is magical and it is mystical. Of course, the flip side of that coin is very heavy. This year, young people can get pregnant and young people can die of COVID right there with the older people dying of COVID right there with the other people dying of other causes, my friends and my family who are gone, you will be forever missed.  

Now. I would like to end by sharing the words of Sonya Renee Taylor. Sonya is an author, a poet, a spoken word artist, a speaker and educator, a humanitarian, a social justice activist. And what are you? She is an outstanding human being and a person that you should 100% be getting into shall be in the show notes. And hers are the words that I will leave you with today, “We will not go back to normal. Normal, never was our pre Corona existence was not normal. Other than we normalized greed, inequity, exhaustion, depletion, extraction, disconnection, confusion, rage, hoarding, hate and lack. We should not long to return my friends. We are being given the opportunity to stitch a new garment. One that fits all of humanity and nature.” Thank you, Sonya Renee Taylor, and thank all of you for listening to this episode and hopefully several others from the year. I’m thrilled to move forward into 2021 with this podcast and with you. 

If you’re digging, what you hear here, Ooh, what you hear here, please do download, subscribe, leave a rating or review. It helps other people find the podcast and it brings a smile to my face to hear from you. And also if you are interested in digging deeper, the words that move me community is a really good place to start to learn more and register. You can email WTMMpodcast@gmail.com or go visit thedanawilson.com/workwithme All right, everybody. That’s it for me today. And that is it for us this year. Please have a safe and happy, happy new year. And keep it funky, decent. 

BONUS EPISODE: Holiday Special

BONUS EPISODE: Holiday Special

Play/Pause Episode
00:00 / 00:15:25
Rewind 30 Seconds
This holiday season is an extra special one.  There are likely more empty chairs than usual.  There is likely less togetherness.  Well, I’d like to be here for you even though you’re far away and I want to remind you (ehhhem, myself) that many of our together- traditions can still be awesome… even when we are less together.

The Cinnamon Bear:


Ep. #52 Technique Vs Style with Almost Every Guest From 2020

Ep. #52 Technique Vs Style with Almost Every Guest From 2020

Play/Pause Episode
00:00 / 00:48:14
Rewind 30 Seconds
What is the difference between Technique and Style?  I have asked this question more times than I can count and never got the same answer twice. To see if I could make some sort of concrete conclusion, I asked every single guest that came on the podcast this year for their thoughts.  Now, you get to hear their answers and find out if any of them agree! Do you agree with any of my guests?  What is YOUR answer to this burning question:  What is the difference between technique and style?

Show Notes

Quick Links:
Interested in the membership? Email us at: wtmmpodcast@gmail.com

Music Man Max Winnie: https://www.instagram.com/themaykit/


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: Okay. So here is the million dollar question and it’s, I cannot wait to hear your answer because I think you’ll have a good one. Um, no pressure. What is the difference between technique and style  

Marty Kudelka: Technique is something you can learn and style is, is, I mean, it’s unique to each individual individual, like, because I would say you can’t teach style, but I think you can teach style. So, Oh, so you can teach both of them. I don’t know  

Dana: Its a tough one! When I like, and, and, and the wires get, or the lines get really muddy. When you think about somebody like Bob Fosse, for example, whose style became a technique, like you can have good Fosse form, or you can have bad Fosse form, you can do the style well, or you can do it not well. You can,  

Marty: Yeah, you need both.

But what’s the difference? Uh, no. Ah, Yikes. Okay. I’ll tell you, I’ll give a, we’ll have a little conversation about it. So usually, and I started asking this question a long time ago, long before the podcast. And usually when I ask it, I get an answer that is some sort of a metaphor or simile people are like, well, technique is like the roadmap and style is like the car that you’re driving on the journey, or like, um, uh, yeah, that was Taja Riley.  

Oh my god

She’s very, Very ephemeral sometimes. So, um, another one that I really love this idea actually, um, there’s a famous photographer who says that technique is like gloves. You get, you use the technique to get the job done. And there are different techniques for different jobs. For example, your dentist wears different gloves than your gardener, wears different gloves than a golf player versus a, um, welder, right? Different techniques for different jobs, different gloves for different jobs, but style is like your fingerprint. And sometimes the technique can cover up the signature, right? The artistic voice and technique can kind of get in the way of, uh, the, the, um, Oh I’m botching it, but technique can inhibit sometimes the individualization, the style, which is, I think what you were speaking to this idea, that tech, that style is truly an individual thing. And I do dig, I dig on that. Um, but it’s, again, it’s a simile, it’s like making sense of a thing by saying that it’s like something else I really want to know. What is the difference between technique and style? I, I, I’m excited about your take on this and I hope you sit with this thought for a second, because your work is almost exclusively style. There aren’t a ton, other than the inside pirouettes, aren’t a ton of technical elements. It’s about the style. It’s about the way you carry yourself.  

Yes. And yes, I agree with that, but I also agree or disagree in the fact that it doesn’t do this, have to be a technical, like, like something technical as in a turn or an axle or something like that, because I think there’s this technique or the technique to do into my stuff, which is the texture of it all. You know what I mean? Like the people who do it, the best the yous Ivan’s and Nats, I don’t have to tell you what the texture is, you know, by have done done my stuff so long that, you know, if it’s, you know, like this lean on, like, I love you on set the tone, you know, that it’s just, you’re going through it and you know what it’s supposed to be. You know, it’s not going to be like a pop or like a, you know,  jab, you know that, so there’s a technique, there is a technique behind it, which is the texture of doing the texture. Right? Yeah. So I, I believe they’re one in the same.  

There you go, that’s your answer. 

I think you need, I think there, I feel that they go together. I dig it. Yeah. I don’t think they need to be different.  

Well often times they aren’t. it’s, they’re really sneaky. Um, but it’s fun to think about. And I really like, um, I love hearing, everybody’s answer to this question. I can’t wait to do the episode where side-by-side you get to hear how different people answer that question. It’s awesome.  

Dana: All right. That was me talking to Marty Kudelka about the difference between technique and style. And this episode is that awesome episode. The episode where you will get to hear almost all of my guests from 2020 answering the same question. What is the difference between technique and style? And at the end of this episode, I encourage you to message or tag us on Instagram @wordsthatmovemepodcast to tell us what your answer is to that very thought provoking question. Yes, my friends, this is a good one. And, um, actually, you know what, next week is a good one too. We are closing out my first year of weekly podcasts with a couple of heavy hitters. And, um, I don’t want to waste a single second. I want to get into it. Um, but talking about our wins is not a waste of any seconds.  If you are new to the pod, we always start with wins. And that feels exceptionally appropriate here at the end of the year in December, when celebration is in the air this week, my win is that the podcast is super close to 50,000 downloads. And that is my halfway goal, which if I’m doing the math correctly means that *murmers* . Yes. 100,000 downloads by July of 2021 is my goal. That means we’ve got a little more than seven months. And if we keep growing like we are growing, I think we can totally do it. And I think you can totally help. So if you’re digging the pod, make sure to subscribe and download, tell a friend, leave a comment or a rating, review. It really does make it easier for people to find the podcast. And it helps me achieve my goal of being someone that helps more people. That’s what it is about for me. Simple. Is that okay? That’s my win. Nearly 50,000 downloads. Ooh. Now you go, what’s going well in your world. Congrats.  

I am so glad you’re winning. I am happy for you. And Oh my gosh. I forgot to tell you. I have another win. And so do you! Next year, with our new season, we are getting new wins music. Ha ha, yes, I have contacted my buddy Max Winnie. We’ll definitely be shouting you out in the show notes, max, um, Max is responsible for our fabulously funky podcast to nudge and he’s making us a wins jam and I am super excited about it. Super excited to share. And you know what, that, isn’t the only thing changing come 2021. We are changing by creating more ways that we can work together, like you with each other, and like me with you. Yes, I am starting a membership program that includes daily creative prompts, monthly Playlist’s monthly group calls, 24 seven community connection. And even one-on-one coaching with me. So if you dig the pod and simply want to show your support, we’ve got something for, if you’re an aspiring pro who wants to better understand the industry and yourself, we’ve got something for you. And if you are already a working professional, looking to dig deep and really take your craft to the next level, we will blow the lid off of what is possible. So the subscription doesn’t begin until January, but if you know you’re interested or if you know that you want to know more, you can email wtmmpodcast@gmail.com Just the letters, no gaps. WTMMpodcast@gmail.com to learn more. And preregister okay. Now let’s get back to the burning issue, technique versus style. What is the difference? Do any of my guests agree? Do you agree with any of my guests? I cannot wait to hear and I cannot wait to share. So here we go. We’re going to start off strong, right? Where it all started with Taja Riley. Taja and I talked years and years and years ago about this subject. She’s actually one of the first people that I asked this question and her answer has changed a lot. I think you’re going to really, really dig this, have a listen to Taja Riley and we’ll check back in, in a second.  

Dana: Do you remember this? 

Taja: I remember the conversation because you know what, I’m bringing this up literally to everybody, right. And it strikes me and it struck a chord and it took me into a deeper research for what— how do define even style. Like how do you do that? And so I think with technique it’s a little bit, um, it’s a little bit easier to define it as, Oh God, 

Dana: Good luck. It’s not easy at all this and this is why I ask it because it makes fascinating conversations.  

Taja: So I think to be a technician. Okay. Okay. Okay. So I did read somewhere, so I’m going to steal some stuff from people. Okay. Some people’s people’s scriptures, um, a technician, right. Is somebody that goes by the book. Like there is something that’s laid out, a specific plan, a specific logistic, a very, a left brain thought if you will, of something that’s put together to be a structure or a manual or a guide or a path to live by. Right. But then somebody like that is a creative, a creative person goes beyond what that is. They could not have schooling. They could not have, you know, a real say of, um, in terms of, um, a real schooling and a real tutalidge by that guide, by that technique, if, if you would, right, they, they live by a feeling right. A feeling that is spontaneous to them, a feeling that is inspired to them from their moment, their experience, their invitation to create something. Um, and I think that that’s usually where style would stem from, um, it’s their take and their perspective on, um, that moment. And then, and then there’s creativity. And that creativity is completely, it’s completely different than, uh, just a creative person, right? Creativity is that, say I want to make a hat, but now the hat is, has extra flowers or has flowers to it. Or it has, um, a certain color, a certain texture to it that it, that is the creativity now creative would be to say, and now we’re going to place that hat on your knee cap. That knee cap is going to be pro. I know that it’s probably hard to follow me. That’s the, that’s the, that’s the way that it got broken down to me. Um, just in terms of style, this is a way that you would do something being inspired off of a moment of feeling a song even. Um, but the technique of the layer of things, vocabularies steps, uh, specific method of thoughts, you know, that is something that go ahead.  

Uh, I, I keep cutting you off. I’m sorry. Can technique be inspired. You’re saying that style is inspired. Can technique be inspired?  

Taja: I think that, no, I think that, I think no, because, and I’m going to, I’m going to put it into a term or I’m gonna put it into the category of basketball, right? Uh, a friend of mine that plays, explained this to me right. There is literally one, one thing that you have to be able to do to score a point. You got to get it in the hoop. You got to. You got to dribble the ball at some point to travel there and you got to get it in the hoop right now, the getting it in the hoop That is the technique. There’s only one way that is the standard that’s, what’s been set. Right. But how you go about getting it in the hoop? That is the style. Does that make sense? So in terms of completing the step, go ahead.  

I think it’s so funny that, um, a basketball analogy would be what we wind up using you and I, these two dance types. Um, but it does that does make sense. I like the way you worded that. And most of the time that I ask this question, I get metaphors. I get like, you know, a relationship to a thing, you know, technique is to style as, um, you know, X is to Y but it does help to understand. And I like that explanation and very visual and clear way of explaining it. Yeah. I I’m with you. 

Dana: Oh yes. My friends sports analogies, hats on knee caps, we are really starting off strong and I am so excited for where we’re about to go. Next next, you’re going to hear from DIana Matos, Martha Nichols and Tiler Peck.

In full disclosure, there is no correct answer to this question or there’s no wrong answer either. Right,  

Diana: Right, right. Right. Um, for me, technique it’s someone or something, you know, what’s so funny as I’m about to answer, I’m already thinking, ah, not, not,  

Not always, not always I feel. Yeah. That’s why this is the conversation question.  

Diana: I would say this technique is to me, or for my perspective, either something scripted or studied by someone and sort of organized and structured in a way to offer some sort of consistency. Style, style varies according to your life experiences, your culture, your education, your environment. So I believe it’s something more abstract than, um, than technique. But then what is really technique and then technique, um, could also vary, right? So something that we study today might not be what it is tomorrow. So I’ll leave it with these thoughts, these gray thoughts, gray, gray, gray. That’s a really hard one. 

Martha: Oh gosh. This is hard. Technique is definitely a learned technique is okay. We like an analogy. Technique would be the bones of the skeleton style would be the skin.  

Dana: Okay. Style is the skin, the hair, the, the,  

Martha: That it comes in. Yes. Um, and then I’m totally gonna negate myself in that because you can also have style with no technique. I think that they are two separate, um, I’m flailing. I am flailing. I am flailing. I hear myself. Okay. Okay. 

Find your feet find your feet or yeah, I’m panicking. You don’t need, tell me what they are. Just tell me the difference 

For me. The difference would be style is easier for everyone to feel. Whereas technique is built for the technician to feel, um, technique. The technician is built to feel what it is. So I know if I’m operating in technique or if I am not, or as style I, the artist am feeling it, but also, so is the audience style is more felt for all parties. Whereas technique for me would be felt simply for the person executing it 

Beautifully put great answer. Love. It’s a tough question. And yeah. You find yourself like, well, no, no, that’s not. Well, if that was true, then this wouldn’t no, that doesn’t work. 

Yeah. Like if I was to like, sit on it a little more, I feel like the, the style is like, it’s a gift. Like, yeah.  

And technique is a burden Oh my God. Yes. Style is a gift. Technique is a curse. 

Oh gosh, don’t have any rotation. How can I get the heel forward. Man, your shoulders all engage your lats like. EH.. But then at the same time, once you master technique, technique, the gift freeing, it is a gift. And that, yeah. 

That’s why we’re wrong. So that’s why we’re still talking about it. 

Cause it’s because they are both everything and nothing. 

Can you have one without the other? 

I’m going to say, yes. 

I’m I’m, I’m going to go ahead and approve that. I’ve seen it. 

Dana: All right. Tiler Peck. What is the difference between technique and style? 

Tiler: I think technique is what you focus on in class and it’s more of like a uniformed, structural thing that exists. And I think style is what you personally bring to that technique. I think style is more about the individual and technique is more about the like educational side to dance. 

That is very succinct. You are one of the few people that has not answered that question with a metaphor, I don’t know, like technique is for the, the, the many, style is the individual. It’s a very hard question to answer because I have seen, I mean, Jabar Williams do a tondue that makes me want to **ing cry. Like I have seen, and then you have somebody, for example, like Bob Fosse who’s whose style became a technique. Like you could actually like that, that individual thing became a thing that you can teach a mass. Like there is such thing as  

Tiler: Balanchine that’s like the New York City Ballet, they always say like, is that a technique or is it a style? You know? And it’s kind of hard because I think it is a style, but they use it as a technique now to teach, you know? So you’re kind of teaching that style. So it’s hard. I know. Tough question Dana!   

I love a hard question. I love a hard question. It’s true. I really do love a hard question. And how about you? Are you, uh, forming your own answers to this hard question? I hope so. And I really can’t wait to hear it. Please message us @wordsthatmovemepodcast on Instagram, I’m stoked. All right. Now we’re going to take a deep dive, grab a pen, grab some paper. Cause we are going to school with Nick Palmquist, Spenser Theberge, and Jermaine Spivey.  

Nick: I believe that technique and style are different things, but I think that they can be applied to the same genre of dance. So within ballet, there’s a technique that has been historically codified. We agree that this building block that can be replicated throughout a class, a will repeat through history and will always be the technique of ballet. And then within that form, there are styles and there are people that started to deviate from the technique and they wanted to apply it to maybe how their body, um, how, what best celebrated their body. Uh, so maybe Bournonville was more explosive. So his style of leap was born out of a technique that everybody else agreed came before. It, I think Fosse, um, started as a style of jazz and became its own technique because over time, the creative process, the training process started to use the same shapes, started to use the same principles so that it became recognizable. It became replicatable. And, um, I would say that then I have started to create a style based off of the technique of Fosse. And, um, speaking of, I am, I’m someone that has been teaching and choreographing for only three years. And so I really have to be careful that I don’t, um, take credit for the techniques that I’ve been exposed to over the course of my training and take a little bit from all of them and say that, um, I’ve cultivated something of my own. And I think that’s where technique and style, um, become kind of challenging because if you aren’t aware of what you’re borrowing from, you’re taking away from the history of that technique and you’re no longer applying what other people in other generations and other audiences have, um, built upon. And so I think within each genre of dance, ballet, hip hop, jazz tap, ballroom, Fosse, there is a technique that’s built in the studio.  

And I think, um, in the classroom and the learning process technique is applied to all of those things so that you can say to different generations in the same way, put your hip here, uh, change this port de bra here. And, um, I say port de bras in regard to every style, the carriage of the arms and any genre of dance needs to be something that is identified throughout each and each generation the same way. And then I think that the performance aspect is where we can start to see style evolve. And so we can see how this person, um, and I think improv is a big place, big part of style. So in the training, in your technique where you’ve, you’ve had to do things the same way, sometimes we want to re rebel, we want to reject that rigidity and we start to improv and a style is born based on a technique.  And then that style can grow and codify and it can evolve into its own technique. But I think time is the variable that really distinguishes technique from style. And I think improv is an important part that differentiates style from technique that one is performative. I think style is very performative and it happens. It can happen in the moment and then you can go back and you can quantify that. And I think technique is, uh, the years long process of training and developing what is recognizable about this. And, um, I think it’s really important in 2020 to be super aware of what techniques you’re using, what styles you’re using, who introduced you to those things and how do you pass on the knowledge of where you got that information? Um, I think technique is a part of the past and style is a part of the future.  And we, as the present needs to make sure that we’re giving proper credit to the past and, um, credit also to the future. Um, and making sure that technique, doesn’t just refer to one form of dance. That hip hop has a technique and it has a community and a legacy of people that built that technique. And if you are a stylist that is, is a derivative of that technique, you really need to be able to cite that source. You need to be able to say where your style developed from so that everybody has access to the knowledge that you had access to, and it can help inform them of your style and potentially their own style. And if you are teaching them how to credit those things, then you are a part of their history and they will credit you in what they’ve learned and not to say that everybody deserves credit, but that everybody deserves access to information and crediting gives access. That allows you to say, go look up this person, either on YouTube or in an archive of some kind or in a class that you pay for. And, um, make sure that you’re understanding that you can build technique into a style and you can build style into the technique.  

Dana: You will definitely want to answer this question individually. I think maybe, I don’t know, you do share a lot of similar, similar views, but I, I, I would love to hear an individual interpretation of the following. What is the difference between technique and style?  

Jermaine: I think technique is and understanding and an awareness and an ability to use those understandings, that awareness to contextualize your body. and styles are different forms, styles are different architectures and dynamics qualities as shapes put together, it’s a composition, like a style is a composition, but technique is an understanding of, again, the bias for me, it’s, it goes back to everyone has the body where like the elbow bends the same way, the neck, does its thing. Its not new so when you understand how your body functions thats technique, and then you can apply that understanding to different compositions, whether it be West African or traditional Indian dance or ballet or funk, or house or four, or all the ors, those are just the compositions, the way of framing the body, but the technique is the understanding of how it, yeah. 

Spenser:I love that actually. And here’s, before I get into specifically, again, something I love is it didn’t even occur to me to think of style as not being about the individual, but to be, to think of it as the form, like a style of a form.  So again, just a reminder to keep talking to people and keep hearing how people interpret the things, because they remind you that what you think of as true Isn’t the only way to think of something. I, I also totally agree that technique is, um, a study of function of the body. I think that the form, the form will prescribe the values of the technique, but the idea is that it’s, it’s a research of the function of the body inside of that particular technique. Um, it is, it is the research of, and the understanding of function in your body. And to me, my initial thought was thinking of style as then the interpretation. How do you do that? In what way? Um, what are your values that you are then bringing to the values of that form? That to me is style, but I love this idea. That style is also the style of dance and that you’re also gleaning from your you’re developing your own style by gleaning information from other styles that is kind of blowing my mind right now in need that like you’re not alone out there and to keep looking out and keep absorbing. 

Jermaine:And yeah, it’s the general sense then of technique has to be just going back to what I was saying and understanding of coordination and an understanding how the body functions and works using opposition and weight exchange, falling, rotating, swinging, flexing, extending, all these things that I say I teach as technique. That’s what I call that class.  

Dana: You call it improvisation technique.  

Jermaine:I call it improvisation as technique.  

Dana: Oh, the difference  

Spenser: Talking about how language makes a difference, where words matter and the relationship to those words. Um, because like this style example, my relationship to the word style, it’s different than Jermaine’s and they’re both style. And to remember that different people have different relationships where it’s really going to really define how they’re receiving what is coming up. Yes.  

Dana: Oh, you guys, you’re a dream. Thank you so much for that. 

Dana: My friends, how lucky are we to be having this conversation right now and learning from these incredible humans? So lucky Nick reminds us of the importance of understanding, recognizing, and crediting techniques and styles, Spencer and Jermaine really underline the importance of communicating techniques and styles, and I am into it, but let’s take a second and zoom out for a bit. Now we’re going to get some non dance specific feedback. First, you’ll hear from Nick Whitehouse, who is a lighting designer and CEO of fireplay. Then you’ll hear from Lorin Eric Salm mime and movement coach. Next step is Kat Burns, choreographer extraordinary. And she’s going to keep a particular focus on the actor. And then we wrap up this segment with Iggy Rosenthal, another lighting designer, director of business development for Lightswitch. Enjoy!

Nick: When you create a lighting show you do it on almost a computer. It’s a computer with a lot of faders and buttons, some touch screens to make it faster. And I think, you know, the technique is how you do that fast. So I definitely have a teak to my technique there is how I program and it’s quite different for a lot of people because, um, just to get technical for awhile, you have a whole bunch of faders and you can put cues on faders, or you can put cues in one big list and take more time. So that every little element of every light you can figure out what’s going on, but you also have to remember what’s going on. Cause it doesn’t do anything for you. So I work the second way, everything goes into a list, but that means I’ve got complete control over everything. So instead of a cue, everything happening in the same time, like when you see you execute, every light in the rig could be doing something differently. And that’s the way that I work, which I think is why a lot of this stuff is quite polished because everything’s thought about, so a column might change in a different time to a movement that might change in a different time to an on or off. And that’s what allows me to have the style I think that everything’s some musical because everything is done with split second timing. And that’s, my style is musical. Like we hit all the beats, we hit everything. We emphasize the moves and we go from big to small. I go from big to small just as the music does. So, you know, I think there’s some cool examples of how that works. A lot of the JT stuff, um, where we are hitting drums on, on one particular set of lights, we’re hitting a piano riff on another thing, is that a clap that’s happening on another set of lights and it’s all mixed together in such a way that it feels like it’s all one rather than, Oh, I can see what they’re doing now. You don’t really notice, it’s subtle and that’s definitely the style. Yeah, that’s definitely my style is musical and the big moments to the little moments. It allows me to have it. And it also allows me to do it the human way as well. So, uh, there, there’s, there’s a way there’s a style, um, and a technique of programming where it’s really hard to run it when there’s no time code running. But the way that I program, like all the clubs shows we, we used to do not, there was no time code that I just ran out and I was part of the band having fun. You know, you play along as another musician. So, and that’s the technique that, you know, and the style is how it looks. I think that’s my answer. 

Lorin: The difference between technique and style. Well in, I can speak from mine in any case, I don’t know that I could speak for everyone or all different arts, but in mime, I see the difference as technique is a, a series of methods of principles of rules that, that give a foundation to the work. Um, Marcel Marceau would often describe corporeal mime, the technique of his created by his teacher at Etienne Decroux as being the grammar of mine. Now, corporeal mime is, is more than simply a technical technique at the risk of being redundant. Um, it’s a dramatic philosophy as well, but the, there, there is a, a technique to it that Marceau learned and that Marceau then built upon as the foundation for his work. And he used that technique in a very different way than Decroux used it. Marceau added other influences to his work that came from other places and created his own style of performing. This comes up in, in, in mine too. You know, when Marceau would talk about people being technicians, um, you can, you can demonstrate the technique very well, but then why do we care? I mean, w we, we can sit back and look at that and say, I’d say that was excellent. That was done really, really well. Well, why do I care about showing me, what, why do I want to watch this? And what does it make me think or feel? 

Kat Burns: The major difference between technique and style is motivation. Why are you moving that way? What does it make you feel? What does this style make you feel? And how has that Yeah, I think that’s good. I think you can edit or 

Dana: Work. That was brilliant. I love it. 

Kat: That’s why, that’s why, like, I love working with great actors that are great dancers, because you can emulate and feel a style. Even if you weren’t born in the seventies, you understand what the difference is and why you’re doing a certain move. And if the more you dive into the why, and what’s the motivation, the more like layered and juicy and stylized your work is going to be because you’re not cause it’s, um, yeah, it should, it should feel a certain way when you do it. And then, you know, it’ll obviously emote, you’ll obviously be emoting and acting. 

That’s a good, uh, a good distinction, actually, probably not a ton of emotionality encouraged with  

No technique is like, I don’t know when I judged, I don’t judge dance competitions very much, but when I did, I was like at a certain point, fouettés become boring or like 20, if everyone’s doing 22 fouettés, it’s really boring. So what’s the connection in an in-between and like what, where’s the style. But if someone is acting like this weird scorpion and then bust out this weird turn and they’re like, that’s cool.  

Great on that note, check the gate on Kat Burns 

Dana: What is the difference between technique and style?  

Iggy: Uh, technique is something you’ve trained for and you repeat, it is a learned behavior, style is the flair you put into that learn behavior. And it’s, it’s a personal thing. Anyone can learn the technique, you know, I can learnhow to make pasta. I’m no good at it, but I can learn. Uh, but you know, what’s, uh, what separates great chefs from other chefs are, is their style.  

I like this answer very much. Anyone can learn a technique. Does that mean that you can’t learn style?  

I think you developed style through yourself.  

Ah, not learned but developed. Oh, I love that  

Personal. I mean, I think the moment you, the moment you, you take someone else’s style, then it’s just not, it’s not your style. Then it’s someone else’s technique that you’ve accumulated. What we’re talking about related to what we said, you know, lighting for TV, there’s a million different styles. There’s technique. There’s, there’s a balance between front light and back light and color temperature and talking to the cameras. And I know that, but within that scope of the technique, I can make him look warm. Like I tend to make an artist or artists look a little warmer than other people do. Like I’m not very neutral. I tend to bring some life into their skin. Um, and I play with color temperatures in a way that other designers may not, uh, other people have done. I’ve seen people do incredible stuff that I was like, I would have never thought of doing that. And the end product is, everyone looks good on camera. They just look different and that’s their style.  

Cool, great answers. Yay. I’m thrilled with that. 

Dana: I really am thrilled about that. And now that we’ve really looked at this question extensively from several different points of view, I’d like to give you a couple bite-sized sound bites, starting off with the ever eloquent Dominique Kelly up next is Joe Lantieri. Then the seaweed sisters, Megan Lawson, and Jillian Meyers, and then we’ll tie it all off. Nice and neat with a bow with the fabulous Marguerite Derricks, 

Dominique Kelly, what is the difference between technique and style?

Dominique: The difference between technique and style? Um, technique is a set of steps rudimentary that become building blocks of expression. So I would think technique is your vocabulary and style is the way you compose the sentence, whether it’s in cursive or in emojis or block letters, technique to me, is the letters in the alphabet or the numbers that you need and able to assemble what your style is. I think technique is speaking directly in direct language and style is the flowery poetry in melodic nature of what you’re doing.  

You just gave me like four really good answers to one question and I love them all. That’s great. Thank you.  

Joe: Well, now, you know, that is a deep question, almost unfair, uh, added simplicity. You know, even when I, when I work with like the younger dancers minis in juniors, the 10, 12 year olds, and we talk about techniques, sometimes I often compare technique to riding a bike. It’s that it’s that having the process or the knowledge in your body so that you don’t have to think about it when you get up to do it. And I remind them of what it is to learn how to ride a bike. And at first we all have to really concentrate. And I re, I remember as a kid riding down the bike, riding down the street and almost the training wheel kind of falling off and almost being okay, as long as you’re going straight. And I’ve clearly remember the minute I tried to turn falling over, you know, until you, get the, get the, you master the technique of riding a bike, and then you just go up and go and do it. Right? So to me, the technique is the training. The style is all of what comes from inside of you, that you can’t, it’s bubbling up and coming out and you can’t even help yourself because that is who you, you are inherently, you are truly bringing yourself forward. So that, that’s what makes you unique as a, as a dancer is the fact that you are able to, to transform what you have been given and your training and delivered in a way that is truly unique to yourself. So I do think the two things are distinct.  

Jillian: My first thought, which maybe isn’t an, but more, just a rationalization that comes to mind is it feels like technique is the quantifiable factor. You know, uh, something that is, you can count on that you can count up that maybe is the more structure, you know, of, whatever it is that you’re doing and style is the qualified part. So it’s like the part that maybe can’t be measured. And the part that’s harder to describe the thing that you can exactly count. And, um, I think we’re all finding our ratio, those two things. And I think they both need each other one can’t survive without the other one. But yeah,

Dana: I love that answer. Jillian Meyers. Holy smokes. That was good. 

Megan: Oh, I would, I would. Co-sign that for sure. 

Dana: Seaweed sister piggyback. That’s the seaweed sisters answer, 

Megan: Maybe seaweed the seaweed metaphor. I don’t know if it just came to me, as you were saying, the other ones, um, Technique, like is the foundation the Yes. Then, and is the style, the spin on it perhaps? 

Dana: I love that. 

Jillian: That’s so good Magoo 

Megan: Technique, but what else? And what are you going to do with it?  

Dana: Marguerite’s to you? What is the difference between technique and style?

Marguerite: Technique is something that you work hard for. Style is something you’re born with 

The end.  

Well, my friends that is it. And just when you thought it couldn’t possibly get more concise, just when you thought you couldn’t have a clearer picture or at very least a well-rounded view of the difference between technique and style, I will leave you with this. My absolute favorite answer to this question. And it’s how I answer it still comes from a friend who is a doctor by day and drag queen by night, a yoga guru and inventor. And so, so, so, so much more. My friend Scott Lyons, when prompted with this question did not flinch did not take a beat. Didn’t even take a breath. He quickly responded. Oh, that’s easy. Technique is the what? And style is the, so what, so what, so why should I care? So what does that mean? So what does that make me feel? So what technique is the what? And style is the,  So what that’s good work? 

I like that too. And that is where I am going to leave it today. We’ll put a pin in this conversation, but I am dying to hear your answer to this question, DM or tag us on Instagram, @wordsthatmovemepodcast with your answer to the question. What is the difference between technique and style? And don’t forget email WTMMpodcast@gmail.com. If you’re interested in learning more about our community membership, there are definitely advantages to pre-registering it. So do not wait, do keep it funky. I’ll talk to you soon. Bye. 

Ep. #51 The Art of Light and Darkness with Nick Whitehouse

Ep. #51 The Art of Light and Darkness with Nick Whitehouse

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My guest this week, Nick Whitehouse, was the one asking the big questions: How do we improve? How do we do better? How do we NEVER repeat ourselves? For Nick, sometimes the answer to that question is to care MORE, and take on LESS.  Nick is a lighting designer and CEO of a company called Fireplay (@_fireplay_).  They are responsible for some of the largest scale tours, festivals, and shows the world has ever seen.  He is an expert at creating a mood and creating iconic moments.  In this episode we dig in on the roles of dancers and designers in a live show, the perks of a nocturnal work schedule, virtual audiences and getting back to work!

Show Notes:

Quick Links:

Fireplay: https://www.fireplay.com/

Nick and Fireplay on Instagram!

Metallica Preview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffxpc6hgc9Q&feature=youtu.be

Roger Deakin’s Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/team-deakins/id1510638084?i=1000474476812


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, how are you doing? All things considered, I’m holding up just fine. I would say, um, uh, it’s been a heck of a week and it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here. And by that, I mean that my neighbor has put up some colorful lights and they’re very pretty. Um, also I’m drinking a lot of gingerbread tea. Yeah. That is a thing. Um, I hope you are happy and healthy and also drinking gingerbread tea. If that happens to be a thing that you’re into. Okay. I am glad that you are here and really, really excited for this episode and thrilled to be shining a little light on your holiday season, uh, with a very special guest today, I am joined by Nick Whitehouse lighting designer and CEO of creative design and production mega studio fireplay.  In short, I guess I would say that Nick is the guy that makes the stars shine bright and yes, I mean like literally all of the stars. Well maybe I guess I can’t really say literally all of the stars, but practically all of the stars. So you’re really in, for a treat. I’m excited to get into it, but before we do, let’s talk wins. My win this week is that I am performing on Friday night like this upcoming Friday night, Friday night, December 18th, 2020. And this is huge. Um, it’s huge because I haven’t performed in nine months since the lockdown, maybe even a little bit longer. And I’m, um, I’m dusting off cobwebs for Pangea live. That is the name of the show. Pangea live is a completely virtual and very interactive show presented via zoom. So if you haven’t missed it already head over to Pangea_live on Instagram. That’s @ P A N G E A, Pangea underscore L I V E on Instagram to learn more about the other performers for the show and to secure your tickets. So cool. So fun. Um, Oh, I also want to make sure you notice this. I am already celebrating that show as a win, even though it hasn’t happened yet because I’m creating I’m in the process of making not one, but two solos for the show and I’m learning so much. Um, and I’m really getting back into the performance mindset, which is not as easy as I thought it would be to be 100% honest with you. Um, I’ve already done some of the research and development for one of the pieces, which is interesting to say the very least on the technical front. So I’m learning a lot. I’m feeling good and I’m celebrating that as a win, even though it hasn’t happened yet. Um, I really do hope that I see you there Friday night, December 18th, Pangea live, rock on. Okay. Now it’s your turn. What’s going well in your world. What are you celebrating? 

Right on. Keep winning. I’m so proud of you. Okay. Let’s get to it. Shall we? I do not want to keep you from Nick’s brilliance any longer. Please enjoy this illuminating conversation. I’m sorry. I had to, um, with lighting designer and honestly so much more Mr. Nick Whitehouse,  

Dana: Are you in a soundproof chamber? Because it is super quiet.  

Nick: No, I live on a Lake in the middle of nowhere.  

Dana: God, that’s beautiful. It really is gorgeous. I am so excited. Nick Whitehouse thank you so much for being on the podcast. Welcome.  

Nick: Thanks for having me.  

Dana: Oh man. I think this might actually be our first time, like sitting down for an extended conversation that is not in catering or a hotel lobby waiting for a runner van or in the dark seats of an empty arena. So I’m excited. Awesome. Okay. So it’s par for the course on the podcast. All of my guests introduce themselves. So go ahead and, um, I no pressure, right? I think this is the, actually the hardest part of the interview. Um, but let us know what you would like us to know about you.  

Uh, Hey, I’m Nick Whitehouse. I’m a lighting designer and creative producer for music tours, theater and, um, I’m the one that kind of comes up with the, with the stuff that you see on the stage to light these beautiful people, that dance and choreograph. That’s my thing. Hiding away in the background,  

Lurking in the shadows. 


So you are the CEO of a company called fireplay. You guys have, have designed tours for Billie Eilish, JT, um, Carrie Underwood, not just, not just tours, actually, festivals, shows, um, kind of the whole gamut, even TV and theater. Am I, am I leaving anything out?  

Uh, we did a bit of architecture for a while as well and some, uh, a club and, a traveling spectacle pyramid thing. So yeah.  

Okay. That I did not know, even in my, um, several years of working together and tiny pre podcasts, deep dive on research, I, I would add. Um, okay. So that’s like, that’s a very broad range of work that you do. Um, could you tell me a little bit about your, your small but mighty team and what exactly you do in the team?  

So I still take my role of kind of lighting designer, big ideas. What if we did this kind of person, which drives the team crazy because theres always those ideas that no one knows how to do. 

Those are my favorite ones! 

They are the favorite ones. And then our team consists of, um, some really cool people that worked our ass off right now, especially joining this heart here and coming up with ideas. We got the line designer, we’ve got to producer, got a special effects designer, a couple of people that helped draw and bring the magic to life for us. And finally, the finance guy that tells us if we can afford to do something on that really important. 

You’ve got a finance guy?

I got a finance guy. I’m not very good at the numbers side of it. So he’s the one that tells us if we’re doing the right thing or not.  

Hey, that’s brilliant. It’s good to have a team that supplements, uh, in areas where you may have weakness. I’m here for that. I see that. I see that. Okay. So, um, that, that paints like a pretty complete picture of the who. Now I want to talk about the what, because I don’t think people fully understand and it’s hard to convey in a simply audio landscape. What exactly it is that you guys do? And I want to emphasize this because I’ve been there and I’ve seen it and I’ve, I I’ve been goosebumped by your work. And I will have to, I have to, I’m trying to find a way to phrase it. Fireplay is not about lighting a show or a site-specific mood moment. It’s about blowing the pants off of people and about creating something extraordinary that will be imprinted on their eyelids forevermore. And I’m not trying to be dramatic. I’m just trying to explain what it is that I’ve felt when I’ve seen you work. Um, so my question here is this, my first question, I see you as being somebody who’s very good at restraint and balance because at the scale that you guys work, which is big pop stars, big budgets, big stadiums, it would probably be easy to overdo it and just hit everybody with all the things all at once. So I guess what I’m wondering is what is your approach to finding that impact without going overboard?  

Well first, thank you. That was a great introduction. I didn’t need to introduce myself, but you’re right. The, uh, we do cool things. And I think it’s not just about lighting. I think you kind of hit the nail on the head. It’s about emotion here and creating moments that people don’t forget. That’s what we try and do. And that’s, that’s everything, that’s the staging, the way that people move around you, that’s the lights, it’s the video, it’s the audio, it’s all of it tied together and having an influence and that, and you’re also right, that it’s all about restraint. And the guy that I learned from Bryan Leitch, who I think you might remember from future sex. Yep. His first company was called the Art of Darkness. So it kind of explains a lot. So he was more about the dark than the light. And a lot that I learned from him was about it’s. Something is way more powerful if it’s surrounded by darkness than it is if it’s surrounded by light. So, you know, if you look at some of the moments we’ve done, you see that there’s a single spotlight moment can be just as powerful as 2000 lights all doing the same thing. So it, it really is about understanding where to go with that. And I think it’s the same in music. And I think it’s the same in choreography. It’s like, things are more impactful if they’re not surrounded by amazing things. So if you have to kind of put a whole, I don’t know, you have to have a whole story in an arc of a show where you start crazy maybe, and then you kind of dropped down a little bit. And then if you want to do these special moments, you have to surround it in a moment that isn’t quite as spectacular and those stand out. 

It’s a great point. And I think it, yeah, I definitely see echoes of that sentiment in dance. I remember my come up as a young danceling training to do all the moves and all the styles and, you know, I loved being in motion and it wasn’t until I..  Man, even several years after I moved to LA and became a professional that I learned the value of stillness. And now I actually prefer to embed that in my work, almost every piece that I’ve choreographed and certainly my favorites to perform, ask for that stillness, nothing at all. And also simultaneously everything like everything’s happening inside. Nothing is happening outside. Thats so fun. 

And it’s, uh, it’s the same thing in the show. You know, the lights are all repositioning, they’re all figuring out what’s next. And it’s those things that when you do bring down to those moments of almost black, then it kind of refreshes the pallet ready for the next thing. And I think is really important to remember that because if everything’s going crazy all at the same time, then that’s all you ever see in the show and you get bored of it really quickly and turn off.  

Hmm. Okay. So let’s, let’s talk about that. Let’s talk about going CR let’s not talk about getting bored and turning off. That’s not where we’re going. And this early in the podcast, we’re going to, we’re going to structure it. We’ll go bored later on. Um, but right now I want to talk about the going crazy part because we met during the Future Sex Love Show tour. I was assisting Marty as a choreographer, but he was also directing the show as well. So I was helping out with, I mean, I was 19 years old and having meetings sitting next to you and JT people that are absolutely at the top of their game, doing what they do best. And I’m trying to keep track of scrim time codes. And when that goes up and what this projection is doing here, and I remember feeling way over my head actually in, uh, in the podcast interview that I do with Marty. I think I talk about that day. He asked me if I needed to leave. He was like, do you need to get it together? But there’s one day I’m thinking about in particular, um, that, that there was a song or an interlude, a set of songs that had like hundreds of cues in it. So I would love to hear, because JT loves darkness. I think he loves a mood, but he also loves lasers and he also loves extravagance and he knows how to dial things up. So I would love to hear about like the most challenging, as far as programming numbers that you’ve ever created. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re most dense, I guess, but like how many cues in one in one set and what makes it technically hard?  

It’s just the, so the number of cues you kind of get depends on what you wanted to do. So a cue could even be a moving light. It could be, it doesn’t have to be a set number of things. It doesn’t have to be a set. Um, like every time a light moves, it’s a cue. So what makes the JT stuff particularly different and really cool in my opinion, is nothing ever repeats itself. So, you know, with a lot of artists, they’ll play this verse, chorus, verse chorus, and it’s all the same. And I think in a JT show, you’ll never have a verse. That’s the same as the verses come before. It there’s always something different in there. So that’s what adds to a lot of cues. And I think, you know, I know for a fact, future sex was the intro that you talking about, but we had audio and lights moving around the whole room. I think before he even came on stage, there was a thousand cues that had happened when did that empty start, but the band just started playing and no one realized that we were going into the show. Yes, that’s where it was  

What a stellar moment. I remember writing to the show in a laundry bin with Ava Bernstein. She and I were, uh, carpool partners, um, because the show was in the round and there’s no way to get to the stage without being seen, unless you’re there before they let the audience in, which is several hours early, or you, you get snuck there. And I remember riding there in darkness, in a laundry bin and getting underneath the stage just as that was happening. Um, Oh, that’s so much fun. I’m having a great flashback 

But I think the most complicated song there’s been a couple, but I think from 2020, “Only when I walk away” was pretty crazy. It was all the lasers. It was everything, it was so dark and moody, but there was so many cues in that song. And then, uh, Man of the Woods, it was the mic stand dance  

I don’t know anything about that mic stand, I am um, sworn to, um, so if you have not seen the Man of the Woods tour, which I am so sorry, if you have not, because it was so much fun. Um, what Nick is talking about is a JT solo moment that features a dancing mic stand that just so happens to have been designed and built by my husband, Daniel Reetz, over @vice_chief and the, the mic stand itself, took a lot of research and development in terms of the build. And then choreography had its own research and development period to learn how to, you know, highlight its utility in the coolest, possible way. Um, Marty, Marty Kudelka with the help of Ivan Koumeav, they absolutely crushed it. And JT is so brave in utilizing, um, a prop element that like that, where there’s no hiding. Like there’s no, if you mess up, you just, you look kind of, silly

If you mess up, you probably have no teeth. It’s dangerous. It’s actually pretty dangerous. I tried it once and that was it. I was like, Nope.  

Oh, it looks way easier than it is for sure. Um, but the job of lighting that moment, or is it still okay to say lighting even lasering and lighting they’re the same, um, must have been particularly challenging because the mic stand itself is this narrow thing. It’s not like lighting a projection or a wall or a backdrop or an atmosphere it’s this very thin, you know, stand that we ultimately decided to, um, uh, wrap in some retro reflective. Um,  

Day glow orange danger or safety orange. That was it.  

Safety Orange! To make it more visible. But what was your process in lighting that moment? Did you start big and, and take away or did you start really basic and see what you wanted to add? That would kind of flatter that moment.  

It was actually kind of cool. Cause I worked with the laser programmers who Kelly Sticksel who is part of our team

Shout out Kelly, Laser Kelly. It’s good to have a Laser guy! 

It is. And then Grant Sellers who did the programming of that laser thing, excelled himself in that moment. And he together, we sat there. I think it took two full nights just for that 30 seconds solo, both of us going backwards and forwards. And then JT sat with us for a couple of hours and he would watch it and he’d be like, no, I need to add some more sounds here or do this so that we could hit it with the lights. And it was a really cool collaborative process because then, you know, the next day we show it to Marty and Ivan and they’re like, well, what if we did this too? So I think it was probably a full week of development. And every time you guys got on to the mic to try to JT, there would be, well, we could just do an extra bit here or what if we did this and this could really work. And you know, I think a lot of people don’t realize how much goes into everyone, working together to create the moments that stand out, because that really was maybe 10 people just flat out working to make that whole thing work. And then, you know, Adam Blackstone would come in and add the music bits and then JT would come in and out of a few more music bits and send it back to Adam. So we all really did work on that thing. And I think there was probably a couple of thousand cues in that 30 seconds between all the departments. And no one really noticed, cause what we made happen is the star of the show is JT. And if we do our job, right, that’s what it is. 

You’re Absolutely Right.

And he owned it.  

Oh for sure. That’s, to me that number is, is like, it’s not, I, I w I don’t think it’s right to say that it’s the heart of the show. Cause it doesn’t like pulse. It doesn’t beat. It’s like searing, it spears me up against the wall. It like, it goes straight through my heart. I love that part of the show. It’s so effective. It’s iconic. That’s how I will remember that show for sure.  

You know, it’s one of those things where we’ve done something similar a couple of times before, so how do we do it in a completely different way? And that was it, you know, it was just one night playing with it and we’re going to put the mic stand down in the middle of this stage. All right, cool. How do we make the stage look really cool. And we started playing around with lasers and banks off the stage and then adding the light bits to it. And we, all of a sudden, we were like, yeah, that’s how we’re going to do it, and we started building on it. Yes.  

Um, okay. So you talked a little bit about the nights, obviously you need, uh, to be as close to show mode as possible. It has to be completely dark. Um, which usually means you wind up working nights when there’s nobody else in the venue, no band needs to be seeing their instruments. No dancers need to be seeing their feet. Um, so you guys work at night, you’re completely nocturnal. How does that impact your life in the long run when you like, does that just become your mode?  

You get used to it, and it’s actually quite nice. It gets to, you know, nine, 10 o’clock at night and, uh, and the venue and everyone leaves, and you settle down with a, you know, a cold beer and some loud music and just get creative. And I kinda, I enjoy it. I, I think that that’s the moment where you kind of leave everything else alone and all the business and all the emails and all that kind of thing. And everyone’s finished for the day. You know, it’s just you and the, and the big lighting rig and the lasers and all those little toys.  

Gosh, that’s a huge advantage. I just realize, thank you for saying that zero distractions. Everybody’s asleep disruptions. Okay. I’m pivoting, I’m pivoting. I’m going to make a move.  

It’s really good. Cause, you know, I think there’s two. When are you doing, when you in charge of a company and you’re running a company, you can either be business or creative. Even it’s really hard to switch into that full creative mode. So during the day, a lot of the times you’re trying to figure out something and you’re like, yeah, it’s just not happening. And then an hour into programming and no distractions. And all of a sudden the ideas are everywhere. So it’s, you’ve just got to make time to switch. And it just so happens that that seems to be like 10:00 PM til 3:00 AM  

My friends. I had to jump out here for a second because our conversation reminded me of something really important that I wanted to tell you about. I, long story short recently crashed a zoom call, very important and very exclusive zoom call that I may or may not tell you more about later. We’ll see. Now the guest speaker of said, zoom call was a hero of mine. A man nay, a legend by the name of bill Irwin. Bill is an actor and a clown and many, many things, um, including philosopher apparently, and on the subject of Art, business, and, um, the art of being a creative business. He said something that really, um, caught my ear. And, uh, I had to take a second to jot it down. I want to tell you what he said. Now. He said, “if you become a bureaucrat in the pursuit of your own artistic vision, then you may become a successful business, but you won’t have the benefit of an artist’s vision.“ Now I wouldn’t go as far as to say that artists can’t be business people or vice versa, but I do think it’s more complicated than simply changing hats, right? Like this is my business hat. This is my creative hat. This is my performance hat. You know, so I’ll say it one more time. “If you become a bureaucrat in pursuit of your own artistic vision, you may become a successful business, but you won’t have the benefit of an artist’s vision.” I just thought that maybe you needed to hear that because I know, I sure did. Okay. Let’s jump back in with Nick and hear a little bit more about his art of being a creative business. 

Dana: So could you talk a little bit about how you balance your creative vision and business? How do you decide what projects you’ll work on and what you won’t? How do you know if it’s, if you’ve taken on too much, um, what does your future of fire play look like? Is that something you’re actively pursuing all the time?  

It is. And I think one of the, maybe the only good thing of 2020 was too, was that everything did stop. And I, I, I look back on it. And one of the things I was looking back on is how do we improve and how do we come out of this better? And I think what was happening in the entire music industry was everyone was taking on too much work. And we were losing some of the creativity and the quality. And I think we were kind of doing some cookie cutter shows where you just go in there. And because he was still thinking about the last one or the next one elements of all those shows were creeping into the same ones. So I think what we’ve decided moving forward is to take less but better. So, you know, maybe instead of doing five country artists, next year, we’ll do three or something like that. Two big pop shows instead of four, so that we have the time to concentrate on that and maybe not grow too big. We have a great pool of freelancers that come in and work when we need to grow bigger. But I think the reason people hire is Firefly is to get that next level and you need to have the time to be creative to get that next level. But if you’re always worrying about where the next paycheck is going to come from to pay the staff or something like that, you tend to take on too much work. And none of it gets done to the, to the level that you really want it to. So I think our future is definitely going to be that we’ve got time to have a step back. We’ve got a great team in place right now. So I think moving forwards, we’ll be pretty picky about the shows we take on. Cause I think that’s what we’re known for is the particular, just like you said, the moments that we create and if we have the opportunity to create those moments, we shouldn’t kind of lose that by taking on too much, you know, so,  

Oh, quality, quality, not quantity.  

Exactly. And you need the downtime in between.  

It’s true. It’s true. Um, and you’re right when it comes to a silver lining, I think that perspective is something that 2020 has brought for a lot of us. And I appreciate it so much. Um, I guess, I guess let’s, let’s keep going forward then. I’m curious about the early days, but right now let’s talk future and next I have to know everything that you are allowed to tell me about the show that you did for Metallica, that involved a virtual audience. Um, I haven’t seen it preface, so I, I don’t know what I’m talking about, but I do know that the band was able to see virtually in a very artful designed way in deliberate, um, faces of audience members. But those pixels also could be purpose for creating the atmosphere that the audience sees. So it’s not like, uh, a one-way mirror or a, a fold-up laptop screen where I see you and only you forever, but the pixels that were, you could become into the background for someone else. Do I have that about right? Is that  

Yeah, I think you do. So I can, I can start at the beginning of this story. So back in March, one of our clients came to us and said, I would like to perform in front of a choir, but the choir members are going to be from all over the country. Cause I don’t want to put them together. So we started doing research into all the different platforms, like the zooms, teams, nothing really worked because nothing comes together in the right way. And especially if you’re going put a hundred people on there to do a choir, the whole thing falls to pieces. So we got, we kind of got this whole thing put together. We figured out how to do it. We found the right companies that could deliver it. And then the artist decided that he didn’t want to do it. So we moved on, but at the same time we were trying to, um, you know, at Fireplay, we’re trying to think, how do we keep our as connected with fans during this time? Because we’re seeing the trend of people doing live streams from bedrooms and living rooms and nothing really elevated. Exactly. And I think it was getting pretty stale and it was losing a bit of star quality too, because people like, Oh, that’s just an average person.  

Careful, careful.  

So we, over the last six months we’ve been developing it’s, uh, we use software from Clair, who’s big audio company. Um, we decided to go with Clair because all the people that run this thing are the outward road crew. So they keep getting trained. So for us, instead of just going to another technology company for us, this is really good. And PRG came on board as well. The same thing, you know, all the video guys that run this thing are all the people that would have been on the big tours. So hopefully in doing this, we’re putting people back to work as well as creating cool moments. And essentially Metallica was, uh, up to, we had 4,000 people sat there watching online and 500 people on four screens that surrounded them at any one time and between songs, we could rotate them around. So everyone got at least one or two times on the wall and what makes it different from the rest of the software is we can control everything to do with it. So it was all branded to look like a Metallica thing. Um, it was, it was all fitted into the backdrop, but even on that instead of just one audio feed from whoever’s talking, there’s a guy that mixes it. So in between the songs we got real applause and clapping and people screaming out and shouting, and it felt like we were almost in a concert.  

That is the part that, that feels so, so lacking for me, in addition to the actual moving bodies, which dancer, obviously that’s a big one me, but that is, it is like this silent void on the other end. That’s such a buzzkill. Oh wow, cool.  

And even better, which is, um, there were, there was two cool stories, but even better in between the, uh, the songs the band could just pick on random people from the wall and have a one-on-one conversation like we’re having now.  

Okay Now, that sounds like a VIP experience. That sounds like better than a live show. And that’s what I’ve been secretly hoping we could find during this time is like, how do we bank on what’s super cool about this and that. And the parts that couldn’t happen live,  

I don’t know there was a post that I saw on Metallica’s social media where a fan of theirs bought a ticket and was on the wall and got to talk to them. And, um, she suffers from Miami. So it hasn’t been able to attend the live show and her posts was just simply thank you for making me feel human for a night. And we were all just like, Oh my God. 

Puddle on the floor, puddle on the floor.  

Yeah. That’s a great, you know, we, we built a technology now that didn’t exist in March, right. To the level. And I think it will be needed moving forward too. Especially as soon as we start touring again into arenas and we can only half fill them, right. If we can do a virtual show as well. So the people in the local area that can’t buy a ticket can buy the stream and be part of a crowd that we integrate into the set somehow, then we can actually afford to tour again, rather than saying, Hey, we can’t sell enough tickets. So it doesn’t make sense to tour. Cause we’re all going to lose money. I’ll do it for free and no one wants to do that. Right. And we have to survive.  

Right. That, that sort of reminds me of something that I’ve noticed in the education realm is this sort of leveling of the playing fields in terms of training and accessibility. Most of the people like high performing people, the Marty Kudelka is of the world, the principal ballerinas at ABT because they’re not performing they’re teaching. And even if you don’t live in LA or New York, or aren’t able to buy a plane ticket to one of those places, you can be training with those people right now. So it’s a, it’s a really interesting, and I think appropriate timing to, um, to exercise some inclusivity and, and make things that used to be very exclusive and only come around every once in a while available to a lot of people. Um, the once in a while part is what we’re working on. Right. How long did it take you guys to create the, the backend for that show? 

Six months. 

Yeah. Okay. Yeah. So you’re not going to be cranking those out, like, uh,  

Well no, now we’ve now it set up, so yeah, we can, we can, we’re talking to a few different people about some more, so that’s great.  

Nice. That’s my favorite. That type of work is the work that you do once and then it continues working for you.  

Yeah, the, yeah. You know, there was a lot of technical parts that needed to come together to make it work right. Because most of the streams that you see, they’ve got a 25 seconds, 45 second delay, just because of the way that the stream around the world and that doesn’t work if you need instant reaction. So we’re currently able to get to anywhere in the world and back again under a second, which is cool.  

Oh my gosh. That’s insane. Congratulations. That’s massive. Um, is there a way for us people to see that show?  

Yeah. There’s a link actually to the first 10 minutes.  

Oh, well you don’t say, uh, you all lucky listeners will be able to find that link in the show notes for this episode. Don’t miss it. I am doing that like immediately. Um, okay. So that’s that’s future look, this is exciting. I’m digging it. I would love now to take a look at the rear view for a quick second. Um, I’m so curious about some of the early defining moments in your career. Cause I know a lot of my listeners are people that are navigating the early steps or navigating a transition in their careers. Maybe they’ve been dancing for a long time becoming a choreographer. Maybe they’re, they’ve been choreographing for a long time and they’re becoming creative directors and so on and so forth. So, uh, could you speak a little bit about those, those key early moments for you, big decisions or otherwise defining moments  

In the world that I came from, there was a lot of being in the right place at the right time. And the thing I think that defined it was instead of worrying about saying yes to some of those opportunities, I just did it and figured out how to do it. So I think, you know, straight out of school, I knew I wanted to do lighting or sound or something backstage. So I moved to London, I would volunteer to do anything. I worked in all the little like, uh, rock venues that would have 200, 300 people. And I, and just, you know, for hardly any money, not really anything, just trying to get the experience I could. And it, one day, one of those venues, which was, uh, a massive abandoned theater that they used to do a church in every week. And that was about it. And this guy,Bryan Leitch walked in and he came to put a new lighting rig in and asked if I wanted to help him, I did. A week later, he called me and he said, I’ve got one of my, house LD, these at the forum in London, quit, can you be here in an hour? And I’m like, okay,  

I’m already here, actually I’m right outside. Ready to go?  

I wasn’t I got there. The old lighting designer, handed me a harness and said, “here you go”. And I was like, “what that for?” And he’s like, to climb up there to reach all the rig and then got in his car left. So that was it. That was my first lighten designer gig  

That is a hard start.  

It was, it was for a band called Madness. Don’t know if you’ve heard of Madness, but it was a, it was an old rig of park hands. And I had to climb up there with these colored sheets of paper. And for two hours I hanging upside down, I’m trying to redo this thing and focus it. And for an LD that was getting annoyed because he was like, you aren’t very good. I’m like, this is the first time I’ve ever even looked at this thing. So,  

So no wonder, I’m not that good. Oh my gosh, that’s a good one.  

I worked there for two years.  

And by the time you left, did you feel like the, like, like a chief, you felt like, Oh yeah, this is my realm.  

Yeah. I think it was easy because it was a house gig. So everything was already there. What was great about that place is it was probably one of the two venues in London where all the acts came through. So anyone that was doing really good came through there. Um, we actually did a JT show there, the forum in London. I don’t think, I don’t know if you remember. That was one of the clubs shows on 2020 for a while. Oh, dang. Wow. Which was cool going back there and seeing like some of the guys that were still there  

All those years later. Whoa. Um, okay. So I guess if I had to think of a career defining moment, I get a lot of firsts, right? Like the first time you put a harness on and climb up the rig the first time you, um, you know, for me, the first time I booked a tour and stepped on a tour bus and was like, wait, how many people sleep here? Um, I, yeah, I think for me that my first world tour Future Sex, it taught me a lot about the, about how many people it takes to make something like that go, and you spoke a little bit to the collaboration. Um, and that was a huge takeaway for me. But I also learned a lot about the relationship between dancer and artist and dancer and audience. And I think that tour taught me how to be aware of how many different performance levels there are instead of just execute steps, execute steps. It’s like relate to this person in this way, relate to the JT person in this way, relate to the music and this way and all the different ways that you can exist on a stage. Um, I, I, I’m curious in just a kind of an artful conversation way. I see the role of a dancer on a big pop tour, like that to be somewhat of a portal to the artists. Like most of the people that come watch JT perform, they are standing five feet away from him. He’s a human, they’re a human, but they look at him like he’s a God and he’s just big and perfect and great, but they look at a dancer like, Oh man, Oh, that’s so cool. I, Oh, if only I could. So I sort of see the dancer as being this like halfway person to the artist that makes the artists a little bit more accessible. Um, that makes them think, Oh, like I could open his jacket and pull the silk out. I could dust his shoulder off. And, and I, I love that so much about, about that part of what I do. Um, I guess I’m curious about that was a story. How about that? Um, I guess I’m curious about what you see lighting, what is the role that lighting plays in a pop tour like that?  

So I think it’s different to the dancer side. So for the lighting, what we do with lighting is we’re trying to create the emotion. We’re trying to get drama and kind of turn the music that’s being created into something visual. So that’s how I see how lighting works, which is something that I think I do a little bit differently to a lot of people. Some people will look at lighting as the way to just, you know, create a mood for the scene mine is more about how do you interpret the music and to the individuals without overdoing it. So that’s, that’s where I kind of see it. And it is a style and it’s definitely a style that got JT’s attention. Cause that’s why you hired me. Sorry. He said, I want that. And even his comment when he created 2020 was look, I’ve done an album for you. It’s music. You can see. And I’m like, great. And it was like, you know, that, that was a crazy light show and videos  

It Is perfect in my eyes. Yeah. I absolutely love that show. And I’m honored to have been a part of it. And side note curious about this. Rest, his soul, Jonathan Demi crushed, capturing that show for film. I can’t recall. And it is very possible that I’m biased, probable that I am biased, but I can’t think of a more beautiful, elegant, dramatic, sexy, bright, but also really dark and, and super, but also singular and kind of personal show. I just can’t name one. I th it’s, it’s perfect in my eyes. I love it. How do you feel about the way it translated for film?  

I think it was really good. And what I think was the best bit Jonathan did, was he caught the relationship with you guys on the stage. And that’s what no one in the, he said, when I, in those first meetings, that’s the bit you want to bring because everyone can see it sat in an arena and understand that you want it to deliver something that wasn’t possible to sit in a seat in that house. And I think he delivered that perfectly.  

Yeah. He puts the viewer on the stage there with us. It is, uh, it’s it’s JT and the Tennessee kids. And you like, you are a Tennessee kid. That’s how it feels. You’re so right.  

And just, you know, just something that came into my mind, as well, as you were talking about the relationship of a dancer to JT, and that’s what you think it brings. I had a really interesting conversation a week ago about things going digital and everything, just, you know, the new trend of XR and things like everything being fake and created around an  artist and I don’t think it’s a special, I think, you know, we’re talking about immersive environments and that’s what dancers and band they bring. It’s, it’s part of the, you’ve got to be there in, in, and witness it to understand it, but it brings that special thing that you can’t recreate digitally, or you can’t do with technology it’s performance. And it’s, it’s that amazing thing that surrounds people with performance. And especially on the, the, in the round shows that we were doing, it was everywhere.  And I think that there were moments where it was just as important to see what you guys were doing as, as what JT were doing at the other side of the stage. It all told the story and it all kind of linked together. Yeah. I think that’s what made all those moments really special, which Jonathan caught right there is he got those moments. He saw the interaction between you guys in the band and, uh, and just how that all works, which is really cool. Cause no one gets to see that. And they don’t. I think some people might just say, you get on stage and you do the steps, but it’s not, no, it’s not every night, every night is a, an experience for everyone. Yeah.  

That show is different. It’s so good. Ah, okay. This one’s tough. I don’t want to put you in a difficult situation, but I’m going to, um, sort of like asking a parent to pick a favorite child. Um, I don’t want you to tell me your favorite person to work for or your favorite thing that you’ve done, but what are the outstanding shows when you, when you look back at your chronology, what really stands out?  

I’ve got a few, which is, which is good. Um, you know, moving on from where I was in London, that would be my first big tour was Coldplay. That was my first world tour. And it lasted six years, which was pretty crazy.  

Okay. Welcome to touring life. You have no other life,  

Right? Yeah. Uh, so that show that the show that we finished, there the Twisted Logic tour, that was definitely a favorite. And it’s what led to everything else. Um, obviously all three of the JT shows cause we get to be as creative as we possibly can imagine. And, and most of the time we get everything that we’ve tried to put in there, which is awesome. Um, as a Kylie Minogue show that we did called Aphrodite,  

Which we need to talk about because one of my dearest friends is Tony Testa, who we grew up together. We’re from Colorado. Um, that’s uh, yeah, that’s, uh, that’s a bestie for life and he was associate director on the show and choreographer. Um, okay. Tell me more about Kylie. What, what, was it technically challenging or, uh, fulfilling in the same type of creative permission type of ways or what was going on there?  

It was one of those shows where Will, Tony, and Carly came to us and said, I don’t think anyone else could pull this off. 

Ah ha! And they were right. 

They wanted to build Ancient, Greece. And we want a swimming pool. And we want fountains in the stage, and we got it. The front of the stage lifted up to do a floor dance on a big tilt, a world. There was a 10 foot gold Pegasus. I, it was, it was full on. 

That is full on. I’ve seen only parts of that show. I never got to see it live, but a handful of the dancers, um, have been guests actually just a few weeks ago. Martha Nichols was a guest. Um, I, I’ve got to have Tony on the podcast. Uh, what a small, small world it is indeed. So you created a world, you created this whole other environment that must shift and morph throughout the show and becomes many different things. Um, and is there ever, I guess here’s a question I hadn’t thought of, you mentioned the, the chemistry between dancers and band in a JT show is part of what makes 153 shows feel like 12 shows. Like there’s an element of freestyle that Marty has built into the choreography. There’s an element of spontaneity when you have this relationship between the band, but you’re running the board of a show like that, which is exciting and elaborate and cool. Yes. But in 200 shows or 150 shows or how – Kylie was on the road for some time, do you ever burn out from running the same cues? Is there still a level of spontaneity or a relationship that, that still Stokes you up at the 150th show at the same way that you were stoked up on the first?  

Yeah. And it is different because every venue we move to, we have to make sure it looks the same and that’s the challenge so right.  

The pegasus doesn’t change, But everything else does  

Where the lights are hung, you know, whether they’re focused every day, they move around in the truck. So you’ve got to go through all of them and make sure that everything you intended to happen in the show actually happens like you wanted it to. And I think that’s the bigger challenge. Cause when, when you get to the end of it, you’re like, Oh no, we did that. It was perfect. And there is still, you know, when you light the crowd or when you might do some things too, does change slightly from show to show and we have to be flexible enough to allow anything to happen to you. So, you know, if there’s a moment that you want to play another verse and you never know, like in some of those acoustic things, JT, could want to do whatever he wants and we have to be able to follow. So we have all that built in there and that’s part of the excitement. Isn’t it. See what happens each night and how the audience reacts. And if the audience is quiet, you might not light them up as much as if they’re going crazy and everyone wants to see it. So all of those little things do play into what we do every day. I think the same thing though, 130 shows can feel like 12.  

Awesome. That’s really inspiring and refreshing to hear it. And I hope that, um, everybody listening can take that away. There is a lot of automation these days in the shows that we do, but that does not mean that there isn’t a live human decision, making it all run. Um, I think that’s so special. That’s so magical.  

Yeah. And I, that’s what I think sometimes you see some shows that are quite clinical and I think nothing’s left to the imagination. It’s the same show, no matter what, every night. And I think the human touch is what takes it to that next level is someone actually sat there and making the conscious decision to actually play that tonight or not as bright or not as loud or not as much where, where the camera focuses or something like that. That’s what I enjoy most. And I think that’s all the people that work in, in my world and I like to work with, they all approach it the same way as this. We do this because we love it. We don’t do it because it’s a job. Right.  

That lights me up. Oh, no pun intended. Okay. So final question. And I guess this is, it might be a little cliche to ask, but if there is somebody out there who’s listening and is inspired to, not all of my listeners are dancers, shout out mom. Um, but if somebody out there was listening and thought, I think I might want to take, you know, the way I change music into moves. And I might want to change music into mood with light, where do they start? How, how does that journey for someone begin?  

I think it’s different from where you are, but there are plenty of courses now that teach it, there didn’t use to be. Um, so that’s a, it’s a good starting point to see if you like it. But the best way to do this is just to get on a tour or actually try something, reach out to someone, you know, if you’ve be another show with that has a lighting designer, give them a call and say, Hey, any chance I can come and watch a programming session,  or be taught something. And that’s how you’ll really learn as like seeing people do what they do and understanding why they made that decision rather than the other a hundred decisions that could have happened at that time.  

I appreciate that. Get in and do the work or like jump on to a project that’s happening and learn as much as you can.  

Yeah. And what, what what’s actually important too is yes, the ultimate goal is if you want to be a lighting designer is be a lighting designer, but you should also take the time to learn all the other roles that lead up to lighting designer. Like the crew chief, the rigor or the light, you know, the people that fix the lights. Cause we’re talking about each one of those lights having so much technology in it. But when there were points in the development of them that they had like Hubble space, telescope engineers working on the optics and we’re going, Whoa, this is complicated. So if you understand how it works internally and what it takes to move the colors around and things like that, then you understand what it can look like when you’re programming it. And the same for the crew. Like I would never ask someone to go and climb up all the way to the top of that thing. 10 minutes before a show, because one of the lights isn’t working, I’ll just, you know, figure out how to make it look okay without the light, because that’s not something you ask someone to do because I wouldn’t want someone to ask me to do it.  

That’s huge. That’s hugely important, like a base understanding of the technology and the moving parts involved in doing this creative thing. I bet is a start. That answer is in stark contrast. So I have to bring it up to a question that I heard recently. I was listening to, um, uh, I don’t remember what the podcast is called. (TEAM DEAKINS) Forgive me. I’ll put it in the show notes, but Roger Deakins has a podcast now. Um, famous director of photography. If you don’t know who Roger Deakins is. And, uh, he’s asked, you know, if somebody wants to become a DP, like what do you recommend that they do? How do they start, yada yada? And I’m, I’m going to like really boil down his answer, his answer more or less was like go fishing. Um, like what, just start observing how light works in the real world. Watch what happens to light on water. And how does that make you feel? How do your eyes respond to something that’s moving versus something that’s still, how do you, you know, what do clouds do to light? What is the color of your skin look like when the clouds are this way, blah, blah, blah, blah. And I did. I thought that that was very poetic and beautiful, but really truly, if you want to be a lighting designer, don’t go fishing. Like go put your hands on some lights, go try out, try some different things out. I’m not saying that Roger Deakins is wrong by any means, but, um, I do really love and encourage people, this, the idea of a hands-on application of a new skill.  

Try it. Yeah. You might create something that we haven’t thought of. Right?  

Yeah. I guess, I guess, do both bring some lights out on your fishing boat with you and see how that works out, but it’s probably a combination of both. Right. But I think that one of the things I love about the way JT operates and Kylie also actually, um, and this speaks to one of Tony Testa’s and strengths is like a real life thing, dialed up versus going like full out crazy spectacle hundred and 50 dancers CG This projection mapping that, blobby blue, this is like, there’s something real and relatable at the core of, of JT’s work and his shows. Um, that’s just relatable enough that you could feel like, Ooh, this is mine. Like I fit in this world. Um, but that’s spectacular enough that makes you like never, ever forget that night.  

No, it’s pretty simple for both of those teams, they care, they care about, they care about what the show is. They care about the audience experience. They care about the people on stage with them. I think they’re there to give 150% every night and we’re there to do the same. So that’s why the show is so good.  

Oh my God, hands down. I’ll tell I, this is what I say to people all the time. There’s this, like, there’s a concept that, um, background dancers and background vocalists and the band are there, like supporting talent, like there to help lift the artists. And I’m like, y’all, don’t understand he was lifting all of us, every single light. I just think the world of that guy.  

Yeah. And I, you know, Bryan’s the one who did not of the words he was out there as the lighting director on that, or a young kid, we gave him a chance on that tour. And he was just like, is there any advice? And I’m like, yeah, don’t ** up.  

Right. Because, because the guy is, he, he sees everything. He knows everything. He, and he absolutely knows what he likes. And when he doesn’t like, it’s, it’s remarkable. Like JT knows your cues. And he knows mine and he knows his and he knows Adam’s. And he, you know, it’s the capacity can only that I think there is a gift there, but that can only manifest every single day, day after day, if you care. And that’s, that’s why it’s there. Cause you’re, you’re so right. He cares so much.  

Yeah. I’ve, I’ve done a show where an incredible artist has walked onto the stage, but they don’t care. So the show been, it’s been great. Like you said, a big spectacle, but it’s missing that, that moment that people walk out of that show going, and that was just the best thing I’ve ever seen. And it’s not because of the lights or the video or the dancers or the band or anything like that. It all starts with that talent. And then it trickles down to everyone. Everyone gives a little bit more and everyone’s a bit more creative and everyone’s pushed outside that comfort zone a little bit. And I think all of that comes together to be like, he knows a hundred percent what he’s doing. He knows how much you pushing it for him. And he knows that none of us are going to fail because that’s not an option. He’s not going to fail. So we’re not going to fail and we’re not going to mess up. No.  

Uh, this reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by my favorite artist, Tom Sachs, the, the, the phrases. It will not fail because of me. And I’ve thought about committing this to permanence on my body, in the form of a tattoo. It will not fail because of me, which actually has this beautiful, double meaning. Right. It will not fail because, uh, because I made it and it will not fail because of me, but also I won’t make it go wrong. And I, I love the sentiment. I think it’s a, a good banner to, to live behind. Um, all right, well, I’m full of nostalgia. I’m full of excitement for future opportunities and potential ways of using technology and relating to each other and moving on forward after, after the pandemic, which just doesn’t seem to stop. Um, and I’m so grateful to know you as a, as a key player in that moving forward. Um, I just think the world of you guys and everything that you do, and the fact that you care and you S and, you know, you’ve got a keen antenna up to, um, to the people who care and the people that are going to be able to deliver something truly remarkable. Um, that’s, that’s your mission. And so that’s, that’s what you’re doing  

Mission to work with them, right? The people that care.  

Yes. And man, I think, yeah, if anything, this moment has reminded people of what they care about, right. Distance makes the heart grow fonder. I usually laugh at that statement. And I’m like, Oh, you obviously have not had a long distance relationship. Um, distance is hard, but there is this idea of you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. And I think we’re all feeling that, feeling that right now. 

I think so. I think so many people name live music is one of the things they miss the most, but yeah, we got to find a way to bring it back safely, sooner rather than later  

On it, on it. And at your service. Thank you, Nick so much for being here. I really appreciate it. It’s always a joy to talk to you, and it’s actually a super joy to talk to you for this length of time. Usually we’re like quick notes, quick notes, quick notes. Um, but this is a real treat. Thank you so much for being here.  

Thanks Dana.  

Okay. I hope you learned a lot from this conversation. Um, insert some more puns about being lit or lit up or illuminated lighting puns are really just, they’re too easy. I digress next week is a special one. Next week. I will be doing a special year end wrap-up episode, where I will recap all of the things that I’ve learned from a year of weekly podcasting. And yes, some of my favorite standout moments from 2020 of which there are several, by the way, despite the best efforts of this damn pandemic, this damn damn damn DEMEC pandemic. So be on the lookout for next week’s episode. And also the words that move me, t-shirt collaboration with getting unlocked is up for grabs thedanawilson.com/shop along with stickers and shoe bags and some pretty sweet and very useful digital downloadable materials just in time for your holiday gift giving season and a new year, and a new you with new podcast merch. Um, if you don’t plan on spending any money on the online store, however, you can still get a t-shirt because we’re having an Instagram giveaway contest and you have until December 31st to enter, there are no limits on entries. We want everybody to have a chance to rock this t-shirt it says, I welcome your differences on it. And I do. I cannot tell you enough how good I feel when I wear this shirt. I stepped forward into the world with curiosity and compassion and conversations and a wow, I’m really going off right now. I think the shirt is great. I think you will too. Also it’s super soft. So super soft shirt, super strong message. Get into the contest, head on over to our Instagram page, which is @wordsthatmovemepodcast to get an Eyeful and an earful. W w what would you say to get an Eyeful? Well, that’s just where you’ll find all of the contest terms and rules and guidelines and so forth. All right, everybody, that’s it for me? I think that’s it for me. I’m pretty sure that’s it for me. Oh, yes. Be sure to subscribe and download episodes if you’re digging the pod and be super sure to keep it funky. Have a great day. Everybody I’ll talk to you soon. Bye 

Ep. #50 The Voice Doctor: RAab Stevenson

Ep. #50 The Voice Doctor: RAab Stevenson

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When I asked RAab Stevenson (vocal coach extraordinaire) “what makes a GREAT singer?”, his answer was not what I was expecting… Listen in as we talk greatness, training, lifestyle, myths about the voice, and warnings about the recording industry.

Show Notes:

Quick Links:

Liv’s Music Video, “OVER” : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmEXH0oHAR0

Work with RAab Stevenson: https://kimadproductions.com/?page_id=50

Voice Goodies:

Throat coat tea: https://amzn.to/37ORrRF10:23

Throat comfort tea : https://amzn.to/2K1tcY710:24

Menuca Honey: https://amzn.to/2VQfwBW10:24

Airwaves Gum: https://amzn.to/37MX0jy10:25

Grethers: https://amzn.to/3qDyoCe


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, Hello. How are you? Welcome to the podcast. I’m jazzed that you’re here and yes, I’m jazzed for this episode. Oh my God. You’re in for a treat today. My guest on this episode is Rob Stevenson, vocal coach to the stars. And this episode lines up perfectly with my win for the week. This is my win. If you’re new to the podcast, by the way I do wins every week. It’s how it starts. I start then you go, so get ready. Okay. My win this week is that I have directed my first official music video and it is out there in the world. Ready to be enjoyed by you or by anyone with access to the internet. I suppose, um, the, the recording artist responsible for said, video goes by Liv, shout out Liv if you’re listening. Um, and live is one of Rob Stevenson’s clients. So the world is truly a tiny little acorn. My win this week is live and my guest this week is lives coach. So cool. So excited to get into it. I do want to dig into this win a little bit more though, because I would be a fool to not talk about all of the things that I got to practice on this gig and just kind of take stock for myself, but also for you. Um, one of the things that I got to practice that I really encourage you to be practicing and be mindful of as well, is this, um, the, the ability to scale a vision in your head in accordance to the budget of the project. Uh, for example, in this case, do we use my busted projector from Amazon or do we use a 20,000 lumen projector that comes with his own projection operator?  Um, shout out projector, Paul, what up! Or, or do we go with the 30,000 lumen projector that weighs 200 pounds and might look better, but would also take like 45 minutes to move in between shots? Like, do we pay for the lumens or do we pay for the time? Um, another thing that I got to practice on set of this video is editing fast. I rescaled some of the video files for our projectionist. Like in real time, as we were shooting I’m scaling, um, the video files, it was a really awesome kind of higher pressure editing environment than what I’m used to. Um, obviously we were on a clock, obviously we’re on a budget and that really applied pressure that I have not been used to, um, before. So it was, it was super fun meeting that with a willingness to fail publicly willingness to, um, willingness for it to not be perfect on the first go round.  Another thing I got to practice is is this decision-making tool of when to budge and when not to budge, in terms of your vision, something like fighting for the dream location, for example. One of the other things I got to practice is preparedness. Just call me Sergeant Spreadsheet because I love a spreadsheet. I love a schedule. I love sticking to the schedule. Um, yeah, my spreadsheets, my shot lists definitely helped me deliver under schedule. Um, so did my kick butt team! Shout out to the, my new VIP DP, Luke Orlando, um, shout out to Artifact Content, the production house, responsible shout out to Arian. My buddy who helped me with the edit, um, super shout out to AJ, Harpold and Ivan Koumaev for being the management team that gets creative vision. And that gets the role of movement for recording artists. Um, and of course, super thank you to Liv for being the reason all of this came together. I could not be more thrilled, super win, super winning. Oh, that’s my hat. Super wining. Okay. How about you? What’s going well in your world. What are you celebrating today?  

All right. Congratulations. I am so glad you’re winning really truly. You’re crushing it. Keep going. Just keep going. That’s all you have to do. Keep winning. I got you. All right. Oh, I shouldn’t be whispering. You’ll find out why in a second. All right. So this episode is going out to all of my art types with a voice that is actually all of you. Um, but specifically vocalists recording artists, voice actors, speakers, or shouters. If you’re a director or a first assistant director, um, people with a voice all across the globe, this episode goes out to you. It goes out specifically. It goes out to anyone interested in using their voice and using it for a long time. The timing of this episode is absolutely perfect for me because just last week in my interview with Martha Nichols, we talked about my vocal nodules and my absolute awe of people who can sing. Um, and by the way, that includes Martha and almost all of the people that I work with all of the time. So I, in, in my life and my creative life, I feel a little bit like a black sheep, um, on the vocal front. And it is a huge point of insecurity for me. Um, my inability to sing or even in most cases hum the melody that I’m choreographing to, uh, anyways, well, we’ll talk about it later. I don’t want to spend so much time on the woe is me, but I do want to tell you that I am shifting my thoughts about my voice after this conversation with RAab and you might as well. So whether you are a super pro songstress or a person who is interested in becoming a song person, a songbird, this episode is absolutely for you. So go grab some tea with honey. He will tell you what kind of honey, by the way. So listen up for that, um, and grab a cup of water and a straw. If you would like and get ready to meet Rob Stevenson and get ready to meet your new and improved voice. Enjoy.  

**cup bubbles**

RAab: Hey, somebody has been practicing.  

Dana: Do I sound like butter? Thank you, RAab. Thank you! Gentle, easy-peasy okay. Everybody. I am so excited today. I cannot explain my enthusiasm and my history with this individual. My guest today is RAab Stevenson. I am thrilled, RAab, thank you so much for being here. Um, so it’s par for the course on the podcast. All of my guests always introduce themselves. RAab, what would you like us to know about you?  

RAab: Um, my name is Robert Stevenson. Um, my artist’s name when I was recording and putting out music myself, we called me RAab. Some people call it Ray-ab, uh, R with two As one B and the quick story behind that, we was just trying to find something to be cool. And one day we had a friend who was acting as a personal manager for me at the time Mike Berry, we were sitting behind a car that’s named a Saab and I was like, Hey man, how do you pronounce that car’s name? He said, Oh, that’s a saab. I was like, that’s it Rob Saab Raab. So I got back with the label and I was like, look, everyone just called myself. RAab was like, no, that’s not, that’s not deep enough. I like, no he’s gonna spell it. R A A B. And then the guys that the label, they were, um, part of the nation of Islam, it’s like, Oh man, we’ve got to keep the Quran and get deep with this thing. And I was like, we don’t have to. And that’s how the spelling came Large R Large A lower case a lower case b. So they put all that together.  

Dana: Like you think, you know, somebody and then you find out where their name came from. That’s so cool. Um, all right. So Rob, we met on my first world tour. Uh, it was Justin Timberlake’s Future Sex Love Show tour way back in 2007,  

RAab: 2006.  

Dana: Whoa. So I was, I was either 19 or 20 when we met. And you were a background vocalist on that tour code a shorthand for a background vocalist. We co we affectionately call them BVs. So you were a BV on that tour. Um, the show was in the round. You can watch it on HBO shameless plug. It was beautiful. And y’all BVs were all over that stage.  

RAab: We were dancing. Yeah. Yeah. It’s um, it was crazy. You guys had us all over the place as background singers. You normally don’t get that much attention. We’re normally stricken by just wearing all black sit in the background, basically seeing behind the curtain don’t get in the way that the artists do whatever they want to, but then you guys y’all show up. You Dane, you Dana AAJ, Marty, you know, comes coming to picture. It’s like, no, y’all got to be, get down everywhere. And sure enough, we went from one end of the stage to the other underneath the stage, singing and dancing, popping out, doing all the cool stuff. We were heavily involved in that. And, um, the thing that was really crazy is that which really helped us and, um, was, um, uh, the other vocalist Denosh Bennett. You know, she came from the world of, um, you know, broadway and, and dancing heavily and performing in music videos from Mystica to mystical, to Aliyah she’s she was heavily involved in that and she transitioned it to being a vocalist on that tour. So she was constantly in the background helping us out when you guys were out doing your thing with the artists, Justin as well. So it was really a big help. And, and what was crazy is that on the first tour Justified Tour that’s where I met Robin Wiley. She was a voice coach for Justin Timberlake, as well as the kids on a Mickey Mouse club. And, um, I would always ask her because we would have asked her, could I come to her hotel room, which was where we were staying at and we would have, um, vocal rehearsals there. Could I come in, just ask her a bunch of questions about the voice, never trying to be a voice coach, but just trying to be a better singer for the gig, you know? So I would be able to last and keep my job basically. Yeah. So she, she, um, after that tour, it was a success after that tour, leading in the Future Sex Love Show Tour, we had the promotional tour where we was doing all the club shows and stuff like that to kick before kicking off the arena tour. And, um, she fell ill and I was teaching people off of the CD that she gave me to warm up Justin or myself or the other singers when she wasn’t around. And I still carry that in my backpack in honor of her. So anytime I feel like I’m not good enough, or I need help, I’ll just put that in and I’ll listen. And she’s still giving me these little nuggets, you know, over the years. And that’s been since 2006, which is amazing. And, um, you know, at that point she fell ill. And one day we was here doing the club show here in Atlanta, believe it or not, which is where I live at the Tabernacle.  And my friends were coming to the show. I was so excited and I’m outside hanging with my friends and, and, uh, Big-E, Eric, Eric Burrows, I’m the head of security for Justin. He calls me, he said, Hey, what are you doing? And I was like, ah, my friends I’m getting, you know, bringing them into the show. And he was like, J needs you. I was like, is everything okay? He was like, yeah, he needs you to warm him up. And that was the very first time I started warming Justin up and I winded up, warming him up every single night for that whole tour. That was my job.  

Dana: I did not know that’s how that all went down. It seemed like such a natural progression to me. Um, and I suppose it may be, I mean, you, you alluded a little bit to trying to keep the gig. And I would imagine that for vocalists, like for dancers booking a tour is like kind of winning the lottery and they, there aren’t there aren’t 45 BVS on a tour. There are four or two. So it seems it must be a pretty competitive, um,  

RAab: It’s a, it’s an extremely competitive gig. And not only, not only just booking it, you have to be pretty, pretty, pretty talented to be able to sing multiple parts. You know, you gotta be able to sing a Soprano or Alto or Tenor. You gotta be really dynamic as a vocalist to be able to book a gig and really keep it. And in that case, it wasn’t like I was trying to be a brown nose or anything like that. I just wanted to do whatever it took to help because, you know, Darrell Diesel, who, unfortunately we lost this year, he passed in February. And, uh, he was how I got hired on that gig. I was in Atlanta and most people that get hired from gigs in LA, you normally have to be there in LA when you get the cattle call or, or a music director is looking for singers, dah, dah, dah, dah. And it’s a small window, you know, and just so happened. Justin was in Virginia Beach, finishing up the album with Pharrell and Chad and the engineered new diesel, you know, had them come by. They took them out to dinner and then that’s how he got hired. And then Justin had him to call and find the other guy. And when he called me, I was in a whole different space. I wouldn’t even thinking about coming on tour with anybody. I was trying to get back into the music industry, but my journey back in there, I had rededicated my life to Christ to God. And I was trying to move back to Orlando, which is where I’m from. So when he called, he was like, Hey man, you know, you’ll never believe who I’m working with. He was like, Justin Timberlake. And I was like, ‘Oh man, that’s amazing.  I’m so happy for you.’ And he was like, I was, I, my response to him was like, Hey, if you see his manager, Johnny Wright, let him know. I’m getting ready to move back to Orlando. And if I have to take out the trash at the compound, I’ll do that to get back in the game, you know, with, um, with that being said, he didn’t see Johnny Wright. But he, he asked me, he said, Hey man, but the guy, you know, Justin asked me to find the other guy to come on tour with him. And I was like, Oh my gosh, that’s amazing. Who are you going to call? And he was like, you, you big dummy.  

I’m calling you. This is the call.  

Nine days later. We were in LA on the microphone singing. Like I Love You get ready to do a promo run that we got there that Tuesday, Wednesday had a, uh, a single release party. It was Jay Leno. We did his show. It was, it was-you know how it works. It was pandemonium. It was crazy.  

Okay. So, so obviously that was a long time ago. A lot has changed since then. 


Oh my goodness. So, okay. I know this is a tough question. I’m sorry to do this to you, but what would be, what would you say are the biggest changes in your life since then?  

Well, one of the biggest changes was on that particular tour. I was doing some really crazy stuff with the money I was making off of that tour. Like a lot of people that get on the tour, the first time I was buying all these shoes, I had a suitcase just full of shoes and another suitcase. At that time, they would let you have 70 pounds in a suitcase. And the other one had an outfit to match every single out, you know, a pair of shoes and I was getting money and I was just giving it away. I had nothing to show for it. That changed on after- on the future sex love show to them, you know? And I was like, okay, something’s gotta be different. That was one. When I met my wife, you know, when we was doing the I’m Loving It, promo tour over in Australia. So working with Justin, I met my wife, we had a baby, you know, it’s been a blessing. Yeah. So with all of that being said, um, that changed, um, by me working on that first tour and following Robin Wiley around, I would not be where I am today as a voice coach. During this pandemic. And I feel really bad for a lot of my friends that are in the industry and I constantly get other opportunities and pass them on to other people to help them out because I know it’s not easy right now, but had it not been for the stuff I did with Robin, it wouldn’t have led me down this path of being a voice coach where I’ve been able to work with a lot of big artists, you know, and young artists, new artists, and, um, un-signed artists, you know, COVID hits and we’re all stuck at home, but because of my business and because people are, you know, in this creative space where they’re writing and working on albums, I’m still able to coach. 

But you do more than just coach. I think this is unique. And I want to ask you about this, um, because you also develop artists, you’re working with a couple, couple artists on the come up. Um, and I’m curious about what artists development looks like to you. How does that, how does that look to you?  

Uh, for me as an artist, when I was doing the artist thing, I was 18, 19 writing songs. You know, I was given an opportunity by a guy that saw me outside practicing dance moves for a talent show. And I was just grabbed some guys that I thought could move this guy named Tyrone Wilson. He pulled over and saw us practicing. And he was like, Hey man, um, I see you guys are in a group, but we would like to, you know, um, you know, basically they were auditioning us right there on the side, asked us to sing something. And I was like feeling bad because I knew my group. We couldn’t do, they couldn’t harmonize. And they asked me to sing. And then at that point they asked me to be in their group, the two older guys, but they took me under their wings, developed me as a songwriter, um, a ranger and all of that stuff, um, gave me my first opportunity in a recording studio. And that changed my life. It really did. And so what does artist development look like for me is, is that a lot of times artists, you know, artists, they feel like once they get a manager, the manager or the label should do all this work, things have changed in so many ways. And I feel like for me, the artists is responsible for their career. If you’re waiting on somebody to do all that stuff for you, shame on you, shame on you. You’re only setting yourself up for one failure to let in your own self doubt, putting your career in the hands of somebody else to do what they want with it. Only for it to not work out. And you blame them for it. No, it’s your fault. You did it. You gave them the keys to your porche and they wrecked it. So I get artists that comes, that’ll come to me and talk to me about managing. And I’m like, I will not manage because I understand the challenges of management, you know, the frustrations of management and sometimes the artists and management, they have good intentions, but then a lot of times they’re bumping heads because they’re so different from each other, you know, and have different perspectives on how that particular artist needs to conduct their career. Now, I’m not saying they don’t need each other, but sometimes at the early stages, I feel like the artists can learn so much. If they, they, they get good counsel from someone. And for me, I just, I just say, okay, these are the things you need because I’m in these meetings a lot of times with the artists that they aspire to be like. You know, they welcoming in a lot of times, I’m in a room getting ready to warm them up. And then what do you think RAab? I’m like, man, don’t be asking me none of that. No, but seriously, what do you think? So I have those moments as well. And then I’m like, this is great information and great advice that I can pass down to a lot of these newer artists or artists that are signed, that are making, you know, really crazy decisions regarding their career. It’s just like, if you’re performing and you want to be like a Justin or a Rihanna or, or any of these artists that sing and dance, you need to start building a team around you that does those things. You know, we’re working with one right now, Dana, you know, and she’s amazing. And she’s a hard worker, but I would not have ever introduced her to y’all if I didn’t think she had what it took to do those things. And the funny thing is what sold me on her was that we were finishing up the, um, uh, Man of the Woods tour last year. And I got a phone call from a friend saying that dah, dah, dah, here’s this girl she’s talented. Me and her talk. I had to look at her in the eyes on, on the camera, like, ‘Hey, what’s up,’ you sure about this. You really want to do this. All right. I’m at this show right here. This weekend. If you can get here for me, it’ll show me how serious you are. Her and her mom was on the next plane. Next flight out met me there. We worked during the day, came to the show, saw y’all and it’s crazy. A year later working with you guys.  

Yep. I’ll say, okay. So Rob is talking about a young up-and-coming recording artist named Liv. I started with, I started working with live in January of 2020, I think. And let me tell you the moment that I knew other than she already has a good team around her, which, you know, the co-sign comes a little easier when you see the, the people that are surrounding her, but uh, come lockdown. She stuck that out the entire time, the entire lockdown, definitely a committed person. It’s inspiring to see that. And it’s so it sounds like you’re like me on the subject of movement coaching. I simply love sharing the information I’ve learned. Like, what good is it if I just keep it for myself.  

Right, right, right, right, right.  

Yeah. It’s part of why I started a podcast is part of why I love movement coaching so much is, you know, simply sharing. I do believe sharing is caring and I care about, I care about those people with the people that I work with. Um, okay. Question for you now on the, on the kind of relating what I do and what you do, one of the ways, but not the only way that I can tell a good dancer from a phenomenal dancer is their ability to multitask. Like in the moment they could be dancing Like I Love You and cracking jokes with JT on the side, like mid chorus, or they could be having a conversation during rehearsal while reviewing the steps it’s like happening almost in the background, um, versus somebody who’s new to dance or not quite to that level yet it would require 100% of their attention to do. Like, I Love You top to bottom without messing up. I think I could probably do, like, I love you bottom to top or without messing up while having a conversation. That’s partially because I’ve done it 4,000 times and because it’s my favorite, but, um, you know, that’s, that’s one of the things for me that tells the difference between good and great. Is there a tell for you and a vocalist? How do you, how do you tell good from great.  

You know what? Work ethic, Work ethic every time I’ve, I’ve been blessed to work with some of the most talented vocalist in the game. And the sad part about it is some of them that don’t have that work ethic, then they just go straight off of their talent. Like I’ve got this.  

So what happens then? What happens?  

They’re like, I’m good. And then they crash and hit it real hard. And then they’re quick to blame everybody else around them. And a lot of times, um, artists, they they’re like, Oh, why are you so you just blatantly honest with me and I’m like, I, how else should I be with you? You want me to sugar coat and lie to you? And I do it with a smile on my face. I’m not going to be angry. Now when you don’t practice it, do what you’re supposed to do. I get upset, but I have to do that. I have to tell you, this is you. These are your goals. These aren’t my goals. You know, I know what to do, but these are your goals if you want to be better. And so when I see an artist, it can be an artist that’s not a strong singer at all, but I’ve seen, I’ve had a kid from Australia. Parents found me, his name is Ky. They found me from Australia. The was on, America’s got talent and he’s a dancer tap dancer. Incredible. But he wants to sing. The mom calls me, Oh my gosh, we were talking to RAab Stevens about it. I was like, why are y’all fanning out? I’m just Raab. It’s all good. And she was like, Oh my gosh, we didn’t think you would answer it. And I was like, yes, this is my business. I haven’t gone to it. And it was like, Oh my gosh, my son he’s the, he was number five. And uh, Australia’s got talent, all this other stuff. And she was like, uh, well, my son wants to sing. We want to work with you. And I said, Oh, I said, okay. She said, well, he’s terrible. The mom is so honest too. And I was like, okay, you know what, let me talk to him.  I don’t want to talk to you not being disrespectful, but I need to talk to him and see how, if he’s focused to be able to do this kind of thing, because I’m going to not, I’m not going to treat him any different. I’m going to push them. Just like I would, if I was in front of a superstar, I’m like, because I want him to be that. Or then some, you know, and the kid was so focused and he did everything I asked him, if you hear this kid sing, now you’d be like, Oh, he always had that. No he didn’t. 

Um, I really dig that approach to a decision about taking someone on, not being about where they are, but about where they want to be and their determination to get there. Um, I’ve, I’ve, I’ve worked with actually, some of my favorite people to work with are people that have zero dance experience and they are a blank canvas and they’re here and they’re hungry. They don’t have any bad habits I’m telling you. It is such a sweet spot. Um, actually, maybe we stick on that topic for a second. If somebody with no experience came to me and asked, can I teach them or will you teach me to dance in one week? I would probably laugh at them. But then I would like, there are drills and techniques and there is, there are some building blocks. There are tools that I would give them a place to start that in one week could probably do a lot of good. Um, is there something similar in your realm? Like, is there like a crash course to using your voice?  

Do you know what, I think it’s so funny when, um, when record labels or management, they’ll come to me and they’ll say, yo, we heard about you. We want to do this and get our artists this way. Blah, blah, blah. No, they’re like, yeah. I’m like, when’s the show? Uh it’s tomorrow. Oh, I’ve had that. I’ve had the shows next week. How, how many sessions do you think it’s going to take? The tour is in a week and a half from now. Why are y’all waiting? Why are y’all waiting now? What are y’all doing? Yeah. And then it’s like, I’m like, yeah, for what we do for a living, this is a ongoing regimen. It’s almost like saying, and I’ll give them, uh, you know, my LeBron James thing, I was like, okay, so you think LeBron’s high school coach was all he needed in order to sustain him in it, to win this many championships, let alone go to nine NBA finals, you know? And I’m like, no, his coach, he set him up for excellence in high school, but somebody else had to pick up the ball when he got into the NBA. And that’s what it is. But I’m just saying, so it’s the work ethic, you know, preparation, all of that stuff. So I’ve had artists that are really talented and they, they do, they’re focused and they’re driven, you know, you know, like the artist I just told you, I just finished working with, I mean, she ain’t touring right now, but me and her in here three days a week and she’s killing it, you know, along with other artists, they’re recording, they’re putting out new material, you know? So that stuff inspires me. It really does. It gets me going as well.  

Um, the, the, the training conversation reminds me of a quote. It’s been attributed to several different people, um, like an anonymous Navy seal, and then like Aristotle or someone, I don’t know where this actually comes from. But the sentiment is that you will not rise to the occasion, you will fall to your level of training. And when you train all the time, you don’t need to worry about falling you’re there. Right. And I think that that’s, you know, one of the other things I love about being a coach, especially with somebody who’s willing to go in multiple days a week, because that’s when you really start seeing benefits. Not, not one week for two days a week, not, not one month, every like once a week, but I mean, we’re talking long game and it’s so, so rewarding to see those, to see that improvement.  

It is. Yeah. So when I see that it inspires me because I was that kid that when I stayed with my mom, my sister, or the Bixler’s, who is this family that took me in, when I left home at an early age. I was constantly practicing. Always some allowed me to do my thing. Some was like, RAab, could you just please just give us a minute. Could you please just take the night off? And at that point, I always tell my kids, if your parents aren’t complaining about you practicing all the time, you’re not practicing enough.  

Oh, I love that metric.  

They should be like, please shut up, give us a break. I mean, we love you. We love you. You’re super talented. I love you so bad, but can you just give mommy or daddy a little break for now? Can you go in the basement basement and close all the doors behind you, but that’s when you know, they’re they want it. Yeah. And I think that the depressing side of things is when I work with artists, that I have to constantly push and try and motivate and inspire them. And they really don’t want to do that. They’d rather just be in a studio and write and call that a day.  

Oh, I’m glad that you mentioned that because I said a second ago that if somebody asked me if I could teach them how to dance in a week, I would laugh. I would, I would laugh first. But the truth is, if you don’t want to, then the answer is no, no matter what, this is really something you have to have a desire to do. Um, and then also the desire, not, not the desire necessarily, but, um, uh, a pleasure or a joy for music. I know a lot of people that tell me, I have no rhythm. I have no rhythm. I, I can’t even find the downbeat. And I’m like, but do you like music? And if the answer is yes, then I’ll tell them. And now it will be telling the truth that yes, I can teach you how to dance. You want it, if you, if you want it and you enjoy listening to music, absolutely. I love it.  Um, okay. I want to segue a little bit. Um, I want to talk about before we get into some myths, some common misconceptions about the voice. Uh, I want to talk about like overall health, because I’ve been finding, especially lately it’s odd. And some people might be surprised by this, but I know a lot of dancers with very unhealthy lifestyle. Dancers in general, we like to party. We like late nights. Um, drugs and alcohol are not uncommon in the dance space.

And the singing world 

Okay. Okay. So we share that. Um, and I, I wonder, like, what would you say is the role of fitness and a healthy lifestyle for a vocalist?  

Well, it’s funny. I always have this thing saying when I’m around, especially my male, um, clients, like what’s happening, good doctor, how you doing? And they all start laughing and uh, every now and then they’ll ask me why you always call me the doctor. I’m like, cause you got the medicine for other people. They look confused. I’m like, yeah, your lyrics, your song, it’s ministry. You don’t have to be in the church to minister to somebody. You know what I’m saying? So if you can’t get up there and do your job, you’re not going to be a minister. You’re not going to be able to save somebody’s life. Because I got trust me every night when I’m working in the, in the arena and the artist is on stage and I’m walking around the arena, taking notes on my iPad. I always find those, those, those, those, those people that are being drugged to the concert with their friends and don’t want to be there.  And when you sit down and talk with them, they’re like, yo, I’m glad I came. I was thinking about committing suicide tonight. Really it’s very powerful and it was somebody that was, uh, it could have been a dancer. I ran into it to dance dancers, people that, you know, either got injured and can’t do it perform anymore. But by them watching dancers on stage, move the way they do it just took them back and brought joy back in. You know what I’m saying? So I see those things. So when I say the ministry of what singing does for people, you know, I try and remind artists that, that. 

Okay, so that’s so, so what we do, what we, and now when I say we, I mean performers. What we do. I mean, yes, I’ve heard, you know, we’ve all heard dance saves lives or music saved my life. And I think that that, yes, in some cases, that is absolutely true. Um, but what would you suggest for, for us entertainers? How do we save our own life?  

So a lot of times when I come out and I know certain artists like to drink or like to do drugs, like the party and I come in and I, the same thing, you know, good doctor or I’ll say, Hey mama, how you doing? What’s happening, mama, why you keep calling me mama? Ain’t got no kids. I’m like, yes, you do. You have 135 people on staff. Don’t you, you’re their mother. You’re responsible for all of their households, not how they do, not how they conduct their households. But if you get sick and you go down, are you going to pay them their full salaries when they’re down? And a lot of people don’t want to hear that. Especially the people that are close to that circle, you can’t talk to them that way. I’m like, no, you shouldn’t party with them that way you shouldn’t do it because you’re contributing to the whole problem.  You know what I’m saying? I’m not saying the person can’t celebrate and have fun, but at what cost, what is it going to cost you? Because logistically speaking and having to reschedule a show and come back months later, if they do it, that’s month, that’s the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Maybe even millions. It’s a lot of money to deal with that. When you could save that, if you’re going to do a little bit of a party, if you like to drink, just understand what drinking is going to do for you. You know, drinking is alcohol. It’s going to dry you out. Well, does it reach the vocal folds? All right. You sit there and you inhale alcohol through your mouth all day long. Those vapors get on the vocal folds and it’s going to dry it out. Oh my gosh. I’m so dry. You in Florida. It’s humid down here. What you’ve been doing?  

Okay. This is, this is a perfect segue. Then let’s talk about these misconceptions because a few years ago, I, I lost my voice for several days in a row. I didn’t have a voice for seven days. This came after a stint of, uh, uh, I think it was two or three days and I taught 16 classes. So throwing my voice over loud music while moving, being exerted. And I, I suppose I never learned exactly how to do that properly. Um, so I, I learned that I have some damage, some vocal, I have a vocal nodules. Uh, I got a voice pathologist. I got a vocal coach and I started working on, well, number one, just awareness. Like not speaking my sentences all the way out in the end until I have no breath. And now I’m straightening and I’m still talking. I’ve started keeping an eye on that. Um, I drink warm water all the time. I’ve definitely tampered my alcohol intake. Um, okay. So here is my list of myths that I would like to be busted, or I guess some of them are just kind of questions. Um, is coffee bad for your voice?  

Coffee is a natural diuretic. It will dry you out. It’ll give you a boost of energy, but for every cup of coffee, you have to have three bottles of water to dilute it. There you go.  

Love it. Um, okay. Is Tea I mean, some teas are natural diuretics as well, I guess, but is there a kind of tea that is better or worse for your voice?  

Uh, I liked throat coat tea. I like, um, throat comfort tea. I like putting menuca honey, not the one from whole foods, but menuca 5-50. They have a 5-60 plus I like using that from New Zealand. Take scoop of that and put that into the tub, the tea, if the singer is still dry while singing that put a little, a few drops of licorice root oil in there, and drink that  

You crushed one of my other ones. So honey does help or certain types of honey.  

So I like certain types of honey. If you dealing with like severe allergies and certain regions during spring and fall, you know what I’m saying? So if you’re dealing with that, I will use localized honey because a lot of times that’s the remedy for whatever is setting off your allergies in that area. 

The bees are the secret. Yep.  As always, uh, okay. This one. Oh, my fingers are crossed about the answer to this question. I think I already know is dairy bad for your voice?

All right. So dairy, here’s the deal with dairy? I used to always think, man, every time I drink dairy, it messes up my voice, especially because I’m lactose intolerant. So that’s a bigger effect on, you know, for those that deal with that. But dairy, believe it or not, ladies and gentlemen, dairy the particles are too big to get to the vocal folds. They never touch the vocal folds if they do, you’re choking on it,  

Which is bad for your voice, by the way, don’t be choking. Okay. This is excellent news  

Now. So you’ll have, you’ll have phlegm in the back of your throat as a result of it. And one way to get rid of that is, uh, get some salt water, warm water, and gargle with that. And then it’s out.  

Thank you, doctor. Okay. A few others, um, cold water superior to warm water. I think this one’s obvious, but  

Alright so cold water. I love cold water. I do. When I’m working out, do not give me room temperature, water. Uh, yeah, but um, anytime you’re performing, room temperature is always best because it takes your body more work to heat the water up to your body’s temperature. So you don’t want to have to deal with that. You got it.  

Hm. Okay. Interesting. I love it. I’ve since working with a voice pathologists, I started drinking warm water and I love it. I don’t ever want to stop. I love it. It’s my favorite thing. Um, oddly, okay, so we talked a little bit about honey question about cough drops. Do they work? I know you have a favorite.  

Okay. So, um, when you’re dealing with cough drops, you gotta be really careful. I mean, you know, let me, let me go down my little list. So let’s say for instance, like if singers are dealing with congestion or, you know, um, huge congestion in the nose, of course you want to consult with your doctor, but what I’ve always found that work is Mucinex sometimes Tylenol Severe Sinus. You know, it has a little bit of Mucinex then it has a four hour release in it. You take two of those and, um, I have this stuff, um, you, if anybody knows anything about doTERRA products. Yeah. So doTERRA has this oil, this little blend, and it’s a respiratory blend, which is really cool. And, um, it has Melaleuca in it. So like when you use you eustachian tubes by your ears, get impacted with mucus, from blowing your nose too hard. I always have singers put that around their ears. Uh, my mom, as a kid used to put what do you call it.. Vicks! Oh my gosh. Put it all on my nose, on my chin, on my neck and my chest,  

Uh, that lights you on icy fire. 

I know, right? Yeah. I have oil all over my face, but, um, that’s all, she, she, she knew at the time, but this has peppermint oil. Eucalyptus and all that other good stuff. You put it on your ears. And then, um, there’s a particular gum that, um, you know, I was put on to, by another friend of mine, um, from the UK, they sell it in the UK and all over Europe, but not here in America, coincidentally, and it’s called airwaves. And you can order it through Amazon. It takes about a week to two weeks to get to you, but you’ll chew on two pieces of that and that’ll open up your sinuses like that, like really causing the drain. Yeah. But don’t do the sniffles, just let it fall forward and then slightly blow 

Okay. Thank you, Rob. Those are all my, my myths. Did I, did I miss anything? Oh, I do know that. I do know that whispering is bad for your voice.  

Whispering is bad for your voice. It dries out the vocal folds and causes voice to fatigue really quickly.  

That is a good one, especially when you’re losing your voice. Don’t whisper 

Yeah. And for singers and dancers that like to eat after show food, laying down after eating cause you’re tired, you did a lot of work and you’d to get on their lap and laugh and laugh and laughing. If you fall asleep under three hours and you find yourself with heartburn or anything like that, try not to do that. Try and wait at least three hours or limit the amount of after show food. You eat, especially pizza. And there’s some tourists that are just give this the people, you know, singers the crew, Hey, just eat this pizza and call it a day and you’re hungry and you’ll eat it. But the tomato sauce and the pizza will trigger the reflux as well. So just be careful.  

I think that’s important. You mentioned that the amount of hours between eating and resting, but also the quantity over eating anything. Even if you’re eating good food, natural foods, not, not tomato, crazy sauce or anything like that, any time when you’re overdoing it, that reflux will kick up. For sure.  

It will definitely get you.  

Oh my gosh. You didn’t know you were getting into it like a health health lesson today. Um, okay. Rob, I know you keep a tight calendar, super tight schedule. So I just want to finish off by asking if you have any words of wisdom or thoughts, thoughts for aspiring vocalists out there. Um, eh, any last remarks,  

Listen, if you’re going to be in this music industry as a dancer or a singer, don’t wait for somebody to invest in you to do it, figure out a way to invest in your own self. And also don’t just get into industry because you want to be the star. You know, you want to get into industry, I’m going to be this star. Uh, you set yourself up, you know, and I’m not telling you this, a perfect opportunity to have a plan B. Go in there because you are, you love the industry. You want to be a part of that. If you’re going to be on broadway, you go all out and study all the great don’t just study your favorite study. The ones that have been, you know, in West Side Story for all these years and why they’ve had continual success, you know, don’t just study w just wicked that comes through your town, find out the history of all of them.  You know, you know, Disney is good about doing stuff like that, but you know, you just gotta be a student of the craft of singing. And one way to do that is to invest in your own self. If you want to work with an artist or work with a coach like Dana or myself, you know? Yeah. The rates may be a little higher in your eyes, in my eyes. I try and keep my rates at a certain way, you know, to where everybody can afford it. But in that particular instance, it’s worth the investment. You’re not only going to get good coaching, but you’re going to get the same type of coaching that you see these other artists that are out there, the same type of attention, the same type of love, you know, that’s going to be poored into you. Why not spoil yourself with that? You know, that’s important, you know, so that’s, that’s what I got. Keep God first. Definitely. Yeah.  

Thank you so much. That was brilliant and beautiful. And I’m inspired to go do some more cup bubbles. It’s honestly, it’s a part of my daily routine. I love the way my voice feels afterwards. It’s amazing. Um, okay. Thank you so much. I will absolutely be linking to you and all of your amazing work in the show notes of this episode. So go find RAab, RAab, thank you so much again for being here. Um, I have, I get to talk to you again soon.  

Thank you. Good to see you, Dana. All right.  

OKay. That is RAab. And that is one of the most talented and kind people that I, that I think I know I’m so happy to have introduced you to RAab and so hopeful that you will be becoming introduced to your new and improved voice. I really think that this man has so much to teach and that we all have so much to gain from taking care of ourselves in our voice. So I hope you’re as inspired as I am to take care of yourself. Um, your audience depends on it and I will be linking to RAab’s business in the show notes of this episode. Should you be so inspired that you decided to, uh, find him and seek him out for some coaching. Oh, and if you are at all interested in coaching with me on the movement front or otherwise, I have some very special news come 2021, which is not that far away. You will be able to do exactly that in a number of different ways. So stay tuned for more updates on the Words that Move Me Membership front. And of course keep it funky. I’ll talk to you soon, everybody.  

Thought you were done. No. Now I’m here to remind you that all of the important people, places and things mentioned in this episode can be found on my website theDanawilson.com/podcast Finally, and most importantly, now you have a way to become a words that move me member. So kickball changeover to patreon.com/WTMMpodcast to learn more and join. All right, everybody. Now I’m really done. Thanks so much for listening. I’ll talk to you soon. 

Ep. #49 Pay Attention with Martha Nichols

Ep. #49 Pay Attention with Martha Nichols

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 For Martha Nichols’ creative process, music is King and spirit is Queen.  In this episode Martha and I dig into that process and the beliefs that guide her in life and in art.  She reminds us that if you want the accolades you have to do the work, and that if you want a happy and healthy community, you must start with YOU.  You must be responsible for managing your mind and your behavior.  You MUST pay attention.


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 

Dana: Hello, Hello, my friends. How are you? And welcome to the podcast. I’m Dana. And if you are new here, welcome. If you’re a returning listener. Welcome back. I have a treat for you all today. Holy smokes. My guest on this episode is Martha Nichols. She is a dear friend and she is a bright, bright, light, fascinating human being. We laugh a lot. You will learn a lot. I really don’t want to keep you too long from this interview, but it is customary on the podcast. We always start by celebrating wins and this week my win is small, but really important. Actually, technically my win was about one and a half by two feet cubed. Um, does that make sense? It doesn’t really make sense. This week, my win is a box. I have had a cardboard box full of miscellaneous items in my living room, like right in the middle of my living room in plain sight, like an eyesore every single day for the last, like probably three months, it’s been there on my list of things to do, but nowhere near the top. You know, one of those type of items or areas in your house, you might have an area like, um, a junk drawer or a room. Some people have a full like junk room. Um, or a basket or a suitcase full of stuff that you just haven’t looked at or thought about for a long time. This was that box for me. And a few nights ago, I just sat down with my phone to take some photos of these remarkable items and a big glass of water. And I was like, I will get all the way to the bottom of this box and everything will either have a new home or will get donated. And I felt really, really good about that process. Most of the things in this box by the way, were artifacts, (um, underline the art part of that) from a project that I started back in 2015, 16. Oh yeah. I talk about it in this episode, actually. Um, I think it was back in 2015 into 2016. I started a company in Northern California. Well, where I was living at the time called The Bureau of Nonverbal communication. We were a fake government that was meant to kind of take place in the period, Late seventies, early eighties, we carried badges. We invented, um, all sorts of tools to measure dance. We were there to defend, protect, and investigate all things. Non-verbal. Um, actually because of that project started learning ASL American sign language. We did shows, we made videos, we trained, we had an absolute ball and you know what? After going through that box, I’m thinking about maybe, maybe revisiting the bonk, the Bureau of non-verbal communication. We might need a Los Angeles branch. We might need a branch in your city wherever you’re listening. If you’re curious about the Bureau of non-verbal communication, you can go ahead and visit @the_BONC on Instagram, THE underscore B O N C. You are really in for a treat. All right. That is my win today. I got all the way through that box. I found some stuff that made me smile. I found some stuff that made me want to cry. Everything found a home. And if that is not worthy of a celebration, I don’t know it is all right. Now you go hit it. What’s going well in your world.  

Awesome. Congratulations. I’m proud of you. Keep crushing. It. Keep winning. Even if it’s just little wins every single day, it really adds up. Really matters. Celebrate yourself. Okay. Speaking of celebrations, y’all this episode is a party, Martha Nichols, and I have known each other for a very long time. You can hear it in our voices, the enthusiasm to be connecting and we connect on a lot. Uh, we also dig in to some difficult questions. We talk process, we talk humor, we talk music. Um, we talk a lot, so let’s go ahead and get right into it. Enjoy this conversation with the fabulous Martha, Nichols,  

Dana: Martha freaking Nichols welcome to the podcast. Thank you so much for being here, 

Martha: Dana freaking Wilson. Thanks for having me. I’m so pumped. 

Dana: I’m pumped. I’m jazz. I’m ready to get into what is sure to be a very bright and I mean that in so many ways conversation. Um, but before we do, I it’s, it’s, uh, routine on the podcast that I ask all of my guests to introduce themselves. That is on you. What would you like us to know about you? 

Martha: Ooh. Wow. Um, I am an artist who believes in humanity and faith and the spiritual aspect in all things, which opens the door to faith and hope in all things. I love to create in the expansive, um, sense of the word, whether it is creating art or creating safe spaces, creating conversation, creating safety within other people. Um, yeah, I am a creator. I am an artist. I am somebody who loves Jesus.  

Dana: Yes. That is you. That is Martha Nichols. That is the Martha that I know today and have known for a really long time. So it will give the listeners a bit of context because I’m sure people will be. Um, if they’ve listened to any other episodes that I have made, if they’ve listened to them. Um, I think relative to previous episodes, I expect in some ways, um, a deeper dive here with you today. And in some other ways, there will probably be way more cackling than usual. So I’d like to shed a little bit of light on our history because that I think will inform people as do I there’s so much laughter. Um, so let’s see, Martha, I don’t actually remember when we met like our first, our initial meeting. Do you? I’m not offended if you don’t.  

Martha: I think it was, I mean, honestly I think it was at a function at Tammy Faye’s house. 

Oh my God. Okay. That far back. So the year probably 2006, maybe.  

Yeah. Somewhere in 2006, 2007.  

Okay. So tell me this. What year were you on So you think you can dance? 


And how’d that go? 

Um, it went. 

Up? Down? Spirals? 

Um, I would say for me personally, it went according the first, not according to plan and then according to plan, um, I never wanted to win. I honestly thought I was going to get cut early on and my hope was to go ahead and get cut so I could go back home. Um, and then I kept not getting cut. And then once I made top 20, I literally thought to myself, maybe we should try. Like you like you’re here. And despite you trying to not be here, you’re here. And there are people who wanted to be here, who are not here. So figure it out. Don’t take this for granted, actually apply yourself and try. Um, but for some reason I just was like, I don’t want to win. I think it’s more beneficial to build relationships with the choreographers, the producers and directors. So my personal goal was to come out with a good relationship with the people who are truly wanting to work with and to make top 10, and that’s exactly what I did.  

All right. So really loved that. I don’t know how it is. There, I guess I suppose, is a similarity in the sense of humor that you and I share for sure. Um, but uh, I’ve talked about on the podcast before a serious silliness. Um, and I would love to hear, because I think that you’re somebody that takes their work very seriously. Where, where do you find space for humor? Is it in the work? Is it in the process? Is it everything in between?  

I think I find humor everywhere except in intention. Hmm. Explain. Um, cause I think with intent, actually, I just listened to you and Dexter’s podcast, shout out to Dexter Carr where you were talking about, um, what you, uh, wow. English, Martha, what you learned from, uh, the paint, painters and like sculptures and how there’s not a neutral stroke and how it either adds or takes away. Um, and I feel the same way with words and words are language. Art is a language. I think it’s the same thing in my personal process in creating. So like the by-product of intent can be humorous like, Oh, this might be funny, but in intention it’s like, no, I take my intent very seriously. So it’s like the intention itself, there’s humor in that for me. Process, I want to laugh. I want to laugh. I love it. I like to have a good time. As far as like me creating something and saying something, I need to know what I’m saying. I need to have a clear understanding of it because words either build or destroy, there is no neutral and I don’t want to unintentionally add, even if it lands differently than the way it’s launched. I still have to have a clear understanding of where this sits.  

This is something I’ve been rapping with for a while now. Um, and I talked about it on my episode with Taja as well, which is this concept of words and their meaning and when they are flexible, when they are rigid. And I really do think that words, and this is like, this is where the wrestle happens. That words are very important and, and they are also neutral because they’re only as important as the person receiving them, believes them to be like, if you say something with words, your very deliberate words. And I think that they’re a lie, or I think that they don’t matter to me, or I think that those are your truth, not the truth. Then all of a sudden they become very light. They don’t they’re they’re, they’re not binding or rigid to me at all. So in, yeah, I I’m wrestling with it.  

I wrestle with that as well. I think for me, they are definitive. And I’ll say that because I think words have two meanings. There’s a universal understanding. And then there’s a personal understanding. I think we get into dangerous territory when we allow the personal understanding to maybe erase the universal understanding. I think there’s a world where both have to be respected. Um, and so I cannot worry too much about how it’s personally going to be received because that I can say what I want, 

It’s out of your control. 

Yeah. It’s outside of my control. But for my part, it’s like, if I’m saying anything, I need to know what it means and if it’s heavy to me or if it’s a way to, to me, I need to know that that is my personal experience with that word, but somebody may not have it, but I think there is a universal definition. It’s like in the dictionary, this is what this word means. And then everybody has their personal understanding and relationship with that word. 

With what it means to them. Or just say like, Oh no, that, that, that doesn’t work for me. This is interesting. And on ongoing. And certainly not one of those, like the answer that I land on today will be my answer forever. And it should be everyone’s answer. This is just one of those things that we could talk about forever to everyone all the time. And I’m always fascinated in this conversation. Um, okay. Speaking of fascination, I, and speaking of words, actually, this is a perfect segue. I did not plan by the way. I don’t know if I’ve said this out loud yet, but I have no plan in this conversation. Um, but this is a beautiful segue because one of the things that I have always admired about your movement is your ear. So let me elaborate. If you are not a person that is familiar with Martha Nichols, with her dancing or with her choreography, there is a heavy focus, a heavy a super-strong spotlight on music, on instrumentation, on composition of the actual sounds. Um, and so I’m wondering if you could talk a little bit about your creative process. Do you like is music King, are words is a message King or queen, or like what’s the most important thing to you while you are making?

It fluctuates. It definitely fluctuates, um, really the spirit of it all. The spirit is the most important to me in all aspects. Um, and so in process I’ve actually recently switched my process to something that I’d never done before, where normally I have a song and I know the song kind of in and out, and this is what this is. Um, this is what it sounds like to me. And then I kind of see it musically in movement phrases, as in like these notes are higher. So this shape should elevate or, um, this sound is a timpani and not a bass drum, a timpani has a rounder sound. So, okay. This needs to be somewhere in circular space. Um, yeah. Usually music is kind of like the first with the intent of what it is I’m trying to say, and then movement comes. But recently I had to choreograph something over zoom, which personally is an enemy to all things musical.  

Oh we can, we can go into that.  

I don’t like it here. Like I don’t like this, but I also do love a challenge. Um, but choreographing over zoom. I was like, okay, like this act like low key, this sucks because I want to do all these things, but I don’t know y’all, I don’t know if y’all know how to dance. I don’t know if you can hear the music. I don’t know if you’re on or off. Um, and then me being a slight  perfectionist and by slight, I mean, massive I’m now looking at the time in between the shapes to understand if they’re rushing or not. And so I’m like, okay, it was like Martha, you can’t do this. You’re going to drive yourself nuts. So I actually created movement to random songs and then challenged myself to create a piece of music, myself that fit what I’d already choreographed. Um, and I loved it.  

That’s great. Wow. That is awesome. What an incredible solution to all of those, I don’t knows. Like, I don’t know if you can hear the music. I don’t know if you understand this timing. I don’t know if you understand this rhythm, but I do know myself, my capability, my vision, my aptitude for, you know, creating a sound space and then you did it. It is brilliant. Martha, congratulations. I love, um, okay. So where your understanding of music come from, because I don’t think I’m far off in my guess that you have a deeper understanding of music than most dancers. Um, do you, do you have a background in singing or in musical groups or is it church or where does your understanding of music come from?  

All of the above, my entire biological family is musical. Mandatory coming out of the womb. Everyone sings and everyone plays an instrument. Those are non-negotiables, you can dance, you can play basketball, you can draw, but those are secondary to everyone is singing and everyone is playing an instrument. Um, both of my parents played instruments. My mother was a vocal coach. She played piano and organ at the church and was always a minister of music. So I could actually read music before I could read, because she would take me to whenever she would go teach, but she also taught at schools. And so she would have me instead of me coloring in like coloring books and whatnot. I was coloring in the musical staff. Like there was always, and if somebody in class didn’t have an answer, she would look at me like you should know this answer.  Um, like there was no nothing about it. Um, and so once I got into like middle school, you choose instruments and I wanted to play saxophone. They make you start on clarinet. Um, and I just was like, ah, I don’t want to do any of that. Actually. I want to play drums. And my mother was like, no, I said, okay, it’s a very elaborate answer. Um, can I get a why? And she said, no. And after about two or three months, I was like, no, I really wanted to play drums. And she was like, you’re not going to take class in something that you can teach yourself. And I was like, yeah, but people study that. She’s like, yeah, but that’s not you. So in class you have to go learn another instrument. You can teach yourself drums. So I started on clarinet, um, highly competitive, got to first chair, all the clarinet players were going to saxophone. I thought I already beat y’all. I don’t want to do this again. So I switched to bassoon, um, super competitive. And I also wanted to learn bass clef because a clarinet is treble clef and bassoon is bass clef. Um, and once I got to sixth grade, my mother was like, have you been paying attention in your band classes? And I was like, why? And she was like, because you can learn to play anything if you just pay attention. And so she talked the church into buying a drum set, and we would go early on Saturday mornings and she would say, figure it out. And she had perfect pitch. She had great tempo. So she would just check me on things. And whenever we’d go play at other churches, she’d be like, pay attention now, go play what you just heard. Um, and so, yeah, got a drum set at home and I would after school play music and just play along to what I heard. And that’s how I learned drums, but still played bassoon all the way through high school, still have my clarinet. Um, and then I can figure it out keyboard. Um, yes. There’s always been like, like I love music actually still have a drum set. Um,  

Oh, legit! 

Like legit, I have a drum set. yeah, like music has always been this, like this like safe Haven. It’s like curiosity, the known and the unknown music is like, she’s my girl. She’s one of my besties. I love her. And my whole family, everyone sings.  

I don’t sing. You probably know this about me actually. There’s another, there’s another circle back. I remember a, um, uh, Las Vegas afternoon, maybe a lunch break. I was in a car with you and Matt Carroll. And we were going to get food somewhere and you guys started singing whatever it was on the radio. And you instinctively harmonized with each other and started talking about the harmonies, like, Oh no, go a third higher. Or like you were using language that I didn’t understand. And I had this moment of absolute awe and it felt like I was listening to people speak a different language. I didn’t know what you were communicating or how you knew to do what or to meet each other in those places. But I knew that it sounded beautiful and I had never done that. I had never had that. Um, I tell you, what I do have is vocal nodules. So singing, not so much happening for me these days, but a lot of cup bubbles. So we’re working through it. We’re training. Um, I love this, this like underlined idea that your mom instilled in you, which is like pay attention, look around and listen up and pay attention. And that was always, I, you know, for as much fun as you and I like to have, or you and I and Logan Schuyvink or You and I and Pam, or you and I, and Ben Susak, like, we like to have fun. But when, when I think about you in those rehearsal days, you were the person that was like, y’all pay attention. People, listen up, pay attention, people, pay attention, pay attention. That might be the title of this episode. Pay attention! Okay. So where are you when you’re not paying attention? Like what’s the flip side of pay attention. And is there any value there?  

Um, I don’t think I know that place, um, because if I’m not paying attention on this, I’m paying attention on something else. Um, yeah, so I’m always paying attention to something. I may not be paying attention to what the people around me are currently focused on, but I’m always paying attention to something. Um, cause there’s a lot to learn.  

Oh my gosh, the world is so vast and we’re newborn babies. We know nothing. Okay. So let’s start learning things right now. You and I, um, I am wondering, I it’s this incredible thing that I, it happened to us just today, before we got on this call, I was extremely frustrated. I’ve had an, a very technically challenging day where all of the things that I expected to take 20 minutes have taken two hours. And all of the things that I told myself, just accept it. I look at, and I’m like, I can’t accept that. I have to try again. I, you know, nothing seems to be going as planned today. And until I jumped on this call, that was eating me alive. I was nasty in my self-talk. I was nasty in my outside talk. Um, before we hit record, there were several an F bomb.  Um, and it wasn’t until I verbalized that to you and to my technical assistant Riley, who is invisibly, who is listening. It wasn’t until I shared that, that I really belly laughed and genuinely was entertained by my circumstances instead of was wrestling them. I was like, I even in the moment before we started rolling, I was like, let me turn on some way I walked just four feet, four feet is all I had to go. And it tripped on my purse and spilled out all the contents. My hand sanitizer, the gum is now everywhere, which means like it, my life is everywhere right now, but it wasn’t until I started talking about it. That that was fun to me versus a threat to me. So I guess if I have a question, it would be like, what is your process of going through it? Like, do you, do you go through it in a dark place with like swearing and cursing and pressure? Or do you call up a friend and laugh? Like what’s the way that you go through it?  

Oh, the way I go through it is I’m very, I’ve learned the cerebral. I kind of knew about myself, but a lot of my friends have said it even where recently it’s like, I’m extremely cerebral. Like I am all in the mind. I could sit and have a three hour conversation in silence by myself, on my couch without anything,  

No stimulation, just 

No stimulation. Like I’m just sitting in a moment in the dark candles lit and let’s process it. Um, so going through it for me is kind of giving myself therapy. Um, and also, yeah, it’s just like, where, where did these thoughts come from? What, like, what are you actually mad at? What is it really? And who are you mad at? Are you mad at them or are you disappointed in yourself for allowing this even happen? Okay. So that’s on you. Why are you disappointed? Because you didn’t exercise boundaries. Got it. Why didn’t you exercise boundaries, Martha, like, it’s me just like going down all the way through it. Um, and then usually it gets not dark big. It’s a little heavy because I am extremely hard on myself. Um, and so what brings me out legit is the Bible. It’s like, okay, so how are my thoughts right now in this moment, whatever they may be in alignment with God’s word. And if it’s not, I need to throw them away. Like I can process them, but I’m not supposed to hold on to that because it’s not serving me. Um, and also if I get in such a dark place, I can’t help other people I’m best to other people when I’m best in myself. So yeah, a lot of silence, a lot of just like me on the couch, staring at my screensaver. Um, and then journaling. Hmm. Yeah. And just to write, like, what, what is it, what are you going through right now? How did you get here? Yeah.  

Giving it a name, understanding it, and then owning it,  

Owning it. I am all about individual accountability, I’ve gotten in arguments about it this year, but like individually accountability, like the responsible let’s be responsible. It’s your life. Yeah. And  

And we share the planet, right. We share spaces. Yes. But it is, uh, you know, all those individual contributions really, really make a massive difference. So be responsible for your contribution.  

Absolutely. Like you can’t understand communal responsibility. If you don’t understand individual responsibility, the community is made up of individuals,  

That’s it. By definition, that is what it is  

Like verbatim. So you have the individual responsibility of it all. Um, like yeah, just ownership, ownership. What did I do? Like Martha, you keep having this issue. You’re the only common denominator. So its you.

That’s hard, hard truth right there. Okay. So I, I, relate and I understand, and actually you and I talked recently and had this moment of like absolute agreement in this realization, which is the source of our results in our life stems, from the way that we are thinking period, the end. So, um, I would love to talk a little bit more about that and figure out, um, you know, find some, some good life hacks for our listeners out there who might find themselves in, um, common and undesirable results perhaps, and maybe guide through like some, some quick fixes on how a mindset shift might be the solution. Um, but before I do that, I do want to check in that last time that we talked, you told me that you have retired from dance. And then when we were scheduling this conversation, you were like, I have a rehearsal. I can’t, I can’t be there. So I’m wondering what is going on in your world right now?  

Right. I know we’re also quite an extremist, so there’s that, um, yeah,  

I’m here for it, I am really patient. So you could retire and get, and come back to the workforce. The workforce is that where we call it? You can retire 15 times my friend and I will still be here ready to hear what you have to say.  

I’m like, I’m here, I’m back. She’s back. Um, retired from who I thought I was going to be and who I wanted to be.  

Say that one more time. You’ve retired from the expectations of yourself?

Yes. I’ve retired from the expectations of who I thought I was going to be and who I thought I wanted to be. 

And who was that? 

Well, A. lost there’s that? Ooh, reel it back girl. Um, I realized that like, I wanted accolades, but didn’t want to do the work. So like, somebody was like, Oh, like, do you want to do Broadway? And I was like, I want it on my resume, but I don’t want to do eight shows a week. Yeah. I don’t, I, I know for a fact, I don’t want to do eight shows a week. I don’t want to do that. Um, and if I’m this passionate about not wanting to do it, I’m not going to do it. And even if I did, it would not be up to my own standard. Um, so yeah, really sitting with like, what are you retiring from? Like, okay. And, uh, I think all I’m retiring from old mindsets of what dance was to me as well. So I think I’ve had a deep recalibration with my relationship with dance, like put the shoes up for like eight months. And I was like, you don’t get to dance until you figure out why you do it anymore. Because I realized my old understanding and reason for dancing was kind of expired.  

What was it? And what is it now I’m asking the hard questions, girl, but this is for you and for the listeners.  

Um, I know we’ve already sat with all these questions for sure. Well, before it was definitely fun, only fun. And I danced and created because I didn’t have the words. It was a way to say what I couldn’t say. And over the past year and a half, I’ve been working on the words and I love the words. Like I love writing. I’ve always loved writing. And so I came a point where I was like, well, now that you have the words, what point, what purpose is dancer?

So especially if it had stopped being fun somewhere along the way. 

Yeah. So it’s like, you’re just physically moving your body in empty space, which means you’re not dancing. You’re just moving. You are just aimlessly out here taking up space. You need to sit down. And so you figure out what you’re doing, sit down, you don’t get to participate.  Um, and so now it’s definitely like, woof, I create, because I have something to say, um, and is a gift. And if the Lord gives you a gift, it’s not my job to judge it. It’s my job to share it, my job, to work on it and elevate it and expand it and to use it and to wield it as a weapon. Um, so yes to that. So it definitely retired from like the industry. I like went and like quit every job for a moment there. Um, this is like, take me out and remove my face from the website, take it off. Like I remove it all. Um, I’m now in a place where I realize that I’m going to sum it up this way. I’ve been writing a lot about the difference between destinations and doorways. And I always thought that dance was the destination, when I realized it was the doorway I was moving and acting in this world, like it was the destination. And now it’s shifted is that I’ve not only understood that it’s just the doorway. I’ve also internalized and I’m shifting everything in my life to move according to what it is now. And so with it being the doorway, I love creating. Like dance is a medium, a medium that I love. Sometimes she loves me. Sometimes she doesn’t. Um, sometimes I love her and I don’t get that love back and it’s okay. You know, growth. Um, but, um, yeah. Now dance is, this. It’s, It’s still deeply spiritual on a selfish, personal level. It’s a moment for me to say, thank you for having a body for having the medium, for being able to use it, um, for being giving the opportunities to train and to study and to master certain things. Um, so it’s always a moment of gratitude now in a place where I’ve fully learned. And I understand that if my spirit is good, then I can properly steward whatever project, room, group of people are in front of me and dance is the bridge that like opens the door. Dance is a doorway for them and their art for me to them, from them in themselves. It’s like, it’s a doorway. Dance is a bridge, it’s a doorway. Um, and so I went from being like, I’m not doing anything I’m quitting to Ooh, A. you don’t get to quit yet.  

Not as long as you have a body and you have ears in the world makes music 

Yeah. Like you, yeah. Like, no, you’re not doing it, Martha. Um, so now fully creating again and recalibrate it, my thoughts about creation and what it is I’m creating, why I’m creating it, how I’m creating it. Um, so I have been commissioned by Kyle Abraham’s company AIM to do a new work. And so I’m in rehearsal for that right now.  

Awesome! Can you tell us anything about it? What’s your inspiration or what, what do you want the audience to be left feeling after this year?  

I don’t quite know yet. Um, I would say questionable. 


Like a sense of curiosity. Um, I think always a sense of peace, always a sense of, uh, what I’d like to create a safe space for you to dive into areas that you may not know necessarily go into. But I like to always package you back up before I send you on your way. Um, yeah. 

Something, something easy.  I don’t mean simple. I mean, full of ease.  

Um, I, I remember seeing your show, um, I don’t remember what it was called though. So help me. What was your show called?

The Wider Sun. 

Wider Sun. Yes. In New York city and that was out, Oh, this is going to be fun. Oh, this is going to be so much fun.  Um, and I remember just feeling like it was easy to watch and digest and it looked good. Like the sounds sounded, and I could imagine what it felt like to be dancing it, and that felt good. And I, from, from the feedback that I heard from the audience around me, which granted were mostly dancers, even those who weren’t like, even those who don’t know what it feels like to be dancing, those grooves or in that mood seemed transplanted to that mood and seemed to like, get some residual feeling of what you had intended. Um, so Kudos to you and to that show. And I’m gonna like kind of sidebar, Um, and talk about, uh, Myself, Because this is important. And actually it’s something that I am working, um, with a lot of my peers and clients on is this idea of jealousy, um, or the concept of jealousy. So I know, uh, you’ve talked a bit about processing, right? Especially the darker corners of yourself or the unwanted feelings or feelings that we’ve been told are undesirable. And I think jealousy is top of that list. Um, you know, when we’re children we’re told, like don’t be jealous just because she, you know, has a nicer car or Sketchers or whatever it is that you’re jealous of. Don’t, don’t be jealous was always the message. And, um, I remember sometime in 2016, when I decided to rewire that, uh, message and get really curious about jealousy and start to use it as a map, I cannot fully take credit or any credit at all for this concept.  Um, Julia Cameron, who is the author of The Artist’s Way, has an exercise in that, um, in the artist way called the jealousy map, where you look at somebody who you are jealous of and you really work your way down to the actual seed. That’s at the core of your jealousy. It is usually not the person. Um, it is. So anyways, long story short, I now look at jealousy as like this check engine light that comes on in, um, not in protest of something going wrong, but it, that starts blinking to help me look at something that needs my attention. And I want to let you know, here live on the podcast. You are one of the first people that I ever jealousy mapped, and it was shortly after you had won the, the ACE awards. Um, and I think you’ll probably relate to this I in the moment that I received that news, I, I got the news scrolling through Instagram one day and I saw that you had won and I scrolled right past it because I got that ping. That was like zeal, you know, somebody is doing something awesome. And it wasn’t you that moment always, always ready with that hot poker. So I got that hot poker and it was, as I was learning about jealousy and I was like, Oh my God, go back, look at that. What was that? So I asked just like you had talked about like sitting on your couch and conversing with yourself and talking yourself down, like off of all the cliffs and into the belly of the beast of what is going on. And I, the way that the jealousy map works more or less is you ask the question why over and over and over and over again as if you were a five-year-old. Yeah, basically. Well, I’m, I’m taking that away and I actually really love the way you seem to be parenting yourself at all times, all times. I don’t know if being a parent is on your list of things to do, but I think you’d be great at it because you’re, you’re constantly parenting yourself. Okay. So we’re back to the jealousy map. I see this post you’d won the ACE awards and I became jealous and I asked myself, why, why are you jealous? Do you want to win the ACE awards? And I answered that question. No. And then I asked myself why. And I was like, well, because I don’t really want to be a choreographer. And then it was like, okay, so why are you jealous? Is it because, um, that distinguished panel of judges thinks that Martha’s good? And then it was like, well, no. Cause I think I know that distinguish a panel of judges thinks that I’m good too. I don’t need them to think that I’m better. Okay. So why, like, I didn’t even submit, like, I didn’t even put my name in the hat. So why, what is going on here? And after like seven rounds of asking why I found that I was jealous of the bullet point, the line item on the resume, um, I was jealous of the visibility that that would probably afford you, you know, it probably meant a magazine article or a cover or a, something like that. It definitely meant you got your own show. That was part of the prize of winning that. Um, so even more visibility and in that moment, uh, that moment by the way, was, I think it was 2014 maybe, or must’ve been 2014 or early 2016. Okay. So I was still in, I was living in Sunnyvale at the time I was away from Los Angeles away from my usual work network. I had not, I had not gained any new resume bullets in quite some time. I was feeling invisible. Yeah. And that feeling  Is what I responded to when I saw that good thing happen for you. So instead of swiping it away and just writing Martha off as a person that I’m jealous of, I started getting into the idea of visibility. I started getting into the idea of credits and work, and if I wasn’t working, why wasn’t I working? It’s certainly not because, um, the industry wasn’t busy. It was because I wasn’t putting my name into hats of projects I wasn’t creating. So at that time I decided to make a project. Um, I made a performance piece with my company at the time there in Sunnyvale. I reached out to all of my contacts in the world that write articles. I became visible simply by reaching out simply by. And I, I gave myself more bullets. I also redid, uh, shortly after that epiphany redid my, um, reel.  So all of the existing work that I had done became more visible. So thank you for being on my radar and being part of my check engine light that helped me nurture this vehicle. That is my creative life. Um, and I really encourage anybody out there listening. Who’s ever done that rapid swipe to make things go away that might be causing temporary discomfort. Don’t swipe those things away because if you do, you will experience almost certainly experienced some mandatory suffering later down the road. So, um, I’m so grateful for you and that moment, um, and I don’t know, I, I guess that I’d like to open the floor to you and as a person, especially a person who’s a perfectionist, a self-proclaimed perfectionist. How do you deal with those with, with jealousy maybe, or with imposter syndrome or with, um, anything else that’s on the quote unquote unwanted side of the emotional spectrum. So what do you do when you don’t get what you want?  

I asked myself why I want it. Um, so case in point I was choreographing this musical and there are, ee do I share this? Do I not? Okay. Yeah. So I..

You can use code names too, if that is helpful.  

Okay. Work. Um, I love research. I love research. I’m always reading something like I love, yeah. I love information. I love to learn. I am a student of life and everything. Um, and so in looking up awards that I wanted to win, I was like, okay, because we will always be like, Oh, do you want to be famous? And be like, Ooh, I don’t want to be famous. I want to be respected. I don’t wanna be famous. Um, and so it’s interesting that you’re like, Oh, the visibility and that’s something I’m like, Ooh, I don’t, I don’t need to be visible. I just want to do what I do. And if people like it, they like it. If they don’t, they don’t, but I’m just mind my business over here. Um, so looking up certain awards. So, cause it’s like, I have goals. Like I am ambitious as it’s like, Oh, I want to get one of those. I want to get one of those. Well enough if I would’ve went to Tony, um, for choreography, because like you’re not dancing anytime soon, like on Broadway now that you know of. So what would be the way,  

Because you don’t want to do eight shows a week. 

Because I don’t want to do eight shows a week. So like, you can’t want something and not, and, uh, you can’t want like this thing and not be willing to do the work required to get there. So I know 

You can, but you’ll just suffer miserably. What do you, when you don’t get to have it, 

I’m a huge fan of acceptance. So Martha accept the fact that like, that’s not your way. There could be another way. So I was like, ah, I would love to choreograph and direct on Broadway. Love to. Um, and then I was handed this musical and I was, Oh, this is amazing. And at, just kind of like in my season of recalibrating, it’s like, I’ve been a part of the musical for over a year. And uh, after the year it’s like a recalibrating this year and it was just like, I need to quit that I need to quit this blah, blah, blah.  And so I put everything, but the musical and the whole time, I just kept questioning myself. Like, are you supposed to be doing this musical? Or are you not like, are you, are you, are you supposed to like take a seat from everything in the current moment and then be reintroduced to it a little bit later? Or are you supposed to hold onto this? And I remember walking in my grandmother’s driveway, just like it’s at my grandma’s house. That’s the only place I have this quiet and alone. So I’m like pacing up and on the driveway. And we’re thinking to myself, it’s like, well, yeah, you want to do the musical, Like you enjoy it. The cast is amazing. The creative team is epic. And if I was to be a part of any project, it would be this, like everything checked, the boxes, content, people, music, all of it. Um, and then I thought to myself, Oooooh, you’re only doing this musical because you want to want to Tony. And that’s the way to get the Tony. But did the Lord asks you to do this musical to begin with? And I went, Oh, okay. So sit back down, sit back down, Martha and respectfully declined and stepped away. And it was just like, honor to be here. I would be doing you guys a disservice if I stayed. Um, but it took me a second to be like, do I like, what, what is this actual feeling here, Martha? What, what is going on here? Um, so again, like quiet time and reflection. And I taught, I had talked to myself all the time. Um, fun fact when we were filling out the psycheval for, so you think they asked like, do you hear voices? And I remember like having a moment being like, well, I mean, I do, but like its me, but like 

Probably should say no, but if I’m to be honest, then hell yes, absolutely. The majority of the time. Yes. 

But they’re all mine. So I don’t know. Yeah. 

When you say voices, 

Can we elaborate on that? 

I love this.  

Yeah. So like when I sit with like, I question myself all the time, all the time in everything I do, why are you creating this? Why are you friends with this person? Why are you taking this job? Why are you in this situation? What are you, what, what are you getting out of this? What are you adding to this? Um, and so those negative or not so fun kind feelings I sit with as well. Like, there’ve been a few friends where I’ve been jealous of. I’m insane. I’m just like, but why are you jealous? Like you don’t even want that. So what is lacking within you that this is a trigger, go sit with that. 

Or what are they doing well that you’re not doing well? What is that? What is it that’s a hook in you right now because there’s something to be learned. And, Oh, I forgot to mention this in the jealousy map, once you get to the very kernel of why that person or that thing that they are doing is speaking to you so loudly, there is right at the core, an action that you can take now, right this second, that will get you closer to it once you understand it. But if you, you know, if you just keep swiping and ignore, then, then you won’t get any closer to solving that riddle or, or gaining that, um, that win whatever it is that, that they’re winning at that you think you’re losing at. Yeah.  

Yes, yes, yes. I think, I mean, Yeah.  

So I think I cut you off. And I think, I, I think I totally hijacked your thought when they went back to the jealousy map. I’m sorry.  

No, you’re good. I’m still kind of like sitting in that space of just like, yeah. I, I feel like I I’ve always had the tool of why and growing up, it was annoying to most adults and teachers. Um, but now it is serves me like now it comes in handy. Um, and it was definitely, I’m realizing a lot of things that were spoken over me in my childhood were misunderstood. And those are the very same tools that actually helped me advance now. 

Like why and what else? 

Like why. And, uh, sometimes I kind of like think clearly I can think objectively, which sometimes is some people comes off as cold.

Copy that. I’m getting it a lot lately. Matter of fact, which when you’re warm, like bubbly people, like we are even neutral can read as cold relative to our normal mode, which is like sunflower. Copy that. So I want to talk really quickly about visibility and about respect because, um, you know, I mentioned visibility showing up in my jealousy map. And you mentioned this idea of respect when you decided that you wanted to win a Tony. So I would put visibility and respect as being absolutely relative, subjective and like feeling seen, feeling visible is a feeling, feeling respected is a feeling it’s very possible that you could win a Tony and feel totally disrespected and creating that same moment. So those like, you know, and me making the piece to feel, you know, visible or whatever it means putting a call out to dance magazine is not the thing that made me feel visible. I think in that moment, like really looking at myself, helped me to feel seen. And so that kind of speaks to your ability to walk away from this project is by knowing that that project doesn’t equal respect. I mean, even, even if that project equal to Tony, that project doesn’t actually equal respect, um, especially not of thyself. So, uh, speaking of respect, I respect you for making that decision. That is huge. And I think especially in quarantine times, which is where we are speaking from right now, the, the word, no with regards to work doesn’t happen a whole lot. Um, so it’s, it sounds like you are really, really dialed into the things that matter to you. Um, and, and I, I commend you for that. That’s awesome. 

Thank you. 

Yeah. Um, okay, Martha, I just, I simply think the world of you, I could talk to you forever, but I, I do want to send you back into your evening of what, whether it’s drumming or creating or sitting silently to yourself. Thank you so much for sharing with us. I just, I think the world of you,

Love you Forrest Gump! Thank you.  

Um, wait, can we like demystify that story really quick? Why are you in my phone as Jenny with like eight A’s and why do you call me Forrest? Like where did that come from? I think it was someday on, In the Heights. 

It was, 

But why?

I have no idea. I think it has something to do with running and then I yelled forest and then, you yelled Jenny. 

Um, okay, so there’s there’s room to still go deeper as there is in all things, in all areas, in all lessons yet to be learned. Um, and I hope you, and I get to do this again very soon and you’re awesome. This was awesome. I think the world of you. Thank you. Love you.  

Thanks for having me. I love you so much. 

You’re welcome. I love you. Bye.  

All right, everybody. What do you think that believe it or not was the, uh, abridged version of our conversation. Um, Martha and I will absolutely be doing a follow-up tune into the Instagram, the Instagram tune into the Instagram. We will be doing an Instagram live tomorrow. If you’re listening to this on the day of its release, which is Thursday, but we do save those lives to the Instagram account @wordsthatmovemepodcast So you can check in there. Um, here, our followup with Martha Nichols and so many of our other guests from the full from the whole year, almost a year, you guys, Oh my gosh. I hope you’re still loving the pod. I hope that if you do, you are downloading it so that you can have it with you at all times. I hope that you are leaving reviews and ratings if you are so moved to do so, it really does make it easier for other people to find the podcast sharing is caring. That is what I believe. I care about you. Thank you so much for caring about the pod. All right. Y’all that is it for today. Get out there, pay attention and keep it funky. I’ll talk to you later. Bye.  

Thought you were done. No. Now I’m here to remind you that all of the important people, places and things mentioned in this episode can be found on my website. theDana wilson.com/podcast Finally, and most importantly, now you have a way to become a words that move me. Remember. So kickball change over to patreon.com/WTMMpodcast to learn more and join. All right, everybody. Now I’m really done. Thanks so much for listening. I’ll talk to you soon. 

Ep. #48 Gratitude and Indulgence

Ep. #48 Gratitude and Indulgence

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 The subject of today’s episode is GRATITUDE and INDULGING.  Specifically, indulging in celebrations that DON’T clumsily step on other cultures OR leave you and the top button of your pants completely undone. This episode is absolutely NOT holiday-exclusive or Thanksgiving specific. But if you allow yourself to indulge in the list of simple pleasures laid out in this episode (instead of the traditional holiday key players: Food, Booze, and more food), your whole life can become a little more like a party!

Quick Links:

Black Friday Sale: https://www.thedanawilson.com/shop

Promo Code: JAZZED (Limited time offer from Nov 26th – Dec 4th)

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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, Hello, my friend. How are you? I’m doing very well this morning. If you are listening to this podcast on the day of its release, then Thanksgiving is tomorrow. American Thanksgiving. That is, and we’re going to talk about it, but before you listeners that are dropping in from way out there in the future, stop listening before you hit pause. Let me just tell you that this episode is absolutely not holiday exclusive or even really Thanksgiving specific for that matter, actually Thanksgiving and several other American holidays are a really hot button issue right now. And, um, you know, therefore this podcast episode will not be discussing what Thanksgiving is about. Um, I’m going to stick with what I know, which is certainly not US history and or the genocide of indigenous people. Today. I am going to be talking about gratitude and simply celebrating and indulging in natural human pleasures that don’t, uh, step clumsily on other cultures or leave you and the top button of your pants completely undone. So whether or not you will be celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow, this episode is full of really good stuff. Stuffing good stuffing. Sorry. I will not do that anymore. I promise. Full of really, really good stuff for you. But first wins. If you’re new to the podcast, by the way, I start every week talking about some wins, that can be very, very big or they could be very, very small. And after I go, you go, so start thinking about your wins. Okay. This week, my win is that I stepped out of my comfort zone and actually stepped out of my house for that matter. After my bedtime, which is approximately 8:30 PM apparently. I don’t know about you guys. It is the middle of November and I am still really struggling to adapt to this new sleep cycle thing. Okay. Anyways, it’s 8:30 and I am going on a night photography walk with one of my very best friends.  

The one, the only Tony Testa. If you don’t know Tony Testa, I feel bad for you. Please go do some digging. You are in for such a treat. All right. So way, way back in episode two, I talk a little bit about my gear, all of the gizmos and gadgets that I assembled into. Basically my everyday carry when I was doing daily videos, way back in 2014, that is actually a really fun episode. I do recommend you give it a listen, but I’ll cut to the chase very quickly because I’m pretty sure you want to know the best camera for night photography and the best camera for dance videography and, or, you know, action shooting or high-speed, whatever, whatever I’m going to tell you right now, the best camera, the absolute best camera for all of those things that are just mentioned is the camera that you have. And the camera that you know, how to use last night is a perfect example. So last night I was shooting on my Sony A6000. If you’re fancy, you call it a Sony A6. It’s my favorite mirrorless camera. It is definitely my favorite camera that I have. I usually use it for video. If you are a Sony fan, you know that the, A series is just the coolest, what I didn’t say, Siri, you punk. Interrupting the podcast like that. Jesus. Um, such a great set of cameras, really, really big fan. Now last night, I was also using a custom lens that my husband put together, my super dreamy, wicked smart optical engineer of a husband. And, um, I swear every single photo is out of focus, but I’m celebrating it as a win because I got to exercise my eye for composition. I got to relearn this franken lens and start dialing myself back into it. I usually, when I shoot video, I usually use my zoom lens and everything’s on auto. That was not the case last night. Um, so really it was, it was a brilliant night. I got to spend time with somebody that I, that I deeply love and respect. I got to relearn my camera. I got to be behind it for the first time in a long time. And in front of it occasionally. So much fun. Maybe, maybe I’ll share a couple of the images from that night shoot throughout the week. So, so, so much fun. Um, all right. I have taken up enough of your Siri and I have taken up enough of your time now it’s your turn. What’s going well in your world.  Hit me.  

Okay, great. Congratulations. Um, so whether you’re winning, keep winning, keep doing all of those winning things. All right. Now, today we’re talking about gratitude and giving thanks and appreciation all the little shout outs to the lovely bits of life that you might be taking for granted. It’s about indulging in those things instead of indulging in a handful of other things. Now on any given holiday that centers around food and family and togetherness and mostly food and drinking, which let’s face it is many of them. I find myself usually uncomfortably full by like 4:00 PM. And then I stay about that full for the next few days of grazing on the leftovers. Well, this year on Thanksgiving and every day thereafter in perpetuity forever, I am committed to changing the way that I celebrate instead of indulging in Turkey and pie and wine and wine. Um, I’m going to indulge in the simple pleasures of life that do not affect the way my pants fit. And I would encourage you to join me. The following is a list of some of those simple human pleasures, natural pleasures, no matter who you are, no matter where you are, chances are, you can have at this list. Um, and if you really, really pause to enjoy them, they can make your whole life feel a little more like a party. Let’s get into it. 

Item number one, showers. Yep. Like in your bathroom, showers grooming in general, but let’s just talk a really good shower for a second. Thank you. Beeping noise, telling me it’s time to think about showers, the way the water hits your skin. Just think about the posture that you take when hot water hits your skin or your scalp, and you get to massage shampoo in your scalp and maybe give it a good scratch. And then the soap washes a way, then you do it all over again with conditioner, and then you get to rub your body with soap or a loofa or one of those weird little scratchy pairs of gloves. Or maybe you use a sea sponge if you’re au-natural. I don’t know what it is that you do in the shower. But I do know that if you really pause and take a moment to focus on the sensation of the water, hitting your body of your hands, touching your body or the loofa or the weird scrubber, whatever, that can be such a tremendous moment.  

And I think all too often, we blaze through that moment because we’re running late or we’re trying to get to the rest of our day. I’m not suggesting that you take a 45 minute shower. I’m suggesting that you tune into your five minute shower or let’s be real, probably your seven to 10 minute shower. Um, yeah, you don’t need to indulge by over showering, but simply tune into your body and the sensations in it, on it as you’re taking your shower. Now I know that some people, uh, do love a multitask. I know a lot of people listen to podcasts in the shower or in the morning as they’re getting ready, um, or listen to music in the shower, sing in the shower. I’m I’m here for all of it, but for your first go, after listening to this podcast, try it in silence. Just let yourself focus on the sensations of your body.  

Okay. I guess I’m going to kind of go in chronological order here up next is lotioning your body. Shout out to my husband who does not wear lotion and thinks it’s crazy that I wear lotion all the time. Um, think about, I don’t know if you’ve ever put baby lotion on a baby, that’s going to get a little weird for a second. But as you do, usually you kind of coup at the baby and you’ll talk to them and you’ll tell them how much you love their tiny feet. And look at these perfect little toes. And you know, you’ll, you’ll give them a tiny little gentle baby massage. What if you did that for yourself every day? Look at these tiny little fingers. You do such a good job typing all day. I love you knee caps, knee caps. You’ve been causing me a little bit of pain lately. I’m going to take care of you right now. I’m going to give you a little massage. It’s going to feel great. You’re going to love it. Feet. Holy smokes. I know you pups are howling. It’s going to be another long one, but I’ve got you right now pumping you up. You going to make sure you’re ready for the day. You too calves. I got you back. Speaking of back, it’s hard to reach, but I’m going to try, take a moment to love on yourself. Like actually verbally love on yourself while you’re putting on your lotion, such an awesome way to celebrate yourself. I honestly, I guess I could broaden the whole lotion bit to say, taking care of your skin, whether that’s your face. Um, take care of your nails. I don’t know if, if, uh, you guys are like me since the lockdown. I certainly haven’t had any professional manicures, but I really love painting my own nails. Something about it is meditative to me. I get very quiet. I try to be very still, I focus on one thing and that is not to paint on my cuticles. And it’s, it’s so calling for me. So weirdly and wildly restorative. Oh, and then because I have wet nails usually for the following hour or two, it’s pretty low impact in terms of my activity. I might be reading a book. I might do a little, um, you know, surfing the internet or watch a movie. But in the moment when I paint my nails, the reward is much longer than simply the moment of painting my nails. So that’s kind of a bonus. 

Okay, we’re moving right along. Now. Let’s talk, getting dressed. Specifically, wearing clothing that fits and feels good on your body. Now you could go a step further by, by dressing up in things that make you feel fabulous better than — better than your average bare naked person. But I, I’m not sure what it is. Maybe it’s that. I grew up a dancer with a seamstress for a mom, and I love a good costume, but I really love looking forward to and walking around the world in an outfit that I love. So I don’t know if that is something that you might need to be out there in the world looking for, or if that’s something that you keep in reserve in the closet only for special occasions. You know what? Today is a special occasion. Go put it on, look and feel. Fabulous, simple pleasure. 

All right, now this next one is a good one. And I must admit I have some work to do in this category reading, especially in quarantine times, this one is clutch. And really when you catch yourself in the clutches of a good book, you get transplanted. You get put somewhere else, another world, another time, it can be as good as a vacation. Go ahead and fight me on this. But right now I would say it’s better than a vacation because it does not require leaving your house and putting yourself and others at risk. Read a good book today. I challenge you instead of that second or third or fourth piece of pie or glass of wine, grab a freaking book, take yourself in your mind, your imagination to another place where you can indulge in having an imagination where you can indulge in knowing that somebody wrote those words on that page likely a very long time ago, and they have no control over how you decide to see them in your mind. I think that exchange is just so magical and cool, freaking awesome. Grab a book. I’m talking to myself now. 

Okay. Let’s keep it pushing another one. Not a big, not a big hit in my household, but nevertheless, an excellent go-to, especially in holiday together times instead of grabbing an extra plate of food, grab a board game or a card game.  Actually, my family used to be big on the speed and a game called BS, a game called BS. We loved this game. Um, also poker has some roots in my family. I remember learning Texas hold ’em when I was like 12 or 13. So much fun. Engage the mind, engage each other, play a freaking game. Oh my gosh. Scrabble. You guys really, really good one because well, fun one for me because I love words, but I am a terrible speller hence podcast right now. I know there are several other games that I’m not mentioning right now. Some that like actually bring you into some physicality, uh, like twister, for example, but I wouldn’t exactly recommend eating a bunch of food and then playing twister that could go way wrong. Um, I’m sure I’ve left out some of your favorites. I would love to hear what they are actually, because I would love to stock up the games in my house. It might be time to make this house game house. 

Uh, all right, let’s keep it pushing. Hear me now. I do not work out for fun, but I work out so that my body can dance better. Also. I do admit it does feel really good after the fact, but while I’m in it, I’m not chances are, I am not having fun unless I have a really, really awesome playlist. (don’t worry playlists are coming up.) Um, I do think that exercise falls on this list and I do think that you can indulge in it. I do think that being in motion, um, whether it’s a yoga flow or a Pilates mat, this doesn’t need to mean this doesn’t mean that you need to go on a several mile run. Um, but I do think that being physical and getting your heart rate up is an indulgence that, yeah, I think a lot of us don’t really tune in tap into as often as we could, or maybe as often as we should. One thing that we almost certainly don’t do while we’re in the exercise moment is to take stock and give thanks of our working bodies of all the things that are working. Usually I don’t know if you’re like me, but when I’m working out, I’m telling myself work harder, work harder. I’m not telling myself thank you for working. Thank you for working. So on your, on your post Turkey workout or on your next workout. Give that a try. Thank you for working. Thank you for working during your workout.  I can’t wait to hear how it goes. 

All right, here we are favorite favorite guys, listen to music, listen to it loud, listen to it. Often listen to it alone. Listen to it with friends, listen to it in headphones, listen to it in your car. I mean all of it, but while you’re doing it, really focus on how incredible it is that humans made those sounds in that composition, in that order, in that tempo, in that structure, with that style. I mean come on, it is just the coolest thing in the world. And when you’re a dancer or a choreographer, you wind up listening to music all day long for your job. I’m not saying that takes the pleasure out of it. I’m saying it’s very easy to forget how much pleasure is in it. So let that be a focus, get grateful for your ears and the way that they work.  Get grateful for the sounds coming out of whatever that whatever the, um, noise maker is that you happen to be digesting your music through, get grateful for the noisemaker. I mean, this I’m, I’m tearing, I’m tearing, just talking about it, go grab you some music. You know what actually blows my mind to think about because of the nature of what I do. I listen to music. Absolutely every single day, but not everybody does. Like I had that realization recently. There are probably people that go several days without hearing music. And I’m like, well, I don’t know how, I don’t know how that works, but I do know that I, that I slip into music for work more often than I would like to. Um, I’d like to bring back the balance of music for pleasure and music for work. Um, I’d like to offer that you do the same.  

All right. Now, an obvious next step, or maybe not so obvious next step to listen to music is make music sing. I am not a person with an excellent or even decent for that matter singing voice. And I still love it. Especially when I have a thorough vocal warmup, shout out by the way, upcoming episode, I can’t even wait. I’m so excited. I cannot actually wait. I will be talking to my dear friend, Mr. Raab Stevenson, vocal coach to the stars. I cannot wait. I’m so excited. 

Okay. We’re back on track next step, because I’m following a theme here. Listen to music, make music, sing and dance. Not for work, not for a daily video, not for a, tik-tok not for the gram for fun. Dance for fun. You’re like, what’s that? No, really just music or no music and boogie and right when you want to stop, keep going and see what happens. Just see what happens. See what comes out. And I’ll revisit the same theme that we, uh, that we touched on when I talked about working out as you’re dancing, celebrate every moving bit of that body, because it is worth your gratitude. It is a worth a celebration. Get into it.  

Okay. Up next. And this is another one that I don’t, um, indulge in as often as I would like to, but I always have a really good time when I do painting something about getting your hands dirty and something about rolling up a sleeve, rolling down a tube of paint and just getting bright for a second, make something beautiful, make something ugly, make something, make anything. 

Speaking of getting your hands dirty. This next one is a favorite of mine. Potting plants. In general, I find that getting my hands dirty is one way to clean out my mind. It is possible to celebrate yourself well, caring for something else, right? You’re like getting ahead of the next harvest. Oh, by the way, if you are an avid listener of the podcast, I should tell you that my tomato plant is thriving. Making lots of little tomatoes. They’re still green, but there are a lot of them. Um, and my Basil is still my Basil it’s overflowing. It’s everywhere.  Moral of the story is plant something, get some fresh air, feel the soil in your hands, nurture a tiny little plant life and feel like the same that you are. I mean, come on. Does it get any better than that? No, it does get worse though. When the plant dies, you feel awful. That’s when you can plant another one or hit the Google and start finding out what you’re doing wrong. That’s what I did recently.

Okay. The next one again, might sound really obvious, but I think it definitely deserves a mention showing affection, right? Gratitude, affection, they’re cousins. So it makes sense that in an episode where we talk about gratitude, we talked about showing affection that can be written, spoken or physical. Now we are still encouraging social distance here on the podcast, but do not forget about the importance of physical contact, perhaps with a roommate or a parent. Um, if you feel a need, maybe you ask for that back rub or that foot rub, or maybe you offer one before you ask for one. I think that so many of us forget about physical connection, especially when we are uncomfortably full and probably don’t want to be touched. So what if the next celebration you’re at you save that little, little, little bit of room you have that you always reserve for, for dessert, but fill it up with a hug. I know it happens all the time husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend, boyfriend/boyfriend, girlfriend/girlfriend, don’t care who the relationship is between couple plans for a romantic evening, couple overeats or over drinks, couple falls asleep before romantic times.  So try as hard as you can to remember how good it feels to be physically intimate and save a little room for that instead of seconds or thirds or desserts in general. 

Okay. Last step on the list. And this is maybe because it’s fresh on my mind. I’m not going to lie this one. Isn’t really a natural pleasure because cameras are not natural fruits of the earth, but take pictures. Yes. Take pictures. This is a really, really, really good excuse to be just about anywhere and do just about anything. Let me explain what I mean by that dancing alone in a parking garage somewhere kind of odd, right. But put a camera there or a camera crew and all of a sudden that makes total sense. Oh duh. Yeah. They’re making a thing laying down in the middle of the sidewalk. For example, wouldn’t recommend it. But if you do it with a camera attached to your face pointed at a skyline, I totally get it. That totally makes sense. Might be totally unsafe, but I totally get it.  Now other than the fact that a camera just seems to be this passport, this like ticket to go anywhere and be anywhere and do anything or talk to anyone besides that. The other reason why I love taking pictures as an act of celebration and gratitude is because obviously it feels really good in the moment, but it also captures that moment. It captures the moment in a way that you can see it. You can duplicate it. If you print it, you can touch it, hold it, you can edit it and you can revisit it any time. It’s so incredible. It’s so special. So this holiday season, I hope that you spend more time in your camera app than an Instagram or Tik ToK create more than you consume. That is what it’s really all about. 

That’s my list. It is by no means exhaustive. In fact, I would really, really love to hear from you. What are some of the other natural ways that you love to indulge and celebrate life? That doesn’t mean you wind up kind of bulging over the top of your pants. I do think it’s interesting that indulge rhymes with bulge. Alright, so reach out to me with all of your favorite ways of celebrating of indulging in natural pleasures on Instagram, at words that move me podcasts, I cannot wait to hear what you have to add to this list. I hope that you find ways of celebrating. I hope that you get really grateful for all of the natural pleasures of being a human this holiday season and every season for that matter. And if you do decide to indulge in some not so natural human pleasures, like for example, shopping. Into the plug, I am giving all of my listeners a 10% off coupon code for everything in my store, on the website, theDanawilson.com/store  

That means words that move me stickers. That means keep it funky shoe bags for stinky stinky shoes. That means digital downloads that help you manage and get inspired about your creative projects. Ooh, and we just added a daily creative prompt calendar for 2021. That means every single day for all of next year, you will have a creative prompt so that when you’re sitting, thinking I have no ideas, you’re wrong, you’ve got at least one idea. It is right there waiting for you at thedanawilson.com/store Um, our daily creative prompts calendar. I think it’s super, super cool. Shout out to Malia Baker for putting that together and a great idea by the way, this 10% off coupon code applies starting black Friday and goes all the way through a full week until December 4th, to use the 10% off to get your 10% off, select your items, then click on the little shopping bag.  It’s the cutest little icon I’ve ever seen. Click on the little shopping bag in the top right corner. And then finally type the word jazzed J A Z Z E D in all caps where you see the words coupon code, then click apply coupon and get your 10% off every single purchase. Every single thing in the store, no limits, I mean have at it so much fun. So much a natural pleasure. Holy smokes. Um, perhaps the most fun of all though, you guys is hard to even talk about this because I am smiling so big. I have to tell you, hopefully by black Friday fingers are super crossed. I will be releasing my first ever words that move me. T-shirt in collaboration with my good friend, Jesse Soyer’s over at Getting Unlocked. Jesse, by the way, is a phenomenal tap dancer. She’s more than a phenomenal tap dancer. She is a, a visual musician. She’s an instructor and a coach and an advocate for mental health and body positivity. She and Getting Unlocked her company, um, which is an apparel and art company that really really champions self-acceptance and inclusion above all else. She is doing great things. She is an incredible person and it was so much fun to collaborate on this. T-shirt um, if you follow me, Dana Wilson, the human on Instagram, you have absolutely seen one of these t-shirts it says, I welcome your differences on the front. It is a message that I love getting behind. Literally every single time I put it on. And I hope that you do to super special edition words that move me plus getting unlocked. I’m jazzed about it. So be on the lookout for that on the story as well. We’re offering more than 10% off on that. So use the same coupon code jazzed in all caps for that. And um, yeah. Holy smokes. Now I think I’ve talked about, uh, natural pleasures for as long as I’ve talked about natural pleasures. So, uh, let me stop. I’ll let you go decide for yourself how you would like to indulge and celebrate your Thanksgiving. So yes, please do go to theDanawilson.com/shop It’s a great way to support the website and support yourself with some pretty, pretty sweet stuff. If I do say so myself, but most importantly, this holiday season and every season, tap in and get grateful for the natural and almost free pleasures of being a human. Thank you for listening. Everybody get out there, keep it safe. And of course, keep it funky. I’ll talk to you soon.  

Thought you were done. No. Now I’m here to remind you that all of the important people, places and things mentioned in this episode can be found on my website theDanawilson.com/podcast Finally, and most importantly, now you have a way that moved me limber. So kickball changeover to patreon.com/WTMMpodcast to learn more and join. All right, everybody I’m really done now. Thanks so much for listening. I’ll talk to you soon.