Ep. #44 WTMM x CLI with Dexter Carr

Ep. #44 WTMM x CLI with Dexter Carr

 
 
00:00 / 00:42:13
 
1X
 
 My guest this week is the picture of hard work + talent + a winning mindset.  Dexter Carr is dedicated to his work ( from the cell phone screen to the big screen and to Broadway, and back again).  He works hard, and he knows how to get it done (with a team!).  Listen in as we talk everything from sweat pants to perfectionism.

Show Notes

Quick Links:

CLI 2020 Experience: https://2020-experience.clistudios.com/

Dexter Carr’s Clothing Line: https://dextercarr.com/shop

Transcript:

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 friend. Welcome to Words that move me. I’m Dana and I, as per usual, am jazzed about this episode. I’m exceptionally juiced up because.. juiced up? Is that a thing that I say? Um, um, I was just trying to not use the word jazzed quite as much, but I can’t find a better substitute. I’m exceptionally jazzed because I just came back from my vacation. Spoiler alert. I did not really take a vacation, but I did take several baths and I painted my nails. So I didn’t leave town, I did work for several hours a day, but not all day, certainly not the 30 hours a week on zoom calls that I had become accustomed to during these quarantine times. Um, and when I wasn’t working, my thoughts really turned kind of tropical. I thought that I had all the time in the world, so I didn’t even set my alarm in the morning. Um, I thought about the sun on my skin, so I spent more time outside. I really, really sought out inspiration. Um, so I watched some of my favorite movies back. Oh my God. Friends, Wings of Desire by Wim Wendors, which is actually spelled with W’s W I M W E N D E R S. Holy smokes. Maybe the most beautiful film I have ever seen. I genuinely cry thinking about it because I, I really don’t think that there’s anything better.  It might be the best film ever made. Honestly, the only thing missing from this film is a dance number, but there is a beautiful trapeze artist and not one but two musical performances by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. So really how can you be mad at that? It’s just so good. Please do check that out. Oh, also go head over to Words that Move Me podcast on Instagram, because we just posted the third series of mandatory lists. I do a post that is your mandatory reading list. I do a post that is your mandatory watch list. And then third of course is a mandatory freestyle list. Those are my favorite to freestyle, to my favorite movies and documentaries and series to watch. And my favorite books. Yes. We just posted our third series of that. So head over to IgG, take a look at what those are. Um, wings of desire is definitely on this list three, but I kid you not. When I tell you, I think this is my favorite movie of all time, okay. We’re back, we’re focused and we are talking wins. I start every episode with wins because I think it’s important, especially now to celebrate what’s going well in the world. And the wind that I’m celebrating today is that the podcast has broke 2000 followers on Instagram and more than 1200 videos have been posted with the hashtag #doingdailyWTMM, which stands for words that move me. But that is not the actual win, the numbers themselves, they aren’t in the win. The win is that these words are moving you. The win is really that when you share you move others. So thank you so much for sharing this podcast with your friends. Thank you so much. Thank you so much for getting out there and moving. Um, that really is the reason why I talk to myself in this podcast booth every week. Also though, I do really love talking to you guys, um, over there in the comments @wordsthatmovemepodcast on Instagram. I love, love, love seeing the new daily doers. Shout out to my new doers. Rachel Gale, Elena X Valencia, Sarah doing daily Frances Brooks, just to name a few. Um, Oh, and while we’re at it, I could go ahead and super shout out. My climbers. Um, Chris McCartin recently passed 50. Sarah Victoria is well past 50 Oriana doing daily @oriana.doingdaily is well past 75. Um, Jojo Carmichael climbing into the nineties, Frida Dawson, AKA at Fridawson has passed 170. And Rebekah Wrangler is past 225. Holy smokes. So good. And I definitely feel like a Peloton instructor right now, shouting out all of my milestones. Man, No wonder they can’t shout them all out. I almost passed out and I’m not even riding a bike. Okay. If you’re interested in digging into some of those daily doers, go search the hashtag #doingdailyWTMM and be inspired. Um, all right. I guess I should mention if you haven’t been with me since episode one, doing daily, then I should inform you that doing daily is, um, I suppose I could call it a challenge that I’ve posed to my listeners in that episode, in the first episode, to help you restore ownership of your creative life, to put it very broadly. And to be honest, that I did not expect that that episode would create a community of daily doers, really a support system, an audience of performers. That is what it is, and that is super special. It wasn’t what I intended, but it is exactly what has happened.  And I am thrilled about it. I am also thrilled to tell you that I now have a tool up on my online store. It is a digital download. It’s called the doing daily diary and I designed it to help you organize and manage and really keep yourself accountable for your daily project. It is the companion that I wish I had during my year plus of daily making. And, um, I’m super excited to offer it to you. So go visit theDanawilson.com click on the store and there you have it doing daily diary, along with some other fabulous goodies, please enjoy. Wow, that win turned into a lot more than a win. So let’s go back to you. How are you doing? Are you doing daily? What is going well in your world? Talk to me.  

 Okay, great kick butt. I’m proud of you. Congrats. Keep on crushing it. All right. Speaking of really crushing it. In this episode, I talked to the incredible Dexter Carr. Now preface this interview is from the vault. We recorded it several months ago, back in the summer before your feed and your mailbox were pummeled with political campaign ads and voting materials. Just want to say that outright. I recorded this episode as a series of three interviews that I did from a friends over at CLI over the summer of their, um, 2020 dance experience, which was awesome by the way, check that out. We’ll be linking in the show notes of this episode. Um, but I had an absolute pleasure with all three of my guests. Um, the other two guests being Josh Smith. You can find him in episode 38 and the fabulous Heather Morris. She is episode 42.  So get into those for more action packed, family fun. Now this week, Dexter and I talk about a lot. I mean, really this is an action packed 30 minutes now, Dexter got a relatively late start with dance, but he got his career up off the ground and like into the cosmos. Really, He is living his dreams. I mean, he’s got a clothing line. He has a tour… He has a tutorial membership platform. He’s done Broadway. He’s done the big screen. He’s done all of it. Dexter is truly an exceptional human being. But I want to quickly say that you don’t need to be an exception in order to make your dreams come true. And I don’t mean to get like sugary pop sweet on you right now. But honestly, if you want your dreams to come true, you must simply know what they are and then show up for them. You have to use your voice. So please let this interview be a reminder of how much is possible when you advocate for yourself. When you put your work and your words out there into the world, when you let your voice be heard, please let this interview inspire you all the way to the polls and vote in this election vote because our schools, our workers, your work, the arts, our freedom to make our dreams come true. Truly does depend on it. And on that note, everybody let’s go ahead and get into it. I hope you enjoy this conversation with the one and only Dexter Carr.   

Dana: Yes. Hello everybody. And welcome. I’m Dana Wilson. This is Dexter Carr, and this is Words that Move Me on CLI today. I’m so excited to be here. I’m so excited to be here with you. 

Dexter: I’m so excited to be here with you. 

Dana: Okay. Um, really I can talk, uh, for, um, at great, great lengths and at great speeds. I’m learning. I’m kind of a fast talker as well. And I have a lot of questions I want to, I want to know so much about you. So why don’t we start at like the beginning of dance for Dexter. Cool. Weird to use the third person when you’re right in front of me. I heard that you’re the first in your family to have a musical inclination or like a rhythm bone in your body.   

Dexter: Yes. First and last. I think there. 

No signs of a followup?

No signs of followup. Yeah. Um, I was born in Miami, Florida, um, and my family is all in Florida. So Tallahassee, Tampa, Ocala, all the state, all the cities in Florida. And, um, we are very, uh, business people. So people are insurance agents. People are marketing people, just all of that brain. And I was not that brain. So, uh, I started at I started a really kinda like late age, I guess, for dance, uh, 13. 

Right, relative to the 3 years old. 

And you know, I’m, I’m old considering, starting as a dancer and I just really dove into it. I was so obsessed with every dance movie. I saw every, every music video I saw every live performance I saw, I was just obsessed. Like I couldn’t get it out of my head. And even in school while studying, you know, doing the academic thing, I just still couldn’t get dance or music or art off my brain. So yeah.  

What has changed if anything? 

I don’t think anything. Family still does business  And I still don’t. So yeah. 

You still don’t.  Although I would argue with you on that, I think that you have a strong business thread woven into your creative mind. 

Yeah thank you! 

Right, right. That’s in there. Um, and I do want to talk about that. Um, actually, maybe that’s a good segue right now. I think that you are like this bright shining example of how you can use social media as like a 24 seven round the clock storefront and audition. And you actually, you call it by those words, like, it’s, it’s an audition to you when you create a piece, whether it’s a combo intended to be taught in class or kind of a concepty  thing, you put it on Instagram and you at mention or hashtag the artists and you ask people in comments to do the same. Right. And it seems like from the outside looking in, and please stop me if I’m wrong, that you’ve seen, you’ve covered a lot of ground in a relatively short amount of time by working that way. So what do you think are the advantages, or what have you learned from auditioning on Instagram? 

Right. I, um, from the beginning, I think Instagram has been such an awesome tool for every industry. Uh, not even just the dance industry for every industry, to be able to get your voice, your product, your idea out to a large audience of people at a rapid speed is like the flyest thing ever. Right. Um, and with me, I’ve always thought that I wanted to perfect my art. Like that was my thing. Like, I didn’t want to put anything out there that was just kinda wild or just not together or whatever the case is to my standards. You know what I mean? Cause art’s subjective. But to my standards, I wanted it to be ready. And once I started realizing that you could put together a piece, you could put together a combo or whatever the case is and have it shown to the artists, whether they like it or not, they’re going to appreciate just the effort alone of you creating to their music. You know what I mean? So I kind of used that idea and just kept, kept going with it and really just use my own creativity and all the ideas that I had to just keep posting.  

I love this. I kind of love the idea of like making somebody a love letter is way more romantic than like the sterile audition, 

With the depth and presentation. And, and it’s like, you want to see what I, you want to see how I feel to your music. You wanna see what your music makes me feel. So I want to show you that in the best way, I know how  

I love this and then it lives. They think they’re like the secret bonus there is that it lives there forever versus an audition. Even if it is a self tape has like this moment

Right. 

Where it’s being watched. 

Right. 

And then it’s onto the next project or whatever. I love the, the kind of archiving that and to see your relationship to music over time and then relationship to the music turns into relationship with people. So tell me how many, how many times, like, could you give a ratio? How often has that been successful for you and like actually generating a working relationship?  

Yeah, it’s been awesome. Um, perfect example is, uh, so, uh, Tinashe uh, Die a Little Bit. I did the music video for that and 

Big fan. Really big fan. 

Thank you. Um, and yeah, that came from me choreographing to one of her songs in class and the director reaching out to me and being like, Hey, I saw this, I actually took your class. I had no idea. She took my class. So that was also very nerve wracking. But then have you went well? Wow. So yeah, uh, she saw that video and she basically said, I think your style is what we want for this video. And we would love to just have you come in and just start working. And it was literally like a seamless relationship off of that. So I know that it can sometimes seem strenuous and almost like, what am I really doing this for? And like, they’re not gonna see this. Or they don’t really care about this. There’s so many videos to this song. You just don’t know what the label or artists or management or assistant, whoever is going to see that video and say, okay, this, I feel this, like this resonates with me. Yeah. I’ve seen a hundred, but this one resonates with me. You know what I mean? So why not give yourself that audition or that opportunity to just to show what you got, right? 

Cause you can be one of the hundred or you could be the one on the other side of the screen, that’s looking at the 100 thinking. Yep. I would have done it differently.

I would have done it different. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And then you’re regretting like, well, dang, I wish I did it, but you know  


Yeah. I think you’re a great example of doing it. Like just doing it, if something speaks to you do it. Yeah. Super cool. Um, I want to circle back to something that you mentioned that I think, um, I know I relate to, and I’m assuming that listeners do as well. Um, dancers, I think might be more subjective to the syndrome I call perfectionism and it’s, I honestly, most of the dancers I know are perfectionists with their craft, in their life, in their, you know, in their home spaces and in, in all sorts of different areas in your life. Um, do you think that applies to you in inside and outside of dance?  

100%! And it’s and I, and I have to say that it’s so I am a fan of, of you and Ava’s and Brian Friedman’s and Jerry Slaughters and Marguerite Derricks’, and y’all are perfect to me. And you know what I mean? It is what it is. I’ve just always thought that, that, that, that group of dancers, that class of dancers was perfect, whether you know, we have our own notes for ourselves or not, but I have always strive to make my work look like that or feel like that, or, or, or come across like that. And I think that it’s not going to be perfect. It’s never going to be perfect. It as much as we believe it to be perfect we’ll never be perfect, but I think there’s nothing wrong with working hard and striving for a level of satisfaction within yourself that you feel good about it.  You know what I mean? Like not, and being like, Oh my God, I’m gonna delete it. I’m gonna delete it. I’m deleting it, I’m doing it. And then you put it away, you know what I mean? Like we’ve all done it. It’s cool. But like, sometimes it’s cool to be like, all right, I like that. I like that. And then just being like content. Yeah, of course, you’re going to watch it back and be like, Oh my God, my pinkies out of place. But it is what it is. And it’s, it’s art, it’s art. It’s supposed to make it. And you have also no idea what it’s going to make somebody in, like in, in like the mountains in Iceland, how it’s going to make them feel, just seeing your passion, seeing your movement, seeing your joy, like just that alone is kind of what makes me also keep putting out content too, or posting things or doing things just because there’s so many people, especially right now who need joy and just a little bit of something, you know what I mean? And if you could be a part of that or a, a, an attribute to that one. Yeah. 

Even if it’s your imperfect, that’s being that for someone, because just like art is subjective, I would argue that. So is perfection. Yes, exactly. Because a thing that squeaky squeaky totally perfectly like Apple design. Perfect. Isn’t really that interesting. It’s not that perfect because my perfect is human. Like I want to see a fingerprint on it, like glue dripping out of the edge or like a scratch a scuff, like something, something that shows that it’s human and useful instead of like, you know, completely veneered pristine and polished is a little, a little less interesting to me. Um, so I love that you make space, like you, there’s a difference between striving for perfection and requiring demanding perfection before you ship something.  

Exactly. And I’ll just tell myself, like, I’ll, you know how we go through like eight different moves and then you kind of just go back to that same move. I’m just like, okay, Dexter you know just do it. Just do the move, just do it. Cause you like it. So just do it. So that’s how it ended up.  

I’m like number one, move rejecter Oh my God.  

The inner battle in my head, I talk about myself, like a horrible person in my head. Like I just go in on myself and then I’m like, no, no, no, no, no. We’re good.  

Can I tell you what it was that made that helped me? Well, it hurt me in that discussion. I started learning about art, like, um, sculpture, painting, architecture, stuff like this, and this notion that there is no such thing as a neutral stroke. Like if we’re talking, painting it either contributes. Or it takes away. And those words got emblazoned upon my mind and they made it very hard for me to create dance because I found myself like, you know, in a, in a kickball change prep, like I’m preparing for the turn and I’m like, okay, is the prep taking away? Is it contributing? How can it contribute more? We’re talking a prep. Like it’s just preparation dance. So I got, I got very caught up about this idea of neutrality in dance steps. Like there not being a neutral stroke. And, um, I did sort of wind up releasing that and now I definitely feel like what’s neutral to me might not be to someone else. It might be their favorite, most impactful, most poignant moment. And to me I’m like, Oh no, it’s just cause I needed to get my weight on the left leg.   

Exactly. I just want to transition y’all that’s it  

So interesting. Um, okay. Gentle segue for a quick for quickness. Um, because I would be very not okay with myself. If I let us talk forever and not mentioned this, can we talk style for a second clothing? I know it’s important to you because you have your own clothing line, but I think it’s important to all dancers. Yeah. The way that things look and feel on your body can really inform the way that you move. So I want to hear as much as you want to tell us about the clothing line, where it came from, what you hope to achieve, how do you design it? How does it get to people? I mean, I have all the questions.  

All the things yeah. Go for it. So I, um, about two years ago, I started with, uh, just an idea. Um, I, I had been teaching at playground for, at that point a year and I had just met so many incredible people and people from around the world were coming into LA and taking class and just talking to them and hearing their experiences or just like, I don’t know, just getting some sort of insight about things that were going on around the world that I wasn’t privy to being in LA. And even when we travel, you’re there for what, a weekend, a week. You don’t really get to, you know, feel the energy of other places. And people were just talking about their style and, you know, seeing people come into class and what they were wearing, just everything was just sparking my brain. You know what I mean? Cause I hadn’t taught a regular class in LA before I started teaching at playground. So I would see dancers here and there, but it was like the ones we knew, like the ones you work with are the ones that are on the job, whatever. But to see different people coming in and out like different hairstyles,  

Submerged in it weekly returning, studying it.  

Exactly. And like how they would change and how their style would develop too. It just inspired me. So I thought about how can I get kind of my steeze out to the world in, in a, in a non cheesy way. That makes sense.  

That actually is really the hard part. How do you create a thing that’s authentically that’s made for many  

Mass produced? You know what I mean? That’s hard. And that is literally my still to this day, my biggest like battle when it comes to myself. Yeah. Because I don’t want it to be corny. I don’t want it to be whack. And I think that, you know, everything has its place and everything has its, you know, corny is cool sometimes wack is cool sometimes, but I wanted to feel like it’s like literally coming from me, given to you. So that is really my main point in designing all this stuff. It, is it something that I want to wear? Is it something that I would wear? Is it something that I would want to see somebody else wearing? If I saw somebody walking down the street, would I go, Oh, that’s interesting. Like, cause that happens too, but you know, I mean I want it to be interesting.  

Interesting being code for uh… 

So I wanted it to be real. I want it to be authentic. So I, um, got a awesome team, uh, through which is based in Vancouver and they reached out to me on Instagram, another Instagram, great moment. Um, and they basically said, I want to help you. I want to help you design clothing line. I want to help you. I want to help you get your voice out larger than it already is. 

And in the form of a hoodie

In the form of a hoodie. And that developed into me, just literally going into every website that I loved, every clothing line that I loved and just like getting inspiration, like looking around at stuff, watching people in the street, I was probably staring at so many people. They had no idea why, but I was just going like this and just staring at people what they’re wearing, like how their sweat pants fit, fit. Like if it does that weird thing where it goes inside, you know, you already know, I already know, you know, what I’m talking about, but like the fit like everything and I’m so big on fit and like the way things drape when I dance to cause you know, a bad outfit, well, I mean,  

Oh, make or break, not even a bad outfit, I’m wearing the wrong socks and I’m having a hard.. 

Literally right here. And then one side, it’s just all the things, all the things. 

So, so particular, 

Everything was, uh, everything was a factor in that. And I pretty much spent the whole first year of just the development process. Designing, thinking about ideas. Yes. No, absolutely not. Maybe. Okay, fine. We’ll do that. That whole process took pretty much a year. And then they came up with an idea, um, and said, well what about tutorials? And I was like, Oh, that’s a good idea. 

Dance, dance tutorials.

And I was like, that’s a good idea to write. People do want to dance. Right. That’s what I want to do. Right. So yeah. So why not? Like we’ll do a tutorial option two. So that then took six, four months trying to figure out the software and the, this are the 

Ohh the conversations 

You already know 

And so much learning 

That I’m learning about like hosting sites and coding and this and that like I’m who knew that I would ever even need to know any of this stuff, but I’m so happy that I do now just, you know, for my own sake. And then now we’ve kind of transitioned into this apparel plus tutorials plus masterclass like podcasting thing. And it’s, it’s awesome. It’s a, I have an app on the app store. It’s called Outlet by Dexter. So yeah, it’s been awesome. It’s been a learning process for me honestly. And I’m still learning every single day about what people want about what, you know, what people are interested in, what people like, what people don’t like, what, what do people need? What should people have more of? Cause I think whenever you’re putting out a product and that’s even your art, as far as a choreographer, what are you, are you helping the situation? Are you giving people what they need? Are you giving people what they should be seeing as far as also doing the job you’re supposed to do, but like you can push the envelope too a little bit and kind of add your voice, amplify your voice a little bit and say, Hey, I love this song or I love this idea, but I think it would be really dope if we, you know what I mean, if you have the freedom to do that, but yeah, right. 

Check the temperature of the temperature of the room. I think that’s awesome. This kind of idea of there’s there’s learning that you can do, that’s free, right? You sit on a park bench and you just watch the way people’s clothes fit and how they move. Or you, you know, as you’re teaching, you have this like sub um, uh, agenda of like watching, watching what people tend towards terms of clothing and that’s all free learning. Yeah. And then you find a team that presents you with ideas and then you learn together. I think that’s a really awesome thing to do. And I think in terms of teams, if you don’t mind talking a little bit more about like, could you have done this by yourself? What parts are all you write? Parts are supplemented by, by the team.  

Right. I can say that I could have, I do think it would have taken a lot longer. And I don’t think that I would have, because my brain is, like I said before, I’m very like, ah, and then I’d come up with a decision later, but I think they’ve helped me kind of say Dexter, it’s fine. We’re going to go with this. Dexter stop overthinking. It’s cool. We’re going to go with this.

The decision making process?

The decision process for sure,  those are like kind of nitpicky with just, you know, we get a little nervous about, is this going to be like, it’s going to be well received. That would have taken me longer as far as producing. So I’m just happy.

That is lead me to another question. Yeah. Um, do you have any awesome decision-making techniques? Like what it is? Do you have a golden rule? That’s like must be boom, boom or else? No.  

Okay. Um, as far as the clothing line or, Oh yeah. Okay. So as far as, as far as the clothing line, if we’ve ended up at this point, come up with a majority rules situation. So there’s 10 of us on the team. So now we have a voting system. So I’m usually always the one that’s like no, and everyone else is like, yes. And I’m like, all right, fine. But, um, that’s kinda on the stuff that is more so like geared towards kids or geared towards like the, the merch side. And um, I’m always like, well, no, we need more of this. We need more of that. And they’re like, no, one’s buying floral on a hoodie. And I’m like, okay, cool. Let me find it. I’ll tell you, I’ll take that one. Can I, can you make me one,  

That’s cool that you have the ability, even on your own projects. I mean, that’s so individually yours to say, I might not have all the information here. Yeah,  

Yes! Yeah. And, and I, and that’s been a learning process for me because in our industry we’re always made to feel like we need to know everything. Like you need to know all the union rules. You need to know all the hours that you’ve worked. You need to know all the, you know, you want to know the crowd for the director of the DP. Like you were always told that we need to be our own like superhero, which is also a dope quality to have. Right. It does help. It helps for sure. And then it also helps to have people who do the marketing side or do the design side or do the fashion side, or do the other things that you don’t know how to do and give you a little input. So you guys can put all your ideas together. That’s I mean, teams there’s nothing can be no, no great, great entity can be done without a team. I don’t if, unless it happens and I haven’t seen it, let me know. Okay.  

I’m telling you, I think it ha I think so often because we see on the scroll the face and it’s so often, I mean, way more often than not, there is a team behind the face and it will take that opportunity to shout out my team, Malia Baker and Riley Higgins. Hey ho. Yeah. It really does take a village, especially in a creative effort. Um, yeah, so many steps, so many, so many things to do. Um, before we leave, before we segue out of clothing, Whoa, don’t take that the wrong way. Um, question. I’m sure a lot of people would aspire to start their own clothing line, do something similar. What advice would you give?  

Yeah, just design design, make as many designs as you want as many prototypes as you want. Go to downtown, get it printed on a t-shirt, go to, you know, do whatever it do. Draw it yourself. Like there’s a Nick Baga. A really good friend of mine literally just started his own. And it’s started from his drawings, like literally him drawing on a tee shirt and they’re so awesome. They’re so cool. And just to see that it came from such like a, you know, a genuine, honest me, just drawing on a t-shirt, in my house to what he has now. It’s so awesome to see. So I don’t feel like especially right now, everybody has the opportunity to do whatever they want. Everybody has the opportunity to do whatever we want from from great tragedy comes great success, I think. And that is what we’re all on right now. So if you have an idea, if you have a, a step you want to do, if you have a concept video you want to do do it, everybody just do it. That’s I’ve been telling everybody that I know that that’s okay.  

Beautiful sentiment. Yeah. Yeah. Um, that reminds me of a saying that I call on often, instead of fake it till you make it, I would much prefer to make it till I make it, make it thing. You got it. I love this. Okay. Um, so talk about Instagram, talked about clothing brand. I, in my plan, which I swerved from a little bit, I thought that the audition story of Instagram could segue nicely into your experience with Broadway and music videos and film. Um, okay. You are original cast member of Bring it On. 

Correct. 

Little known fact. I helped Andy Blankenbuehler skeleton crew, not for the entire process, but several days of skeleton crew. So it’s very possible that we danced the same moves for that show. Is that wild? Just another example of like things crossing over without you knowing, right? Yeah. So what was your audition experience like for that? Oh, good. I’ve had a, a kernel have I?

It was, it was a mess. I mean, it was amazing. I had never auditioned for a, uh, a Broadway show before. Um, I was, I was completely new to the, you know, we do musical theater at the studio, but that’s one number a year or a one combination. You know what I mean? Yes. So when you go in and audition for a Broadway show, eight times, you’re not, Oh yeah. Eight times. And I was auditioning for a principal role too. So that part was up. That was a part of that, but I mean, learning four different combos and they’re not, none of them are the same, you know what I mean? All different styles and you know, Andy, he’s a genius, so he’s like, he’ll do everything. And you’re just like, okay.  

And extremely detailed oriented,  

Really detailed. If the books are not here on the chest, you’re not getting the job. So it’s awesome. And books are here, you know what I mean? That’s the detail, but it was the most amazing experience of my life. We went on tour first. Um, so that tour lasted a year. And then they came out to like, I don’t even know where we were in some random city in the Midwest. And they were like, so how many? And it was all, it was, we were all young. Like there was like two people who had been on like, I think off-Broadway, but nobody had been on Broadway yet. So they came to like the like last show or something like that. And they were like, so what are you guys doing in the fall? And we were like, we don’t know, like everyone was like stressed. And they were like, well, you’re going to Broadway. And we just, I remember flipping something and we were just, I mean, 19 years old to say, you’re going to Broadway is like, I mean, who would have ever thought, especially me coming from where I came from that was not in the projected goal at all. So that also kind of helped me realize, okay, there’s something that could happen here. Like you could really do something with your career here. And that was a really dope moment for me. So thank you, Andy and Lin and everybody for giving me that moment that let me know, like, I can do this, like, this is, this is something that I never thought I would do in my wildest dreams. I had seen so many shows like on TV in New York, but being onstage, there was no way I was like, there’s no way, but there was a way  

There was a way! What a refreshing reminder to, to, to hear about trusting a path, right. And being open to it, whatever it may turn into. Um, on my interview with Heather Morris, we talked a little bit about how pathways are less like, you know, a path on the ground and more like a tree, right? Like you start climbing up the trunk and you could take that branch, or you could take that branch. And that branch has little tiny branches that actually also kind of flirt with the other branch over there. Um, and you wound up on Broadway, so did Bring it On come first for you or In the Heights?

Bring it On came first. And then we did a Heights after that. And then that was another incredible experience because I did it with all the OGs. So like all the original cast members were kicking my butt, telling me when I was doing something wrong. Tell me when I was in the wrong window, tell me when I was coming out of the wrong wing. And I love that, Oh my God. Oh my God. And it was just so dope to hear them talk about stories and you know, like the first time that they performed that show and what it meant to them, and that’s a very meaningful, you know what I mean? And that’s that to be immersed in that, with those  

Thats a very meaningful project. To be embraced into that family.  

That was incredible. That was incredible. So my Broadway experience is very, very special for me.  

Cool. I love hearing that. That’s tremendously inspiring. Um, selfish question, because I’m curious, I worked on in the Heights. I’m with Chris Scott, Ebony Williams, Emilio Dosal and Eddie Torres jr. And Princess salsa guru. 

Baby. I know y’all are hitting it. 

Oh, they go, Oh, I know that club scene OFF

I can’t wait.  

Okay. So my selfish question is what’s your favorite number in, in the Heights.  

Okay. So I have a story. Yeah. I can’t wait. So there’s this number called? It won’t be long now. I’m sure you know it. And then, uh, me and Jose Luis shout out, uh, we sit on the stoop and dance while Vanessa sinks her song and does the things and dah, dah, dah. So we usually were playing cards and everybody who’s been on Broadway knows that you’re never doing what you’re supposed to be doing on stage. Whenever you have a moment on stage, you’re always doing something else that’s not supposed to be doing. So I, we were playing our cards or whatever, and Jose Luis and the other, uh, one of the other guys thought it would be funny to not really tell me when we’re supposed to be getting up. Cause I wasn’t paying attention cause I’m 19 years old on Broadway and I’m just having a good time. So I’m just playing, I’m enjoying myself, I’m enjoying the set. I was like, Claudias coming out. I’m like, what’s up? Like, it’s a whole thing. And I’m playing my cards and I don’t even realize, I don’t even know why, but I was looking down and they had all gotten up and started the Choreography. 

And now you’re playing solitaire on the,  

And solitae with my job as well. Cause I may be getting fired at this point. So that was, that’s definitely, always going to be my favorite number. Cause of just that story in that, uh, the, yeah, the, the boys and just being around that environment. But uh, the club was major and then the fight at the club and all that. 

Good, good, good stuff.Be on the lookout 2021 In the Heights. I think you will love it. I haven’t seen the whole thing, but from everything I’ve seen, I am very impressed and tremendously proud. I cried at the trailer. Yeah. It was very emotional. Yeah. It’s a beautiful story. It needs to be told very important. So excited by it. Awesome. I’m so excited. I’m on the subject. Do you have any dreams of returning to Broadway and what do you think will be, what do you think Broadway will be looking like on the other side of coronavirus?  

Um, my dreams are actually to choreograph a Broadway show. That is my,  

I want to see that dream come true.  

Oh my God. It would make, it would literally like put a, another valve on my heart to do that. Literally just a triple, you know, like that’s what I would love. And honestly, you know what I think, I think people are so thirsty and so hungry for the arts. I think that when we are safe and when it is allowed or whatever the conditions are, I think people will rush back to it. I think there’s a need and a want and a desire for live connection and like connection period. And while, you know, as everyone’s kind of has their own rules with this whole thing, it’s we can not have the same connection that we had. And I think that when we can again, and it’s safe and it’s smart, I think people will want to get right back to the arts because that’s what made that’s what got people through this. How many shows did we watch? How many, all the Netflix, how many times did we watch Hamilton? How many times do we like listen to the soundtracks? How many times do we listen to old albums? I’ve been literally rewatching Moesha for the past three days. Like just to feel that what I was feeling in those moments. So I think, I think we’ll be okay. I really do.  

Oh, there will be a calling for more content for sure. Because we’ve reached the bottom.  

I’ve definitely reached the bottom bottom of it.  

Okay. In our last couple minutes, then talk to me about the bottom quarantine. What was the worst thing? Hardest thing for you and what’s the silver, what are you walking out? How are you walking out better?  

Yeah. Um, hardest thing for sure was not being able to teach my class, not being able to teach on Kaos, my convention, not being able to teach on just not being able to be around and do what I love with the people that I love. Um, I really take my week of class, maybe a little bit too seriously. And I just love seeing these amazing people come in there and fight for their life and, and, and do what they love. And you see it on their face and you see it in their body and you feel it from their energy. And I missed that those first two weeks was like really hard. And then we kind of got that little, like little teaser back and then they took it back from us. But yeah, I mean, that was, that’s what I miss the most. And that was the hardest for me, but I can’t say, and I don’t think anybody will disagree with this.  I don’t think anybody’s been more productive that they had been in these past four or five months. Because if you don’t, if you didn’t have a hustle before you have one now, and if you weren’t pushing hard before you push it hard now, because when there’s no other option to, and when you have nothing but time, if you choose not to that’s on you, you know what I mean? And I don’t think anybody wants, nobody wants to fail. Nobody wants to just let things just kind of go downhill for them. Right. Everybody wants to get to that uphill. Bam. Everybody wants to get over that Hill that we all have been kinda like, you know, running towards since March. But I think it’s, I’ve seen so many dope people start businesses and just I’ve changed my hair 80 times. And I’ve literally like  

Get creative.  Get resourceful 

I’ve just, I’ve had, I’ve had more ideas and I think I’ve ever had in the past, like three, four years of choreographing. So I think there’s, there’s a silver lining to all of this. And like I said before, nothing with tragedy comes success. And I think we all see success after this.  

Oh yes, my friend. And I’m out, we will wrap it up. You guys have a cipher to get to, um, we have a 107 degree heat out there to get to on our way back home. Thank you so much for talking to me today. I learned so much. I feel juiced. I’m excited. 

Thank you so much Dana

Thank you. Thank you guys soon. 

All right. My friends, I hope you are as jazzed by that conversation. As I was my biggest takeaways from that conversation are about Dexter’s attitude regarding social media. He doesn’t use it for approval. He doesn’t seek permission. He just simply shares. I love this approach. I also really, really loved the way that Dexter talked about his team. Um, so very humbly, he talks about the way that they check him the way that he will admit when they know more than he does about certain things. I thought that was pretty special. Now I could talk about Dexter for a long time, but what I really want and what I hope you really want to go do right now is about go get out there, make your dreams come true, get out there and vote and get out there and keep it funky. Thank you so much for listening. 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 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.