Ep. #73 Live Q&A Part 2

Words That Move Me with Dana Wilson
Ep. #73 Live Q&A Part 2
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There comes a time in a dancer’s life when the questions stop being about “favorite job or favorite dancer” and start being… USEFUL.  In a short time, we covered everything from  handling criticism, to audition mentality, and even a little dive into @intheheightsmovie
BIG THANKS to everyone who came to our live Q&A episode (and to those that submitted questions prior) for helping me to make good on my promise of delivering INFORMATION and INSPIRATION.  

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: Sometimes in acting class, they say that being like —  all you have to do to be a great actor is just be, um, and I really wish you all could just watch me being silent. As I figure out my life in this podcast booth before we have our second ever words that move me live Q&A, which I am stoked about. Thank you all so much for being here. And for those of you who wrote your questions in, thank you as well. We got some good ones. Like my brain was genuinely rattled, a lot of thoughtful things coming from my thoughtful audience. Thank you guys so much. Um, but of course, before we get into it, we will begin as always with wins this week. I’m celebrating that over the weekend, Malia Baker, Riley Higgins, and I had a work retreat, which honestly, I feel like we balanced very well. The retreat part and the work part. Um, we got a fancy hotel downtown. We also both have been both, both, both three of us have been vaccinated and, uh, for, for more than two weeks and felt safe being near each other, albeit in different bedrooms. Um, and I think we got a lot done. I also got home on Monday, slightly hung over, but really rejuvenated. And I wanted to thank you both for that time and also celebrate how it is possible to work and relax simultaneously. Does anyone in the zoom room have a share? Would anyone here like to share a win? Um, okay. Lady with her hand waving, um, I think your name there it is Stefani Wilson, AKA Stan, AKA, my mom, whatchu got Stan? 

Stefani: I had a weekend to myself last weekend, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday. And I did all the things that I just wanted to do. And it started out with deep cleaning my house and I did it like happily, um, because it was what I wanted to do. And it set me up today to be able to work on the project that I’ve been looking forward to. So I did a thing I wanted in my free days off, which was cleaning the house, which I never want to do. Yeah. But then it freed me up to do something that I’m looking forward to. I thought it was like a huge win because I’m sitting here just so relaxed now and able to be immersed in a fun thing,  

Dana: Able to eat off your floor if you want to do it is so great. So much freedom. You have all the options you could use anywhere you want right now. Congratulations. That is a big win. Um, okay. Listeners now it’s your turn. What is going well?  

Did anybody notice in last week’s episode, the change to our wins music, that’s all I’m going to say. Okay. So jumping right in to our, a written question submission, I like this one so much. So within the words that move me community, which is a membership place that exists in Slack, for lack of a more graceful way of explaining it. Um, we have a community bulletin board and we have this open discourse with each other. It’s a lovely place. I love being there. I love connecting with my words that moved me listeners. Um, and one day I just shared with the world that I really missed doing daily. I missed it in a big, big way. Um, so this first question says, you mentioned experiencing, missing doing daily in a big way. And I was curious to know what you miss from your experience and also maybe what you don’t miss too. Uh, and if there are any actions that I took to process those feelings like to process missing doing daily, number one, if you’re listening and don’t know what doing daily is revisit episode one, I talk about doing daily. It’s the project that changed my life more than any other project. It was the year plus of daily videos that I made and shared on Instagram. And that was way back. Now, I think I ended in sometime in 2015. I think I started in 2014. It’s kind of a blur at this moment, but, um, it’s been years since I made a thing and shared it daily. I think I am still creative every day, but the making and sharing in a day, it’s been a long time since that happened. And the thing that I miss the most, the thing that is what made me want to share and connect with someone at that moment was the immediacy that snap between thinking, Oh, it would be cool if, and then doing it right then it’s been a long time since I acted that sharp and obliged with an immediate yes and immediate action. That’s what I miss. It seems like most of the inspiration that strikes me lately goes into a bucket or a parking lot to be excavated later on. And when you’re doing daily, when that turnaround is so fast, you don’t want to miss an opportunity, a good idea, a beautiful place, a silly thing. You just go straight out and do it. So that’s what I was missing on that day. I missed the immediacy. Um, anything that I do not miss about doing daily, fighting with uploads and wifi and idevices. I actually, my mom was there for one of my meltdowns. We were in Paris. I was using a Samsung because their, their charge port is a micro USB port. So you could actually plug in a memory card directly to the phone and just drag and drop access your files. Instead of the Dropbox that download the upload, the is your airdrop working, wifi was always an issue. I was at like 11:55 and hadn’t uploaded. And hadn’t uploaded my video that day. And my mom and our dear friend Leticia got to see the dark side of me. That was like probably 200 days in. I was not about to go out on some shady wifi, like not make my dream goal happen. So I just threw an absolute fit and did what I always do when I’m having technical issues, which is call my husband, um, shout out vice chief. I love you. And thank you for helping me meet my goal of more than a year of daily doings. He helped me with so many of those uploads. I can’t even count. Um, but yeah, I don’t miss fighting with wifi upload or download speed. That is a thing that I’m okay. If I never have to deal with again, what did I do to process those feelings? I don’t remember in the moment, honestly, I think I left that note, acknowledged that they were there and then kept going with my life. Thank you for that question. That’s a good one. Maybe now all open to the room. Any, any questions in the room? Yes. Ms. Baker. 

Malia: When you are starting to like become a teacher in Los Angeles or a teacher on convention, there’s definitely a perception that more people in a class means you’re better. And more people like you, you’re more popular, yada, yada, yada, when you put all this effort into like promoting a thing and hoping that more people show up and then less people show up, how do you navigate your feelings around that? Maybe feeling of disappointment or do you feel disappointed?  

This is a great question. Me personally. Oh yes. I feel disappointed all the time. And um, I think thanks to Glennon Doyle, I think it’s in Untamed. She has a quote. Uh, she says disappointment is evidence that imagination hasn’t given up on you. So whenever or something to that effect. So whenever I feel disappointed right on the flip side of that coin is like, nice. I can see something else. There’s something I’m imagining out there. That’s other than what’s happening now. And that’s, that’s incredible. I could take actionable steps to have that thing. Now let’s talk about in this scenario. Exactly. What is that is it? I can imagine being a popular dance teacher with a hundred people in class because the action steps to get there are different than the action steps to being a top tier educator. Like if you want to be an incredible educator, the steps you take to get there are different than the steps you take to get popular. I think especially in Los Angeles, those two things are not synonymous. If you want to be a wildly popular teacher, you probably choose wildly popular music. You might advertise in different spaces. You might advertise in different ways. You might start putting more resources and time into different avenues. But if your goal is to be an excellent educator, then that’s where you focus. And you’ll find that your student base will grow around that. You’ll, you’ll be training people who like great training instead of training people who like hot ish. You know what I mean? Um, but yes, I have felt, I have felt disappointed by class sizes before. Um, and usually what I wind up doing is celebrating space. Fewer people means more space. Sometimes it might change my lesson plan a little bit, and now we’re flying, we’re running, we’re jumping, we’re doing things that we couldn’t have done in a room with 500 people. So yeah, I really don’t think that popular classes are always the best classes. Just like, I don’t think popular music is the best music, but reach is important. If you’re a person that wants to share your information and share your knowledge, reaching a, a large number of people is important. So then decide what it is that you’re disappointed about. What’s the vision that you see that isn’t currently happening and what are the actions steps to get there? Get really clear about what that is. Yeah. I always like to, I like to remind myself, I care way more about teaching a memorable class and teaching valuable historically accurate dance education like that. I care about. I care about that so much. And once I remember what I care about a small class size is not, is not an issue for me. That’s a great question. Thank you so much for that. 

Um, okay. I’m going to take another, uh, another written question. This is really awesome. Cause I’m actually in a great place today to be addressing this. The question is what are some reminders, mantras songs, TV shows, et cetera, that you turn to, to pull yourself out of a funk and feel inspired and creative. Again, I love this question because today I am in a funk, it started with the coffee that went wrong two times. And yes, I understand that that is a very privileged problem to have, but I let myself believe it, that that meant the day was going to be awful. And so I committed to the day being awful. I forfeited my schedule. I wound up buffering by bleach tie dying several of my garments that are now in the washing machine during the only one coveted time. Like the only time it’s important for me to be quiet and focused today is this call. And currently I’m washing bleach out of all my clothes. Cause I couldn’t be an adult about my mind this morning. So that’s where I’m at. I’m in a funk today. And I like this question because my answer to it is, is I’m answering from a wiser place. So when I was in a funk at 10:00 AM, I decided the answer to that was, bleach tidying Some clothing, right? Could have been watching a TV show, could have been listened to my favorite album. But in that moment I was like, Oh yeah, bleaching stuff. That’s okay. Um, but now that I’ve gotten to the other side of bleaching the garment and I find I’m still dealing with the funk that I had at the beginning, what I wish I had done and what I will do after this is sit down, brain dump, like write all the thoughts. Just kind of stream of consciousness, get on paper, what it is that’s going on upstairs. That’s making me abandon my plans. What are the thoughts that I’m thinking? That’s making me think it’s okay to quit. Now, Um, so to answer this question, yes, I have things that I love to buffer with. Um, my favorite movie to watch right now would probably be, well at any almost any time is the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, anything Baz Luhrmann ever made, um, Across the Universe or anything that involves the Beatles and their music. Um, that really, that those things lift me. I feel lifted, but if I don’t deal with what is funking me up in the first place in mere hours after feeling great about whatever content I just devoured or sweatshirt, I just bleached I’ll be feeling the funk again. So my answer to that question is don’t pull yourself out of a funk, just be in the funk, manage your mind, sit with it. I just, it’s  just, I’m in a funk. I can be in a funk and that’s totally okay.  

Um, I did want to touch on another little question. This one I really loved, uh, the kind of relating to the TV shows and all of my favorite things. What have I learned from those things? And what have I learned from being a part of TV, film, touring, and stuff like that, that I implement into my own work. Um, the answer to that question is more to do with the process than the work itself. And this is something that I’m working on and reminded by all the time I am a person that loves to prepare. And the thing that I’ve learned from being a part of TV and film production is that no matter how prepared you are, you will need to improvise no matter how prepared you are, nothing will ever go 100%, absolutely. And entirely according to your plan. So I, I, I make sure to champion improvisation and remind myself that although I do love feeling prepared, what I really, really love is getting the job done. Sometimes preparedness is a part of that. And sometimes your plan just goes out the window and you have to improvise. Um, this is something I, I think I learned a lot during, In the Heights and working with Chris, he is so phenomenal at improvising. He’s phenomenal at getting information in the moment and doing something in the moment without needing a week to storyboard or draft. I mean, he’s very good at doing, doing research as well, pulling inspiration images, doing all the things that I love about pre-pro, but he’s like as good at not doing those things at just taking it and running. Um, and so that’s, that’s what I’ve learned from being a part of that world is like have a plan. Yes, that’s fine. But absolutely get really good at having no plan and making something great anyways. Um, so yeah, that’s, that’s my answer to that question. Has that stoked? Anything else in the room? Any other questions coming, William?  

William: Um, what is the thought process, um, that comes to you when you’re going to an audition that you have no experience in or to style, but you want to talk audition for it?  

This is a wonderful question. I’m so glad you asked it because I, I do consider myself an expert at audition mindset. And that’s a real thing. I think, no matter what, no matter how hard you train or what your mindset is not getting a thing that you want is going to sting a little bit. So you go into an audition knowing that there might be some pain on the other side. So that’s step one is just knowing that this might be painful and that’s okay. But the thing that, uh, the, the things I’ll just give you a couple helping hints, um, that I bring with me into an audition. The first one is that it is more important to be memorable in an audition than it is to be perfect. There is this one job that you are auditioning for now, but behind that job, there are several creatives, choreographers, casting, directors, other dancers. There are other people in the room. I do think it’s so much, it’s, it’s so much simpler. You released so much pressure and weight. When you say I don’t need to be perfect. I just need to be memorable. That’s it? When that becomes my goal in an, in an audition, my mind is a lot clearer. My body moves more freely. I listen more closely because I’m not spiraling through inner dialogue. It’s like, be perfect. Don’t do that. Do that. Oh, she did that. You should do that. Like all that gets really quiet when all I’m trying to do is be memorable. I should emphasize that being memorable in a good way is really the dream it’s possible to aim for memorable and just be a dumpster fire. That is not what I’m recommending be memorable in this case means focused, genuine, true to you, true to the dancer that you are that day and hoping to plant a seed of, of something special in the minds of the people that are in the room. And that isn’t even just the people on the other side of the table. You never know who you’re auditioning next to, especially in LA, in New York city, everybody’s got cool stuff going on. And so when you’re trying to be perfect to the one person on the other side of the table, you might be obliterating relationships or opportunities with the people that are around you as well. So memorable, not perfect. That’s step number one, step number two. And this speaks to your question about having never done something before. This is one of my favorite differences between confidence and self confidence, confidence like task based confidence like pouring a glass of water, for example, is built over time and practice. When you get really good at pouring a glass of water, you stop beating yourself up. When you spill a little bit of water, this time you poured it, you’re like, Oh, I made a mess moving on.  So that kind of comes along with, with doing things over and over again. When you don’t have that, you can still have the same attitude. It’s just a thought, Oh, I messed up. That’s fine. That’s a thought that you can have, whether you’ve done something a million times or not. Do you understand? Like, does that make sense? As I’m saying it, I know sometimes in theory, people are like, Oh yeah, but could you believe that? Could you believe that it’s okay to spill water at your first audition and just walk in the room as if like, all right, here I go, I could do this a million times or not. I’m going to spill. I might be wrong. I might be bad. And that will be fine because I’ll get up and myself a glass of water again, you know, I’m going to, I might not have done this a billion times yet, but if I’m going to do this a billion more times, I better be kind to myself, have my own back, no matter what, because the harder you are in those early stages on yourself. Imagine if you really beat yourself up for spilling water, the first times you, you wouldn’t make it very far. If you, if you really beat yourself up every time you tried something and failed in the early stages, you wouldn’t get far. So, especially I’m a subject of auditioning except that there will be some spillage and get in the room anyways, knowing that your you’ll have your own back, um, and, and work to be memorable, not perfect. That’s that’s my bite sized, uh, feedback there. Or do you think cool, thumbs up. We’re all, we’re all spilling, spilling in the auditions. That’s great. Um, anything else from the room before I go back to a few more, um, written questions, go for it. 

Question: I’m curious if, about like learning lessons and like consistently getting feedback and how to manage minds around getting feedback. So I have been getting the feedback and dancing that my shoulders are up for about how old am I? 24 years of my life. Um, and it’s like something that I know that I do, but for the life of me, I can’t fix it or I can’t fix it in the way that it needs to be fixed. Like, I don’t understand it and I’ve never got to understand it and it just keeps coming back. And I feel like I’m a bad student because I can’t figure it out and I can’t fix it. And so I just feel horrible about like my shoulders and it sh and then I think they go up more as I’m dancing. Do you have something about like managing your mind around getting like consistent feedback? Always the same. 

Oh my gosh. This is phenomenal. Thank you for asking this question. This is a great teaching teachable teaching teach, teach moment. You just talked us through basically a textbook example of how the way you’re thinking affects your results. So if somebody says to you the words you need to put your shoulders down and you think A. I’m a bad student B. I need to do this. C. I could never w uh, all of the thoughts that you just like. I think, I think the most important ones are, I’m a bad student. When you think I’m a bad student, how do you feel? 

Question: Oh, like, Oh, we don’t curse on this podcast. Um, awful, absolutely horrible.  

Dana: Yeah. Right. And, and when you feel horrible, you probably retreat like in the lesson, in the class and also in your body, when you retreat in your body, like neck shrinks, shoulders come up, like the result is your shoulders are up and you are down.  Like the student in you goes down and shoulders go up. When you think I feel awful, this is terrible. Can you see how, how thinking these words may, and I’m a bad student, but in fact, it’s the thought I’m a bad student. That’s rendering you with the result of being low and having high shoulders, which someone might make me in the you’re a bad student, but of course it doesn’t. So you get to manage your mind about what you think being a good student means. If being a good student means having your shoulders down, I could show you a lot of really, really good students that are really terrible dancers, but have lovely long necks and shoulders down. You know what I’m saying? So you get to decide what you make this note mean about shoulders. Um, could I deviate from that with a personal story for a second facts?  This is one of my favorite stories ever. So when I did JT’s  2020 experience world tour, we were fitted by Tom Ford. We had custom Tom Ford, the whole band, all the dancers. And, um, halfway through the season, we got a second wardrobe because fancy, um, but that wardrobe was done by, uh, Neil Barrett. And when we were being fitted for our Neil Barrett stuff, it happened pretty quickly. I think they came out to us on the road and there was a lineup moment where they, you know, we they, they brought us things and then measured them and altered them on us. And then we did this big lineup. And as we were lined up opposite us was them, right? Like we’re looking at each other. And I that’s what a lineup is. Um, and I saw the associates, uh, kind of like whispering to each other. And they were saying, um, ‘What is she like? She has no neck. Like, she has no neck.’ And I was like, I can fully hear you right here. And for the record, I have no torso. My neck is fine. I just, but I’ve got thoughts about my proportions in my body, but they said she has no neck. And they were basing that off of probably the 1% of top models who usually wear Neil Barrett, clothing, walking down the runway. I could have made that mean that I’m awful and ugly and terrible. But what I reminded myself of in that moment was I am not a runway model. I am a really great dancer and it’s my job to have a long neck. It is my job to put my shoulders down and what I think I, cause I’ve received that note my whole life as well, shoulders down, shoulders down, shoulders down. I once got feedback to lengthen my neck. And that definitely helped. I think shoulders down just didn’t didn’t click for me. Somebody said to have a long neck and that helped, but I do think anatomically my vertebrae, like my actual bones and stuff, my neck is not very long. So it might even, even if my shoulders were as down as down could be standing next to Lindsey Richardson or Nat Gilmore, somebody might say, she’s got to put her shoulders down. She’s got no neck. Do you know what I mean? So you could make it mean that you’re a bad student or you could make it mean that you’re a great dancer. Who’s working to be a great student and maybe your neck is not very long and that’s fine. That’s totally fine. Oh, here’s another one though. Just while we’re on the subject of anatomical, you know, reminders and dance training, somebody told me lengthen your neck. That was helpful. And then I don’t remember who said this.  I feel terrible. It might have been Jermaine Spivey or Spenser Theberge. I can’t remember who it was, but they, they gifted me this imagery of imagining a wet noodle being pulled between both ears. And when I think of noodle coming out of my ears, my whole body goes, I grew two and a half inches just saying that. So maybe think about noodle and see if that helps you with, with neck and shoulder alignment. Very, very helpful. Um, but yeah, I’m with you in the short neck crew and, and you could make notes about your alignment, mean whatever you want them to mean. You’re great. Okay. 

So this segues very nicely into my next written question. Is there a criticism that has stuck with you and how has it influenced your work moving forward? Ha yes. This probably won’t come as a shock to you all. I mean, I’ve already told you about the shoulders down thing, the long neck thing. So that’s we covered it, but yeah, I got shoulders down all the time, but this one, um, the note was not, you smile too much, but in that family, it was the note was you look so happy, you know, you look very happy and what else is in there? Could you do it a little bit more like her, could you do it a little bit more like her? Um, and, and her and her was a sexier flavor versus my happy flavor. So yes, I’ve gotten a new smile too much or, uh, expressions are a little bit loud. Um, so what did I do about that? Uh, focused on it, beat myself up a little bit for it. I told myself that my face was wrong and that my body was wrong and that didn’t help at all. Uh, so then I started harnessing it and dialing it up. Um, and then the seaweed sisters were born and dancing with our face is basically the bedrock that we are built on. So I, I, you know, that’s one example of taking a criticism and turning it into solid gold, but I know that we’re not the only ones that, that have done that. Um, the critique about my face has influenced my work by number one, helping me to be aware that I do have control over certain parts of my performance, as hard as it is. I can control my face while I’m dancing. It takes a lot of extra focus. So the awareness number one, that the seating myself at the control panel of this feedback, like I can decide to oblige that note or not. But number two, to like lean into that note, lean into that criticism and find out if I, if I dial it up, instead of dial it down, what awaits me? Like what, what could I do with that? And depending on the, on the criticism, it might not be any good. So be careful with this advice. Um, if you get like your, Hey, your footwork is really God awful, and you just really try to lean into bad footwork, you could really hurt yourself, but leaning into a note about your face or something along those lines can really pay off in an unassuming ways. Weird, weird answer. Great question. 

Anything else from the room or I’ll, I’ll take a couple more from the written questions. This one is great. And I think again, kind of an unassuming answer. Um, what from the pandemic do you hope sticks around in terms of the dance world? I know this is an unpopular opinion because everybody’s got zoom fatigue right now, but I really hope virtual training continues. It makes so many more people, more styles, a certain caliber of dance educator accessible to people who otherwise might not have access to that and I think that’s hugely important. So I do hope that virtual training continues. Um, also I’m not mad at video submissions for auditions. I think there is a magic to in-person, but I’m ever a curator. I love to be in control of my lighting. The number of takes I get how I edited it, how I present it. I’m not mad at a video submission. Um, so those two things I think I hope continue. Um, all right. 

And the last question that I’m going to take from our written questions is drum roll. Do we have a drum roll sound effect? We should find one. Oh yes. Thank you for the visual aid live audience. That’s why live are fun. Okay. Desert Island, playlist, you have eight songs to be stuck with for ever go. I mean like that’s so brutally challenging Superstition by Stevie Wonder number one, Purple Rain by Prince number two, Here Comes the Sun by the Beatles, because if we’re stuck there forever, then it’s important to remember the sun’s going to come up tomorrow. And I think that song just puts me in a place. Um, Oh, this is really tough. I just, I really want to throw like full albums in there. I’m going to need some Frances in the Lights. Let’s go with friends, which might put me in a sadder place, especially if I’m alone, but I could pull a Tom Hanks and find myself a volleyball and name it after me. Um, okay. So yeah, I’ll go with friends, which I think is Chance the Rapper and Francis and the Lights.  Um, Diana Ross, I’m coming out. It’s one of my favorite songs ever. And it’s one of my favorite dances that I’ve made. That’s I still enjoy even after years and years and years. Um, that’s five. Oh, this is so hard. Try this, everyone. That’s here. I dare you. This is not fun because I’m in the mentality where I’m thinking about all the songs I can’t have instead of the songs that all. Okay. So change the mindset. The song is that I also want to have are can’t get it out of my head, especially at this moment, Tilted by Christina and the Queens. It’s so good. It’s so good. Bill Withers Lovely day. Can’t explain. Why Annie Lennox Walking on Broken Glass Number eight. That’s what it was today. That’s what it is today. Come find me stranded on a desert Island doing progressions across the beach. It’s a broken glass by Annie Lennox. And now my friends is where we will wrap it up today. Thank you all so much for being here. Thank you all for listening. We’ll do, we’ll be doing more Q&A episodes in the future, but at any time you can drop us a question at words that move me podcast on Instagram. Um, I’m DanaDaners. You can send them there as well, I suppose. Um, um, keep it funky, everybody. 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 your words. Move me to number two thing. 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. #46 LIVE Q&A Vol. 1

Words That Move Me with Dana Wilson
Ep. #46 LIVE Q&A Vol. 1
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Welcome to our FIRST but certainly not our last LIVE QUESTION AND ANSWER episode!  I am joined by a (fabulous) live (virtual) audience and we cover all the good stuff from dance to dollars and mentors to mental health! Talking to people is CERTAINLY more exciting that talking to a wall in my closet.  I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I did!

Quick Links:

Money Michelle” for Bookkeeping: delegatedbookkeeping.com

Riley Higgins Silent Disco: https://www.instagram.com/rileyhiggins29/

Toni Basil Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLmwrNFEzKj9BS45SN41mdIunfcr_sssT9 

The Money Book: https://amzn.to/3n6zCDr


The Art of Learning: https://amzn.to/3eJpX2T

John Baldessari: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eU7V4GyEuXA

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.  

Hello? Hello, my friends. How are you doing today? I may sound a little different in this episode, and that is because I am talking to actual people right now. Well, actual pixel pixel people. This is the first ever live zoom podcast with a live zoom audience. Thank you all for being here today. And thank you all that are listening that might have missed this live moment. Um, this is, this is a great time for firsts. So I’m excited to be making this first zoom podcast with you because at the moment, um, we are, uh, about 24 hours, um, into having a 46th president elect. Mr. Joe Biden has won the presidential election. The crowd goes wild. Um, but I think there are some other really important things to point out. Kamala Harris is our first woman vice president. She is our first person of color. We also have our first second gentlemen who is Doug. Uh, we have a first dog again in the, in the white house, and this is also the first ever thank you for bringing this to my attention, Riley. This is our first ever rescue dog in the white house, and I think that is important. Um, so that’s where we’re at everybody in, in the world today. Um, and I’m really, really jazzed to be sharing this morning with you. Um, we’re going to treat this just like a normal episode in that we will start with wins. And then I’ll ask for yours. I’ll give you a moment to take the, uh, to start thinking about your wins. And I’ll tell you that my win this week, I’m going to, I’m going to keep it election free. My win this week is that I danced three times this week for no reason, other than fun, release, and the simple fact that dance seemed a better option than words in that moment, three times this week! And it felt so good. You guys, one of those moments was in a silent zoom disco. I don’t know if anybody has participated in such a thing, but the one and only Riley Higgins hosted a silent zoom disco. And from what I understand, she will be hosting one every Sunday in perpetuity forever moving forward. And now Riley, that I’ve said it, you are silently committed to that. Um, Riley, do you wanna say a little bit about the silent disco? What is it, what does it mean for people that have no idea what that is?  

Riley: Uh, yeah, so silent disco in the, when you in the real world, not in the zoom world is everyone has headphones on and listens to different playlists and dances together. We can’t do that because of Corona. So I put it on the screen and it’s just a place to be yourself fully with other screens in the world and dance to your own music. And I’d have improv prompts halfway all the way through the thing, but it’s really fun. And it was fun to dance with you, Dana.  

Oh, it was so much fun. And your improv prompts were so great. I think that this type of dance is accessible to anyone. The prompts weren’t like HeadSpin for four, eight counts, or it was all very human range of motion. Anybody could be dancing. These dances, you dance it to your music. Uh, I did find it really, really cool to watch the contrast in the world. My audio scape was like probably queen, um, like I think six out of the 10 songs we danced to that day for me were queen. So I was like raging. Um, and but, but some other people moving really, really slowly dancing to some super serene, maybe like chanting, I don’t know. Um, but it was really nice to see all the worlds collide and all I was so much, so much fun, great dance. Okay. Now, as my listeners out there in the, in the listen sphere are thinking of their wins. I’m going to share a couple from the zoom room today. Um, this is really exciting. Rebecca made cookies last night and had one for breakfast. That’s the type of world I want to live in. Um, Oh, Rachel got time to read this week. Congratulations, Rachel. I started reading a new book this week. It is all about dance and politics in New York city, between 1929 and 1942. It is fascinating. I will definitely be sharing about it in a must read list coming up later. Um, uh, Andrea, this is such a good win. She has re-sparked her creative juices and reconnected with old friends. That is absolutely something to celebrate. I love this. Ooh, Jess Franco. All right. She has prepared a training schedule for November and reached out to friends to identify her strengths. It was actually a really cool thing. I got an email from Jess, um, asking, ‘Hey, like, would you be willing to share a moment that you remember me and what you about me in that moment in your memory?’ Um, I’m probably botching that prompts, Jess. Jess, do you want to, do you want to share actually what that prompt was this email that you put out to your friends that was such a cool thing to receive?  

Jess: Yeah. It had, um, it was an exercise to identify you at your, at your strengths. So reaching out to like 10 or 20 friends and just asking a moment where they remember you at your best and what it is about that moment, that they remember. A feeling together, the experience itself, the way you were, the way you were together. Um, just trying to identify things that I might not notice as my own strengths, cause everybody’s perspectives are a little different. So it’s nice to know what the world thinks of you. And then maybe you can identify new pieces and tools that you can use even more so and develop even more and or recognize where you can bring someone else into your world to fulfill any gaps that you might have. So self-reflection at your best. Identifying strength through your friend’s eyes, as well as your own awareness,  

Super win. I love that. Thank you so much for sharing huge encouragement there, do it, put it out into the world. Um, I’m going to share one more, win from a zoom chat because this one appears in the form of a haiku. You do receive extra credit bonus points. Also out there in the listensphere. If you can present your awareness in the form of a haiku, Stephanie, this one’s yours when veggie roasting beets in my toaster oven too big, too many, too big, too many. Many is. Yeah. Many is a two syllable word. Great job, Stephanie, super win, super haiku. Do we have any more haikus? Did I miss any, raise your hand and flap it wildly if I missed your haiku. Oh, great. Awesome. I’m checking your work before I say it out loud. Sell, wait. Here’s my wins haiku. Got it. Got it. Here’s my wins. Haiku celebrating, taking space, sharing, sharing together. Nice job Dinka. Oh my gosh. These are fun. Did I miss anybody else’s haiku. Okay. Homework assignment, homework assignment. Now everybody at home, you go, what is your win and silently? We can all think of this song.  

Yeah. Here it comes. The end. Big finish. Awesome. Congratulations everybody. And keep on winning. Keep on crushing it. Um, I want to quickly put a little magnifying glass on how easy it may seem to find wins when your side is winning. But I do think it’s really important to remember that half of our country right now feels the way that you might’ve felt around this time four years ago. So it’s a great opportunity to practice some compassion, openness, and understanding, and to be looking for wins. Always even when your team is losing.

All right, with that, everybody let’s get into this Q and A episode. I am riveted. We’re going to start first with Orianna. What’s your question.  

Orianna: Okay. Hey, what do you think? I know that you’ve said in the past that you didn’t know that much of mental health, but I still want to ask, um, what do you think that are the hardest things that dancers and choreographers have to manage regarding their mental health and what do you think that they can, how can they improve it or what can they do to have a better mental health in the industry?  

Dana: Uh, that is a really, really good question. And you’re right. I, because I’m not a doctor, I’m not a scientist, I’m not a person who’s studied the brain, but I am a person that studies my feelings day in, day out. And it’s where I make my art from. So I am always seeking to understand them better and to find ways of managing them and find ways of turning them into gold. Um, so I’ll start by answering your question on kind of a global level, and then I’ll shrink it down to the dancer level. I think that the most important thing I’ve learned about my mental health and that, uh, and the mental health of a lot of America is that it may be a problem to be constantly seeking just the positive end of the spectrum. We are really, really motivated to prioritize happiness and all of the things that we think happiness will bring, um, or will come along with it. Like the family, the spouse, the kids, the cool gigs, the lots of money, the car, the fancy clothes. Um, and first we know because we’ve seen people with all of those things who are very unhappy, that those are not, that those don’t come hand in hand. But secondly, I think that by only pursuing the bright side, you’re missing out on a really big portion and really important portion of life. And as artists, we know that some incredible work gets spawned from the darker side of the spectrum. Some of my favorite pieces don’t have a bit to do with happiness. So my overall observation is that I think we would all do better and our work might do better if we embrace the full spectrum, instead of simply, um, pursuing the happy side all the time. Now regarding dance specifically, I think the, um, I’ll call them like the mental mousetrap, these little traps that are set up for us around every corner. And by us, I do mean dancers. The, the mental mousetraps that are set up around all the corners are usually, or in my experience are, um, these are my three, my three favorites. And when I say favorites, I mean least favorites, jealousy, imposter syndrome, which is basically another word for self doubt. And maybe let’s just start with those two. So for me, jealousy happens a lot because, um, our work is visual work. So I see people it’s like, I wouldn’t be jealous of other if I were an accountant. Maybe I wouldn’t be jealous of other accountants because I can’t see their books. I don’t know how they’re doing or whether they’re doing, it’s not like, you know, those numbers, aren’t running side by side all the time. But you know, in, in, in a visual field like dance or other performing arts, you see other people’s work. So you are holding yours to theirs even maybe on a subliminal level. So I think that jealousy comes up for us a lot. And I think that we brushed past it because for our whole lives, we’ve told, we’ve been told don’t be jealous. I’m just now learning the value of jealousy, using it as a map and trying to find within that jealousy, what is, what is the thing that I really want?  What is that person doing that I am not, um, usually it means there’s a skill gap somewhere. Something that I’m not quite doing yet, that they are. Um, so I think jealousy can be a huge teacher, although it doesn’t feel really good in the moment. I’ve gotten a lot better at not resisting it when it shows up, but actually really looking under the rug of it and trying to find out what’s underneath there. Um, same is true for imposter syndrome and I feel it all the time. I’m a person that has, uh, an arguably decent resume to look at, you know, and even so I am afraid that someday people will wake up and be like, ah, no, she’s awful. She, that was all like a fluke. Uh, she didn’t deserve any of that. Like all the time I feel, um, like I don’t deserve the seat at the table that I have. Um, and that, I think also is kind of like a check engine light indicator that maybe there’s something I even know about that I’m not doing. If I didn’t know there was something missing, I wouldn’t feel that way. If I thought that I knew all the things and was the greatest and all the things I wouldn’t have imposter syndrome. So that’s me. The imposter syndrome is me like suspecting. I’m not topped up in all the places that I’d like to be. So yes, imposter syndrome and jealousy, those are the two, uh, or I’ll call them self doubt and jealousy are the two negative emotions that I feel most often or have felt most often in my dance career, um, that, that you guys might be facing up against as well. And I would encourage you to use them as check engine lights and an opportunity to look a little deeper at what might be going on in there. Does that help? Awesome. 

Okay. Next up, Rebecca, what you got for me?  

Rebecca: Hello. Um, my question is recently ish, you shared a video of an unreleased series of dailies where you talk about, you’re talking about your vow to not make meaningless work. And I’m curious what led you to that vow and like how that vow is going, right.  

Dana: Oh my God. You’re an angel. Um, thank you for bringing that up. I took that vow, uh, pretty shortly after, or was it before? Oh, my history. Oh, my self history. I was never bad at American history, but Dana history. That’s another question. Um, so I took on my daily challenge for more than a year. It was wound up being over 400 days and I stopped. I decided to stop doing daily one day when I saw, you know, I have a slogan, that’s always be rolling. And so my camera was just constantly on everywhere I went, I was rolling. And if I, you know, I’d put the thing down and do the little jig. And even if I thought I was done, I would keep it rolling because something else might happen. So as it was reviewing the footage that day, I saw my face in between takes in between moments.  And I was so bummed on what I was doing. I was not inspired. I was not vibrating at my usual, you know, sunshine and sparkles level. So I was like, okay, this, this might not be the thing. Um, so that I noticed on one day, then I kept going. I went for like one more week and I was like, okay, definitely it’s time for a pause. Um, and in that pause, I went to art school, which is not an actual place. Uh, well, it is, there are several art schools out there, but my art school was simply my husband, Daniel Reetz, who went to school for sculpture and then became a visual neuroscience, super extraordinaire. Um, he’s an obstacle engineer and rapid prototyper and, and, and, and musician, you guys he’s been cranking out some jams. So anyways, uh, my husband gave me kind of a crash course in art school. What he, he sort of boiled down his four year art school experience into a couple of weeks of like the most important people and things that you need to know about. And during that period, he showed me a documentary, a small docu short I’ll call it about John Baldessari, who I have talked about on the podcast before. And John Baldessari has a, uh, a famous piece of Val that he makes. Uh, and this is by the way in 1971, John Baldessari wrote over and over and over again, I will not make any more boring art. I will not make any more boring art. I will not make any more boring art. So I suppose, um, I adopted that, uh, mantra and that Val for myself, and I decided that I wouldn’t make any more, um, meaningless art, which, which after 422 days, I can’t say that every one of my pieces had a deep meaning.  And I had sort of diff sort of defaulted to ones that didn’t, they were simply silly. Now this could turn into a Tik Tok conversation if you would like it to, but, uh, silly dance seemed right there at the surface. And I got really good at silly dance. I could fart out a little 15, second silly dance faster than you can blink your eyes. And it was no longer lighting me up. So I decided to see if meaningful dance lit me up. So that’s where it came from really long way to answer the first part of your question. Second part of your question is, do I still have that. Oh man, I’ve really, my mind is so strong. My mind has found a way because making meaningful art is hard. It takes more time. It takes more effort. It doesn’t necessarily get more rewarded. And so my brain is found an offering for me that makes it easier for me to make silly art is that, um, meaningless art can be meaningful to some. Intention doesn’t necessarily mean impact. So I could intend with every fiber of my being that something be mean of meaningful and an audience could think of next. And I could also just like have one of those farts of a piece that I think is meaningless and somebody might be profoundly impacted by that. So once I’d made that distinction for myself, I simply made the commitment to be deliberate in what I was making. If it was going to be silly, it was a decision that it’d be silly if it was going to be meaningful, even if my audience didn’t find it so. It was my decision that it meant something to me and I don’t care what anybody else thinks. It’s so, so the distinction for me just came, became the decision. 

Okay. Um, we’re going to do Max next what’s up Max. It’s nice to see you, my friend  

Max: So good to see you! Something that we’ve talked about a lot is liking your reasons for doing something. And I feel like I have struggled with finding this boundary between liking my reasons for doing something and being defensive about why I’m doing something. I found it very difficult to find this balance between supporting myself and the things that I do and feeling like I need to defend myself. So do you have any tips as to where to find that boundary and how to get out of that mindset of defensiveness?  

Dana: Okay. Question. How do they, how do defensive and supported show up differently in terms of your body? Like your actual behavior? What is, what is defensive Max behave like? And what does supported Max behave like  

Max: Supported max can exist in public. Where if I feel really good about something I’m thinking about doing, or if I have an idea that I really like, then I feel like I’m able to create that in the presence of other people. Because I think it’s a good idea. When there is, when I’m having like more defensive thoughts, there is a certain amount of doubt surrounding that, where I feel as though I’m trying to make myself like the reasons, even though I don’t necessarily. 

Dana: Right. Because there’s doubt there because your brain is like, you’re lying to yourself. Okay. So what’s the thought that makes you feel supported?  

Max: Uh, let’s see. I guess the thought that makes me feel supported. It’s just like, what I’m doing is interesting. And what I am doing is making me better or making the world better in some small way. 

And maybe in a big way 

Max: And maybe in a big way.  

Dana: And when you think that though, how do you feel supported? Yeah. And when you feel supported, you go out into the world and how do you walk? How do you talk? How what’s like, if I was really, uh, like, Oh my gosh, you guys, my husband and I have been very into corvids lately. We watch the crows. It’s like our new favorite Corona Corvid COVID experience. But anyways, if I was a crow, just flying around, watching max out there in the world, what would I notice about your behavior? Your supported, like self,  

Max: I look comfortable where I am able to sort of hold myself up. I’m not trying to hide in any way, because I feel as though I am supportive, but I don’t need the support of other people to make feel that way. I’m able to do that myself.  

Dana: Amazing. So the person that thinks what I’m doing, what I’m thinking is important in a big way, or, or it can be a little bit and can be really, really important. You feel supported. And when you feel supported, you go out into the world, supported, believe it or not. Um, the, the difference in thinking that thought and thinking one that makes you feel defensive is, you know, the difference shows up in your actions in the way that you feel, but it stems from that thought when your, your, your, your thought that leads you to feel defensive is what? 

Max: It’s usually trying to make myself believe. Those same things where it’s like, Oh, trying to make myself up. But what I’m doing is beneficial.  

Got it. Right. So you’re fighting with yourself and that’s why you feel defensive because you’re fighting max, have you read The Art of Learning? I haven’t, this is mandatory reading for everybody out there. The author is a guy called Josh Waitzkin. He is a child prodigy chess player, world champion, and a push hands, Tai Chi world champion as well. Multidisciplines multi champions. And he’s like 20, or I don’t know how old he was when he wrote this book, but he was a child pride at each prodigy child prejudi, um, child prodigy chess player. And then I think by the time he was 18, he had won a national push hands title. Anyways, one of my favorite takeaways from the book is this concept of being a blade of grass in a hurricane, the winds around you can be wailing and big, big, strong trees will be snapping, but you can just be flexy and nimble and your, and your mind can be the wind and it can be like, and you can be like, *woooooosh* it’s cool. I’m just a little blade of grass. And you don’t need to fight the wind. You don’t need to fight with yourself. You could just blow. You can identify, Oh, here I am fighting with myself and that’s okay. These winds will pass. And I will feel supported once I decide to think that what I’m, what I’m doing is important. So roll with it. That’s the other awesome. Like, it’s the fundamental, like it is the, uh, uh, that like the ethos. I mean, that’s the wrong word, whatever, it’s the, it’s the mom’s laughing at me. She’s like, God bless find the words, honey. Um, my mom is in the call today. Shout out, mom. Thanks for being here. Uh, I think like the underlying underlying principle of Tai Chi is to be like a ball in a socket, any force that strikes you rolls off instead of meeting it with equal force, you just roll. Um, and that, and that is just such a beautiful principle. I think we could all get a lot of out of adopting something similar. 

Okay. Um, I think next step is Alyssa.  

Alyssa: Um, my question is, if you can, can you share about your love story with Locking? Like, how did you meet, how do you start dating, like training and like, how did you, how do you use locking now?  

Dana: Wow. Thank you for bringing your locking to the podcast. I don’t think I’ve ever talked about my love affair with locking here on the podcast. Think of what a great question. Thank you so much. Okay. Let’s rewind. The year is 2005 and a half. Um, on Lankershim Boulevard is, was, was well, is at the time located  millennium dance complex and the dome. I was 18 years old and some change. And I was taking as many dance classes as humanly possible. I took everything that Marty Kudelka ever taught. I took all the Misha Gabriel, all the Nick Bass, you name it also shout out JR. Taylor. I miss your class. Um, and
Toni Basil used to take Marty. Kudelka his class religiously. Toni Basil, by the way, if you don’t know is a living legend. Um, she is the woman that sings, Hey, Mickey, but she is also, so-so so much more. She single-handedly bridge the gap between street styles and classical ballet specifically, but other more formal dance styles. Um, and she brought them to the forefront. She brought them to the mainstream. She’s, you know, she’s the reason why we see those things on TV. Um, I’ll link to a couple of my favorite Toni Basil performances in the show notes to this episode. So Toni Basil would take Marty’s class. And, um, she, at the time, you know, she’s older than most people in Marty’s class and Marty’s style. Although it looks very pedestrian is not easy at all. His ear is insane and his style is, is challenging. It’s also very far from Toni Basil’s personal style, but she loves a challenge and she loved it to put herself in class. Um, and to my understanding, this is how this transaction worked out. She asked Marty for some privates coaching on this, on, on a certain combo.  And he was like, honestly, Basil, I love you so much, but I, I do you mind if I hand you off to my assistant? I think you guys would be a great fit. You, you know, you can learn from her, she can learn from you. Perfect handoff. And I remember him calling me and asking if that was okay, that he put us in touch. And I was like *GASP*, and I’ll never forget. The first day I went over to her garage to dance with her. She had a CD player that adjusts the pitch of music, and we were dancing to Neo Addicted to Sex was the name of the song and at like half speed. So it was like, No, uh,  It was the funniest thing, but we, uh, yeah, we, we did a trade swap. So in exchange for me working with her on Marty’s combos from many, many weeks in a row, we would do this and she would teach me some locking. So I am very fortunate, very lucky, very proud to say that my first taste of locking came not from the source, but pretty darn close. Toni Basil’s one of the original lockers locking. Uh, obviously I said obviously, but maybe not obviously was created by a guy called Don Campbell Lock. Um, and the original lockers are, if you ask me today, what’s my favorite. Who’s my favorite dance crew. I would tell you the Original Lockers close, second Electric Boogaloos shout out Pete. Um, but I fell in love with it from her. She just looks so cool dancing it. Uh, and then I started training.  I took several classes from Suga Pop who was teaching at evolution at the time. That was a weekly if possible or every week that he was there. I was there. Then I started taking from a woman called Lockadelic, Celine Um, she is now back in France. She doesn’t teach in LA anymore. Um, but that’s one funky woman in her class was drills. We were dancing solid for an hour. There’s no teaching eight counts or no talking it from the top. You follow the leader and you dance around the room for an hour straight. And that’s when I found Funk. Honestly, I didn’t have it until Lockadelic’s classes. I would imitate Basil a little bit in her garage, but yeah, Basil I guess, would be the dating phase and then taking Lockadelic’s class and just jamming with her. We would jam every now and then that was my like, Oh, we’re exclusive. I think he might’ve had another hidden question in there, but I’ll leave that. I’ll leave that at that for now. 

Um, okay. Gaby, you are up next.  

Gaby: Yes. Hi. So, uh, my question is an episode you mentioned Money Monday, uh, and I was curious to know what that entails and what you could share about that.  

Thanks for asking Gabby Money Monday, um, was definitely a habit of mine. It shifted a little bit now because now I have a bookkeeper. I call her Money Michelle, because her name is Michelle. Um, so on Money Monday, Monday is actually, this is great timing. Another book that you guys absolutely must read. This is called The Money Book. It was on one of my required reading lists earlier on The Money Book for freelancers part-timers and self-employed, there are a couple of nuggets of wisdom in this book. One of them is, look at finances frequently, just stop making it mystery, stop, letting it sneak up on you around tax season. Stop, pretending to know like, you know, how much you have and just look at how much you have once a week, just get familiar with what’s actually going on in there. So I decided, um, I would take on a Money Monday and for me that meant reconciling receipts. So I would keep at the time all paper receipts, and I would make sure that what was on the receipt was what was, um, debited out of my bank account. So that was step one. And I was shocked actually at how often those numbers did not line up some restaurants, some shady business there. Yeah. So, so step one is reconciling. Step two was categorizing my expenses. So if I had went to, uh, if I did any Amazon shopping and let’s say I bought like, um, an adapter for my computer and a new eyebrow pencil, these are actual purchases that I’ve made in the last 24 hours. Um, although that’s one receipt from Amazon, those are actually two different categories of expenses. One of them is technical than the other ones, what I would consider maintenance or a personal upkeep. So I got really good at getting specific with my categories. Um, and then I would also pay any bills that were due, anything like that. So step one, reconcile receipts, and then it would get rid of all the paper. Once I like taking photos of them and put them where they needed to go, made sure that the proper amounts were withdrawn. Um, then I would do my categorization, which means taxes at the end of the year. Just went a lot faster. You don’t have to do it all at once. Just small bites. Um, and then yeah, paying any bills. That’s the general Money Monday. That’s gotten a little bit more elaborate since I became incorporated. I am now an LLC, um, Money Michelle is extremely helpful in all of my finances. If you are looking for a bookkeeper, I would be happy to pass her information along, but yeah, that’s Money Mondays in a nutshell, highly recommended. 

Cool. Emily, Jo, you are up next. What you got?  

Emily Jo: Hi. Okay. Um, so my question is kind of a broad one, but as dancers, um, we’re often told to find what makes us unique. Like what’s our thing, that one thing that makes you stand out. Um, and I feel like personally, that’s kind of been a struggle for me. Um, cause I like to dabble in everything. Like I, I just love it all. I don’t, I don’t ever really know how to choose. I love doing other forms of art even. And even though I might be above average and a lot of them, I feel like sometimes I have trouble honing in and specializing. And so to find that thing, like, do you have any thoughts on how to hone in on a specialty or is that even a necessity or an important thing to do or is it good to really diversify? Like where do you find the balance and how to do that? 

It is a story that you have to be a specialist. I think that specialists do very well, especially in our world, but the fact that you have to, the fact that you have to be one is simply made up. That’s not true. I’m not a specialist at anything except for being me and I’ve gotten, and it took several years. Number one, I had to start liking myself and all of my interests. Number two, I had to find out how to fuse them and how to put them together. So that, that might be like, how do you do that is a really hard question to answer, but I want to start simply by saying that it’s, it’s really just a thought that you have to be one or another, that it’s not good to be a generalist. Um, I think again, specialists will do very well at their specialty, but a generalist, especially if you really like all the things that you’re doing, you’re going to have a very fun and full life, um, with all of your many different interests. So I guess my, my stance on this question in general is to start liking the fact that you’re a generalist instead of fighting the fact that you’re a generalist and then learn to be weaving the ch the, all of your interests into one thing. Um, uh, does that, does that help more or less? 

Emily Jo: Definitely. Yeah. 

Right. It’s like, Oh my gosh, I love all these things and that’s awesome. Lucky me. Oh my gosh. How do you even get through with life? Just loving one thing. Oh, feel sorry for you.  Um, I think when you come at all of your, your interests from that place, when you really like champion all of them, you don’t downplay any of them, then you, then, then you, you become a really special entity that way. Great question. 

Okay, Jess Franco, you are up next. 

Jess Franco: Yeah, buddy. Hey, how is your neutral listening experience going for you? 

Oh my gosh. This is so great. Okay. I’m going to give a little backstory, Jess Franco and I, so I did, I don’t remember what episode it was, but I did an episode about the overactive listener, um, or the overactive like collaborator. Who’s always like, yes. Oh my, Oh yeah. I love it. Oh my goodness. Everything. Oh my God. And you’re like constantly nodding or smiling or, you know, I’ve, I’ve gotten some criticism from this in the past that like that I’m a very open book and sometimes that’s nice. Right? Cause you don’t have to work too hard to understand what I’m thinking or feeling, but it can also, um, I w I won’t say it might be damaging and it can just simply not be the most useful thing to do. So I’ve been working on neutrality and Jess Franco reached out to me and she was like, yo, same, let’s go. So we started an accountability group as friends, every Friday, we checked in, we got to get on this, um, about how we were with our visual feedback when we’re listening, I’m not going to lie, Jess. I have not been doing very well in this last week. I’ve been extremely, extremely, um, expressive in my likes and dislikes for things and statements and situations. Um, but I think that, um, awareness of it is still there. And even though I was like, I was conscious, I was like, look at me responding right now. Look at me getting ugly right now. Look at me getting bright right now. I was conscious. I just chose not to get neutral. So I want to share something that, um, I found actually a gift that I received from my, uh, a vocal coach that I was working with in the past, who is all about relaxation. I think it’s a good place to start anyways. And she gave me this, um, this visual imagery of hanging as if they were little earrings that hang from the corners of my jaw bones these little sandbags. So just hang these sandbags from the corners of your jaw and feel your face, get a little bit more relaxed through your voice shift, to being in a different place. And that definitely helps me not respond with my usual perky cheeks, which kind of strains my neck which kind of strains my voice. So putting those sandbag earrings on my jaw jaw rings, we’ll call them. Um, and then I started hanging one, like directly down the back of my head as well, like the opposite of the princess from the never-ending story, what was her name? You know, how she wore that cool Tiara with that little bead and how all kids at that moment started wearing their mom’s necklaces on top of their head. Cause that was the coolest, um, I imagine a little sand bag hanging down the back of my head and that really helps this forehead area. So to answer your question, Jess, I’m not so great with the neutrality lately. How are you doing with it?  

Jess Franco: I’m doing better in person. I’m not killing it on things like zoom, where I find myself on mute and I want to let you know, I’m participating. And I see all these faces and I’m smiling to smile with you. I’m here, you know, energetically on the mute button. I find it hard not to visually participate, right. But in real life, I can provide that space for another human, but on the screen, it’s a little bit more challenging for me.  

Awesome. Observation of the distinct distinction between the two. And I think like all of us here in the room right now, we can practice really quick. Just give like a, a real neutral response. Good freaking luck. Here we go. Like, how does that look and feel to you guys? Does anything feel missing? Okay. Now a gentle smile and maybe a nod or a floppy thumbs up. Hmm. Okay. Right. All I can like the, the biggest difference for me is motion. And I think it’s normal. Um, Like, uh, like  Kind of on an animal instinct level, motion catches our eye. You know, if we were like scavengers in a forest, in a Bush rustled over in the corner, we’d go. And so our attention goes to things that are moving. So it makes sense that in a, um, in a zoom conference with, with no audio information, our eyes go, okay, what’s what’s happening? Where do I get the information? So maybe in a zoom, it is important to be a little bit more visual with your feedback. So that the person on the other side, isn’t just a man walking through a forest that’s empty.  So maybe there maybe there’s a place for both. I like that. Your visual, your amount of visual feedback right now. Thank you for it. It’s something that I’ve really cool thing for everybody that might be listening to start practicing, like being a neutral place for, for the conversation instead of taking a stand one way or the other, especially at this time in our world right now, a little neutrality given all the polarization a little neutral might be just what the doctor ordered. So put, put your job bags on and, um, and have a ball with that neutral, Neutral listening.  

Okay. Sarah, you are up next.  

Sarah: Um, hi everybody. My question is who were your biggest dance choreography role models growing up? Like who was it that made you feel just like sparkly inside and what is it about them that resonated so much with you?  

Okay. I will go back now. Uh, before I moved to LA, when I was at a dance studio kid, as they call them at Michelle Latimer Dance Academy in Inglewood, Colorado, I was very inspired by a dancer that was older than me by three years, I think maybe a little bit more, um, named Nina McNeely. And some of you may know Nina Mcneely because she is still, she’s a force to be reckoned with in the dance and choreography realm, but she’s also branched into directing. She is a wicked video editor. Um, and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear someday. She decides to become a recording artist or something she’s so talented and art just, she can draw, she can paint like art just flows from her body. And that was one of my earliest inspirations and examples that this life was a possibility for me. She made it look so cool and she made it look doable. So Nina McNeely, um, her dancing was full of abandon, which to me is one of the most attractive qualities in a dancer. This borderline recklessness that’s supported by so much technique that they don’t fall off their leg, but it looks like they really should have that. That’s Nina to me. Um, and she was the first person, um, really close to me, like in my people that I see every day group that moved to, to do, you don’t have to edit that out. Riley. That was funny. That was a good stutter, uh, that moved to LA and we kept in touch. So I kind of got acquainted with what happens out here and what the life in LA at that time looked like to be a person that moves here to pursue dance. And I was just so curious about it. I remember being really, um, excited about it. And since I have her in the room, I’m going to ask my mom to weigh in on what you remember about, uh, w do you remember me talking about Nina? Do you remember the way that she impacted my life? 

Stan (Dana’s Mom): Absolutely. And I was going crazy when that question was asked, because I knew that your answer would be Nina McNeely. Um, she choreographed a dance for you for NYCDA national title, and it was dark and dramatic and deep. Um, I remember the makeup that you wore on your face of tears. Yes, totally like that. So it was so dramatic. You guys totally knew it had that. Like, she absolutely touched that thing in you. That that is totally there. Um, and she, I think she knows she’s a year older than your sister. So maybe four years older than you. The other person who I think in my, in my memory, 

Dana: I know who you’re going to say.

Stan: Okay. Nicole, Nicole, Nicole Harshbarger she, she made you love jazz, I think. Okay. And I’ll,

Dana: I’ll agree with you on that hundred percent. Thank you. Thank you, Stan. That was, Nicole is a really important one. I grew up at a dance studio where we had ballet five days a week, all the guest choreographers, all the rehearsals, all the, um, you know, across the floor, class and stuff like that. And Nicole Harshbarger at the time, she’s now Nicole Carr. She, uh, taught a late night jazz class on Wednesday nights and only the grownups got to stay for that class. And I remember when I don’t, when it, when it became okay for me to stay for that class, I don’t know if she asked me to stay or if you allowed me to say, or whatever, some combination of the two, but once I was allowed to stay for big kid jazz class, it went into like 10:30, um, which for a 15 year old that’s legit. Um, and yeah, she definitely tapped into, um, an artist voice inside of me that up until then had been pretty much a technician and a showman.  Um, but it was her and that late night, big kid class that helped me feel like I had something to say and teach me how to practice saying it. 

Stan: She lit the fire in your belly for jazz. I mean, I could see it. And maybe you said those words, or maybe I said them, but she made, she brought you alive in dance and actually she made you receptive to Nina. 

Dang, listen to that. Look out. You’re right. She, yeah. She’s the catalyst. Yeah. So cool. Hi Nicole. Oh, awesome. This is great. Okay. Does that answer your question in a really cool, beautiful, poetic and family type of way? Awesome. 

All right. Noga, you are up next and I think you’re up last. This is it. Final question.  

Noga: Oh, hello team. Hi everyone. All right. It’s words that move me. So I have to bring in the thought model model. The infamous thought model. I’ve been doing a lot of work lately on the thought models specifically on building intentional thought models. And a reaction that I’ve found is that it feels very inauthentic to me sometimes. So my question is, what advice do you have for embracing intentional thought models slash is that equivalent with embracing new beliefs about ourselves?  

That’s exactly what you’re asking about. Like how do you create new beliefs without feeling like a total phony? Great. Okay. I’ll do a little, um, uh, a little backstory in terms of context here. What Noga is talking about the thought model, um, is a model to help you understand and organize the circumstances, thoughts, feelings, actions, and results of your life. The thought model was created by a woman called Brooke Castillo. At least that’s how I learned about it. Brooke is a life coach and entrepreneur. And, um, the thought in the thought model, your circumstances, which are the neutral facts of the world, be they, the weather, the weather, other people, um, the temperature outside the temperature of your body. Um, although the ice man would probably argue with me there, these are things that are outside of your control. Those trigger, your thoughts, your thoughts are just sentences in your head and you can control those. They’re different from person to person. They are arguable, they are subjective. Um, and you can author new ones. So that’s what Noga’s talking about in an intentional model, you would work backwards from the bottom line of the model, which is your results. So you would put a desired result there. The results, by the way, are simply your experience of the world. Whatever you want to experience that would go in the result line. Then the second to last line is your actions. Simply your behavior. You would fill that line in with what are the actions you need to take in order to achieve that result. So you put all your actions in there, then you ask yourself, what do I need to feel in order to do those actions? So that’s your, the third line, there is your feelings. And then what thought gives me that feeling? So I just, I, sorry, I jumped around a little bit there from top to bottom, we go circumstances lead to your thoughts. Thoughts, trigger your feelings. Feelings leads you to take action or inaction. Your actions give you the results of your life working backwards. You have, you have a desired result. You decide what actions you’ll take. You decide how you want to feel. You decide what thought will make you feel that way. And I, I understand, especially if you’re making a big reach, the example I like to use is I hate my neighbor as the thought, and then trying to go to, I love my neighbor. That’s just not something that, that one thought model is going to help you do without you feeling like you’re absolutely bullshitting yourself. Damn it, Riley. Sorry. We, I really tried to keep it clean. Um, so we talked about this a little bit in ABC, my mentorship program, that that Noga was a part of. The concept of what I call monkey bar thoughts. The thought right now is I hate my neighbor. Somehow. I want to get myself all the way over to, I love my neighbor and in between there is, I hate my neighbor, most of the time. I didn’t hate my neighbor for one moment this week, uh, which opens up options for, you know, what actually all day today, they didn’t really piss me off today. It was kind of a great day actually on the neighbor front. And then that, that kind of thought might lead me to take actions that start nurturing a friendly neighbor relationship. Those actions might get reciprocated. Eventually my, I hate my neighbor, thought about monkey bar over to my neighbors. Not that bad to, Hey, I kind like my neighbor too. You know, those kind of like my neighbor, thoughts, lead to feelings and actions. That’s a really important one, you can’t just will, it, you can’t just sit there by yourself thinking it and watch it happen.  But that, that leads you to take actions that might foster a relationship where you could get to the point where you might love your neighbor. So the answer to your question. Well, that loga, wow. The answer to your question. Noga. In a very long-winded way is you’ve got to start getting better at monkey bar thoughts. It sounds like you’re expecting yourself to jump from, I hate my neighbor to, I love my neighbor and there’s a lot of work and action to be done in between those two. So start, start finding some monkey bar thoughts that you can actually get behind. Is that what got the monkey bar thoughts? Well, thank you for reminding us all about our monkey bar thoughts, such an important tool. Um, and Oh, okay. 

We’ve got one more question here. This is a good one. Great  Question. What advice would give to somebody looking to possibly start their own podcast?  

Oh, I’ve got a lot. This might be another podcast actually in and of itself. Um, okay. Top three things, Practice. Before you start,  don’t start with episode one, do like plan on there being four episodes that suck before you put any out there into the world. During those episodes, you’re trying out new microphones you’re playing with what happens if this piece of foam goes behind you, uh, behind the microphone or behind you, you’re playing with where you put stuff you’re playing with your voice. You’re playing with. If it sounds better, if you script it or if you totally wing it. So I would really encourage, first of all, I encourage everybody to start a podcast because it’s important for us to all become that familiar with what we were thinking, because you really have to think and write a lot. Now that I’m putting a microphone in front of my face every week. I think it’s a great idea. Everybody should do it. Um, but definitely practice in play before you get started. Um, and I also do, I would say is a pretty full-time job. So you might need to assemble a small team, shout out Malia Baker, shout out Riley Higgins, shout out Andrea Viable, new addition to the team. Thank you guys so much for your help. Um, yeah, it does. It takes a village. 

Okay. Oh man. We have one more question. You guys, I can’t, you don’t do this because you already know. I can talk.  Ooh, I can talk.  Okay. This is a good one. And this one, I actually do have a really awesome and concrete answer for it. I talk a lot about confidence in my mentorship groups and in my coaching groups. The question is how can you be confident? Or what advice would you give to boost self confidence? I’ll just talk very briefly about this. Um, although it is something that is super important, I’ll just give you a nugget to chew on. I think there’s an important distinction between confidence and self confidence. I think that confidence, um, specifically related to tasks like actions comes from the past, your number of times, having done it successfully. I have poured a glass of water so many times that I, and not spilled some of those many times enough to have a lot of confidence when I pour water, I can be brushing my teeth while I pour water. I can be having a conversation while I pour water. I can be like doing  Middle-school Level mathematics while I pour water. It’s not an issue. Um, that’s because I’ve done it a lot and self-confidence is different. Self-confidence has nothing to do with the past. Self-confidence to me is simply a willingness to feel any feeling. Without any past experience whatsoever. I directed my first music video recently, and I walked onto that set as if I was Steven Spielberg. I was like untouchable because I was willing to be humiliated. I was willing to not know the answer. I was willing to look stupid in front of my crew and say the wrong word for stuff, which I may have. I don’t even know nobody really reacted. So I felt fine all day. Um, but that willingness feels in my body a lot, like task based confidence. And it looks a lot like task-based confidence to the outside world. Um, and people who are confident get treated differently than people who, who hide in self-doubt. Um, so that I think is a really important distinction. Self-confidence being your willingness to feel anything or try anything. And task-based confidence coming from the past. Of course, you wouldn’t be confident in doing something you’ve never done before. You’ve never done it, but you won’t ever do it until you’ve done it. Literally up until that moment, you will not have done it. So something’s got to get you there. It might as well be willingness, willingness is so important. Um, I do just want to add a quick caveat to my self-confidence speech, which is the difference between being self confident and being arrogant. To me self-confidence is I’m good. I know I’m good because I have my own back. I’m good at feeling feelings. Um, I know I can dust it off and try again. If I happen to fail that self-confidence, it’s like, I’m good arrogance on the other hand is I’m better than you or I’m better than everyone. And that doesn’t rank anywhere in my head. When I show up on set as a self-confidence person. Not better than anyone. Definitely not, certainly not on my first day. But, um, I, I, I think the arrogance is dangerous because all it takes for you to crumble in that state is simply somebody else who’s better than you showing up. And then your whole world gets rocked. So, um, definitely rather be a self-confident than arrogant. And I think so many times we avoid self-confidence because we think it’s arrogance and they’re actually very, very different. And I don’t think anyone in the room right now that I’m looking at could be arrogant. Even if they tried, you guys are all so compassionate about the outside world. So careful and deliberate in the way that you talk to people and treat people and make art. Um, I don’t, I don’t think you could be arrogant if you tried, so you might as well try self-confidence cause it extremely useful. All right, everybody on that, I’m going to wrap it up. This was so much fun. I think it went really well. I think I will be doing these more often in the future. Thank you for being part of the first go get out there into the world, make stuff and keep it funky. 

Thought you were done. No. Now I’m here to remind you that all of the important people, places and things mentioned 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 member. So kickball changeover to patreon.com/WTMMpodcast to learn more and join. Alright, everybody now I’m really done. Thanks so much for listening. I’ll talk to you soon.