Like most people, college was a time of exploration for me. I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I certainly couldn’t have predicted that I would create a dance workout and open a production studio in Los Angeles.
It all started freshman year, when I was dragged to a hip hop class at the rec center. That led to performing on campus, back-up dancing for drag queens, and making it onto the WNBA hip hop squad. I had fallen madly in love with dance and, without hesitation, I moved to LA to pursue my dream.
Looking back now, I believe my college experience and positive attitude helped me get through the “artist struggle” in the big city. I worked hard to pay the bills, and I stayed focused on the end goal: to back up dance for Janet Jackson, of course!
Once I finally got an agent and started auditioning, dancing led me to the gigs of a lifetime. I performed on awards shows, including The American Music Awards and People’s Choice Awards. I appeared in the movie version of Rent. I was in the original dance ensemble for Rock of Ages. I’ve worked with Will.I.Am, Drew Barrymore and Robin Antin. I’ve even been in national commercials for Subway, Xbox and Cingular Wireless. While I felt accomplished and was fortunate enough to earn money as a dancer, this path wasn’t filling my soul, and I couldn’t figure out why.
As a creative person, I am always looking for that next big thing. Something that allows me to express myself and put work into the world that is meaningful. Once I realized that, fulfillment came in the form of teaching and choreographing. Using the skills I had acquired over the years, I worked on developing a dance workout that bridged the gap between the professional dance world and the dance fitness world. The result? GROOV3: A non-stop, choreographed dance party for anyone who wants to, “dance, sweat and live.”
From 1 class in Hollywood, to 35 classes across the nation (with international expansion on the horizon), and from renting space to owning a 3,600 square foot production studio that doubles as a dance and event space, it has been quite a journey.
I have lived and learned so much from my experience, and I stayed true to our original mission to inspire change and build a global community through the power of dance. The people I’ve met, the stories I’ve heard and the places I’ve gone have changed my life in the best way possible.
Constantly staying creative and motivated isn’t easy! We all hit blocks. What I’ve learned, though, is that your surroundings and your support system can have a significant impact on your success and help you stay on track.
When I’m choreographing for class or a commercial, I always need to set the right mood. Lighting is a big factor for me. I love when spaces have dimmable lights. I’ve found that bright fluorescent lights aren’t conducive to creativity for me.
I’m also a kick back and lounge kind of guy. I love when spaces are inviting and make you feel at home. We really tried to make our production studio feel like a second home by creating comfy seating areas and adding fun artwork around the space. Even little details, like potted succulents and refurbished tables and benches have made our space more versatile, warm and welcoming.
I’m often asked what I would be doing if I wasn’t dancing, and I’ve always been fascinated by architecture and design, even interior design. So, who knows, maybe one day I’ll channel my creative energy into creating stunning spaces. Until then, I’ll keep changing lives, 1 eight count at a time.