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This podcast inspires and empowers people on the move.


148: When Dance and Fine Jewelry Intersect — Serge Laurent
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra speaks with Serge Laurent, Director of Dance and Cultural Programs at Van Cleef & Arpels. Serge is in charge of implementing Dance Reflections, an international program supporting the art of choreography. Laurent's journey began with a classical education at the École de Louvre, specializing in Art History and Archeology. His career took him from being an Associate Curator at the Fondation Cartier to heading Live Performance Programming at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. In this episode, Serge discusses his role at Van Cleef & Arpels, the historical connection between the Maison and the world of dance, and the importance of supporting dance creation, transmission, and education. He shares insights on the upcoming Dance Reflections festival in New York City, which will feature a diverse range of performances from contemporary dance companies. Serge also reflects on the significance of New York and Paris in the history of dance and the need for contemporary art to challenge and inspire audiences.   Moving Quotes: "It's very important for me to forget about the notion of taste. I like it; I don't like it. I appreciate it; I like it less. Maybe we should just wonder about what we have seen, and consider the questions that come to our minds. To me, art is beyond the simple matter of taste." "Believe in yourself, and never give up. Take risks. Also, don't be shy — be creative. I'm very, very attracted to creation. But at the same time, I need to be practical, pragmatic." "Whatever we do [as artists] is an answer to three values. It's a way to enlighten these values. The first value is creation. The second one is transmission. And the third one is education… If [Van Cleef & Arpels] can support an artist’s training, their creation, and their presentation, we are really covering, you know, the three essential values.”   Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed: 3:19: Serge explains how Van Cleef & Arpels' relationship with dance began as a source of inspiration for the Maison's creations, such as the ballerina clips and timepieces. 9:42: Laurent discusses the historical connection between Paris and New York in the development of modern and contemporary dance. 14:50: Serge shares his vision for the Dance Reflections program, focusing on the values of creation, transmission, and education. 22:27: Laurent reflects on how Van Cleef & Arpels stays relevant by combining heritage and creativity in their jewelry designs. 27:14: Serge discusses the positive feedback from audiences attending the Dance Reflections festivals and the importance of contemporary art provoking new sensations, impressions, and questions. 30:32: Laurent shares his educational background and career journey, from studying at the École de Louvre to working at the Fondation Cartier and Centre Pompidou. 35:38: Serge outlines his vision for the future of the Dance Reflections program, including supporting dance schools, training, and workshops for amateurs. 39:04: Laurent offers advice for those pursuing their dreams in the arts, emphasizing the need to combine creativity and pragmatism.   Bullet List of Resources –  Serge Laurent Instagram Van Cleef & Arpels Company Website Instagram Dance Reflections Website  
42:01 4/12/24
147: Art as Social Justice — Steven Melendez
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra speaks with Steven Melendez, Artistic Director at the New York Theatre Ballet. Steven’s journey with dance began through his current company’s LIFT Program, which teaches dance to homeless or home insecure youth. Steven has since danced as a Soloist and Principal dancer at a collection of ballet companies across three continents. Steven’s story is also explored in the award-winning film LIFT, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2022. Steven’s life was changed because New York Theatre Ballet made the arts more accessible to New York City youth. Now, Steven is on a mission to take that mission even further. On the podcast, Steven retells his incredible transformation story, discusses the importance of diversity in the arts, and explains how making dance more accessible to all people benefits the dancer, the company, and society at large.   Moving Quotes: "As an industry, we can get back to the root of what dance is. It's an art. Connecting human people with other human people. If we can get more people on stage that represent more diversity within society, I think our art will be stronger. And the industry will be stronger." "What I call 'relevant art' is why I think being a dance company is not opposite from being a social justice organization. I think you can do both by having [sensitive] conversations in public." "Through dance, we're all equal. The person who doesn't fall over is the person that practiced. It's not the person whose parents have a lot of money. It's not the person with a fancy house. It's not the person that's white or Spanish or whatever. It's the person that practiced. And I really liked that. It really spoke to me." "Diversity needs to be a priority. The parts of an organization tasked with considering how to create more diversity in the industry can't be a department down the hall run by one or two people. It needs to be a fundamental element of what the administrative leadership are thinking about all the time." "There are three ways to take over the world. First, through military might. Second, through owning everything or a critical resource. Or third, by being a good human. By getting people to understand that, fundamentally, you are the same as them... In a way, that's how I think about my work. The product that we create is bigger than the single performance." "We need to do the work of educating and cultivating new adult dance audiences so that the young people who are involved actually have a future. It prevents dance from being ‘a thing they did one time’ and turns it into an inhabited part of who they are."   Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed: 2:20: Steven speaks to his responsibility as an artistic director in helping define the role of dance in future society. 6:23: Steven discusses the importance of diversity in the arts and how making the arts more accessible for all people is critical. 9:21: Melendez explains the main programs at the New York Theatre Ballet, including the company’s renowned LIFT program and new efforts aimed at young people. 14:42: Melendez discusses the company’s new efforts aimed at new-to-dance adult audiences and the importance of reaching out to this segment. 24:04: Steven describes a new multi-year project, aimed at exploring the dynamics between fathers and sons. 34:40: Steven walks through his dance journey and explains why he continued with dance once his own run with the LIFT program ended. 43:17: Melendez discusses his dreams for the New York Theatre Ballet in the coming years.   Bullet List of Resources –  Steven Melendez Personal Website Instagram New York Theatre Ballet Company Website Instagram
45:40 10/10/23
146: Passion Over Money — Kevin Jenkins
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra interviews Kevin Jenkins, Founder and Artistic Director at Ballet Counterpointe. Kevin’s choreography, which Dance Magazine has praised as “riveting,” has been featured at dozens of dance companies, including State Street Ballet, SUNY Purchase, and San Diego Dance Theater. He has also served on faculty at Boston Ballet School, Joffrey Ballet School, and several other esteemed institutions. Early in his dance journey, Kevin knew he had a passion for choreography. So he decided to take the plunge — to follow his passion, even if it didn’t “pan out” in the world’s eyes. Thankfully, Kevin has been successful, but he knows that’s not the story for everyone. Yet, even so, Jenkins believes following one’s passion is worth the risk. On the podcast, Jenkins talks all about passion, but sprinkles in some insight into choreography, social media, and building a business.   Moving Quotes: "Choreography 'success' is not monetarily based. And while there are more things you can do to make more money at it, I think you still have to be realistic. It has to be about the art. Sometimes the income will follow, and sometimes it won't. And that's okay." "The downside of interviews with successful artists is that you're hearing from interviews with people that have made it. And for every one person that made it, there are 99 people that didn't make it." "I only recommend a career as choreographer if you are really really strong and really really ready for lot of hardship. Because it is incredible, but it is like climbing up a hill every day." "Chasing what other choreographers do is okay to a certain extent. But, at the end of the day, you still have to find your unique voice and how you can do something original. Because that's what is going to make you stand out. That's the best chance you have." "I'm fascinated by the business side of the arts because I think it is the future of the arts. If we can't pay for the arts, then they will die. So, while I love choreographing, the thing I think about most days is how do we keep this going." "On social media, you have to believe in what you're putting out there. You have to be as true to your authentic self as you can be. Because, at this point, we can all smell someone who's phony." "On social media, you have to strike a weird balance where you have to try to put something out there that will do well and, at the same time, not care if it does well and do what you believe in."   Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed: 3:16: Kevin discusses his company — Ballet Counterpointe — and how he grew to love the business side of the arts. 7:15: Kevin discusses the importance of corporate sponsorships and how they could be critical to the future of dance. 9:10: Kevin, a social media maven with six-figure Instagram followers, gives some practical advice on building a social media following. 11:59: Jenkins describes the origins of his company’s name and gives a brief history of his company’s performances. 15:29: Jenkins discusses the joys of working alongside his spouse, who is also a part of Ballet Counterpointe. 18:34: Kevin walks through his dance career, including his late start to the stage and his early affections for choreography. 24:37: Kevin advises aspiring choreographers to follow their passion, even if they don’t achieve much “success” as the world defines it. 29:31: Kevin offers some predictions on the future of the dance industry and how companies will need to adapt.  31:58: Jenkins discusses his aspirations for his own company in the next 3 to 5 years. 33:55: Kevin ends the discussion by encouraging listeners to chase their passions.   Bullet List of Resources –  Kevin Jenkins Instagram Ballet Counterpointe Company Website Instagram  
36:59 4/19/23
145: Lessons from an Executive Coach — Matz Skoog
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra speaks with Matz Skoog, executive coach at Matz Skoog Coaching. Skoog, a Stockholm native, had an accomplished career in dance at several international companies. Following his career in dance, he became a sought-after tutor, which led to a variety of professional appointments, including Artistic Director of the English National Ballet and Royal New Zealand Ballet. Upon his exit from the stage, Matz founded Matz Skoog Coaching, where he helps others achieve their true professional potential. As a dancer and Artistic Director, Matz had a passion for helping others fulfill their goals and achieve new heights. Through coaching, he’s now able to do this professionally, on a daily basis. Matz is a wealth of knowledge and challenges his clients to find satisfaction and achieve excellence in their careers. On the podcast, Matz shares invaluable words of advice for anyone that’s looking to maximize their fullest potential.   Moving Quotes: "Coaching is about 3 questions. What do you want? What do you need to do to get what you want? And what's stopping you from doing what you need to do?" "Coaching is not therapy... In therapy, you take a person from being dysfunctional to becoming functional. In coaching, you take a person from being functional to becoming excellent." "The ideal moment to look for a coach is when you are already successful or when things are working well. Because, then, you can take your achievements to another level." "You don't need to be someone else in order to be successful. You need to do things differently; you don't need to be someone different. And in the act of doing, you become someone else." "It's important to take a little bit of action, every day. It needs to be conscious — something you choose to do towards a specific objective." "Once you're a dancer, you're always a dancer — even if you're not actually dancing. You will always be a dancer." "Many dancers underestimate their intellectual capacities. There are very few successful dancers who are not also intelligent. One way to explore this potential is to express yourself through writing... That way, you can see, on paper, that there's more to you than just legs and feet."   Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed: 3:09: Matz describes his career as an executive coach and how he was drawn to the profession. 4:33: Matz explains how coaching is different than mentorship. 5:38: Skoog discusses the ideal time for an individual to seek out coaching. 7:52: Skoog shares some tips for finding the right executive coach for you. 12:47: Matz shares a helpful tip for anyone who may be looking for a career shift but isn’t even sure where to focus. 15:32: Matz gives some advice for executing on goals. 18:52: Matz walks through his dance career and how he segued into dance leadership and, eventually, executive coaching. 25:58: Skoog discusses some lessons he learned as an artistic director that he uses when coaching dancers into new careers. 28:11: Skoog explains how finding other hobbies and outlets outside of dance can help dancers find alternative career paths. 31:26: Matz shares some of his biggest coaching surprises, including several clients that made full career pivots after their sessions.   Bullet List of Resources –  Matz Skoog Coaching Website LinkedIn Instagram YouTube  
40:00 2/15/23
144: New Experiences Build Character — Jeffrey Cirio
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra interviews Jeffrey Cirio, an internationally recognized ballet dancer who is currently dancing as Principal at Boston Ballet. Jeffrey also is co-founder and Artistic Director of his own company, Cirio Collective. Jeffrey has danced for American Ballet Theatre and the English National Ballet as Principal and Lead Principal, respectively. Jeffrey holds medals from competitions held across three different continents. His list of accolades is truly remarkable. Jeffrey’s run as a professional dancer began at Boston Ballet. By his own account, he was living a dream and could have stayed with Boston forever. However, Jeffrey, who is a firm believer in expanding your horizons, decided to venture first to New York City then to Europe, picking up awards along the way. Now, he’s back in Boston, having come full circle, and claims that his world travels and new experiences built his character and made him a better dancer and human. On the podcast, Cirio recaps his incredible journey and speaks to the importance of venturing beyond your comfort zone.   Moving Quotes: "Try every day to go 100 percent at what you do. And aspire to do new things — to step out of the boundaries of your comfort zone. Be willing to be in the discomfort for a little bit because discomfort creates character and endurance." "The amount of exposure that I had to different companies — especially European companies and contemporary companies — was impactful for me... It's hard to say that I haven't been impacted by all of my travels." "With any profession, you often have a love-hate relationship. There's always a love for what you do. There are always things you hate about it. And that's normal. And you'd be lying if you said you don't have a love-hate relationship with any work you do. There always have to be the pros and cons of anything." "My parents always told me that, if I wanted to do something, I could do it. But I'd have to do it at 100 percent every day." "Mentorship is a two-way street; it's a conversation between two people... It's a community, which means having people help each other through the good and the bad."   Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed: 3:35: Jeffrey discusses his company, Cirio Collective, including how it began and where he’d like to see the company move. 7:52: Jeffrey explains how his dance career started at Boston Ballet, took him around the world, and brought him back to Boston, full circle. 12:51: Cirio shares some takeaways from his world travels that have shaped him most into who he is now. 16:25: Cirio retells the story of how he came to be in dance and when he knew that ballet was going to be his livelihood. 19:58: Jeffrey discusses the thought process behind going directly from high school into a dance profession and how he convinced his parents to let him pursue this career. 21:55: Jeffrey explains how he managed time while apprenticing for a dance company during the day and finishing high school at night. 24:49: Cirio digs deep into the impact that mentors have had on his life and how he’s been strategic in choosing which mentors to take. 30:11: Jeffrey gets practical and shares some traveling tips for performers on the road. 32:44: Cirio, who has an affinity for ice baths, discusses their benefits and why he’s incorporated this practice into his normal routine. 35:14: Jeffrey discusses what’s next for him as a performer, artistic director, and entrepreneur.   Bullet List of Resources –  Jeffrey Cirio Instagram LinkedIn Wikipedia Cirio Collective Company Website YouTube Instagram  
39:24 11/21/22
143: On Rejection, Perseverance, and Chasing your Dreams — Kristin Draucker
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra interviews Kristin Draucker, a veteran dancer and choreographer who is currently performing with the Paul Taylor Dance Company. As a long-time New York City resident, she has danced with a variety of well-known companies in the area. Draucker began creating original works in 2014 and has shown her choreography both nationally and internationally at various companies and festivals. In 2017, she joined Paul Taylor Dance Company, where she currently performs. Kristin’s story is a compelling tale of obstacles and perseverance. From the start, Kristin’s road into the dance world was nontraditional; she took her first dance lessons at age 15. As if this late start didn’t hold its own challenges, Kristin’s journey to eventually joining her dream company — Paul Taylor Dance Company — was a process that took ten long years, with three rejections and one final success. Kristin’s grit and drive is an inspiration, and, on the podcast, Kristin shares some rich perspective on the nature of rejection, the value of perseverance, and the love of dance.   Moving Quotes: "There was never another option [than dance]. It was the only thing I wanted to do. It's pure pleasure — even when it hurts, it's pure pleasure. It was all worth it. And it still is, every day. There's nothing else I'm interested in doing.” "If you open yourself up to many different forms of art, your worldview and artistry widens." "All teachers aren't the same. All teachers can be wonderful, but they may not speak to you the way that you need something given... Being particular about who guides you is important as a young dancer." "Rejection is rough. But sometimes I think you just know within yourself that you have a story to tell." "One of the most important things you can do as a dancer is to find people that you trust. Teachers you trust. Choreographers you trust. They're going to be the people who are going to shape you." "I was good at school, but I was so bored at school. Sitting at a desk is not a thing I want to do. Being at a computer is not a thing I want to do. Being in the theater was something I actually wanted to be a part of." "Rejection is not a rejection of you as not being a good artist. It's a rejection, in that you were not the right person at that moment. And that doesn't mean you won't be the right person in the future."   Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed: 2:58: Kristin explains why and how the dance company she’s with — Paul Taylor Dance Company — doesn’t have rankings within the company. 4:51: Kristin walks through her journey of choosing Paul Taylor Dance Company, which involved fair amounts of rejection and perseverance. 7:41: Draucker shares some rich perspective on handling rejection in dance. 10:54: Draucker shares some practical tips for dancers on dealing with the physical toll of touring. 14:11: Kristin discusses her original choreography work and why she’s decided to put that work temporarily on hold. 18:29: Kristin walks through her dance journey and highlights inflection points where she knew dance was going to be her life’s chosen path. 24:33: Draucker explains how she overcame her many obstacles on her journey to professional dance. 31:10: Kristin discusses her joy at being able to perform live again, post-pandemic. 34:07: In closing, Kristin shares two pieces of advice for any dancers looking to broaden their skillset.   Bullet List of Resources –  Kristin Draucker Instagram LinkedIn Paul Taylor Dance Company Company Website YouTube Facebook Instagram  
40:39 11/17/22
142: Find Your “Zone of Genius” — Julianna Rubio Slager
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra speaks with Julianna Rubio Slager, Artistic Director at Ballet 5:8. Slager, who is originally from Michigan, studied under many renown global dance experts and teachers. Upon moving to Chicago, Slager had the opportunity to work as a freelance artist, teacher, and choreographer in the Greater Chicago area. Eventually, she co-founded Ballet 5:8 in 2012. Ballet 5:8 just had its 10th anniversary and has grown immensely. It now has a professional company of 20 dancers and a school of over 400 dancers of all ages. Ballet 5:8 also has a touring company that tours 32 weeks every year. Julianna’s hope is that her leadership and creative work at Ballet 5:8 will pave the way for other women and minorities in professional ballet — a mission that she is achieving! However, Julianna would be the first to admit that she can’t “do it all” and that the key to good leadership is delegation — finding your “zone of genius” and delegating your weak spots out to others who are strong in those areas. On the podcast, Julianna talks all things Ballet 5:8 and shares some great leadership tips on admitting weakness and equipping others to take over where you’re weak.    Moving Quotes: "For me, the biggest thing I learned about running a business is realizing what I'm gifted in. And, honestly, what I'm not. Because I'm not good at everything." "Creativity is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration." "Take small steps every day. Sometimes we overestimate what we can do in one day. And we underestimate what we can do in one year." "As women leaders, we all feel sometimes like we're talked down to by people who may not feel that, as a woman, we're not capable of running an organization at this high of a level. But you have to always stay true to your inner voice and know who you are. And, very kindly, move past those people... Because they are not your people." [On diversity in dance] "When you understand that you have a different perspective and you come from a different cultural background than the people around you, it allows you to share that part of you in such a special way through dance." "If you're going to go into dance as a career, you don't want to do it with any sort of hesitancy or fear. If you do that, you can't put your full self into the auditioning process. Auditioning is brutal." "You have a long life. You don't just have to pick one career... You just can't do it all at the same time."   Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed: 3:22: Julianna gives a high-level overview of Ballet 5:8, including all of their unique endeavors. 4:45: Julianna discusses how Ballet 5:8 continues to perform at an extremely high-level, even while their programs are so far reaching. 6:20: Julianna shares some advice for current or aspiring studio owners, including some words on the value of delegation and finding your “zone of genius.” 8:15: Slager discusses her studio’s deep relationships with other players in the Chicago arts scene. 11:15: Slager, who is herself a seasoned choreographer, gives some rich tips for anyone looking to choreograph — including some great tips for anyone in a creative slump. 14:43: Julianna takes some time to discuss her own dance journey and how she came to fully appreciate her cultural heritage. 20:23: Julianna gives some advice for any dancers weighing out the decision of whether to pursue higher education or dance full-time. 26:02: Slager explains her work in empowering women and underrepresented minorities through her work at Ballet 5:8. 30:17: Julianna casts some vision for the future of her studio. 32:55: Julianna shares some final advice around keeping a healthy perspective and playing the long game.   Bullet List of Resources –  Julianna Rubio Slager LinkedIn Ballet 5:8 Company Website YouTube Facebook Twitter Instagram TikTok  
35:38 10/3/22
141: It’s a Privilege to Lead — Joseph Morrissey
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra interviews Joseph Morrissey, Director of Dance at the Interlochen Center for the Arts. Prior to this role, he served in a similar role with the Hong Kong Ballet. As a professional dancer, he danced with the Bavarian State Ballet in Munich and the Boston Ballet II.  He’s a seasoned choreographer and also has instructed for various dance companies, including the American Ballet Theatre Studio Company. He also currently serves on the juries for the Youth America Grand Prix, the International Baltic Ballet Competition, and the Japan Grand Prix. Joseph’s resume is impressive, but above all else, Joseph is a leader — a calling that he considers a privilege. And one of the things that Joseph most tries to do in his work at Interlochen is to use arts to impart leadership skills to his students. On the podcast, Joseph talks all things Interlochen but deep dives on what makes for good leaders, the challenges and joys of leadership, and how he’s raising up the next generation of arts leaders.   Moving Quotes: "It's a privilege for me to lead. Thankfully, that calling aligns with what my 'job' is." "There's no one way [to arts leadership] ... Recognizing that truth makes for a better leadership style." "I always encourage dancers to think 'outside the box' of just the career as a performer ... There really is no 'one way street' to the ultimate destination of how dance will be a part of one's life." "Making tough decisions is not always fun. But it's important that there's always something in hindsight or something to look forward to." "When doing a capital campaign or if you're looking to build a structure, think of the bigger picture and dream big. And inevitably it will happen." "Sometimes, we learn a lot of 'do's,' but we also learn a lot of the 'don’ts' ... It's the combination of those learning lessons that make for a fun and competent leader." "That's what makes [Interlocken] even more remarkable. Even in the midst of a pandemic, we still built this fabulous building. We still have high enrollment. We still have garnered excitement and interest in the program overall. I marvel at that."   Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed: 3:32: Joseph gives some information about Interlochen, including any new or existing programs the school offers. 6:30: Joseph explains why he believes his school has undergone such drastic growth over the past few years. 9:10: Joseph, who just completed a building campaign, shares some advice on convincing authority figures that certain efforts are worth the investment. 13:54: Morrissey explains how he equips his current dance students to become future leaders. 19:43: Morrissey discusses the importance of mentorship and how it often pays to be proactive in identifying students to mentor. 22:31: Joseph shares some wise words for any dancers that are currently planning out their futures. 27:30: Joseph explains the importance of stepping outside of the stage performance “box” and experiencing the arts from different angles and roles. 31:12: Joseph, who is a renown choreographer, reflects on his biggest takeaways over his illustrious choreography career. 36:13: Morrissey discusses the most challenging thing he must do as Interlochen’s director. 40:00: Joseph looks to the future and discusses what’s next for Interlochen.   Bullet List of Resources –  Joseph Morrissey Bio on Interlochen site “Meet your Faculty” video Interlochen Center for the Arts Company Website YouTube Facebook Twitter Instagram  
44:10 9/29/22
140: A Balanced Life for Better Dancing — Jess Spinner
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra speaks with Jess Spinner, entrepreneur and holistic health coach at The Whole Dancer. Jess holds a bachelor’s degree from Butler University in Dance and Arts Administration. Upon graduation, she danced with the Louisville Ballet and did some professional work as a freelancer in Boston. Now, Jess’s life mission is to support dancers in finding a personal balance in their approach to food and their bodies.  As a former professional dancer that struggled with body image issues, Jess knows the physical, mental, and emotional grind of dance. And, now looking back, Jess firmly believes that if she put more focus on taking care of herself off the dance floor, she’d have been an even better performer on the dance floor. On the podcast, Jess explains how she’s now helping other dancers see that truth and discusses the joy she finds in seeing lives changed and dreams renewed.   Moving Quotes: "When dancers say to me, 'It feels like you're reading my mind,' it's because I've been in exactly that place. You're in the studio or elsewhere and all you can think about is the size of your thighs or how much skinnier the girl next to you is." "I'm a firm believe that, wherever life takes you, there's something to be learned or gained." "I've had a number of dancers now say to me, 'I think I would have quit dancing if I hadn't worked with you.' This was my journey too. You can get into such a negative headspace... It gets you to a place where it's no longer fun." "So much of my dance journey from the time I was quite young became negative and hyperfocused on my body. To now be able to help dancers see a different path is hugely rewarding." "In starting my business, from the beginning, I was steadfast. This is what I am going to do. I'm going to make it work. I'm going to make it work for myself. And then I refused to give up."   Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed: 3:15: Jess describes her company — The Whole Dancer — and the types of services that it offers. 5:55: Jess discussed “the whole you” — the idea of holistic dancer health that is the foundation of her company. 8:02: Spinner gives some advice for anyone looking to explore life beyond the dance floor who may be feeling guilty for spending free time away from practice. 9:26: Jess shares what she would consider to be a “client success story” for anyone who has gone through her program. 13:00: Spinner explains why she decided to become an entrepreneur and is honest about challenges she’s encountered along the way. 16:19: Spinner recounts some times where, as an entrepreneur, she was tempted to give up but explains how she managed to persevere. 20:24: Jess explains her decision to work with a business coach and how to find one to work with your unique situation. 24:50: Spinner describes where she hopes to see her company in 5 years. 26:58: Jess walks through her dance career and how her own body image issues equipped her to help other dancers along their journeys. 31:17: As she recounts her own dance journey, Spinner shares some sage advice for dancers who are actively pursuing their dreams.   Bullet List of Resources –  Jess Spinner LinkedIn The Whole Dancer Company Website YouTube Facebook Twitter Instagram  
35:59 9/13/22
139: Enjoy Dance More through Self Care — Liz Bayley
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra speaks with Liz Bayley, a seasoned professional dancer whose interest in sports injuries birthed a career as a physiotherapist for some of the world’s top shows. Liz was a professional dancer for 15 years, performing all over the world. Liz went on to work as a physiotherapist in the West End on shows such as Hamilton, Wicked, The Wizard of Oz, Singing in the Rain, Shrek, Matilda, and Jersey Boys. Liz holds a master’s degree in physiotherapy from King’s College and, now, serves as the physio for The Lion King. She also owns her own private practice. Liz Bayley loves dance and dancers. In fact, on the podcast, she expresses love for both the artists and the artform multiple times. However, in her own career, her love for dance was inhibited by her experience with lingering injuries. Now, Liz is in the business of elevating others’ love for the craft by teaching them to take care of their bodies. On the podcast, Liz discusses her current endeavors and shares some extremely practical advice on how to prime your body to do the hard work of dance. Moving Quotes: ”What I liked about physical therapy was that it was still helping people. But rather than the mental health, it was the physical health. And as it turns out, there’s lots of psychology in physiotherapy. So my [psychology degree] does really complement my final career choice really beautifully.” ”Dancers are known for being fit and healthy. And, in general, they are compared to the average office worker. But for what they do, they’re probably not as fit as they should be.” ”Dancers must supplement their dance training with cardiovascular work — high intensity training … Try to think more like a sports person. What do they do for their training? They tend to do agility work. High intensity cardiovascular work. Strength training in the gym.” ”There’s a lack of education, generally, around what it takes to really be strong enough to be a performer.” ”One of the best things about working with dancers? I adore the people. They’ve got lovely energy. They’re very empathic and emotional. They tend to be very kind and very funny, which I love.” ”I’m not at all afraid of change. I’ve never worried about making a decision and it potentially being the wrong one. Because I always feel like you can change it.”   Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed: 3:19: Liz discusses why she pivoted from a 15 year career in dance into physiotherapy. 5:22: Liz explains what her current career as a physiotherapist looks like, including her run as a physiotherapist on multiple Broadway productions in London. 7:21: Bayley explains why some dancers get injured more often than others. 11:40: Liz shares some advice for dancers on how to better avoid injuries, including some pre-show exercises and practices. 15:40: Bayley explains how dancers can avoid getting bulky through weightlifting. 18:50: Liz discusses how her professional career would be different if she were to do it again, knowing what she knows now. 22:35: Liz describes the importance of mental health in athletes but, specifically, for dancers and performers. 24:45: Bayley explains her rationale behind some key decisions she made as a dancer. 29:16: Bayley looks ahead in her career and discusses her excitement as she moves into more of a teaching role. 31:22: Liz encourages dancers to love what they do even more by taking care of their bodies.   Bullet List of Resources –  Liz Bayley LinkedIn Instagram Twitter Liz Bayley Physiotherapy Company Website  
35:01 5/25/22
138: Dance for Parkinson’s Disease
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra interviews David Leventhal, Program Director at Dance for PD — a part of the Mark Morris Dance Group. Through the program — which is on its 20th year — David teaches dance classes for people living with Parkinson’s disease and trains other teaching artists to do the same. What started as a humble six-person dance class has now grown to serve 300 communities across 30 different countries. David has received numerous humanitarian awards for his work and has contributed to several books and peer-reviewed studies on dance and Parkinson’s Disease. David is a true believer in the healing power of dance and is proactively teaching others to also believe. There’s a reason why his course has exploded over the past 20 years — the effect of dance on those with Parkinson’s Disease is simply too great to deny. On the podcast, David gives a brief history of Dance for PD and explains why he believes music and movement has a profound impact on all people — but especially on those with Parkinson’s. Moving Quotes: ”It’s that combination of the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional — together, inseparable — that makes dance such a powerful tool to maintain wellbeing and quality of life for everybody. But, particularly, for people with Parkinson’s.” “Dance and dancers have a significant role in maintaining and improving quality of life among our older neighbors — and, in our case, among people with Parkinson’s.” ”In our classes, we’re not there to teach a therapy session. We’re not there to talk about Parkinson’s. We’re there to address movement as dancers. And it’s helpful for people with Parkinson’s to think about movement the way that dancers do.” ”Music is like a red carpet that rolls out in front of you. Dance and music together are a red carpet that provides a roadmap for people with Parkinson’s to move.” ”Keep your eyes open for opportunities that interest you.” ”Follow your passions. Multiple passions. Sometimes dancers get trapped in that one passion. As much as you love dance and are committed to it, keep thinking about other things that interest you… Keep nurturing those other passions while you’re still dancing.”   Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed: 2:49: David discusses the joy of leading a program that’s going on its 20th year and the role of dance in helping those with Parkinson’s Disease. 5:19: David gives a brief history of his program and details what’s involved. 10:19: Leventhal explains the events that led to his company growing from a small 6-person class to a global network. 14:03: David describes the three distinct groups of people that have been integral to the program’s growth. 18:30: Leventhal gives his theories on why music and movement are uniquely effective versus traditional therapy methods. 25:56: David describes how his Dance for PD courses are both similar and different from country-to-country. 31:25: Leventhal, who holds a nontraditional career in dance, gives some advice for anyone pursuing a career in dance that’s away from the stage. 37:12: David discusses the future for Dance for PD and how he’d like the company to become more accessible in many different ways.   Bullet List of Resources –  David Leventhal LinkedIn Dance for PD Company Website Twitter Facebook  
45:36 5/11/22
137: From Real Estate to Reselling Dancewear
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra speaks with Margeaux McCarthy, Owner of the Dance Xchange App, LLC. Margeaux is a former professional hip hop dancer with credits in commercials for some of the world’s biggest brands. After she retired from the stage, McCarthy became a real estate sales advisor by day and a dance instructor by night. With a love for resale apps such as eBay, McCarthy saw a need to create a platform like Dance Xchange — a resell app for dancewear, created for dancers by dancers. For driven individuals like Margeaux, a career pivot is a relatively common occurrence — always looking for the next new challenge. Being willing to take that risk, with the hope of reward — whether intrinsic, external, or both. But this doesn’t make a career pivot any less difficult. On the podcast, Margeaux discusses what drove her to take the plunge as a tech entrepreneur, shares advice she wishes she’d have known when she set out, gives some know-how on building an app and engaging with developers, and so much more. Moving Quotes: "If I could give my younger self advice, I'd say, 'Keep going.' You have that idea. Just keep going with it." "[When starting a business,] you know that it's all going to pay off one day. You have your business plan. You have your structure. You just have to keep following through. And it will eventually pay off. It's just a matter of seeing that in the future." "In my head I had always said, 'Somebody else is going to do [this idea] if you don't.' Everybody has an idea, so someone else is thinking this also. Whether or not you put your foot to the pedal — that's up to you." "You learn better when you learn it yourself. You fall harder, but you get back up faster." "It's so important to reach out to people who have gone before. Get a mentor. I personally did not have a mentor, and if I did, I feel like I would have been much better off." "It's good to have [a mentor] who can remind you to do things locally and not on such a big scale... If you are good to your inner circle, they will be good to you."   Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed: 3:00 Margeaux describes her digital dancewear marketplace platform — Dance Xchange — and explains how she ended up pursuing this idea while in real estate. 8:39 Margeaux describes how Dance Xchange is going so far and discusses her ultimate vision for the platform. 10:05 McCarthy outlines her journey as an entrepreneur in the tech space, having no background in tech prior to this experience. 14:37 Margeaux discusses her biggest challenge and her biggest surprise throughout the entire process with Dance Xchange. 17:09 McCarthy explains the demographic that she’s generally targeting with Dance Xchange and discusses the nuances of marketing to these two distinct audiences. 20:29 McCarthy gives some important advice to her younger self. 23:54 Margeaux speaks to the importance of having a mentor, especially when navigating a new or unfamiliar space.  26:41 McCarthy discusses the Dance Xchange Scholarship Fund — a nonprofit effort she’s launching in association with Dance Xchange. 29:05 Margeaux describes a second project she’s been recently working on that combines her love for dance with her experience in real estate.   Bullet List of Resources –  Margeaux McCarthy Instagram YouTube LinkedIn Dance Xchange Company Website Instagram Facebook  
32:47 4/27/22
136: The Studio Owner Who Coaches Studio Owners
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra interviews Alisa Finney, Principal at The Gay Wightman School of Ballet, Artistic Director at The Melbourne Ballet Company, and a mentor through the Dance Studio Owners Association (DSOA). Alisa has also crafted a 13-level classical ballet system of training that is widely used by thousands of dancers across the globe. Through the pandemic, Alisa’s reach has grown exponentially, as she has heavily used Zoom to expand the size of her dance classes. Alisa is one who wears many hats, but at the end of the day, her passion is for the artform of ballet. And Alisa understands that the future of the artform is in the hands of studio owners, who are training the next generation of ballet dancers. In turn, Alisa invests large amounts of time and energy in developing studio owners so that they’re well-equipped to be mentors, teachers, role models, and entrepreneurs. On the podcast, hear about all of Alisa’s work and lessons learned in her own business growth.   Moving Quotes: "I'm very passionate about the art form of ballet, and now that I have a little bit of experience behind me and am a bit older, I'm just really passionate about giving back to the industry and sharing what I've learned... It fills my cup to help people." [On mentorship] "It's a hard job running a studio. And we wear 50 different hats, always. Trying to be everything to everyone. So it's important to have someone that we can go to that can support us. That can answer our questions and celebrate our wins and hold us accountable." "The way you do anything is the way you do everything." "As the studio owner, you need to be clear on things like: what is your mission? What are the core values of your studio? It's great to hash those things out with your team." "I really like my goals to be big and quite scary. I think they should give you butterflies in your tummy. And then work backwards to figure out how you're going to make it happen." [During the pandemic,] “I worked with a mindset coach once a week. I think that was a huge reason that I was able to stay so positive and be super positive with my team." "If you're a business owner, you need to know your 'why.' What are your goals? What do you want to achieve financially?"   Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed: 3:22: Alisa discusses how the pandemic actually caused her studio to grow exponentially. 7:48: Alisa explains how a positive mindset separates herself from many other studio owners and drove to her overwhelming success during the pandemic. 14:06: Alisa describes her passion for the artform of ballet and why she now finds joy sharing her knowledge with others. 16:09: Finney explains one of the most important things that a studio owner can do. 18:26: Finney describes her work with the Dance Studio Owner Association (DSOA). 20:45: Finney, who has worked with many global studio owners, discusses the one obstacle that she often sees inhibiting dance studio owners’ success. 23:43: Alisa explains the importance of small businesses having clear and impactful mission statements. 27:30: Alisa describes her process when prioritizing tasks and setting goals. 28:12: Alisa discusses one tangible way that mentorship has impacted her life. 32:31: Finney, who works with a wide variety of international dance studios, discusses some unique differences between dance studio cultures country-to-country.   Bullet List of Resources –  Alisa Finney LinkedIn The Gay Wightman School of Ballet Company Website Instagram Facebook  
40:13 4/6/22
135: Love Yourself — Angela Martindale
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra speaks with Angela Martindale, a female entrepreneur, public speaker, lifestyle expert, and influencer who is known globally for her fitness training techniques and methods, her inspirational public speaking, her lifestyle coaching, and her work with charitable organizations. Angela has been featured on ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX affiliates and has worked with many A-list celebrities, Olympic athletes, and business moguls as their personal trainer and nutritionist. Core to Angela’s inspirational message is the idea of self-love. In fact, Angela believes that the one thing that separates those who win from those who fold is a healthy self-talk — a belief in yourself. A belief that you are enough. Angela, who was bullied as a child, learned very early that a healthy self-esteem can not only pull you out of the pit but can also set you on a path to success. On the podcast, Angela tells her inspiring story and discusses how her successful career has been paved with healthy, positive affirmations.   Moving Quotes: "Self-talk is very important. Everything starts with 'I am.' 'I am Angela Martindale. I am beautiful. I am successful.' Those two words — 'I am' — are the two most important words you can say to yourself. And it radiates out into the universe." "When starting a business, be authentic. Be true to yourself... It has to be about what you're about. And every single person has that niche. That something that they love." "The mind and a healthy self-talk separates Olympic athletes from regular athletes." "I always tell my young dancers — the less processed foods that you can consume, the better... This body requires fuel. Really good, top-level fuel every day." "When starting a business, don't overextend yourself. With money. With time. With energy. Keep very steady — slow and steady. Businesses take time. People don't become famous overnight." "If you want to succeed as an entrepreneur, latch onto a mentor. Get someone who can help you through those first processes or marketing thoughts and ideas. Hire someone. Ask someone in your sphere of influence. Because you can't do business alone."   Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed: 3:42: Angela discusses her current role and shares some advice on staying in shape. 8:05: Angela, a serial entrepreneur who has launched multiple successful brands, retells the origin stories of some of her brands. 12:00: Angela gives some advice for entrepreneurs looking to identify niche markets for their products.  13:32: Martindale, who was bullied as a young person, discusses how she was able to overcome negativity and lead a life of success. 17:40: Martindale shares some advice for small businesses on taking strategic plans and putting them into action. 21:55: Angela discusses the value of mentors and the importance of acting fast and avoiding procrastination. 24:14: Angela unveils the single characteristic that separates entrepreneurs who succeed from those who fold. 27:14: Martindale, who has established several product-based businesses, explains the common starting points for getting those businesses off the ground. 30:49: Martindale discusses the incredible power of vision boards and writing down goals and aspirations. 39:23: Angela shares what’s next for her in her incredible life and career.   Bullet List of Resources –  Angela Martindale I Am Angela Martindale website Facebook LinkedIn  
42:35 3/23/22
134: Breaking Down the Fourth Wall — Tony Bordonaro & Ingrid Kapteyn
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra interviews Tony Bordonaro and Ingrid Kapteyn, Co-Artistic Directors at Welcome to Campfire — an experiential dance platform that merges dance and theater to immerse performers and audiences into incredible dystopian settings. Tony and Ingrid first met while performing in Sleep No More NYC in 2013. After a run of the show in Shanghai, the two went on to develop four evening-length immersive dance experiences that have spanned New York City and Shanghai. The company’s name is derived from its first danceplay, titled CAMPFIRE. Tony and Ingrid are addicted to the thrill of acting on an idea — of feeling an instinct, getting into a room, and putting skin on the bones. After all, their entire dance company started as an idea inspired by the raw reality of Shanghai — a novel idea that took an artform traditionally defined by a stage and dropped it into a nontraditional setting, effectively shattering the mythological “fourth wall.” On the podcast, Tony and Ingrid retell the Welcome to Campfire origin story and hope it inspires others to act on ideas and push the boundaries of traditional storytelling.   Moving Quotes: "Dancers can wear so many hats. And, as a dancer, when you have an idea, the idea tells you what to do. They key is to show up, go into the room, and do the work of making and dancing and doing. And everything else follows." "[With Welcome to Campfire], people can expect to have an experience that's up close. An experience that definitely feels like they're an active participant... We invite audience members to be in the world with us. To experience that intimacy, one-on-one." "With our most recent piece, we've asked, 'Have we bitten off more than we can chew?' And we've just had to trust in the work we were doing. I like to call it 'following charm.' To think, 'This is what feels right. This is what feels good. Let's go in this direction.' And, since COVID, we've learned to constantly redirect if things aren't working." "When you don't know, you can listen to your body. It will tell you." "When you're performing is the time in life that you can be the most present. Because you can't think about anything else. You can only do what you're doing." "Something that happens so often when I see auditions that are successful is that it's the people who are the best at being themselves that travel far… Mindfulness is a tool to use in uncovering what it is that you do that no one else can do.” "Young dancers especially need to figure out a way to connect and take care of their spirits and their minds, as well as their physical bodies. So that they can deal with all of this craziness that comes with life as an artist." “Dance has been a ticket to the world.”   Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed: 3:16: Tony and Ingrid describe their dance company — Welcome to Campfire — and how their name came to be. 5:32: The two explain how Shanghai served as an inspiration for their first piece that was choreographed inside of a post-apocalyptic, abandoned office building. 7:10: Welcome to Campfire, which started in Shanghai, has since moved back to Manhattan. Tony and Ingrid tell audiences what they can expect from its shows. 10:06: Tony and Ingrid discuss their newest project, Subject. 12:41: The duo each discuss their own individual journeys in dance. 18:19: Tony and Ingrid share some advice on how to stand out during auditions, and Tony gives a peak at his audition-day routine. 22:07: Ingrid explains how her choreography has historically come to life and how acting on ideas is key to making art. 25:38: The two discuss how COVID taught them some valuable lessons about flexibility and creativity. 31:07: Ingrid and Tony elaborate on their definitions of “success” and what a success for Welcome to Campfire would look like in five years. 34:40: Tony and Ingrid give some parting advice for any aspiring dancers who are listening to the podcast.   Bullet List of Resources –  Tony Bordonaro Personal Website Instagram YouTube Facebook LinkedIn   Ingrid Kapteyn Instagram Facebook LinkedIn   Welcome to Campfire Company Website Instagram Facebook
40:00 3/9/22
133: From the Ballet to the Board Room — Joanna Wozniak
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra speaks with Joanna Wozniak, Senior Consultant at HBR Consulting and former ballerina with the Joffrey Ballet. Joanna, whose run with the Joffrey started as a seasonal artist in 2001, went on to enjoy a two-decades-long career with the esteemed Chicago dance company. In 2009, Point Magazine named one of her performances as one of their “12 favorite performances of 2009,” and she can also be seen as a dancer in the feature film Save the Last Dance. Outside of dance, Wozniak holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Northwestern University and a master’s degree in business analytics from the University of Chicago — two of the world’s top universities. Having held accomplished careers both on and off the stage, Joanna holds a unique perspective on the value of the “Plan B” and how to navigate the pursuit of education, while juggling the responsibilities of professional dance. On the podcast, Joanna discusses all of this and more as she recounts her journey from the ballet to the board room.   Moving Quotes: "Having additional passions and drives and not becoming siloed in dance is extremely critical... All of these things are only going to inspire you to be a better dancer." "Don't dump a lot of money into education for an area that you don't actually want to go into... And I don't think a person is the same at 20 as they are at 35. You must be in line with what it is you're passionate about." "Going to school while dancing is a huge transition... Your first few years in a company, you may just want to wait and adapt before going to school... Education today is a lot more fluid and flexible, with online and distance learning options." "The past couple of years have been such a critical time for many people in the arts and in dance to reflect on what they're doing with their lives and where they're going. And what types of possibilities are open. It's a natural leverage that COVID has had on us." "There are some characteristics that we, as dancers, carry as people. And that would be your drive and ambition. Your tenacity. Your willingness to do whatever it takes to achieve and accomplish your goals. Lots of people would love their employees to have these skills." "Dance is not about the individual at all. It's all about the team and everyone who is collaborating with you. There is so much more going on than what is seen on stage."   Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed: 3:41: Joanna starts the conversation by retelling some highlights from her accomplished dance career. 5:46: Joanna describes some skills attained through dance that have elevated her career as a consultant. 8:36: Wozniak explains how dance taught her to be a good team player — a skill she uses daily in her consulting career. 10:39: Joanna recounts some of her most memorable moments as a professional ballerina. 12:09: Wozniak briefly retells the story of being called upon to dance in the feature film Save the Last Dance. 13:30: Joanna – who received degrees from some of the world’s top universities – discusses her decision to pursue higher education and the challenges of juggling school and dance. 18:03: Joanna gives some incredible practical advice around finding which degree is right for you when pursuing higher education. 21:55: Joanna reflects on the biggest surprises of the corporate world, after transitioning from the extremely active dance world. 26:20: Wozniak shares some tips on when to pursue more education while professionally dancing. 29:29: Joanna gives some advice for parents, encouraging their children to pursue their dance passions while also pushing for a “Plan B.”   Bullet List of Resources –  Joanna Wozniak LinkedIn
35:11 2/23/22
130: Dance Research and Injury Prevention — Nico Kolokythas
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra interviews Nico Kolokythas, Founder of strengthmotionmind and Strength and Conditioning Coach at the Birmingham Royal Ballet. Nico has an extensive two-decades-long background in elite sports, focusing predominately on judo, netball, basketball, football, taekwondo, and tennis. Nico eventually completed a PhD in injuries and the adolescent ballet dancer through the Elmhurst Ballet School in the UK. He now leads strengthmotionmind — a group focused on educating dancers and dance instructors on strength training and injury prevention. Nico carries a unique perspective, having pivoted his research career from athletics to dance. Upon entering the arts, Nico was shocked by the lack of injury prevention research in dance — something that receives heavy investment in the sports world. Nico has since made curbing that trend his North Star. On the podcast, Nico discusses the work he’s doing to forward the conversation about injury prevention in dance and gives some practical advice on makimg that goal a reality.   Moving Quotes: "In sports, injury prevention was at the top of the list. Whereas, in dance, it felt like it was injury management." "There's not enough evidence that the common workouts used on top of dance training has any effect on injury prevention. We need to move the intensity of the training a little bit higher to have an injury prevention effect. Low intensity training will give minimal change to the body." "We know physical strength training can actually improve confidence. So, in a way, when we educate young dancers, we are improving their self-confidence and self-esteem." "I am constantly getting feedback on what works and what doesn't. Because thinking you know what works and thinking that you're not going to make mistakes is probably your biggest mistake." "You have to know your audience. There's different language you will use in front of researchers, and there's different language you'll use in front of dance teachers or dancers themselves." "If you're a dancer that wants to help dancers, you already have a foot in the door. Because you know the discipline. You know the industry." "One of the things we should be thinking when talking about youth dance development is that we want to be active for life. Therefore, giving the right tools at an early age, we have more chances for them to actually be active for life."   Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed: 3:31: Nico describes his company — strengthmotionmind — and the work he’s doing in educating both dancers and dance practitioners. 6:23: Nico, who founded his process on the idea of feedback and iteration, discusses the importance of receiving feedback and acting on that feedback. 9:15: Kolokythas gives more information on his strength and conditioning classes. 11:53: Nico discusses the lack of injury prevention information in dance and the actions he’s taking to curb that trend. 19:13: Kolokythas, who has extensive experience in sports research, explains some lessons learned in athletics that he’s carrying over to dance. 22:34: Nico explains why he believes injuries are so prevalent in dance and how dancers and dance instructors can move from injury management to injury prevention. 31:31: Nico discusses how dancers and non-dancers can prepare their bodies for decades-long active lifestyles. 37:00: Kolokythas gives some advice to any dancers looking to enter the field of dance research. 39:18: Nico explains what’s next for him and how he’s planning to extend the reach of his valuable research.   Bullet List of Resources –  Nico Kolokythas LinkedIn Twitter strengthmotionmind Company Website Instagram Facebook
43:01 1/12/22
129: How New York City Woke Me Up — Alexandra Damiani
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra speaks with Alexandra Damiani, Artistic Director at BJM-Les Ballets Jazz De Montréal. Alexandra was classically trained in dance in and around her home country of France. After winning the jeune ballet d’Aquitaine de Bordeaux competition in France, she received a scholarship to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in the US and has since danced at a variety of companies — including the company where she is now Artistic Director. Alexandra also has experience in the music and film industries, including an appearance in the acclaimed film Black Swan. For Alexandra, some of her most formative years as an artist — and as a human — were her years in New York City. Upon landing in the United States, this city filled her with awe and curiosity around all areas of the arts and helped rid her of any anxiety and fear as a citizen in a foreign land. On the podcast, Alexandra discusses the modern dance industry and walks through her entire career but, most notably, shares why the “Big Apple” holds a special place in her heart.   Moving Quotes: "Suddenly every conditioning I had, every expectation, every demand I was putting on my own body to be a dancer — all of that just exploded. In a moment, suddenly everything was possible. That was New York, for me." "For the arts, the pandemic is a crucible. This is how we get clearer and stronger. And we can show what we're made of, in a way. There are huge opportunities, if we don't let fear paralyze us." "Voice lessons and theater and, really, anything will add to your dance resumé. I think, more and more, choreographers want to have dancers who can really offer something." "You can't be a contemporary dance company and not be a mirror of the society you are a part of." "I feel very grateful that I have a voice and a platform so that I can be an example for my daughter — for my young dancers — and contribute in that way. At the same time, I don't have all the answers [for achieving female equality in dance leadership]. But we're at the start of a very long journey." "Ultimately, leading this company is not about me. It's about me with the team, at the service of this dance company from Montreal. From Quebec. From Canada. And I like that challenge — that it will be a balancing act between just the right amount of history and innovation... It's a dance." "For me, dance has no borders."   Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed: 2:50: Alexandra, who previously danced for BJM-Les Ballets De Montréal, discusses what it’s like to come back and now serve as artistic director. 3:57: Alexandra shares some lessons learned in her time as a performer that she hopes to implement as artistic director. 6:42: Damiani explains how she hopes to bring her own personality to her artistic direction, while maintaining the rich culture of BJM-Les Ballets De Montréal. 10:08: Damiani predicts her biggest challenge as she takes the reigns as artistic director. 14:02: Alexandra describes her excitement to be a woman in dance leadership, at this pivotal time when that male-centric culture is beginning to change.  18:37: Damiani, who has appeared in feature films like Black Swan, discusses her involvement in the music and film industry. 22:54: Alexandra retells stories from her life-changing years in New York City and how that time period came to define her as a dancer and as a person. 31:38: Alexandra imparts some advice to aspiring dancers who are hoping to succeed in the industry.   Bullet List of Resources –  Alexandra Damiani Company Website LinkedIn Instagram BJM-Les Ballets Jazz De Montréal Company Website Instagram Twitter Facebook YouTube
43:48 12/29/21
128: Addicted to Entrepreneurship — Julie Cartwright
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra interviews Julie Cartwright, President at P.volve. P.volve is an omnichannel fitness brand featuring a global on-demand platform, a growing line of patented equipment, and several franchise studios in New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Since its founding in 2018, P.volve has grown from a few employees to over 75 employees — and counting. Julie, herself, is a graduate of Ohio University and held a variety of executive-level marketing positions before becoming president at her current company.When Julie stepped away from her comfortable corporate job and shifted towards entrepreneurship, she knew that her life was going to permanently change. But, at the end of the day, she knew she was making the right choice. Why? Passion. Because of an overwhelming love of what health and fitness. And because of an addiction to entrepreneurship and building something from scratch. On the podcast, Julie recounts her entire journey through this crazy world of entrepreneurship and discusses why she decided to trade in a successful corporate career and never look back.   Moving Quotes: "I think the risk of entrepreneurship is significant for everyone. But I knew I wanted this... You have to think about your happiness and what you want, but you also have to believe in yourself." "I'm addicted to the continued evolution of learning and growing." "Believe in yourself. And don't take 'no' for an answer. If you see it and you believe it, I genuinely believe you can make it happen... If you believe in something, go after it. And I think you'll surprise yourself." "People are more focused on their holistic health than ever before... We've had so many conversations with members about not just looking good but feeling good." "It's so powerful to hear other women's stories about building their businesses. There are so many similarities between all of our stories... Through hearing all of the stories, I'm more in love with female leaders than ever before. Because they're just so resilient. I'm in awe." "When starting a business, you have to have a real gut instinct around the things that you know are going to be most meaningful to prove your business out. But you have to stay extremely scrappy. And listen to the customer." "As people are trying to take a leap of faith, it's so important to have conversations. Because you never know where they will lead." "I think it's extremely rewarding to hire and recruit talent. To bring them to our 'why' ... A lot of people do jobs without knowing the impact that they have on people's lives... It's been exciting to allow some of my team to see their impacts."   Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed: 3:07: Julie explains the core components of her company, P.volve. 11:24: Julie discusses what trends she’s seeing in the fitness industry as a whole and how these trends bode well for the work she’s doing with P.volve. 14:50: Cartwright walks through her career evolution, from a high-ranking employee at a large entertainment corporation to spearheading a nimble startup. 20:31: Cartwright describes the starkest differences between her previous corporate job and her current position at a startup. 26:39: Julie discusses what is, in her opinion, the most difficult part of being an entrepreneur. 29:23: Julie describes the most rewarding component of being an entrepreneur. 31:28: Cartwright rehashes her company’s first steps when starting P.volve. 35:58: Julie discusses the benefit of starting a company, alongside one or multiple business partners. 38:36: Cartwright, whose company has experienced massive growth since its start in 2018, explains how her company has been able to scale so quickly. 42:38: Julie discusses what’s next for her company and leaves listeners with some valuable advice on pursuing their dreams.   Bullet List of Resources –  Julie Cartwright LinkedIn Instagram P.volve Company Website Instagram Twitter Facebook YouTube Chief   Organization Website    
47:31 12/8/21
127: Saving Ballet from Itself — Dr. Chloe Angyal
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra speaks with Dr. Chloe Angyal, an accomplished journalist and published author. Most recently, Chloe released Turning Pointe: How the New Generation of Dancers is Saving Ballet from Itself. Her book focuses on the future of ballet and reckons with all the forces that endanger its future — whether that be racism, sexism, elitism, or many others. Dr. Angyal holds a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and a doctorate from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. Some of Chloe’s earliest ballet journalism centered around the bullying of young boys who participated in the artform. Yet, after writing the piece, Chloe felt there was so much more to be said. And there was indeed more to be said — an entire 300-page book’s worth. On the podcast, Chloe discusses her book, which outlines the historical issues plaguing ballet but speaks optimistically to how dance’s next generation is righting many of the wrongs and making ballet a more equitable environment for everyone.    Moving Quotes: "When most people think about a ballet dancer, they think about a woman who is white who has long flowing hair. She is slender and effortlessly feminine... But the fact that that's most people's first thought is an obstacle that everyone else has to overcome." "Sometimes it takes having an outsider to reflect your underlying assumptions [about ballet] back to you for you to realize, 'Yikes. There's a real problem here.'"  "One thing that I think a lot of people that leave ballet go through is a very solitary, piece-by-piece reflection on [what they went through] and realizing, slowly, that it was wrong, and it hurt them... I want my book to accelerate that process for people and to build a sense of community." "Long after they stopped taking ballet classes, you have women who are walking around, thinking about how they failed to meet that ideal. Which is so glamorous and beautiful but also monastic and "nun-like," considering how isolated and exclusive professional ballet seems to be. Everyone has a ballet story, and a lot of them are not good." "The cost of the prejudice [against bigger bodies in ballet] is stress fractures and mental illness and short careers and dancers with pre-osteoporosis. The cost of the prejudice among both artistic directors ticketholders like me is just too high. And it's unacceptable.” "Resist the urge to do what ballet often teaches you to do. Which is to explain why something has to be the way it is. And instead say, 'But what if it didn't?' Let's assume it can be something different. What does that something different look like?"   Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed: 3:14: Chloe explains the premise behind her book — Turning Pointe: How the New Generation of Dancers is Saving Ballet from Itself — and what prompted her to write it. 10:29: Chloe discusses some possible solutions to the systemic issues inside of ballet. 12:36: Chloe explains her theory behind why there are so many men in ballet leadership when there are so few boys in ballet and offers a solution to the issue. 16:37: Angyal describes two surprises that she discovered while researching for her book. 24:30: Angyal discusses how ballet’s status quo creates a toxic environment, especially when it comes to female body image and body care. 30:00: Chloe shares her journey that’s led to her successful career, as a non-dancer involved the dance industry. 32:37: Angyal discusses her education and reveals the unique topic that was the focus of her doctoral thesis. 36:47: Chloe encourages listeners to resist the status quo and define a more just and equitable future for ballet.   Bullet List of Resources –  Chloe Angyal Personal Website Twitter Instagram Turning Pointe: How the New Generation of Dancers is Saving Ballet from Itself Book Website On Amazon
40:30 11/17/21
126: Action Equals Change — Erin Pride
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra interviews Erin Pride, Founder and CEO at Dancepreneur Academy and host of The Dance Boss Podcast. Erin holds a BFA in dance from Montclair State University and a master’s in dance education from New York University. Her company helps dance professionals launch and scale online dance businesses. Erin is also the host of the Dance Boss Podcast, where she gives tips and strategies on building online businesses on a weekly basis. Erin spends her days coaching others on the ins and outs of business building; however, Erin would be the first to tell you that knowledge minus action equals nothing. Only those entrepreneurs who are willing to act on their learning will flourish. On the podcast, Erin impresses upon listeners the extreme importance of having coaches and mentors but admits that advice can only go so far. Change is reserved for those who take action.    Moving Quotes: "Just start. If you don't implement, it doesn't matter. We have an expiration date... I don't want to wait for anything because we never know when our time is going to end here on this earth." "Dancers need an entrepreneurial mindset. And if you don't want to pursue dance, I don't want anyone to feel like they can't stay in the dance community. There are tons of opportunities that can also bring you money." "The first step in my process is helping my clients understand the value of focusing on one thing. And the second step is helping them identify those old stories and mindset blocks that make them thing they have to do everything at once." "When it comes to hiring a coach, I truly believe that paying people to support you is important. Money is circular. Once you start giving it out, you'll start receiving it." "When the pandemic hit, I found that there were two types of people. One, the type of person that had to move online. And two, the type of person that was stuck in the house and realized that there was more that they wanted to do with the gifts that they’d been granted." "So many times, we get stuck wondering if we're making the 'right choice.' But I have learned, as I reflect on my journey, that every single choice has been a part of the puzzle to get me here. Whether on a small scale or a big scale... So take some pressure off of your shoulders about making the 'right choice.'" "I was so apprehensive about getting a coach before I got a coach. But once I got a coach, it's something that I'm always going to have in my life. Not only for business strategy, but also for the mindset support."   Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed: 2:57: Erin shares information on her business, which coaches dance professionals on establishing their own online businesses. 9:11: Erin shares an important tip on managing money that she learned from personal experience. 11:57: Erin walks through her process in helping others discover the businesses that they want to build and setting up the framework to build those businesses. 15:07: Pride shares some tips on building a unique brand and standing out on social media. 20:30: Pride shares a couple of inspirational success stories of her own clients. 23:43: Erin, who is also a podcast host, describes her podcast and what she finds most challenging and rewarding. 27:23: Erin encourages listeners to not worry about making the “right choice” and to trust that every decision is just setting you up for your ultimate destination. 30:50: Pride describes a dream that she hopes to eventually accomplish in her life. 34:18: Pride discusses what she believes is the entrepreneur’s greatest challenge. 38:20: Erin shares some final advice for anyone looking to achieve a goal.   Bullet List of Resources –  Erin Pride Personal Website Instagram Facebook LinkedIn Dancepreneur Academy Company Website The Dance Boss Podcast Podcast Website
40:51 10/27/21
125: Learning to Say “Yes” — Sonja McCord
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra speaks with Sonja McCord, Chief Executive Officer at The Sonja McCord X. Sonja — who is based in New York City — has had opportunities to perform with a myriad of top dance companies and boasts 15+ years of agency and in-house marketing experience. Now, Sonja combines both careers at her company, where she coaches dancers to amplify their brand, monetize their art, increase visibility, and put their best foot forward from a marketing perspective. Sonja, whose path to her current destination has been far from linear, is a firm believer in having the right mindset when pursuing goals. And, to Sonja, a key component of pursuing dreams is a willingness to say “yes” to whatever the universe throws at you, all to reach the perfect finish line. On the podcast, Sonja talks about the importance of saying “yes,” while sprinkling in some extremely valuable tips on marketing yourself well, choosing the right field of study, and so much more.   Moving Quotes: "Saying 'yes' to yourself allows you to really focus 100 percent without guilt and shame. And that mindset shift alone can make or break a dancer." "I empower my students to go 100 percent. I always ask my students, 'What if you said "yes" to your career and to giving 100 percent to your goals? Where do you think you'd be a year from now?' It's really a lightbulb moment for dancers. It's exciting to see them transform over six weeks, once they allow themselves to say 'yes.'" "If a casting director or artistic director or choreographer landed on your Instagram page, what information would they need to know about you in order to book you as a dancer?" "Your Instagram bio is really important. You'd be surprised how many dancers don't put 'dancer' or 'artist' in their bio. When someone comes to your page, they need to know right away what you do and what you're trying to do." "The thing that I loved the most about dancing was that feeling of being on stage and being free and not having a single bit of fear in my heart. Just being able to go out there and give it my best and shine. I hope I'm able to carry that through for the rest of my life." "When it comes to dancers, whether you're in class, in auditions, or in rehearsals, the only person you're competing with is yourself. That's getting better and better at your craft. That's being focused. That's being the best version of yourself." "Visualization comes back to identifying moments in your life that changed the trajectory of your life and seeing how you responded to it." "When you expand your horizons and start learning other fields, it actually makes you appreciate dance all the more."   Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed: 3:31: Sonja describes The Sonja McCord X and its work empowering dancers and building brands. 6:25: Sonja explains the power of saying “yes” — to embracing every opportunity and being willing to truly pursue one’s dreams. 8:01: McCord discusses the role that visualization plays in achieving one’s goals and gives her own definition of visualization. 10:58: McCord describes an upcoming workshop that revolves around building an online brand. 14:02: Sonja, a seasoned marketer, gives a couple of tips for dancers on building a solid online presence and marketing yourself well. 20:29: Sonja, who received a major in finance, explains how she came to choose a degree so seemingly unrelated to her current calling. 22:21: Sonja shares some tips on how dancers should be investing in themselves, both in terms of money and time. 25:17: McCord, who has danced at a variety of high profile dance companies, discusses how each of these companies taught her important career skills. 27:56: McCord shares some valuable lessons that she learned while participating in pageants. 30:19: Sonja gives some advice for any students who are weighing the pros and cons of foregoing university to pursue dance versus studying dance at university.   Bullet List of Resources –  Sonja McCord Instagram LinkedIn The Sonja McCord X Company Website Instagram YouTube Facebook Twitter
38:30 10/13/21
124: Harnessing Energy through Movement — Billy Siegenfeld
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra interviews Billy Siegenfeld, Founder of Jump Rhythm, creator of the Standing Down Straight technique, and a myriad of other things — playwright, choreographer, music arranger, performer, director, professor, and much more. Billy received his undergraduate degree from Brown University and a graduate degree in jazz studies from New York University. As a professor at Northwestern University, Billy is a Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence in the Department of Theatre. Jump Rhythm is a multiple-Emmy Award winning performance and teaching company that is a manifestation of Billy’s Standing Down Straight technique. This form teaches its performers to utilize “primal human behavior,” which taps into the mental and physical energy of the performers and teaches performers to not fight against gravity while dancing. On the podcast, Billy lays out his technique in full and explains in detail how his form can benefit people from all walks of life — not just dancers.   Moving Quotes: "Primal human behavior is the behavior coming from the inside of us, unedited. It is our energy — our physical and emotional energies... So much of our art is created by these energies." "One of the hardest things in the world is letting the body let go. We're all under pressure. My technique is just telling our bodies to slow down." "When we're too much in the grip of having to 'make it' and succeed, what's more needed is just figuring out how to slow that down a little bit." "The real question you have to answer when making a piece of art is this: how do you make it as truthful as possible, so that somebody who is absorbing it feels, 'Ah, me too — I feel that too'?" "For every class you take, give yourself the time to not go to a class. Make some time into 'nothing time.' Don't be doing something all the time... Not doing is as important as doing." "Art functions as a catalyst for a person becoming more aware of themselves and also becoming more aware of the other people they're dealing with." "Relaxation is the crying need of our age... Let's figure out how to use relaxation as an active tool when doing our work."   Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed: 3:50: Billy discusses the concept of “primal human behavior” and how tapping into this idea makes art more real for both audiences and performers. 9:58: Billy explains how dance uniquely helps release pent up emotions inside of dancers. 14:00: Siegenfeld discusses the concepts inside of his essay Standing Down Straight and how these concepts are taught inside of his workshops. 21:14: Siegenfeld explains how his technique is helpful for people of all walks of life — especially general populations who spend their days looking down at their phones. 23:33: Siegenfeld describes how his technique is particularly valuable for older populations. 25:40: Billy provides some more information on another of his essays, which traces the history of swing dance and how it’s a metaphor for democracy. 29:39: Billy, who is also a playwright, describes the premise of his play, What Do You Want to Be When You Give Up. 36:31: Siegenfeld describes the classes he teaches at Northwestern University and explains how rest and relaxation are desperately needed in the modern era. 43:36: Billy shares some expert advice for anybody starting their careers in the dance industry.   Bullet List of Resources –  Billy Siegenfeld LinkedIn On Northwestern University website Jump Rhythm Company Website Facebook Instagram YouTube
47:50 9/22/21
123: Improve Your Dance by Mastering Your Mind — Clare Guss-West
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra speaks with Clare Guss-West — a published author, choreographer, teacher, Committee Chair at the International Association for Dance Medicine & Science, and Co-Founder and Director of the Dance & Creative Wellness Foundation. Clare’s resume is extensive and varied, but most of her work seeks to apply scientific research into professional, vocational, and inclusive dance practice. Supported by her Eastern movement practice, she provides mindful attention and focused strategies that harness the mind, energy, and effort to empower dancers. These practices allow dancers to optimize their own physical and mental performance. Clare travels the world, sharing her ideas with some of the world’s top ballet companies and performers. On the podcast, Clare dives into her ideas and shares some practical ways that we all can apply mindful techniques to make our daily performance stronger — both on and off the stage.   Moving Quotes: "I'm going to look at aspects of the movement that would be ideal — that I'd have a great verticality, that I'd fly in my split jump. We need to focus in on those things and not focus on trying to adjust bits of our bodies. And that's when we get measurable differences." "Affirmations are based on the same principle [as setting external focus]. You have an idea that's bigger than you, and you can imagine it. Then it becomes a roadmap for you or for your life where you can relax a little bit. That roadmap guides and facilitates the realization of our goal." "If you come to mind training very late, it's like learning a new language. We have to start using less effort. It's less effort, actually. But more focus." "I was convinced that working with the power of the mind would have enormous benefits for dancers today." "The more complex the skill you're attempting, the more effect you're going to have from introducing specific attentional strategies to what you do." "Dance as a lifelong tool for wellbeing is an area of huge growth at the moment. Particularly because there are so many chronic diseases and problems that conventional medicine doesn't know how to address." "When we guide our attention in a particular way, the benefits of doing that are physical and mental." "If you are very lucky and have a great intuitive teacher, you have someone who talks about breath, energy, and focus. But for most of us, that's not taught at all."   Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed: 3:25: Clare explains the beginnings of her interest in applying Eastern mindfulness principles to dance and movement.  8:47: Clare discusses the modern science that reinforces these millennia-old Eastern principles. 12:33: Guss-West describes the measurable differences that are observed in athletes and performers who apply these mind practices to their art. 19:49: Guss-West discusses visualization and how visualization fits into the Eastern idea of setting an external focus. 27:30: Clare explains the origins of her book and what she’s seeking to accomplish in sharing her learnings and practices with others. 33:34: Guss-West describes her dance therapy work and explains precisely how dance and movement provide incredible health benefits. 40:44: Clare discusses her work across multiple organizations, all serving as platforms to share knowledge around mindfulness and movement.   Bullet List of Resources –  Clare Guss-West Personal Website LinkedIn Facebook Dance & Creative Wellness Foundation Company Website Facebook
47:58 8/31/21
122: The Business of Building Businesses — Betsy McBride
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra interviews Betsy McBride, Co-founder and Director of Marketing at Rezonance Athletics — a sustainable athletic wear line that she started alongside her fiancé. In addition to her career as an entrepreneur, McBride is a performer with the American Ballet Theater (ABT). This incredible combination of careers has landed her on the cover of Pointe Magazine and has garnered her multiple dance-related accolades. In addition to all of this, McBride is a fully certified teacher through the ABT National Training Curriculum. Betsy’s story is a story of resilience and grit. As if a full-time dance career wasn’t enough to keep her busy, Betsy decided to build a business from scratch and, now, spends her days shifting mindsets from dancer to entrepreneur. On the podcast, Betsy is honest about the highs and lows of entrepreneurship but speaks to her love of dance and motion as the foundation for both of her incredible careers.   Moving Quotes: "The whole business-building process has been a learning experience. Every time we do something, we learn as we go." "Learn as much as you can. Be as versatile as you can. Never put yourself in a box and say, 'I'm just doing classical ballet.' Because I don't think any classical ballet companies do that anymore." "If you feel like you don't want to get complacent and you want to push yourself artistically and work with different people, it's important to push yourself to branch out."   Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed: 3:25: Betsy walks through her journey as a dancer and reflects on her first time dancing in person post-pandemic. 5:47: Betsy discusses any anxieties or hesitations during her move to New York City as a young dancer. 7:43: McBride shares some advice for dancers as they transition from one company to another. 13:28: McBride shifts gears to her entrepreneurial endeavors and explains the birth of her sustainable apparel line. 17:56: Betsy reflects on the biggest challenges of her entrepreneurial journey thus far. 20:07: Betsy, who works as both a full time dancer and business owner, discusses the challenges of shifting mindsets from one job to the other. 22:22: Betsy speaks to trends that she is currently seeing inside of the dance world and discusses the value of versatility. 27:47: McBride shares some tips for any dancers as they prepare for auditions or performances. 29:16: McBride retells an on-stage failure and how she managed to overcome that mishap. 31:39: Betsy discusses what’s next for her, both personally and professionally, and shares some last bits of advice for listeners.   Bullet List of Resources –  Betsy McBride Personal Website Instagram Rezonance Athletics Company Website Instagram
34:28 8/17/21
121: Bodily Flexible; Mentally Strong — Andrea Orris
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra speaks with Andrea Orris, a seasoned gymnast and veteran collegiate gymnastics coach who is now using her experience to teach the “ins and outs” of effective stretching and to advocate for the fair treatment of gymnasts around the country. Orris, a Los Angeles native, competed in Division 1 collegiate gymnastics before turning her attention towards coaching. She is also a fitness model and a flexibility instructor. In fact, her flexibility courses blossomed during the pandemic, due in large part to her expert social media presence. Andrea is passionate about physical fitness, but she knows that a healthy body is nothing without a strong mind. Andrea has rightly spent her life focusing on both the physical and mental and, as a victim of abuse herself, is setting an example for others on the value of being open and transparent about strengths and struggles. On the podcast, Andrea discusses her own career and her long journey into mental and physical prosperity.   Moving Quotes: "Are you healthy on the inside? Do you look like what you want to look like? That's all that matters.” "People have a misconception about flexibility classes. They say, 'Oh, I can't take your class because I'm not flexible.' But that's the entire point. It's fine if you're not flexible. That's actually even better." "The more we keep talking and sharing our experiences and educating each other, the better chance we have at preventing [abuse] from every happening again." "I've always been a very private person with what I'm going through emotionally and mentally. Until this year. I post about myself a lot because people want to read about genuine people... I've started being very honest with what I'm thinking and feeling." "Setting small attainable goals every day is so much more intrinsically rewarding and more motivating than setting unrealistic goals or goals where you're comparing yourself to someone else. Then you get really discouraged and quit altogether." "If something is in your heart and you're passionate about it and you want to do it, go for it. You have to let go of all of the outside voices." "To keep up a professional Instagram, you have to keep your engagement up. You need to be posting constantly. You do have to work hard to do it. Producing content takes a lot of work... I try to always have something on my Story." "My Instagram is now my resume. It used to not be like that."   Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed: 3:20: Andrea walks through her accomplished gymnastics career and how she ended up in Los Angeles as a gymnastics coach. 8:14: Andrea discusses her time as a flexibility instructor and how COVID actually expanded her business. 11:13: Orris explains why she believes flexibility is such a growing trend in 2021. 15:28: Orris explains how her career as a gymnastics coach and flexibility instructor morphed into a modeling career. 19:19: Andrea shares some valuable tips on getting the most out of a professional Instagram account. 24:23: Andrea, who shares about her struggles via her social media accounts, describes the freedom of letting others shoulder your burdens. 27:47: Orris explains how having a positive body image and goal setting can drastically impact a person’s mental state. 37:06: Orris shares some tips on successful visualization during times of meditation. 41:01: Andrea closes her interview by giving some tips for anyone currently embarking on a new career journey.   Bullet List of Resources –  Andrea Orris Instagram
46:05 8/10/21
120: How to Sell a Business — Michelle Seiler Tucker
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra interviews Michelle Seiler Tucker, the Founder and CEO of Seiler Tucker Incorporated. She and her firm have sold over a thousand businesses in nearly every vertical. She has spent two decades in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and holds the title of Mergers and Acquisitions Master Intermediary, as well as being a Certified Mergers and Acquisitions Professional and a Certified Senior Business Analyst. She also, herself, owns multiple businesses. Michelle is a seasoned M&A professional and, on the podcast, offers nearly an hour of free M&A consulting for anyone who owns a business, is thinking about starting a business, or who is proactively looking to sell their current business. The conversation spans many topics, including a discussion on her latest book Exit Rich, foundational tenets to consider when assessing the “sellability” of a company, the importance of knowing when to emotionally detach and sell a business, and much more.   Moving Quotes: "A lot of people look at their businesses like their babies. We have to stop doing that... Treat your business like the valuable asset that it is." "Being in a business is not easy. And trying to sell a business for millions is certainly no easy task. So you have to have a powerful why to keep you motivated and in the game." "If you don't know where you're going, you end up nowhere... Business owners don't plan to fail; they fail to plan. Unless they have a destination in mind, they're driving around in circles — driving up and down the financial hills." "It's not what you know that gets you in trouble; it's what you don't know. And you don't know what you don't know... Learn from other people's mistakes, rather than your own." "To make sure a business is sellable, make sure the business is not centered around you. And make sure all of the data is on paper and not in your head." "Seventy percent of business owners are going out of business because they stop doing A.I.M. — "'Always Innovate and Market.'" "I never recommend someone go and start their own business when there are so many existing businesses for sale. It will probably cost you less money to buy an existing business than to start one."   Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed: 3:26: Michelle discusses her newest book Exit Rich, which lays out foundational concepts around when and how to sell a business. 7:10: Michelle explains how entrepreneurs should mentally prepare when building a business that is sellable and how lack of preparation will only lead to failure. 12:06: Seiler Tucker describes the five different types of business buyers. 14:48: Seiler Tucker discusses the importance of knowing the why — the rationale behind choosing to sell your company. 18:56: Michelle begins to discuss the “six P’s,” which are foundational pillars of companies that are primed to sell. 23:23: Michelle spends some time speaking on the most foundational of the six P’s — proprietary — and how this singular pillar can multiply the value of a company. 32:31: Seiler Tucker discusses the value of working with a mergers and acquisitions professional like herself versus trying to go it alone. 36:17: Michelle shares some advice for dance studio owners to make their businesses more attractive to buyers. 43:08: Seiler Tucker discusses the importance of knowing when to exit and how some owners have doomed their businesses by refusing to let go. 49:31: Michelle gives information on the benefits and perks of working alongside her company while undergoing a sale.   Bullet List of Resources –  Michelle Seiler Tucker LinkedIn Twitter Exit Rich book Book Website On Amazon Seiler Tucker: The Business Authorities Company Website Twitter Facebook Instagram
54:19 8/3/21
119: Bringing Dance to America’s Heartland — Gil Boggs
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra speaks with Gil Boggs, Artistic Director at Colorado Ballet. Boggs began his career with the Atlanta Ballet before joining American Ballet Theatre, where he served a remarkable 17-year tenure. Boggs has also performed with the Twyla Tharp Dance Company, Baryshnikov and Company, Nureyev and Friends, and has made several guest appearances around the world. Boggs has also presented 15 world premieres and 15 Colorado Ballet premieres by renowned choreographers such as Twyla Tharp and Lar Lubovitch. From the outset, Gil has been in love the state of Colorado. Having lived and worked in the New York City area for decades, a move to America’s heartland was a welcome change. However, from the outset, Gil had to overcome some serious hurdles — not the least of which was leading the company out of its financial struggle. But, because of some grit and determination, Gil did just that. On the podcast, he tells his whole story, including dancing with some of the world’s brightest and best, being in a single company for 17 years, and more.    Moving Quotes: "With my staff, we are nurturing dancers. We're not telling them what's wrong and that you have to do this and you have to do that. We are collaborating with these people and getting the best out of them." "People ask me, 'What does it take to get into a company?' You have to be confident. You have to show confidence in yourself... And find inspiration in what you're doing, and you'll grow quickly." [On dancing with American Ballet Theatre] "The choreographers that came through. The rep that came in. It was all so inspiring. And I was able to grow as an artist there." "Over time, I want to see dancers maintain their integrity to the artform. There's a way you go about training yourself, learning a ballet, and performing a ballet. And I'd hate to see people deviate from that form and do it halfway."   Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed: 3:15: Gil discusses his current position as Artistic Director at Colorado Ballet and how he came to join the company. 8:14: Gil explains his earliest moves at the helm of Colorado Ballet and how he turned the company from financial struggle to thriving business, even during a recession. 13:02: Boggs, who took some financial risks early in his time as artistic director, discusses why he decided to “roll the dice” on performing some lesser known works. 14:20: Gil describes some of his earliest hurdles as artistic director and how he overcame. 16:38: Boggs explains why he decided to stay at American Ballet Theatre for so much of his career — a 17-year-long tenure. 20:30: Boggs shares some advice for aspiring dancers that are currently plotting their career paths. 22:59: Gil, who has danced underneath some of the world’s best, describes his experience learning from Mikhael Baryshnikov and Twyla Tharp.  25:17: Boggs shares his perspective on how ballet is changing and why certain aspects of the art must remain intact. 26:33: Gil discusses what’s next for his company and his eagerness to return to the stage once again. 28:51: Gil shares some extremely practical advice for anyone looking to make a career inside of the world of dance.   Bullet List of Resources –  Gil Boggs LinkedIn Bio on Colorado Ballet Company Website Instagram Twitter Facebook YouTube
32:09 7/27/21
118: Learning from My Students — Jeffrey Edwards
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra interviews Jeffrey Edwards, dance professor at The Juilliard School. During his run as a performer, Jeff was a leading dancer for the New York Ballet, the Zurich Ballet, and the Lyon Opera Ballet. Edwards, who holds a degree from Brown University, has taught for conservatories and professional ballet companies around the world and has taught ballet at Harvard, Cornell, Princeton, Yale, and Brown. Additionally, he’s been able to choreograph various works, including the Broadway musical Billy Elliot. Jeff knows that, for the truly successful, learning never ends. And, if any group has pushed him to be a lifelong learner, it’s been his students. On the podcast, Jeff reflects on the pride he feels as a Juilliard faculty member, the daily challenge of teaching such talented students, his own run as a student being trained by some of the world’s most successful artists, and so much more.   Moving Quotes: "At Juilliard, you have these very curious young adults who are so talented and so steeped in potential — very hungry for information. It makes me want to remain a perpetual student as well. It's so much about the learning... I'm inspired to be in the room with students who are always learning." [On teaching dance to non-dance students] "I love the idea of coming up with language that is inclusive and can really inspire a broader public to be excited about what we do." "The creativity of parenting... I feel like I'm a better parent because of my intense work as an artist — it's informed my parenting in so many ways. And, on the other hand, my experience of parenting translates back to how I am in the studio... I'm really proud of that." "I would encourage everyone to not be fearful that pursuing [balance in life] is going to take away from what you do well." "This is how ballet is changing - there's much more room for dialogue than there ever has been." [When looking for mentors] "Reach out and don't be shy. And ask for help." "Assumptions can be our enemy in many ways, especially in ballet." "Put yourself out there and be curious."   Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed: 3:17: Jeffrey discusses his role as dance professor at the esteemed Juilliard School. 4:37: Jeffrey explains how Juilliard provides dance education across a wide array of styles and how his very own students push him to be a better dancer, teacher, and person. 8:28: Edwards explains how, to his surprise, often non-dance students are the once that press him to think more deeply about the art. 11:33: Edwards, who has performed across the world, compares dancing for a top American company versus a top European company. 16:02: Jeffrey describes his time being coached by the legendary Mikhail Baryshnikov. 19:23: Edwards shines light on his role models and mentors and shares some advice for anyone looking for mentorship opportunities. 24:08: Jeffrey, who is an extremely accomplished and decorated performer and teacher, discusses what gives him the most pride. 26:26: Jeffrey shares some wisdom on finding balance in life, as many different pursuits try to dominate your attention. 28:03: Jeffrey looks to the future, expressing eagerness to return to the post-pandemic stage. 31:07: Edwards gives some final advice for listeners who are looking to pursue their lives’ dreams.   Bullet List of Resources –  Jeffrey Edwards On the Juilliard website
34:12 7/20/21
117: More Necessary Than Ever — Roberto Campanella and Kelly Shaw
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra speaks with Roberto Campanella and Kelly Shaw of ProArteDanza. At the company, Roberto and Kelly serve as artistic director and dance artist, respectively. Roberto — a native of Rome, Italy — trained at some of Italy’s finest schools before having a successful career as a professional dancer. Roberto also has extensive experience working in film. Kelly, who is also a choreographer, is well respected around Toronto for her art and works as a Pilates, Barre, and dance instructor in addition to her on-stage work. Both Roberto and Kelly feel pandemic pains — being absent from the stage for over 15 months. However, they both are looking forward to brighter days that are approaching ever-quickly and are more convinced than ever that, in a world that was largely absent of the arts over the past year, art is needed now more than ever. On the podcast, Kelly and Roberto walk through their own personal journeys in the arts, share career advice, look to the future, and so much more.   Moving Quotes: "The world needs art and beauty and expression more than ever. Even on the hard days, remember that we're more necessary than ever." "The bumps along your professional journey are there for your greatest learnings... They are the greatest gifts you'll ever have." "We see the term 'passion' often in the more contemporary meaning, which is love towards what you do. But what about the biblical sense of 'passion,' which is sacrificing? You have to sacrifice for what you love." "As a young dancer, you don't know anything, but you have the capacity to learn and hold everything. If you're driven, you have space to learn and not be knocked down by the 'no's." "Being imperfect but still maintaining that hunger and passion can propel and become an engine for you. That has shaped me as a professional dancer." "No passion; no contract."   Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed: 3:52: Roberto describes ProArteDanza and its upcoming summer intensive program and briefly discusses his own dance career. 7:52: Kelly, who holds multiple jobs in the Toronto area, shares how she juggles so many roles and gives some history on how she came to ProArteDanza. 13:14: Roberto, who has been with ProArteDanza since its founding, discusses the company’s passion and how it has sustained itself over the years. 15:20: Kelly walks through her process on choosing a company to work for and reminds listeners that all our challenges in life are for our good. 19:11: Kelly shares some advice for young people looking to build their careers in dance. 26:45: Roberto describes his company’s upcoming summer intensive program — an extremely challenging but rewarding program that will end in granting a participant a company contract. 29:41: Kelly explains what makes a dancer tough — physically, mentally, and spiritually. 33:52: Roberto discusses his most proud accomplishment — his successful career as a film actor, including his involvement in an Oscar-nominated film. 39:48: Kelly and Roberto speak to their next projects and upcoming goals. 43:54: Kelly and Roberto share some final words of advice for aspiring choreographers and dancers.   Bullet List of Resources –  Roberto Campanella LinkedIn Instagram On IMDB Kelly Shaw Instagram Article in Toronto Guardian ProArteDanza Company Website Instagram YouTube Facebook Info on Summer Intensive Program
47:48 7/13/21