Ep. #101 New Perspectives with Hok

Words That Move Me with Dana Wilson
Words That Move Me with Dana Wilson
Ep. #101 New Perspectives with Hok
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This week’s guest is unique in practically every way… I mean, to start, he is Japanese with an English accent, he has worked in over 50 countries, has an Emmy for outstanding choreography…and a hair salon, ANNNND his first dance class ever was a Locking class. He is a decorated dancer and choreographer and a budding philosopher, you’ll see 😉  In this episode, we dig into praise and accolades, real life super powers, on the clock culture shocks, and the deep seeded values that drive our work and play.   Movers and shakers, friends and family, buckle up and behold, the one and only… Hok! 

Quicklinks:

Hok’s Website: https://www.iamhok.com/

“Hummingbird and the Flower”:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cT3aistRK5Y

Smac episode: https://www.thedanawilson.com/podcast/ep-75-being-creative-idiots-with-smac-mccreanor
Sad Locking: https://www.instagram.com/p/mIE7KwRnOy/?utm_medium=copy_link

Transcript:

Intro: This is words that move me, the podcast where movers and shakers, like you get the information and inspiration. You need to navigate your creative career with clarity and confidence. I am your host master mover, Dana Wilson. And if you’re someone that loves to learn, laugh and is looking to rewrite the starving artist story, then sit tight. But don’t stop moving because you’re in the right place. 

Dana: Hello, my friend. Welcome to the podcast. I’m Dana. I’m so excited. You’re here Wowza. I mean, holy smokes. Have I got a treat for you? This is a good one because my guest is a great one. Hok. Wow. Like many of my guests, Hok is a multi-type, um, meaning he is a dancer choreographer director, movement designer, and a person that has thoughts about titles and genres and creativity. And, oh my gosh, I am so excited to share his perspectives and possibly, probably change some of yours.  

But before we get into my conversation with Hok, it is time for wins. Y’all I have a lot to celebrate this week because Thanksgiving week was bountiful Today, I am celebrating booking my first super bowl commercial. So stoked about it. Shout out to Kansas city and my lovely friends there. Alison and Tyler, and also Becca for helping me get that puppy on tape. I love a self-tape um, so much so celebrating, booking the gig. I’m very excited about it. Excited to tell you more, obviously, after that happens, because you know, a premature celebration can be risky. We haven’t filmed it yet, so anything can happen. Um, but yeah, I’m celebrating, whipping a self-tape together that I am extremely proud of with the support of so many of my friends, um, in a city that was not my home city. It’s good to feel like you can have it together no matter where you are. Okay. That’s me. And what’s going well in my world. Now you go, what’s going well in yours. 

Congrats. My friend. Keep winning. Keep winning. Hell yes. Keep winning. Now let’s all start winning or continue our winning with this conversation with hok. You get a little of it. I don’t even, I’m not even waiting one more second. Just music go. 

Dana:Holy smokes Hok, Welcome to the podcast, my friend.  

Hok: Thank you. Thank you for having me  

Dana: Really excited about this. And like we decided quite last minute to do this conversation right now. And in like one hour, I thought of 75 questions that I like. I have to know the answer to. I’m certain we will not get to all of them, but I’m just grateful  

Hok: 75, 

No, maybe 50, but for real, once I’ve had one question that I was like, um, a very intense root system sprouting out from that. So I’m really excited, but mostly, hi, how are you? Like what’s up? How are you doing?  

I’m good. I’m good. I listened to the one you did with smac actually Gina, my fiance and I, while she was doing my hair, I think smack posts that we randomly saw it and there was, so it was really funny and interesting hearing two people that I’ve known for quite some time, you know, but, um, you know, I felt like on podcasts and stuff, you talk about things you might not necessarily, you know, um, kinda dive into on like a regular he bye, uh, kind of situation. So it was really interesting. Yeah. So thank you.  

Oh, I’m so excited. Um, yeah, I think possibly my secret motive for starting the podcast was to get to know my friends better and get smarter. Like I really I’m learning so much from all of my guests. And even when I do solo episodes to actually find my position on things, I I’m learning so much. It’s the coolest thing. I really recommend everybody have a podcast.  

Um, I didn’t even know you do solo 

Oh yeah, I’ll do episodes by myself, so,  

Oh wow. That’s a completely different task is have to talk to yourself the whole time.  

Oh you know me and my, uh, superpower of speaking. I love to talk. Um, so let’s dig into you, my friend, um, I ask all my, all my guests to introduce themselves. That can be daunting. Um, but go ahead and take the floor.  

All right. Uh, well, hello. My name is hok. My full legal name is Hakuto Konishi and I am fully Japanese blood wise. Uh, I was born in Japan, in Tokyo and Yokohama actually to be specific, which is right next to Tokyo and, uh, my family and I moved to Oxford to England when I was three. And, uh, we would live in a tiny, tiny village, uh, really no Japanese people around. I think there was some Chinese people, but what, you know, just no Asians at all. Everyone was just English. That’s just, oh, you know why I thought the world was the flavor then. Yeah. Uh, when I was 12, a whole family, we’d moved back to Tokyo and um, yeah, I went to public school there. So three to 12, I was completely English, 12 to 20. I was completely Japanese and at 20, uh, honestly the biggest reason that I wanted to move again was because I was afraid that I was going to forget how to speak English because I really never, never used it when I was in Japan. And I thought it’d be such a shame. So I used, um, my school’s foreign exchange program and I came to the states and there was originally going to do two semesters and go back to Japan. But I fell in love with the place ended up staying. It’s been, what about 16, 17 years now that I’ve been in LA? Yeah. It’s insane.  

That qualifies as home.  

 I think so. Yeah. I mean home is earth, I guess. Um, but yeah, I, uh, I started dancing when I was 15 when I was in Tokyo. Uh, it was always a hobby, you know, I was a student first when I came here and I was very Japanese. So you just automatically don’t think and especially back then, you don’t think you could even make a career out of dancing, let alone a foreigner, you know, and I think, um, yeah, I did. My first job, uh, in entertainment industry was a show on Fox called. So you think you can dance, I’ve heard and, uh, yeah, the show did very well. And then I went on to doing America’s best dance crew with my crew and, um, yeah, I think, uh, I was able to kind of go from project to project, uh, one after another, uh, good timing, great people around and yeah, I’ve been able to have a very, uh, fun career now. It’s kind of a mishmash of, uh, dancing, choreography, movement design, directing arts. I just like creating things.

Yes you do. And I am so glad that you do because I love what you create. I really do.  

So that’s um, yeah, that’s uh, uh, I don’t know if it was that quick, but yeah.  

Oh, was beautiful. And there was a lovely connecting, lovely connecting of the dots from Tokyo to England, to LA, to like competition style to now being a producer of your own, your own visions and your own things. Yeah. Um, I did notice, however, you left out from your, uh, dance competition chapter that you are no stranger to winning stuff. You won an Emmy for Wade Robson’s choreography and your performance of the hummingbird dance. Was it actually called the hummingbird or in the  

Flower? Flower on the hummingbird.  

Okay. Yeah. Is one of my favorite things that ever came from, so you think it’s absolutely beautiful. And so you performed it with Jamie, who is, uh, Jamie Goodwin, dear friend. Awesome. And Wade won the Emmy for choreography and then you and quest crew won, uh, ABC. Yes. And you won an Emmy for choreographing, some of the stuff that you did on that show. Yes. Okay. So that’s just facts. I am so curious about that because those are big accolades and that’s huge, tremendous pressure to be so visible. Um, in high demand, those shows are both high stakes and high visibility. So I am wondering what you think about praise and what you think about pressure and how those kind of factor into how you work.  

Um, that’s a, that’s a really good question. Um,  

Thank you. I, that was the first one out of the 75 that I had.  

Yeah. I mean, I felt like, you know, both of those that can work both positively and sort of negatively, you know, and, uh, I think I got lucky in a way that I was fortunate enough to be gifted with those awards, um, without getting so, uh, focused on that, you know, I was more focused on just making some itself. Yeah. I was just more focused on doing the best version of my current self. Like what can I do FSO think how as a solo dancer, what can I at this point offer the most and as quest crew, um, as a group of dancers, you know, what’s the best version of however long, you know, I think it was like a minute or 90 seconds on stage. W w what can we do to make a best version of that? And as a result, uh, people got to see what we did and we got awarded.  So I think it was definitely, uh, it was, it was nice. It was really nice that, uh, we were able to kind of follow our heart and got a little bit of validation, you know, um, from that. And, uh, I T I feel like, you know, sometimes when the focus comes for sort of, um, I have to get that, or I have to do this, sometimes that itself could crush you, you know? So, um, but for some people that could be the motivation to, um, I think it’s a good mixture. I know when it’s competition settings, I’m a very, very competitive person.  

 Oh, yes. Tell me more 

like lifetime, like even as a child.  Oh yeah. Well, the thing is naturally, I’m not really, you know, um, at PE I was really bad at PE in school and, uh, when we would play card games or little games with my dad, when I was little, I would always be losing. And I feel like I wouldn’t win by default, you know? So I was always just so frustrated as a kid. And I, I think work in Canada, then the norm to get why one was just, that was a given. Like, I, I, there was no other way for me. It’s not like, naturally I’m faster at running, so I don’t have to try as hard or naturally I’m good at football basketball. Yeah. I felt like I didn’t get that little bonus, you know, genetics. So I think, yeah. And that definitely helped me, um, for the things I’ve done thus far, you know, for, so you think maybe I wasn’t as, uh, traditionally classically trained, but so, you know, when it came time for the competition, of course I have to work harder, but that’s not, it’s not really a stress or, um, a surprise really. It’s just, if you, if you, if you don’t have it just, you know, work harder and smarter and  Yeah, that’s it. And I think I’ve applied that philosophy to everything I do. And the good thing is it’s, it doesn’t end that it’s not like, uh, you’re not fast at running. So the end it’s like, okay, you’re not fast at running by default. So what can you do so that you can become faster than everyone else? Uh, you’re not naturally gifted with this yet, you know, right now, but that doesn’t mean it’s like that eternally. And I think I really like it, that the only thing that I’m the only person that can change that is you, you know, I feel like the, the, the fact that you, we have the freedom to be able to do that and control our life. I just, I love that.  

Oh, I love that answer. And I love the mindset that, you know, you can stay competitive and kind of objectively analyzing your strengths and weaknesses in a way that might even beef up a strength for you. That’s the majority of other people’s weakness. Like I grew up in a competition dance environment and I, nobody likes losing, like, nobody likes that. I was never the most technical I had, like my shoulders up here in my ears and like very little core strength. I’m still working on it. Um, but I, I did not win often. Like first place was not a place that I saw very often, but I got really good at like, okay, well, I don’t have a billion determines and I don’t have super high leaps. And, and, and, but I really think like that assessment of why people were winning, why I maybe wasn’t and not letting that be the end of it saying, okay, well, maybe I don’t have those things, but dammit, I can perform.  Right. And I think my stage presence and maybe call them storytelling abilities or showmanship perhaps started being like, I was working on those at a really young age because I had the platform too. But also because I was like, oh, that’s something I can do. And it seems like other people maybe aren’t doing that, they were very focused on all the technical stuff. Right. So I feel like I got kind of a leg up and started doing that sort of thing early. Um, okay. So that leads me to the obvious follow-up question. What are your strengths? Like, what are you, what’s your superpower,  

Uh, talking about dance?or in general?

Ooh, let’s go broad in general.

 Um, okay. So it’s funny that, um, I, I don’t know if it will be a superpower for a lot of people, but it, as a result, it somehow ends up being my superpower. But I think it’s to believe that it’s not good enough um, to such an extent 

I wouldn’t make such a good team because I’m like, oh, that’s great. Oh, I love that. That’s perfect. This looks awesome.  

Yeah, I, yeah. So it’s like, I mean, obviously it’s a, it’s a balance. I think that everyone needs, but, um, yeah, for a lot of things I do, uh, I, I always look at what it could be and then I think it’s, it’s never, never enough in a way, you know, and I think because it’s never good enough, I put the work in to make it better. I, I, there’s no such thing as perfect, but as close as I can physically make it to be. And, um, yeah, it’s weird because, uh, I’m able to come up with the quality that I do because it starts off from a place that I don’t believe it’s good enough. So I would add, and sometimes it already is dependent on how you look at it, but I would do a hundred thousand extra coats  

Because before you decided that the base was the best one.  

Yeah. Because I, I dunno, I just believe that, uh, somewhere in the separate alternate universe, there’s another me doing it  a little better, so I have to do it better than him. You know,  

That sounds brilliant. And also like a recipe for disaster to me, like, how do you manage perfectionism? How do you not burn out on really striving to be perfect? Or maybe I guess the more concise question is when do you know, or how do you know that, you know, it’s good enough?  

Uh, the short answer would be, I don’t, I think whenever I release anything into the world, it’s still not good enough, but it will do, um, kind of feeling. Um, I think it helps that I do, you know, in the back of my mind, I do understand that there is no such thing as perfect. So,  

So you’re not like beating yourself up as you went  

Um, no, I’m not. Um, I’m not chasing that, but even with that said, I would want a nice quality, you know? So, uh, yeah, it’s, it’s a, it’s a fine balance of sanity and insanity, I guess,  

Sanity and drive like pursuit. Um, this reminds me actually of a great conversation I had with Megan Lawson. Yeah. But we were talking about a person that she works with often a collaborator who will never accept the first thing. The first thing, no matter what, even if it’s like really exceptional and spirited and, and well thought out and, you know, deliver it, they will never accept the first thing they will ask for. There will be notes. There will be changes 100% of the time. And occasionally they’ll go back to saying, you know what, no, the first version was better. We’ll use that. Right. But it’s almost that if, if you didn’t try for what else or for what further, then you haven’t done the process, like the process of finding the best you can do. Like what might be the first thing that you did, but you won’t know it unless you’ve tried other things. And that rings super true to me. I think there’s a lot of value in that type of mentality.  

Yeah. He just, I think you have to know how to balance it within yourself, you know, because it’s not, it’s, it’s, it’s rough. I won’t play.  

 I’m reminded too that sometimes you, the creator in this case, the choreographer or movement designer, which I want to talk about that title by the way. Cause I love it. Um, sometimes it’s not up to you. There is sometimes a deadline where whatever it is right now is what it is. So whether you think was done or not is irrelevant,  

Which tremendously I am a person that needs deadlines because I need, um, and another external factor that takes it away from me. And you say, okay, this is, this is the value for now. You know, because the thing is, you can keep it unfinished and it will always get better. But the thing is, if it doesn’t see the light of day, it’s, you know, it’s, it’s nothing for what?  

Yeah. Or, or maybe it’s just practice. And I don’t mean to say, yeah, yeah, maybe it’s practice.  

Yeah. And I feel like I’m constantly having to remind myself that, you know, even if it’s 30%, 40% of the potential is 30% more than zero, you know?  

Ooh, love that. Yup. That’s momentum for sure.  

Yeah. You just have to, you know, uh, just deal with it. And the thing is yourself, you’re, you’re only going to care about your, uh, projects and what you create more than anyone else in the world. All the things that you see, no one else sees all cares for better or for worse.  

I think we’re our own toughest critics. For sure. I can’t wait to make something with, you can just see these two opposing forces me being like, I love it.  

That’s great. That’s great. Because I think when I’m by myself, that that character doesn’t exist in me.  

Here’s a follow-up question. I’m learning this even more about myself as I become older and more exposed to other types of art. I have learned that the thing I’m most drawn to in other mediums is a human quality. I love like glue dripping out of a crack or like handwritten things or, you know, like unpolished surfaces, things that aren’t tremendously refined. So I think that translates in my work. It is human. It is, I usually will pick the not perfect pass, um, for the final edit because some of the times there’s something more right about it than perfection. Like that’s what I love. So my question for you, I guess, is what type of art are you drawn to and do you see those, uh, values come through in your work?  

I think, uh, whatever medium it is, uh, when it opens up a brand new perspective.  

Oh then 100%. Yes. That’s your work?  

That’s my cup of tea. Yeah. Yeah. Uh, and it could be, honestly, the simplest thing is, you know, um, Hey, in the beat and the music that you didn’t know existed, you know, wants off, do you that dance piece you’ll, you will hear the music in a different way. Just that is that it’s a tiny way open their perspective, but you know, other things, if, um, oh, you never thought you could see a certain subject in this kind of way or you would, it just like, I think it’s amazing when you can open up someone’s world and their, their entire existence, a whole another layer. Uh, and I just like it when that happens to me. So I think whenever I create, I try to sprinkle an essence of that. So when I look back and, you know, 5, 10, 50 years, yeah. I can say that I’ve done a decent amount of that.  

I would say with full confidence that when I watch your work, I am seeing things a different way than I ever have. I would consider your work like, or when I think of it broadly, and I know that you do a lot, but it looks to me like a living kaleidoscope, like a kaleidoscope made of movement, sometimes human bodies, not all the time. Um, and, and I love, I was not good at, but I love geometry and architecture. Um, is that something that you’ve been good at in the past because you actually have a graphic design degree, right?  

Yeah. I think, um,  Yeah, no, I mean, I, I wasn’t that, especially fond of math growing up. 

That was funny. Yeah. 

Um, I know when I was little, uh, other than like the schoolwork at home, we had to, my mum, my mom taught my sister at night Japanese, and then my dad taught my sister and I Japanese level math, because it was just different than what we were doing.  

Very high level  

That’s when it was higher than, um, than in England. And I, I think for them, they didn’t want us to someday move back to Japan and be that far behind from the same age level. So yeah, they, they wanted us to have the bare minimum and I, and I hated it. I really, I just, you know, cause my friends are just outside playing football when we went to study and I can  Understand this mathematics inside.  Yeah. I mean, I’ve always been a fully fond of art and just beautiful things in general. Um, I can’t, I honestly don’t like, I, I don’t know when I got drawn to geometry, um, I think just naturally from seeking beautiful things, I started liking symetry Um, and then picking up uh tutting I think there was a lot of things in common. Yeah. And it just kind of expanded expanded from there, but it’s really weird because like you say, I do different things and even within dance, I felt like the curiosity and love I have towards the geometry geometric stuff I make is vastly different from the love of have towards the feeling when I do locking in any function, it’s, it’s very different, but it’s just, yeah. It’s like someone saying, Hey, do like, um, orange juice or steak. It’s just very different, you know, you can’t compare it. You’re just like them both. Yeah. Yeah.  

Okay. So tough question to answer. What is your favorite mode to be making in because obviously they’re different, but do you have a preferred, like, I guess if you got to spend your day doing one thing, what would it be? Would it be like a jam, a cipher or directing, designing movement for some purpose? I guess I’m asking you the question that you hate asking, like making the comparison of things that are different.  

No, no. I think, um, right now the 2021 November version of me is, uh, they can make, can beautiful things, just, um, something that’s beautiful that would, uh, that will still have a value. If someone looked at it a hundred years, thousand years from now, you know, um, back height and thinking of that kind of scale and wandering, I think that’s, uh, that’s something I like to do.  

Yes. That’s amazing. I’m so glad that you get to do that. Um, do you find yourself spending your days that way often?  

I think I do. Uh, whether it be beauty or something interesting. Um, I think that’s my driving force behind anything. Uh, if I’m not curious or keen on it, there is no energy or power towards that. You know, I can’t, um, I’m just not clearly not interested and I’m very bad at doing something that I’m not interested in. So  

I feel you, however, I can get interested in almost anything. It is a gift  

That is a superpower  That is super super power. Um, okay. It’s my brain is making this connection and I’m going to try to verbalize it, but I feel like the synapses are still like, we’re still firing we’re in workshop mode over here, but it sounds like when you’re in the mode of creating something visual, um, maybe that’s a dance, but maybe it’s a shape. Maybe that’s a series of shapes connected, um, that your goal is impermanence lasting, some lasting ability and that the eye of the audience or the beholder themselves will have it shift in perspective because of this. Um, because of this thing, versus when you are dancing, there is, it is zero, nothing about it is forever. It is 100% fleeting. Every feeling of every step you take happens in energy is gone and you were onto the next one. And in that experience, there is no audience. There is no perspective to be shifted. You are just being dancing and those are steak in orange juice, 

100%, totally two totally different things. Um, but you were really good at both of them. So I want to talk about, I want to talk about the visceral being dancing part, um, because, um, I’m pretty sure we met in a locking glass somewhere in the world. Was it Hilton Bosch in LA maybe? Or  

Where did we meet during? Um, so you think that is probably,  

Uh, yeah, I I’m, I’m wondering if you were assisting someone and we met through SYTYCD

And what season were you on  

Season three?  Oh my gosh. Work. Cause I, I,   I think I met you. And then I learned that I found out that you locked after that. And then I was like, wait, what what’s happening?  

I did assist Marty think early on, but then he and I co choreographed in season seven, but that was long after we got to work with Jose and comfort. And it was so much fun. Um, but whoa, so intense. Um, I don’t know when it was, but I know that period and people listening to this show who know that was the first time I’ve called it a show podcast. Um, people who live in it really is, it is right now. Cause I’m watching you. So people know how fond I am of locking anybody who had who’s ever taken my class knows that locking is my favorite style period, hands down. Um, because I would say it’s impossible to dance that style without smiling, without being joyful, but I have proven myself wrong. Um, oh, I, while I was doing my, my year of doing daily, I call it doing daily where I made an Instagram video every single day for over a year. I up  Too in that way.  Oh my God, my friend really early, early on. And by the way, it went for way more than a year. I did like over 420 days, but I was counting 

good job.  

Well, you know, it’s funny. I would love to talk about that with you because I have absolutely shifted from that. There are rare are the days that I make a video for Instagram, maybe like maybe like 11 this year. I don’t know. It’s not the medium that I make for anymore. And I think that’s okay. But I do miss the feeling of knowing every single day that I would make something. I love that feeling and I don’t have that anymore, but that, wasn’t what I was going to say. What was I going to say? Oh, sloppy, sad locking. So in one of my early videos, I   Just, I’m going to try,  I’m going to find it and send it to you. I’ll link it in the show notes, we were on the road with JT, uh, for 20/20. Oh my God. Now I can’t even remember if it was future sex for 20/20. It doesn’t matter. And we were at some, at some hotel and I was jet lagged and they had a gym that had mirrors. So I just went in there to gym and I was locking around a little bit and I had this idea that was like, what if locking wasn’t happy? What if it was really sad? And that was such a challenge for me, but it made it like a gap. I made it a gimmick. Um, and it was hysterical. Like every, every up is like a sniffle and every lock is like, and it’s hysterical. Um, so I would say is my favorite style because you can’t do it sad, but now I know you can do it sad. Yeah,  

Absolutely.  

Um, tell me your history with, I would say locking, but I’m curious about all the street styles period, because on, so you think you were considered to be a b-boy, right?  

Yeah. 

Is that how you think of yourself?  

Uh, no, no, not at all. Um, so I started dancing, uh, like I said, um, in Japan and I, I didn’t grow up with dancing around whatsoever. I didn’t even know the existence of any of the street styles. I, my sister did ballet in England, but that was like the closest thing. And I, I didn’t know. I know we liked to watch my parents liked, uh, musical, so I did go up watching different musicals and we would do at school.  

What’s your favorite? What’s your favorite musical

Favorite musical? 

Yes. That, uh, that we did or just like  Everything in the world.  

Oh,  Sorry. I’m totally sidetracking us.  

 No, no, no, no. Um, I don’t know if it’s my favorite, but Starlight express was the first one that I ever saw. And, um, you know, that’s a pretty crazy one to dive into because the stage goes around you, it goes behind and they’re on roller skates and roller blades. Yeah. So it’s yeah. I was just like, what is it’s you know, good. So I  

Think that explains a lot. Yeah.  

Yeah. It was really good that it, I think just right from the get-go it opened up my mind of what a stage performance could be, you know? Cause I think if you go up just seeing it on a tiny box on stages, think that’s everything. Right. And you  

Could tire that pretty quickly.  

Yeah. Yeah. Um, yeah, but, uh, yeah. So in Japan, I, uh, there was a dance show on TV at the time going on and uh, I watched this one hip hop dance dancer, and I was just, was just so blown away. It was nothing like anything I’ve seen before. I was like, I don’t know. I don’t know what that is, but I  I need to, I need to do that, but I didn’t have any friends that dance so. I didn’t know of any studios. And it wasn’t like now where you Google it and anything just  pops up. So I think just for a year, I continued just watching that TV show and trying to, you know, trying to copy it. And then a year later on the show, they talked about that studio, uh, which was pretty close to me. So I decided to go the next day. And uh, I said, yeah, I want to, I saw it on TV. I want to do hip hop. And, uh, that day, uh, the, the personnel studio was like, oh, we only have a locking class today. And I don’t know the difference. So I was like, okay, I’ll take that. And that’s how I started locking.   

Literally your first fucking dance class. Yeah, yeah. Having to brace myself, this is the coolest thing I’ve ever heard. Oh my God.  

So, and I didn’t really know much. I think I went into it one in like different other hip hop styles too, but then it was like, okay, I’ll, you know, Vegas can’t be chooses. So I just took what, what was available. And then, uh, I think for the first, let’s say maybe two, three years, I just did locking. And then I did, uh, hip hop. And then, uh, I think after that went into braking and then I joined a b-boy crew in Japan, and then I was doing that, uh, for a couple of years. And then after that, I, uh, yeah, I, I asked during, so you think it just opened my brain up to all these different styles and, uh, yeah, I don’t even at that point, you know, um, I felt like as a TV show, you have to label them, oh, is it just temporary? You know,  

And I dislike the most about this  

And I, and I get it for TV and for, you know, regular people that don’t understand dance. It’s just so much easier to understand and categorize people that way. Um, but yeah, it was just like a mish-mash, uh, but also get an exposure from TV. Uh, there’s a lot of, um, kind of hate, might be a strong word, but you know, there’s a lot of opinions that are like, oh, he’s not a baby boy. He’s not a lock it, all these, but the thing is, I don’t think I really cared that much for it. And it was like, sure, if, if, if it’s not breaking fine where you can, you can call it whatever, but I’ll just do me. And then, uh, even when we did quest, it was like the same thing. And I’m sure, you know, um, different people have, uh, the different, uh, drives and the reasons why they dance and culture, they protected their own perspectives. So, uh, yeah, definitely nothing against any viewpoints. We were all just different. And you have your own justifications. Uh, yeah. Even with quest, it was like, oh, but they’re not doing this. Or when we started activism stuff, it’s like, oh, that’s not dancing. I’m like, okay, that’s fine. It’s not dancing. It’s, um,  

Movement designing instead of choreography or what is the, what’s the deciding?  

Uh, I’m sure there was a lot of factors, but that was definitely one of them where it’s like, oh, that’s not the answer. And that’s just making shapes and it’s like, sure. Yeah. Like, yeah, possibly agree. So let’s not call it out, but is it dope? Yep. That’s it? Yep. If it is, yes. Then let’s just move on. And I feel like, um, for me personally, because I do like to continuously push the boundaries, I think it’s such a shame when, uh, the end products gets limited because of the title or the category, you know, I think it should be the other way round it’s it should be the, the main focus is how can we make something better and how can we up the quality? Uh, and I think for me, that’s my way of respecting all the people that came before us, you know, cause I think if you’re not  

Eventually  

Exactly, exactly. And I think in a short span, short, it could survive. But if you look at it in the long run, it’s gonna, it’s gonna rot and it’s going to disappear. And I feel like that’s, that’s the most disrespectful thing you can do to all the people that came before us. So I think the only way to do it is figuring out how to up the game, you know? So I think because I’ve had that mindset, uh, I’ve never been a strong advocate for titles, whether it start styles or what I do, I might be a little too flexible with that. It’s like, are you a dancer? I don’t know. Uh, I can I now? Yes. Um, are you a choreographer? I mean, I can, but yeah, I used the active,  

I think my identity, well, that sounds like, that sounds like another superpower. I mean, any strength, overused might become a weakness for sure. But it sounds like an asset that you’d be able to think about yourself and what you’re capable of more fluidly versus immediately putting yourself into a box and, and what you do, right. Like with the lid screwed on tight and all neaten consolidated, then yeah. The opportunity to expand or to grow is not, is not as high. Um, I love this. It also brings up again the idea of balance, which this is what everything always becomes about. And every podcast I walk away like, oh yeah, balance. Right. A little bit of that a little bit, but I’m like, there is value to the purist, right. There is value to the person who’s like, that’s not what it is or what it was about at the beginning. Yeah. And like hearing that and being like, Hmm, I understand that perspective. And whoa, thank you for reminding me and sharing what the origins are. I think it’s important. Yes. And okay. What next and where, where do we go from there? Because yeah, I think especially in street styles, they were not created to be the same forever. I don’t think anybody like stepped into a psych cipher thinking, this is the way it should always be done forever. Right, right, right. And so  

 It’s like, they both have to coexist to, you know, and it’s like, you need the historian that will preserve the history and tell the story of how it was. And there’s all these bits and in between, and then you have this end of  

The revolutionary side, the innovator.  

Right. But I feel like it has to both co-exist uh, to have the true value is what I believe in.  

I love your mindset about that. I’m going to, I’m going to adopt that for my own. Yeah. And I’m going to pretend that it was mine all along. Okay. So I do, I have several more questions, but I’m gonna, I’m gonna try to wrap this up with somewhat of a burnout round. Oh, wait. Before the burnout round one more. This one, this question is coming from someone within my words that moved me community. I had just before this interview, I was coming from a thanks sharing where we’re not going at Thanksgiving. It was a sharing of wins and gratitude for each other. Um, and I let them know that I would be talking to you and I had someone ask, what should I ask, talk about? And they asked, yeah, brilliant. I swear everybody should have a podcast. I’m a brilliant question about knowing how internationally you work.  Like you work all over the world and work with different people all over the world. And, um, I, I suppose I would love to hear what have you to say about different worth work ethics in different places without doing the overgeneralization thing, which I, I do all the time I try not to do. And I know that we’re all unique and cool, but it’s rare that it’s rare that a person get to do their thing all over the world because usually their thing is tied to a specific part of the world, but Dan’s being such an international thing. Um, yeah. I’m so curious. I thought that was a great question. I’m curious about what you’ve learned about how people work in different places.  

Um, I think one that stands out is, uh, I got to work on a show called strict dance of China, the past three seasons in Shanghai. Uh, and the first season I was so stressed, uh, because, uh, the difference in culture and the idea of taking a pre existing thing and just, um, copy and paste in, it was, uh, there was not even an ounce of guilt or a bad thing at all. And I can understand that because I feel like coming from my background, it made no, like it made no sense, you know, the, the, it was just your duty to be original and pro, you know, provide something new to the scene. And that’s kind of how you stand out and ciphers old bowls or anything competitions. But I completely, uh, didn’t understand that in the beginning. I do understand that if you’re born and you grow up in a culture in a society that everything around you, um, from food to clothing, to all the businesses, the model is taken a preexisting, something and then mass producing it.  

Why wouldn’t you think that’s the norm of everything? You know? So I think it took a while for me to understand that, oh, and I was really surprised because like you said, I, you know, growing up, I’ve traveled a lot with work. I’ve traveled a lot. I didn’t think in my mid thirties I would have a major culture shock, but I did. And it was really eye opening. I think I posted a series of it, uh, on my IgE story. Um, I think I saved it, but because it was such a stress stressful yeah. Eye opening experience. But yeah, it wasn’t a that until that point that, you know, I even realized, and I humbled myself that, oh my norm, isn’t the universal norm. And you have to understand that, you know, it’s, it’s one way of looking at things, but just as strong as you have your core, someone else might have that too. And I think, um, I think it’s important to respect the differences. You know, you don’t have to agree with it, but just, uh, kind of understanding that that exists. And I think, yeah, uh, just trying to push your views to someone else, like if it matches great, but you have to understand they’re not you. So I think,  

And just the material that you are working with is not a great use of time and energy.  

Right. Right. And I think it’s a, you know, um, the first thing you want to do is that, you know, because I felt like doubting, uh, and taken apart, all these beliefs that you believe is true. I think it’s people don’t do that by default because it makes you worried. It kind of crumbles your world that you believe in. But the thing is, if you can do that once and still be stable with it, I think it opens up your world and you have a better understanding of, of just people in general. That’s how I honestly feel like the best way for anyone is, uh, w I mean, whether it be physically or virtually, however it is, but to see different cultures or just, you don’t have to do anything, go to the other side of the earth and see the people there and  

Just literally open your eyes.  

Yeah. Cause the thing is your, your tradition and your basics could, you know, it’s probably fine with the area that you live in. You go completely different. And even just like what people eat, what they do when they wake up, how they stand, how they sit, you know, those things you can to, I feel is gonna open up your mind. And I feel like that is the way to understand more people. And I feel like a lot of arguments happen because that doesn’t happen. You’re not able to see things from their way. Yes.  

Oh, thank you so much for adding that. And thank you, Rachel, Gail tan for asking that question. So cool. Um, I love that. Okay. Feels like that was really beautiful and poetic, and this has got to be jarring. So buckle up  

Everybody though. Rapid fire questions.  

Ready? So try to be quick. All right. Okay. I know I’ve already asked you, I’ve already asked your biggest, your greatest strength. And I want to know what is your greatest weakness go? And you can say for take turns. It is mine. It is my greatest weakness.  

Uh, greatest weakness is a laziness by default. I’m not naturally very lazy.  

I don’t believe you, but work. Um, what is a book that changed the game for you?  

Ooh, uh, uh, so it’s a Japanese book called , which translates to gymnastics of the mind. And it’s basically a series of, uh, these like riddles and quizzes. Uh, there’s like maybe like a hundred, 150, uh, for one book. And, uh, my dad kind of liked those puzzles. So I think I got introduced to that early in my teens and that opened up my mind, like crazy.  

I love that. Okay, awesome. Um, what is the name of your favorite playlist on Spotify? And is it public because I want to go listen to it.  

Oh,  

And are you a Spotify person? I might have just made a huge assumption about your moral fiber?  

A hundred percent. I mean, is there anyone that says no to that?  

Oh, I do know. I do know iTunes, radio, apple radio people. Anyways, I can’t stand iTunes or anything about it, period. It makes it, you know, this about me enraged. I am actively pissed when I think about,  

Yeah. I mean, I felt like I don’t do that many subscription stuff, but Spotify, I feel like you, yeah, you can’t live without it, but I have a, um, a Spotify playlist called Gulmay funk and I basically, it’s  Basically butter it’s,  It’s like random funk beats that I find. Uh, and they always changes, but like that would feel good to listen to while you’re cooking. Um,  

Yeah, that makes sense. 

It’s kind of like the excitement of the funk and the excitement of what you’re making. It just like feels good to you.  

Love that. Um, is it public? Cause I’m going go try, find that  

It’s not, I will figure out how to make it public. Okay.  

Do that. Um, okay. Everyday carry or EDC. It’s a big, popular thing on the internet, but I think you are a very technical, capable person. Um, and I’m so curious. What are the things, the tools that you use and have with you on a daily basis?  

Oh, just tool. Just my phone. Okay.  

Yeah. Phones have really changed the game. I mean,  

Yeah, it has. I mean, it’s a phone, but I mean, I felt like the least thing you could do with it is call someone. So it’s, it’s just like a little computer in it.  

Yeah. Okay. Well then, um, talk me through a perfect day.  

Perfect day. Uh, okay. Um, oh, where shall I go? Okay. I’ll wake up, uh, Greece, I think Greece or have a breakfast, um, on the balcony. Sunny you the ocean, maybe we’ll go for a little bit of swim. Uh, I mean, I think we’ll go on the plane, but ideally we can teleport. That would be much nicer.  

Yeah. That is a perfect case. Zero in transit.  

Yeah. If we can just like click and then maybe we’ll go to Barcelona, um, or have a little hot chocolate and chiro while I read or draw or think of some weird ideas. Maybe make some stuff, get lunch. Um, I’ll probably stop by Japan. Say hi to my parents. Uh, magically my sister and her family they’re in DC, but they can be there too, for sure.  

Especially if there’s like portals and stuff. Yeah,  

Yeah. Yeah. And, um, I think we’ll, we’ll have some kind of Japanese food. Uh, what should I do  

Obviously? How lucky was I to get to witness Brilliance? The nonstop theater? I felt like genuine theater,  

So funny and sad that that’s just, that’s just our default, you know? And it’s not like we do that every, every other week or like maybe not them some but Korean barbecue or some kind of meet up and yeah. It, the energies it’s always like that. It just like how you experienced.  

Yeah, man, it makes me very, very excited, but sorry. I crept into your perfect day. Keep going. Yeah. It’s gotta be like 5:00 PM now.  

5:00 PM. Okay. So I think what was the best boss? I want to find, you know what, I don’t know what country, what city, but I want to go to this new place I’ve never been to. That has an amazing bath. I actually took a Megan loss. I love it.  

Oh my gosh. Yes. I was just going to say megan Lawson is like the bath Baroness. She’s the quiet  

Honestly, I would love to make a community that just seeks out beautiful boss around the world. Uh, just to do that, you know,  

My brain is already working on pun titles for that, but none of them are funny enough to say  

Yeah. And  

Maybe with, with the bath, I guess  

I like, I liked the time, uh, with, um, that we, we get to spend my fiance and I get to spend without dogs. I think we’ll end up coming back to LA keeping it chill. Um, yeah. So basically traveling to different places, eating different things, making it,  

I think about thinking about beautiful things, making beautiful things. Oh  

Yeah. But  Beautiful  Places. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I, I guess I get to live a version of that now. I just, if I, if it can be a little bit more instant, that will, that will be really. Yeah. That’ll be nice. That will be very nice. Yeah. So if any airline companies are listening to this and you have a technology while you’re waiting for,  

You know, oddly enough on my zoom call that it was just on earlier, my niece who is seven and a half important thee and a half part is very important to her. Um, she said, I think it was before anybody else came down, came down. Yep. Sticking with it. Um, she said, you know, if I had a superpower, it would be to create portals so I could be there with you and  

Let’s  Go. So portals, portals on the brain, in the sweetest thing. Um, she also kept track of the number of times that I swore. And she decided that every for every time I swear I have to come home and visit.  

Oh, well that’s yeah. That’s, that’s nice.  

Yeah. Racked up three, three visits to Denver. So yeah, if we could make a portal, that would be great. Really helped me save time on travel days. Um, okay. Well, there’s still several things I want to talk to you about, but I’m just going to go ahead and file this on what is again, someday. Um, okay. I am so grateful for your time. So glad to get, to dig a little deeper into this. Like yeah. I think you’re a person who is exquisite at changing perspectives, shifting perspectives, even your own, but especially, um, an audience persons. So I, my perspective shifted several times in this conversation. Thank you. I’m so grateful.  

Thank you. And I honestly, I feel like we’ve just barely grazed.  

Yeah, for sure. We’re scratching the surface. Well, we, we can be friends for a really long time. We can make stuff. We can lock. We can talk. We can lock and talk. Oh, there’s a talk show idea.  

The whole time. Just lock in the whole time.  There’s nothing you can say without locking it.  

 If you want to  

 Spell me, like you have to walk.  

Oh my God.  Okay. So we’re going to do that. I’m looking forward to that. Thank you again so much for being here. Uh, I’ll talk to you soon.  

Yeah. All right. Bye.  

Dana: Well, my friends, what do you think? I think this is one of my favorite episodes, man. You know what, actually, instead of trying to recap this one, you know, collect all my favorite moments. I think I might just use that time and go back and listen to this immediately right away right now. Uh, you can join me if you’d like, or you can not totally up to you, but you should probably download this one to keep it at the ready. Um, you should download all of them just for funsies and you should also certainly get out there and to keep it exceptionally funky. Thanks for listening. I’ll talk to you soon. Bye 

Outro: Me again. Wondering if you ever noticed that one more time. Almost never means one more time. Well, here on the podcast, one more thing actually means two more things. Number one thing. If you’re digging the pod, if these words are moving you, please don’t forget to download, subscribe and leave a rating or review. Here’s your words. Move me to number two thing. I make more than weekly podcasts. So please visit  dot com for links to free workshops. And so, so much more. All right, that’s it now for real talk to you soon. Bye. 

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