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Interview with Choreographer

Shirjuanda Woodson

· Dance,hiphop,Music

ShirJuanda Woodson began her dancing career at a young age. By the time she was 6 she was training professionally with Debbie Allen and her staff at the Debbie Allen Dance Institute two- week intensive in Dallas Fort Worth where she worked with many notable choreographers. Upon completing the intensive ShirJuanda received full scholarship to train at the Debbie Allen Dance Institute for many consecutive summers.

ShirJuanda has had the opportunity to train in New York City at the Alvin Ailey Summer Program in 2010 where she was featured in the West African classes final performance. ShirJuanda has also had the honored privilege to train at the Joffrey Ballet Summer Intensive in New York City, NY in 2003 and the Jazz and Contemporary Intensive in 2014, where she was asked to stay for their year Jazz and Contemporary Trainee Program during the 2014-2015 school year. Taking the opportunity to train with Joffrey opened up many opportunities for ShirJuanda's professional career. Training under Michael Blake the Director of the Joffrey Jazz & Contemporary Program ShirJuanda received the honor of holding the solo position for many choreographers Joffrey students were able to work with, including Kevin Wynn’s work “ Meet Me In the Moon", Dionna Pridgeon’s work “Love You So”, and Margo Sappington’s work "The Indian Princess".

ShirJuanda had the honored privilege to choreograph and perform for the annual State Fair of Texas located in Dallas, Texas for the 2015 season. ShirJuanda under the management of Eclipse Entertainment, LLC located in Fort Worth, Texas choreographed the annual Coca-Cola "Red, White, & You" Singing performance working with singers who can move. The excitement for ShirJuanda came from her big moment of choreographing the new and improved Mattress Giant "Illumination Sensation" on the Esplanade Fountain. Before her big move ShirJuanda had the honored privilege of being in the BET Network's BET Soul Train Awards commercial featuring Dallas's very own Erykah Badu.

ShirJuanda moved to Los Angeles California in 2015 on the journey to pursue her professional career and perfect her craft to take her career to the next level. Upon her move ShirJuanda's credits include, becoming one of the newest members of the well known LaLa's Burlesque directly out of Los Angeles, California.

Roger- How did you get your start as a choreographer?

ShirJuanda Woodson- I began choreographing my Junior year in High School while working with a studio by the name of Amanda’s Dance Express in Grand Prairie, Texas.

It was a job offered to me by my cousin and I decided why not challenge yourself and progress in your career?, so I did. It was such great feeling being in the shoes of so many others before me and now being able to share the knowledge they gave to me to others. From then on I continued performing myself but also choreographed for studios, schools, and created a few things for me.

Roger- What inspired you to create your Motown Philly throwback dance video?

ShirJuanda Woodson- The “Bounce House Party” video danced to Motown Philly originally began as a piece I created for my “Pop-Up Bounce” classes in Texas. I went back to Texas and did a week workshop teaching different dances in different studios just to dance with the Dallas dance community again, since I had recently moved to Los Angeles. Once the piece was created I was thinking, “man I really miss the 90’s” so a piece that was only about 8- eight counts soon became a 4 minute routine. I asked my amazing dance friends if they wanted to join me in making “Bounce House Party” which was a birthday gift to myself. This video was the first full production video I have ever created in my career with me and a sea of dancers.

Roger - What social media platforms do you use to promote yourself and your brand?

ShirJuanda Woodson-Social Media has become such a big platform for dancers in so many ways, but it also has become a hinderance to dancers in so many ways. I do use the typical Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Youtube as my short and personal platforms, but I do also have my own personal website ( www.iambounce.net ).

Roger- Who are some of the choreographers you look up to?

ShirJuanda Woodson -I’ve trained with some of the most amazing choreographers and performers that have ever touched the dance community and I will say I am extremely blessed and grateful for that. Some of the choreographers I look up to are Debbie Allen, Alvin Ailey, Desmond Richardson, Ashley Everett, Danielle Pallonco, Aisha Francis, Chloe & Maud Arnold just to name a few. However, it’s not always the dancing for these people that catches my eye, it’s their ability to be a dancer, live off being a dancer, and their business mindset to be the best they can be. I learn a lot of business things from these people nd have worked with some of them personally.

Roger.What advice would you give to dancers who want to become full time choreographers?

ShirJuanda Woodson- A quote I have created for myself is exactly what I would tell upcoming dancers who look up to me and many other dancers in this world, “Changing lives as much as they change mine”. Dance is not about the person on the stage, it’s about those that are watching, those who you are impacting. You want to look at dance as not just something you do, but who you are. For me dance is my business, I am my own business, so networking, marketing, performing and putting myself out there has to be done by me. You want to know your goals and go for them. No, being a dancer or an artist isn’t easy but when you know that’s what you want you have to FULLY go into it with both feet in. My big brother said something to me that I live by daily “It’s like someone eating McDonald’s everyday trying to tell you about fine dining” -Spencer Evans. It’s not possible. No one will understand your journey, no one will understand the sacrifices, the training, the devoted time to what your doing or why your doing it, but it’s not for them to. God’s blessings for you are for you.

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