Huddle Up with Gus
Huddle Up with Gus

Episode · 2 years ago

DJ Smart

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

One of the world's most talented dancer's DJ Smart joins the huddle. He talks; growing up in Detroit, working with Cher on tour, and also appearing on "So You Think You Can Dance?". See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

I am former NFL quarterback, gustsfrau. I played quarterback fifteen years in the NFL. This is my showcalled huddle up with gusts. Each week I team up with my longtime friendDave Hagar, and we talked with guests about how sports shape their lives.Pro Athletes, business executives, community leaders, everyone has a story to tell aboutsports. We invite you to huddle up with gusts this week in thehuddle. Not every great athlete ends up in the NFL, the NBA oreven the Olympics. Some take a different path. Our next guest is oneof the world's greatest dancers. Please welcome into the huddle DJ SMART. Dave, we have a great guest on today. You talked about supeer athletics. It'syou know, there's no more superior than a dancer and somebody that cando what Dj does. So today we have DJ smart in the huddle withus and I think we're going to have great conversation to find out about hislife and you know how he got to where he is today because of sports. So, DJ thank you for coming into huddle. We really appreciate it. So where we always start is when you were growing up? I thinkyou grew up in Detroit, is that correct? And then most city,motorcity. I played there one year. Yeah, for the Lions. What. Yeah, so we're what area of Detroit did you grow up? I'llmoving around a lot, but from primier south of US Detroit. Okay.So when you were growing up, was there an influence in your life thatreally started you in sports, because I think we saw dave. You sawthat Dj you played basketball, was it? And track? Yeah, my family, my mom was kind of a Tomboy and my my dad obviously playedsports and stuff as well, just for fun. But my mom, shewas jet ski she played basketball. So a lot of my family and Iwas just a very active kid. So I got into basketball and then Iwanted to run track and then I got into bleek club. I just wouldtry anything. I just wanted to just be busy and then my knee startedgetting really weird and my doctor was like you're not supposed to dance and dotrack, so you have to pick one. Like it's kind of comic reductant.So I was like I guess I'll just dance then. So like withhow old were you when you started dancing. I mean I was always dancing socially, like at parties and stuff, but I started training formally at well, okay, where did you trains when you were in Detroit? I startedat a dance studio called Detroit Dance Center and then I switched to another,one of them, the Tawa dance studio, and that was outside of school.During school I went to an art school starting in the Fifth Grade,im and I studied dance there as well. Oh wonderful. So did your parents, you know, you had a lot of things. Like most ofus kids, we were into a lot of activities. So we're your parentsvery supportive of everything you were doing because, you know, you usually choose oneand you're you know that. I really love like for me, Ithought it was baseball and then it end up being football. Yeah, sofor you you were playing a lot of sports. So how did that gowith your parents? Well, it's crazy. My parents have always been supportive.I think they are more so like, as long as he's staying out oftrouble and as long as he's busy and not bothering us, just lethim do it, let him do track, just let him do it. Youknow, I got amazing grading and stuff as well. So I thinkthat was their primary concern. I don't think they really paid attention that muchand I didn't either to, I guess, all talented I was or how giftedI was or what my natural ability was in certain areas, because itwasn't until I one of my teachers at school. She heard me saying andshe had me be a part of the school production of a Mermaids, soembarrassing, and they passed me a sebastion. I think had a great time.I was just singing and dancing and after that she was like, youknow, he really needs to go to an art school, like he's reallya talent. It's I think that's when my parents started to listen. Theydidn't know too much about it. I'm not a ball in the family andthe only entertainer. Nobody dances the money saying the money plays an instrument,like not at all. So yeah, it's been an interesting journey. Ijust always kind of tried stuff. I would say dance chose me. Ididn't really choose it. I didn't know anything about it either. I waslike, guys don't dance like guys, say basketball. So yeah, Iguess here I am. was there pretty obvious talent right from the beginning,though, like you said, your parents would really pay attention to how goodyou were, but you knew you were...

...probably pretty special it. Well,I was always shy. I mean I knew I had some ability, butI didn't in my mind I didn't know that you could make a career outof it. I didn't think it would be a real thing. Like Iactually my passion was writing and psychology. That's what I wanted to go toschool for. But, like I said, you don't see a lot of guysdancing. You don't. It's kind of like you think it's an obviousI think, but it's like what are you really going to do? Likeyou can really play football or you can really be a news reporter. Butyou know, I think we we just continue to they had continue to allowme to do what I loved, and I think I surprised myself and Isurprised them. So did you have an idol like this, is there's somebodyyou looked up to and dance that you really wanted to be like or follow? I did, and I was always I maybe when I was younger Istarted dancing because I love watching Michael Jackson and see hammer and Janet Jackson.I would send the front of the TV all day and try to learn thedance moods. I just I would teach myself the gretography from the videos.So those were my idols. So I looked up too, but as faras actual dance idols, I didn't know anything about it. You know,I one of my teachers took me to see Alvin Ailee for the first timeand that's the first time I saw male dancing. I was like, Oh, they're incredible, like wow, I didn't know who they were, youknow, or I thought maybe this is just a certain company where they havea lot of guys or something. I didn't know that guys actually danced.So your your teacher, really helped you understand that this is possible for you, this is something that you can have a gold work towards. She did, yeah, she, and she I think that was her whole purpose ofgetting me the tickets to go see it, to show me like this could beyou. You know, this is I really believe that you could dothis and this could be you, because I think she saw me kind ofpulling away from it, because I did. I did not like it at first. I only like doing hip hop and like jazz, but she mademe take everything. She's like you have to know how to do ballet andmodern and everything, and I was just like this is suited all one wordheights. I don't want to stand on my toes. I don't want tolike this. It's so dumb. But I also don't like not getting something. It drives me. That's like you don't like being good at something,so I'll just keep trying and so I get better at it. So whenyou were young, what was the hardest like form of dance that that youhad do? was some ballet. Oh, by far, ballets and hardest.I always think it's so interesting them, like I played basketball and numerous sports, and I'm like, you know, no offense to athletes, but I'mlike, I don't see how they get paid millions of dollars to doall of this, because this is way harder. Like I've done it andI'm like ballet is way harder and people think it's just graceful and it's likepretty you use literally every muscle and your body. It's the hardest thing I'veever done. I don't know like how you can like try to stay onyour toes. I mean I really can walk down the steps. So Imean what you guys what ballet is is phenomenal. I mean it's the autletstelling Dave between that and like an Olympic gymnast. It's like the ultimate athlete. Yeah, it's a lot harder and then, beyond the physicality of it, the illusion of making it up here graceful is also hard, because it'sthe opposite. You're dying inside. It's very Brul so is there a lotof way lifting involved in ballet? Like, I mean you have to be strongto be able to do to love that. Yeah, there's a lotof I mean everyone does, I mean for males in particular, like somepeople go to the gym, some people do their own private work out orwhatever. I job. But you do have to be strong and you haveto understand the mechanics the body, because we do a lot of partnering,lifting girls over our heads or buys or I've looked in both at the sametime during certain things, you know. So if you don't know how thatworks and you're not strong enough, then you can be very dangerous. Sure, I can imagine the practicing of that. There's always some mishaps. Oh yeah, all the time. You have to have you have to have strength, you have to have coordination and timing. Timing is everything. You know,you have to bend your knees at the same time as your partner.You guys have to. It's kind of like a relationship, like you guyshave to be on the same way frequency, which is hard because sometimes you don'tknow the person that well or sometimes you might be tired that day andthen they're not, or the opposite, so things change. So you alwayshave to have that that sensitive unity so...

...they don't get hurt. So,Dj you were obviously excelling in the arts and it sounds like your grades wereexcellent. You were very well rounded. Do you probably had a lot ofoptions as you were getting older towards going into you know, it's in thecollege years, like what made you choose? You went to school Philadelphia, butyou probably have a lot of options, like tell us about that process.So I originally, as I excelled through a high school, I Ilearned that I could actually go to college for dance and possibly work in thedance industry. And I audition for. I didn't audition and within that auditionthere were about thirty representatives, I think, from thirty different colleges and universities.And at the time I wanted to go to new world school with theArts in Florida. You wanted to get out of the cold and Detroit andwhere it was warm. Yeah, so I was like, I want togo there, I want to go to nyu. Those are my top twochoices. Well, I audition and I got into every single school, allthirty schools, except those two. Like I got into the University of theart. I even got into JUI ard. I got into everywhere. I didn'teven want to go to Julie Art at the time. I was like, I don't want to go there, I want to go to my youright, well's some of the arts, every school except those two, andI just laughed. But I I went to the University of the art.They gave me the Biga vehicle ride and I was like, you know,I'll go to college and get this degree. Why not? It's free, andthen I'll come back for generism or psychology. So that's what I did. Yeah, so when you were in high school, you know part ofour shows about transitions that we all make and you know going in the ninthgrade it's very difficult for a lot of people and kids today. What wasthat transition from? You know, you started dancing, you weren't right.You know, you weren't doing sports anymore. How's that transition for you going intohigh school and going through that, because as an athlete, I canunderstand it and I just want to see from your world what debt was likefor you. It was very challenging for me. A lot of things stillare. Going into high school. I think it's it's a very pivotal timein their life. You're trying to find yourself or trying to decide what youwant to do with your life, of your future. All Watch all alltrying to be cool and be accepted as well. So that was really hardfor me because I I love to dance, but I wasn't sure if I wasgoing to do it professionally or if I could. And I also didn'thave anyone to compare to because, I mean social this day, I kindof paid my own way and have an interesting journey, but I don't havea dancing body like I'm more fall of a body for football or or wrestlingor something else. Like dancers, guys are usually very sulted, but longand then and they leaned towards taller guys. I'm five eight, I'm not tallat all, so literally everything against me. But I was like,I just loved it. But going through high school was very difficult when youdon't have a reference point or something to compare it to. You know,people have basketball players, they know what team they want to play for.They like I this person is my idol, or different writers. They like,I like this person's work and Paula Quelo's great. You know, Iwant to do stuff like that. Me, I'm like, I don't know,I just started dancing and I'm learning about all of this stuff and Idon't see too many lack guys dancing that looked like. So, you know, I don't know what to do from here. Yeah, it's you weregroundbreaking. Yeah, the doors are opening. You know, I just kind ofwent with it. So that's what I did. I was just likeI never expected to go far or to do too much, but I waslike, you have a full scholarship on your platter. Why wasted? Goget the dance degree and then go back to school and then you'll be donewith that and you'll do psychology or journalism. So when you get to college,you you're you know, in high school you're probably talk of your classand most of most of the stuff we were talking about. When you getto college, you know, certainly the competition levels probably increase significantly. There'sa lot of people that are far with you. Probably. What was thatlike? Well, it was interesting, the transition. I mean, I'vealways been a hard worker and overachiever. For me, college was the opposite. I thought it was challenging in a...

...number of ways. My professor's challengedme, but as far as other dancers, because I had trained in high schooland then after school was finished, I would go to a dance studioand train. I was always training and always working. So when I gotto college I was like everybody's going to be amazing and you know, andthere were some amazing dancers, but it turned out to be the opposite.Everybody was like looking at me like he's like great, like he's amazing,which I didn't think so, because I was like I just started and allof my teachers would mean and even if you did tell you that's we weredoing good, just and they didn't say anything. You just assume that youwere doing okay. So I didn't know how good I was, as inmy mind I wasn't, you know, where they wanted me to be,but it was, it was. It was very challenging because I was oneof the stronger dancers in my class. So the level of the class,the teachers were trying to get everyone somewhere. I was, which meant that classesone is challenging for me. So I had to go take class fromwhich they allowed me to. I was a freshman taking class the seas likeextra classes so that I could be challenged, which some of the thinkers didn't reallylike that the teachers allowed me to. Yeah, I have to. Ihave to take upon myself to get the challenge in the training and sufferingelsewhere to make use of the time. Well, yeah, when you're olderand you have like a rookie you so you'd have been like a rookie,you know, you come in and they're all sudden given all the same kindof accolades and everything is an older for it is hard and mentally and emotionallyyou have to say okay, why is this guy getting all the same stuffthat I'm getting? Yeah, it's this guy. Yeah, who's this guy'sgoing from Detroit. So what's it? One question I have is what isit like at at an art school, because I don't know this. Like, obviously, going to college, for me played football but also had togo to classes. Art School kind of the same thing? You had youcould take your choices. Or was it just dance all the time? Idon't understand that world. So if you could elaborate on that for me,that'd be great. It's pretty I mean, I guess it's pretty similar to well, not said everything, but the way that it works usually is thatyou have your or your regular core classes that you have to take. Sopeople get the misconception we don't just dance all day. They're like you don'thave to do anything. Like no, I still have to take religion coursesand history courses and the roll arts and we still have to take anatomy inEnglish and I have to take pedagogy and all these different things. But inaddition to that you take dance classes and then the way my school worked,you had to also take acting and you have to take vocal lessons, tovoice lessons, whether you wanted to sing or not, because that's a partof if all kind of interweaves, you know, right. And then outsideof all of those things, you can decide what you want to take asan elective, like if you want to take salsa or if you want totake, I don't know, something else, a hip hop class or something thatyou like. But generally within my college curriculum you had to take everythingthe first three years, the first two years ballet, monorn and jazz.It was a requirement. Then moving into your junior or you decided which youwanted to major in, which was ballet or modern or jazz, and itshifts because you take more of that than anything else and you still take otherthings, but your primary attention is on that one thing. So did youhave an internship when you were in college? I didn't. I was very money. You're able to miss out one. Yeah, very lucky, but itwas very difficult though. I was a full time student and then Iwas working at band studios outside of school to make money to buy books andstop teaching and stop. Yeah, Philly's expensive. I mean my daughter goesto vet school a pen so she understand what Philly is like a little bit. I was just there over the weekend. So yeah, so where is theCollege of Art in Philly? It's in the center city. Oh it'syeah, it's right on Rock Street and WOMBAT. Okay, I believe it'sin between Temple University and checkful. Okay, yeah, it's just that Sabrina's.It's a brickfast place, do you know? Yeah, it was great. We went there for breakfast over the weekend. It's yeah, yeah,no, it's a great place. So...

...college is it's a pretty interesting timefor everyone. So did like for me, sometimes in the summer I went backhome. Sometimes I stayed at school and worked. Did you ever goback to Detroit during college? I did. Usually it was only for holiday breaks, like for Thanksgiving and Christmas, because I'm like, I'm so hungry, I want to go home, like mom, please, took for meeverything, you know, Um, and also, of course, spend timein my family, but usually those two holidayss when I went during spring breakingduring the summer, I was usually away. So that's like that. I've alwaysjust been like that. Even in middle school, during the summer Iwould go to an arts camp and I would be gone training everyone else's,you know, going to parties and concerts and six flags. During the summer, I was like working all the time, like you know busies. Yeah,so now in college you're so you're getting towards the end. You probablyhave a pretty good idea you're going to be professionally in the arts. Whathappened or what was the first break you've got or did you know like foryou know, political science major, business student, they started interview with companiesand that kind of stuff, like what we're on in your world with that. Well, while I was in college I was actually I was actually fortunateenough to work while I was in school. There were a couple of the companies, dance companies, that were interested in me and they hired me fora few shows and I got some guests with them, which was nice.So I didn't have a tough transition after college was over. But I thinkthe thing that started like my, I guess, journey or stardom was Ithink it was my junior year. I was invited to perform on the show. So you think you can dance as a guest and I was like,oh, that's kind of cool, and I had never done anything to thatmagnitude. I think that was my first time performing on TV. Now she'sreally confused, following me like that's was like, Oh, maybe they're,like, I don't know, putting together a big group number something, andI was like, I don't know why they would be calling me, andI'll never forgetting a Jigo. One of the producers was like yeah, Iguess performers will be you and Rican lysias and pit bull and American vallet theater, and I was like that's a pretty good group to be in. Yeah, just like why? I was like, I thought they have the wrong number. I was like yeah, so what did you when you went there? Did that? What did you have? What were you were you dancing hiphop? What were you did like? What was your style? I wasdancing contemporary. I did a contemporary solo where I was handcuffed the wholetime. Yeah, that would because I I decided to be a good idea, to challenge myself and I'm always trying to do something different and something unique. And you know, I've always been made fun up and praised for mylegs. They're like people used to call me like Hercules, like your legsare so crazy. You're so strong, like I was like, why notdo something with that, like why not showcase how I'm usually strong? Mylegs are so like what if I could do in entire dance without using myarms? I've never seen that done before and it would probably be really difficult, but if I pulled it off, it would be pretty awesome, whichI did. They loved it and I never do it again because it wasvery difficult. I couldn't imagine it. Like how do you mean with thattype of dance, how do you without using your arms? Is Balanced?How does that? That's kind of crazy. Yeah, it's interesting. It's justI mean I usually just go in the studio and in the dance studioand I just I am provd I just playing, like let's see what Ican do, what we can do with this. I literally remember I wasin college and I came up with the idea and I went to the therewas a adult exotic storm get handcuffed from. was like, okay, I'M gonnago in here and get them. So I went in and there likewhat do you need in like I need handcuffs there. Like okay, sowe have these with the fur. We have these here. It's like no, no, it's not like that. I don't we're not doing that.It's not that type of thing. You're like, yeah, I think Davehas ones with the spur righter gold. It softer, softer. Well,yeah, I really went and bought them from there and just went in thestudio and lay around. How can I...

...get in and out of this?How can I use my body like this? And that's how I came about.Yeah, so that sounds like it went very well. Like what happenednext? Like you get? You definitely guarded some attention with that. Yeah, after that I definitely my following in increase and I got a lot ofinquiries and shortly after I moved to Italy. I danced with the company there.I lived in Venice and then I started training a little bit there aswell. Then I moved back to Philadelphia Dance, I guess, that,with the company there, and then I moved to Los Angeles and started dancingcommercially there, which is where I would now. What is art like?You were over you've been overseas, you've been all around the world dancing.How are other countries? I don't know. I'm trying to figure out like inthere kind of viewership or audience of the arts and what you do comparedto the United States, because it's, you know, those places seem tohave, like if you go to France and Italy and all those places,like more appreciative, yes, what you do versus here or similar or like. I think the mentality and appreciation is much different. I do feel appreciateand the states, but I do particularly in Europe. I knowest that Iget a bigger response there and they're more they're more in plying to art there. They love dance. They treat them like royalty, like in certain places. They those their their theater goers. They go to the opera, theygo see ballets, they got they enjoy these things which in our country Ifeel as though, as far as the art cir concern, people lean moreso towards singing. I don't know why. I think, like I said,people have the misconception for some reason dance isn't that interesting to people orit's not that hard. They don't think it's that hard, but it's atestament to wild and I said we have like six seven vocal competition shows onTV like right now, but there's like one or two dance shows or evenlike a talent America's got talent, or any talent competitions, usually a singerwins. Well, yes, if it is day to choosely like hip hopor something like core. I think there was one America's got talent, becausemy friend Terry cruises, you know, on that show and he's introducing allthe talent. They had a big group. I don't know if they were fromRussia or Ukraine or somewhere. I think India, something India. Yeah, so they were from India and they were great. But you know,still they don't win. Like you know, they want to see the guy whocomes off the street, has a big beard and place guitar and singssome song. But no, I understand. So what the occasion is much betteryet, in my opinion, will Dj. It was on that showtoo. You are you're on it right. Yeah, most gold and I thinkhe's been on every show. If their stance he's visits, great,they want Dj to be a part of it. Well, I would askhim just real quick. I saw in your bio that you run. Soyou think you can dance. You create addition. Is that? Yeah,what was that? How is that different, like are there different judges or thereare? There's different judges. They I did the same thing for themost part. They asked me to perform as the guests and I performed asolo but the judges aren't different. Everything is different now the the hours aredifferent. They they work them really hard and they don't get paid as much. I mean usually when you're on shows like that you don't get paid anyway. A lot of people don't know that, which is an interesting thing. Youget like a little sipend maybe to buy personal things like toile and treesor whatever you may need. But some upside to the downside here and fogsand you get all these opportunities. Sometimes after but while you're on the showit's just a long list of restrict and long hours. Yeah, but I'mlucky. Like I said, they were way more and they work way morehours than contestants that I know on the US show. Like crazy hours,like six in the morning till like zero in the morning. Will like yeah, it'll be use that like zero am. It's pretty insane. I have afeeling that pit bull and Enrique and GLESIA's we're in the Ukraine or werethey city. Go over there with you that one. So you know dance. There's a lot of shows around it,...

...though. I think there's a lotof there's been a lot of movies and shows. So right now,what shows do you like that are on, you know, either Netflix, regularTV or cable, shows that you like that that have dance in,because there are some of that my wife and I will watch and really enjoy. There's no shows, there's no shows with dance that I like at thismoment. I always appreciate the shows for what they for bringing dance to theforefront and we're making people more aware of it, but a lot of timesit's saturated and it's very, I want to be careful if my words.It's very saturated and it's not realistic to the art form. Like the theyurge them to do a lot of tricks and a lot of flashy stuff becauseor to dance to like these popular billboard music songs, because they think thatviewers are not smart and if they don't have a reference point to connect itto, they're not going to be interested in it because it's not interesting.But I don't know, I disagree. I think it would if you're greatat what you do. It won't matter. The same thing. Think Lilies,like Bruno Mars. He has a very old sound and it's not thetrendy popular thing, but it works for him and he does it well.You know, same thing amy winehouse or whoever. They don't really change accordingthe trend. So there's no shows that I watched because I'm like like,this is, this looks the same. He's this is this is really aproland gymnastics are just flipping every five seconds, like there's no artistry, there's notechnique, there's no there's no emotion. It's all to get an applause.Right, right. So what would be your favorite movie that you've watched? The that involves dance? Yeah, like you shaid. Okay, thisis true. We really watching to people perform at their highest level. We'reshooting from Pittsburgh and that was the home of Flash Dance. Oh, lastdance was great lash. Yes, this was a good one. Yeah,Lash dance is amazing. Well, you probably liked it for a different reasonthan do jay liked it. There's a lot of sweating and stuff and yeah, no, flash dance is absolutely great dirty dancing. That's another classic obviouslycenter stage. I think is wonderful as well. Yeah, there's some,there's some really great ones breaking yeah, I think go on and on,but usually I think they're like older movies, more classics. Yeah, so I'massuming that you can do all types of dances, ball room, everything. Everything will not everything, but a lot probably. Like I was trainedintense it. Twelve different styles. That's pretty amazing. So, like eventhe old school movies like you're talking about, like Gene Kelly, like singing inthe rain, all those old movies that they I mean it was bigback in the day. A lot of the movies were about dancing and showingthat and they're not like that anymore. Yeah, it goes through away.I feel like it's gonna come back, though. So what is it like? So now you said you're in commercial dancing. What does that mean?So commercial dancing, it's basically a so the difference is that usually there's notthere's not a lot of there's not a lot of rehearsal time, because inthe commercial road everything is about money and everything is rushed and it's very flashy. Like we spend a lot of time and the concert world developing things,taking our time choreographing. Sometimes it takes months to choreograph one ballet. Versus, commercially, a lot of the jobs I've done, you'll do a musicvideo and there's like two rehearsals and then you shoot the music video. Sothere's no time to really like explore and like create stuff. They're just likelearn this step, step, side, side, side, clap, chimneyand down and smile and then that's it. So it's like, you know,very, very different though. Commercial Dancing I feel like it caters tothe audience, and concert dancing it incorporates the audience, but it caters tothe art, to what you're feeling, what you're exploring, what you're tryingto convey. That's more important than trying to desperately do anything to get anapplause or to get ratings or to get people interested in it. It's morehonest than my opinion. So what's your what's your typical schedule? Like you'reteaching all over the world. You're teaching multiple company, is right. Imean you're showing like you're pretty busy. Like what's what's typical week for DJ? Well, it changes, but it's...

...pretty busy. I'm an average.I fly usually three to five times a week. This year has been oneof the busiest. I'm currently on tour with share and then during our greatsI'm teaching and guest performing at Galas or different events. In between are onour days off from tour, I'm teaching and the cities that were in orchoreographing and also producing and writing doing other projects as well. So I'm prettybusy. Sounds like. Well, what's lay from the road with share?Like it's awesome. I mean it has its pros and cons. You know, I think the best things when you get an artist like her who's verydown to earth and very cool and related op they're not always like that.They can be very devash or very not kind, right, but she's allof that. She's very fine, very sweet woman. You get to traveland go to a bunch of different places. You get to perform in front offifteen to thirty, even more thousands of people. We did the metgala this year, which was really awesome. I never thought that I would bethere. I was like, she was a surprised guest. I waslike, oh my gosh, like the is so cool, like, youknow, that's awesome. Yeah, he has to be very inspirational because she'sbeen doing what she's doing for a low, low time she has. It's it'sstrange. She said a few weeks ago. She told us. Shesaid it's so weird. She said, when I first started in this industrywas one of the youngest people and now I'm one of the oldest people doingit. Yeah, like there was nobody my age when I started and there'snot really a lot of people my age like now. Maybe what the rollingstones that may yeah, probably be kind of similar. You know, howmany decades has it been for her? It's been for it's been at leastfive time. ME, Sonny and chair, started early S S, maybe some. Yeah, she's started fifteen or sixteen. She's seventy three now.Wow. And how many years have you been with her? I've been withher three years now. Well then, that's what I guessaid. I neverglanced to be just kind of fell into my lap. I didn't even reallyI made my generation. I've been shared from the movie my last and right. Believe. Do you believe? Right, Sonny and share like that. Itwas never on my bucket list, but I just went to the audition. I was like, I I'm free this day, I don't really feellike going, I don't need to go because I'm working a bunch of otherthings, but let's just oft like and see what happens. And they needinto someone who was a dancer and who could do aerial stuff like trappe's andsilks, and they were about four hundred guys there and they were looking moreto and out of four hundred guys, I was the only one that coulddo everything that they were asking for. Yeah, so you were in automatically. Yeah, what? What other artists have you been with like where,as far as you know, performed on stage with them and you have youever done something like a I know it the Super Bowl. There's other bigspectacles, big shows. Have you done anything like that? I would loveto think the Super Bowl. I have not yet. I have worked withtons of artists. Worked with twenty one pilots. I've worked with SEVB andwork with the Jackson's, I've worked with Jesse J. Yeah, let's goeson and on. Yeah, so you I mean somebody at the talent levelthat you have? I'm sure they're they're always looking for somebody like you tocome on and you're like, well, I'm doing like thirty things right now, so maybe maybe when I slow down I'll come back. It's it's it'sstrange. I mean I'm in a different place now. I think before Ialways I would just take things because I was like I'm lucky, because Ithink in my mind I was like I'm short and I don't have the rightbody type and I all these reasons why shouldn't be doing it's I'm probably luckyto get MOS. I should do it. But now, like I said,I really need pressure and I've kind of created a line for myself.I've had a very unique journey where I've been able to guess with companies orperform with artists or pick and cheese what I would like to do and whatI don't want to do. I wouldn't...

...be open to try different things?Yeah, right, I wanted to ask you. So we have a goodfamily friend. Who She was? I don't know if you've ever seen theshow's called dance moms and Pitt work. So Sonia Sue. I don't knowif you know niasue. So she's a good family friend of ours. Herbrother and my son are best friends. They went to high school together.But she is made an incredible career out of starting in dance, although itwas on TV and I'm sure very commercialized and all that, but but she'staken it to another level where she's making her own music videos, she's she'son Disney channel, she's on soap operas like it is led to a greatcareer for her. Yeah, and it's so what do you say to likekids like that that that have? I mean her parents have been very supportive, like yours were, but not everybody's parents are supportive, that's true.What do you say to those kids it really think they want to do thatand have that aspiration, and how would you motivate them? I would sayif it's if you find something that you're passionate about, to continue doing itand you know, just to continue doing what you love because you love it, that should always be enough and if you're lucky to have someone to supportyou, that should just be a bonus. I think it should be the decidingfactor and it's easier said than like I said, I was always theonly guy at my class, and a ballet class, so that was notvery fun and I got to use a lot of stuff, but I wouldread and I would read different stories or watch different things to motivate myself.Or I had a lot of great friends and stuff that would motivate me,no matter how weird I was. So you just have to constantly surround yourselfwith people that support you and even if they don't understand you, they allowyou to be who you are and, like I said, I think thatthat's the key. And sometimes you know it's not going to be the peoplewho you think it will be, but at the end of the day youhave to find ways to motivate yourself. If you if you love to dosomething, then I think that that's reason enough to keep doing it. Don'tbe discouraged in ways like being told you don't have a dancers body, andyou know, like you, you have an unconventional dangerous body. You saidyou're a little shorter than in more muscular, and so you're at the top ofthe game without an answers body. So I've seen your pictures of Googleand we couldn't have less in common body wise. But I'm the same way. But but it's that it's that there's a stereotype, right, just likein football, like you have to be a six foot four quarterback, andthere's all these people breaking those stereotypes now that are coming out and saying no, you don't. It's about how good you are, it's about the passionyou bring. Yeah, and I think you've really shown that in your industry. Yeah, it's a challenge. It very hard but, like I said, if you're if your ability and your love is on a whole nother spectrum, then it just can't be denied. I always say that if you haveall of those things against you, but the love and the talent is soundeniable there's no way anyone can get around it, which is what I thinkhas happened in my things, you know, and my mini and my experiences.They're like he's short, or he doesn't have the right body type,he's not what we're looking for, but I'm sorry, we need him likewe need one of those, like I can use one of those, youknow. So you have to be that much better, which is a lotof work. It's really hard, but it's possible. It's not impossible.You know, what you is as so ash, it stands for artistsanly humanit's a dance convention where we offer classes and Qai's and different workshops. Wetravel the country. The director and owners Gramlokan Crane, and he started itbecause he wanted to connect dancers and teachers and do something for the community toencourage them, and it's basically a tour of notable faculty. Some of themhave danced and choreographed for Janet Jackson, for Aliah, for Justin Bieber,for Demi Levato, literally everything that you have, Broadway Tony nominated choreographers,tappers, everything. All of us get together and we travel every weekend toa new city and we teach over five hundred dancers and we answer questions andwe try to motivate them and give them...

...advice or the future and where yougoing next? Where's as going to be next? We're all currently we startback in the fall and we do twenty cities a year and one national andOrlando Florida. So we start regionally and the fall in October in Orlando Floridaand we go all the way till April. Dave, how many miles do youthink Dj puts on his his card? It's like if we got well,see if he's like three times a week average. Yeah, that's justjust incredible. How do you like? What is your key to fly like? Because for me, I hate flying because I don't fit in any seatbecause I'm six four. Well, he's so flexible, though, it doesn'tneed it. Yeah, he could like put it up and like about,but my key actually I'm claustripping and I'm acrophobic as well, which is verystrange. Like I hate like, but I have a process. I usuallydon't go to sleep the night before because when your body is like irresistibly tired, it just shuts down, no matter which you no matter what you're goingthrough. So I usually am felt tired, but I just passed out the like. And then other things I try to distract myself. I try toread or I do work and as far as me, because it's taxing andI do get really good stars, I'm like, man, I cannot gothrough TSA again. I cannot do this, like it's exhausting. And then youwait for your bags and then the bags don't show up and then justall of that, I try to remember why I'm going to where I'm goingand how lucky I am, like you're going to inspire a bunch of kidsor you're going to this place where you've never been before. or how manypeople get to do that? How many people are working jobs right now thatthey don't like, but they're just doing it because they need to provide fortheir kids or they need a means to get food? But you're doing somethingthat supplies all of that and it's something you love and that's something that youshould never forget. So I try to remember that too. We're traveling withentourage, with share. What's what's that experience like? You guys? Let'sgo pretty. First, glass and beautiful tour buses. Yeah, she's ashoot off them. She takes really great care of us. You know,I like business class and we have these beautiful luxury tour buses with these thadsand like little lounge areas and they get US whatever food we want for thebus rides because they're kind of long, which obviously I put down hot cheetosand gummy bears and everything. Probably not going to eat them, just likethey're going to get everything we want, so I just put a bunch ofstuff down. Yeah, it's wonderful. She's great. They they, shedoes this thing. We have Bingo nights occasionally which is always fun, andshe from the crew to the dancers, the singers, everyone that's a partof production. She runs the huge ballroom in a hotel and there's free drinksand food and everything for everyone and we play Bingo for cash prizes and shejust gives out money and she plays with us and stuff and it's like,it's a lot of fun. We get really stressed. What's the biggest crowdyou've ever performed in front of when touring with Shure? The biggest crowd,I want to say somewhere so far, somewhere between. I want to seetwenty, twenty, twozero people. That's really big. Yeah, somewhere onthere. What. So we've been through your life, you know, andone of the things that we do now is we like to go through whatwe called the no huddle. You know, our shows called huddle up with gusts, and we do the no huddle. We try to go at the endand we like the fire a bunch of questions at you and have youanswered real quick and just have some fun with it. So we're going toget your quick with right now. Okay, there's not a primaries there. AmI going to be stressed. No, you're not going to be stressed.Will be just you. You'll be great. I'll have anxiety from America'sgot hollow and now there's no there's no, there's no x red ex or goldenbuzz er anything that. We're good. I've never gotten any exces. Okay, if you depict one person who's the greatest dancer ever, I'm gonnago about doesn't, Richards and Nice. It's really hard. I'm just goingto just put them off of my head. Do you have a pet peeve?I do. I'm numerous that piece.

One of them is I don't likeif people interrupt me when I'm talking. I think it's very rude. Ilike that. If someone if there was a movie about Dj Smart,who would play Dj Smart in the movie? Hmm, I would say either DarrenHenson or it's just Faba. I like that. So it's good tobe okay, if you could go back in time and tell a young Djis smart one thing, what would it be? I would tell dj there'sno one like you and you're unusual, but that's okay. That's going tobe your biggest ass that one day. All right. So if DJ SMART, when he was twelve, decided not to be a dancer to be atrack star. What would have been your favorite race, or whatever it wouldhave been? You have that done in true event in track, for sure, hurdles are tough. I coached a kid in high school. His nameis Zekieli any plays for Dallas cowboys now, and he was the state champion fouryears in a row and in the hurdles in Missouri. I didn't thinkthat would transfer to the football field, but it actually because of the flexibilityand everything like. His speed and his strength was incredible. Yeah, it'shard. You could probably high jumped too. I can see. Oh yeah,I could see him high jump, because I think you would have definitelydone that. What do you think? The biggest misconception about dance isn't easy. Very example, if you had to go out and perform one dance rightnow, what is your favorite? Yeah, I know you're you're you're vested ina ton of different styles. What is your favorite right now? Ithink you probably have to be but sween contemporary and Latin ball room probably,maybe like Faal Saratasha. If you could be anyone for one day, whowould it be? Obama, what do you think he's doing right now?I don't know. I'm like maybe, I don't know, maybe like momentof the guard moving poppy somewhere. You know what anybody see? I'm he'sjust in a bathroom. Yeah, I'll yeah, reading the news. Thatdigginess. That like what's going on today. So you've been all over the world. What is your favorite place that you've ever been to? Well,that's hard. You're going to fly there right now. One of my topfavorite places that I've been already? Yeah, I would say probably to buy.Really what? Why do you like to buy? I always wanted tovisit the first Philippa and I love to buy all, so I think it'sjust beautiful. But I wanted to visit the tallest building in the world andI was actually invite it to perform for an award show which was at thefirst Philippa. So I was like yes, two Burns in one song. Didyou go to the top floor? It was like it was a littlebit above midway through. So it was but I hadn't go to the topfloor, but it was pretty high. Yeah, I so in New Yorkat the Empire State Building, I took the kids on top and they werelittle and I've never been really afraid of height. I was so nervous andanxious I couldn't even go to the edge and look over because I was soscared for like the kids, and the elevator ride down was terrible. Iwas so nervous. Does any of that bother you? It does, itdoes. I don't like to stand next to the edge of anything. Allright, Dave. Last one. What do you got? Um, realeasy. What's your favorite all time movie? My favorite all time movie? Oh, at this time, I mean, I have S. I'll pick one. I think liar liars hilarious. It's a great movie. Are youbig Jim Carrey Fan? I, like a lot of us, I thinkhe's really smart, but I think he's hilarious. He's a hilarious actor.Okay, this will be the last one, and you can't say share. WHO'sthe most famous person on your phone right now? Well, famous personon my phone. Um, oh, that's hard. The most famous personon my phone? I can't even think...

...right now. Oh my gosh.Like you can say share. Yeah, I'm a cool take share. Hey, DJ it was great. You taught us a lot today. Thank youfor sharing your story. With us in the huddle and I think it wasjust you just have an amazing personality, amazing story and I think your fansare going to love to hear and learn a little bit about dance and howimportant it is in our world today. You guys do breaks. Thanks,Jay, thanks to you. I'll let you know when it comes out.Okay, okay, sound good. All right, thank you. Thank you. Good one.

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