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, gusts frau. I played quarterback fifteen years in the NFL. This is my show called huddle up with gusts. Each week I team up with my longtime friend Dave Hagar, and we talked with guests about how sports shape their lives. Pro Athletes, business executives, community leaders, everyone has a story to tell about sports. We invite you to huddle up with gusts this week in the huddle. Not every great athlete ends up in the NFL, the NBA or even the Olympics. Some take a different path. Our next guest is one of 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's you know, there's no more superior than a dancer and somebody that can do what Dj does. So today we have DJ smart in the huddle with us and I think we're going to have great conversation to find out about his life 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 think you 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'll moving around a lot, but from primier south of US Detroit. Okay. So when you were growing up, was there an influence in your life that really started you in sports, because I think we saw dave. You saw that Dj you played basketball, was it? And track? Yeah, my family, my mom was kind of a Tomboy and my my dad obviously played sports and stuff as well, just for fun. But my mom, she was jet ski she played basketball. So a lot of my family and I was just a very active kid. So I got into basketball and then I wanted to run track and then I got into bleek club. I just would try anything. I just wanted to just be busy and then my knee started getting really weird and my doctor was like you're not supposed to dance and do track, 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 with how 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 started at 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 of us kids, we were into a lot of activities. So we're your parents very supportive of everything you were doing because, you know, you usually choose one and you're you know that. I really love like for me, I thought it was baseball and then it end up being football. Yeah, so for you you were playing a lot of sports. So how did that go with 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 of trouble and as long as he's busy and not bothering us, just let him do it, let him do track, just let him do it. You know, I got amazing grading and stuff as well. So I think that was their primary concern. I don't think they really paid attention that much and I didn't either to, I guess, all talented I was or how gifted I was or what my natural ability was in certain areas, because it wasn't until I one of my teachers at school. She heard me saying and she had me be a part of the school production of a Mermaids, so embarrassing, and they passed me a sebastion. I think had a great time. I was just singing and dancing and after that she was like, you know, he really needs to go to an art school, like he's really a talent. It's I think that's when my parents started to listen. They didn't know too much about it. I'm not a ball in the family and the only entertainer. Nobody dances the money saying the money plays an instrument, like not at all. So yeah, it's been an interesting journey. I just always kind of tried stuff. I would say dance chose me. I didn't really choose it. I didn't know anything about it either. I was like, guys don't dance like guys, say basketball. So yeah, I guess here I am. was there pretty obvious talent right from the beginning, though, like you said, your parents would really pay attention to how good you were, but you knew you were...

...probably pretty special it. Well, I was always shy. I mean I knew I had some ability, but I didn't in my mind I didn't know that you could make a career out of it. I didn't think it would be a real thing. Like I actually my passion was writing and psychology. That's what I wanted to go to school for. But, like I said, you don't see a lot of guys dancing. You don't. It's kind of like you think it's an obvious I think, but it's like what are you really going to do? Like you can really play football or you can really be a news reporter. But you know, I think we we just continue to they had continue to allow me to do what I loved, and I think I surprised myself and I surprised them. So did you have an idol like this, is there's somebody you 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 I started 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 the dance moods. I just I would teach myself the gretography from the videos. So those were my idols. So I looked up too, but as far as 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 time and 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, you know, or I thought maybe this is just a certain company where they have a 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 of getting me the tickets to go see it, to show me like this could be you. You know, this is I really believe that you could do this and this could be you, because I think she saw me kind of pulling away from it, because I did. I did not like it at first. I only like doing hip hop and like jazz, but she made me take everything. She's like you have to know how to do ballet and modern and everything, and I was just like this is suited all one word heights. I don't want to stand on my toes. I don't want to like 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 when you were young, what was the hardest like form of dance that that you had 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'm like, I don't see how they get paid millions of dollars to do all of this, because this is way harder. Like I've done it and I'm like ballet is way harder and people think it's just graceful and it's like pretty you use literally every muscle and your body. It's the hardest thing I've ever done. I don't know like how you can like try to stay on your toes. I mean I really can walk down the steps. So I mean what you guys what ballet is is phenomenal. I mean it's the autlets telling 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's the opposite. You're dying inside. It's very Brul so is there a lot of way lifting involved in ballet? Like, I mean you have to be strong to be able to do to love that. Yeah, there's a lot of I mean everyone does, I mean for males in particular, like some people go to the gym, some people do their own private work out or whatever. I job. But you do have to be strong and you have to 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 same time during certain things, you know. So if you don't know how that works 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 guys have to be on the same way frequency, which is hard because sometimes you don't know the person that well or sometimes you might be tired that day and then they're not, or the opposite, so things change. So you always have 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 were excellent. You were very well rounded. Do you probably had a lot of options as you were getting older towards going into you know, it's in the college years, like what made you choose? You went to school Philadelphia, but you probably have a lot of options, like tell us about that process. So I originally, as I excelled through a high school, I I learned that I could actually go to college for dance and possibly work in the dance industry. And I audition for. I didn't audition and within that audition there 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 the Arts in Florida. You wanted to get out of the cold and Detroit and where it was warm. Yeah, so I was like, I want to go there, I want to go to nyu. Those are my top two choices. Well, I audition and I got into every single school, all thirty schools, except those two. Like I got into the University of the art. I even got into JUI ard. I got into everywhere. I didn't even 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 you right, well's some of the arts, every school except those two, and I 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, and then 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 of our shows about transitions that we all make and you know going in the ninth grade it's very difficult for a lot of people and kids today. What was that 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 into high school and going through that, because as an athlete, I can understand it and I just want to see from your world what debt was like for you. It was very challenging for me. A lot of things still are. Going into high school. I think it's it's a very pivotal time in their life. You're trying to find yourself or trying to decide what you want to do with your life, of your future. All Watch all all trying to be cool and be accepted as well. So that was really hard for me because I I love to dance, but I wasn't sure if I was going to do it professionally or if I could. And I also didn't have anyone to compare to because, I mean social this day, I kind of paid my own way and have an interesting journey, but I don't have a dancing body like I'm more fall of a body for football or or wrestling or something else. Like dancers, guys are usually very sulted, but long and then and they leaned towards taller guys. I'm five eight, I'm not tall at all, so literally everything against me. But I was like, I just loved it. But going through high school was very difficult when you don'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, I want 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 I don'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 were groundbreaking. Yeah, the doors are opening. You know, I just kind of went with it. So that's what I did. I was just like I never expected to go far or to do too much, but I was like, you have a full scholarship on your platter. Why wasted? Go get the dance degree and then go back to school and then you'll be done with 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 class and most of most of the stuff we were talking about. When you get to college, you know, certainly the competition levels probably increase significantly. There's a lot of people that are far with you. Probably. What was that like? Well, it was interesting, the transition. I mean, I've always 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 challenged me, but as far as other dancers, because I had trained in high school and then after school was finished, I would go to a dance studio and train. I was always training and always working. So when I got to college I was like everybody's going to be amazing and you know, and there 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 all of my teachers would mean and even if you did tell you that's we were doing good, just and they didn't say anything. You just assume that you were doing okay. So I didn't know how good I was, as in my mind I wasn't, you know, where they wanted me to be, but it was, it was. It was very challenging because I was one of 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 classes one is challenging for me. So I had to go take class from which they allowed me to. I was a freshman taking class the seas like extra classes so that I could be challenged, which some of the thinkers didn't really like that the teachers allowed me to. Yeah, I have to. I have to take upon myself to get the challenge in the training and suffering elsewhere to make use of the time. Well, yeah, when you're older and 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 kind of accolades and everything is an older for it is hard and mentally and emotionally you have to say okay, why is this guy getting all the same stuff that I'm getting? Yeah, it's this guy. Yeah, who's this guy's going from Detroit. So what's it? One question I have is what is it like at at an art school, because I don't know this. Like, obviously, going to college, for me played football but also had to go to classes. Art School kind of the same thing? You had you could take your choices. Or was it just dance all the time? I don'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 that you have your or your regular core classes that you have to take. So people get the misconception we don't just dance all day. They're like you don't have to do anything. Like no, I still have to take religion courses and history courses and the roll arts and we still have to take anatomy in English and I have to take pedagogy and all these different things. But in addition 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, to voice lessons, whether you wanted to sing or not, because that's a part of if all kind of interweaves, you know, right. And then outside of all of those things, you can decide what you want to take as an elective, like if you want to take salsa or if you want to take, I don't know, something else, a hip hop class or something that you like. But generally within my college curriculum you had to take everything the first three years, the first two years ballet, monorn and jazz. It was a requirement. Then moving into your junior or you decided which you wanted to major in, which was ballet or modern or jazz, and it shifts because you take more of that than anything else and you still take other things, but your primary attention is on that one thing. So did you have 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 it was very difficult though. I was a full time student and then I was working at band studios outside of school to make money to buy books and stop teaching and stop. Yeah, Philly's expensive. I mean my daughter goes to 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 the College of Art in Philly? It's in the center city. Oh it's yeah, it's right on Rock Street and WOMBAT. Okay, I believe it's in 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 time for everyone. So did like for me, sometimes in the summer I went back home. Sometimes I stayed at school and worked. Did you ever go back 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 me everything, you know, Um, and also, of course, spend time in my family, but usually those two holidayss when I went during spring breaking during the summer, I was usually away. So that's like that. I've always just been like that. Even in middle school, during the summer I would 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 probably have a pretty good idea you're going to be professionally in the arts. What happened or what was the first break you've got or did you know like for you know, political science major, business student, they started interview with companies and 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 fortunate enough 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 for a 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 think the thing that started like my, I guess, journey or stardom was I think 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 that magnitude. I think that was my first time performing on TV. Now she's really confused, following me like that's was like, Oh, maybe they're, like, I don't know, putting together a big group number something, and I was like, I don't know why they would be calling me, and I'll never forgetting a Jigo. One of the producers was like yeah, I guess 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 hip hop? What were you did like? What was your style? I was dancing contemporary. I did a contemporary solo where I was handcuffed the whole time. 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 my legs. They're like people used to call me like Hercules, like your legs are so crazy. You're so strong, like I was like, why not do something with that, like why not showcase how I'm usually strong? My legs are so like what if I could do in entire dance without using my arms? 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, which I did. They loved it and I never do it again because it was very difficult. I couldn't imagine it. Like how do you mean with that type 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 just I mean I usually just go in the studio and in the dance studio and I just I am provd I just playing, like let's see what I can do, what we can do with this. I literally remember I was in college and I came up with the idea and I went to the there was a adult exotic storm get handcuffed from. was like, okay, I'M gonna go in here and get them. So I went in and there like what do you need in like I need handcuffs there. Like okay, so we 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 Dave has ones with the spur righter gold. It softer, softer. Well, yeah, I really went and bought them from there and just went in the studio 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 happened next? Like you get? You definitely guarded some attention with that. Yeah, after that I definitely my following in increase and I got a lot of inquiries 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 as well. Then I moved back to Philadelphia Dance, I guess, that, with the company there, and then I moved to Los Angeles and started dancing commercially 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 in there kind of viewership or audience of the arts and what you do compared to the United States, because it's, you know, those places seem to have, 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 appreciate and the states, but I do particularly in Europe. I knowest that I get 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, they go see ballets, they got they enjoy these things which in our country I feel as though, as far as the art cir concern, people lean more so 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 or it's not that hard. They don't think it's that hard, but it's a testament to wild and I said we have like six seven vocal competition shows on TV like right now, but there's like one or two dance shows or even like a talent America's got talent, or any talent competitions, usually a singer wins. Well, yes, if it is day to choosely like hip hop or something like core. I think there was one America's got talent, because my friend Terry cruises, you know, on that show and he's introducing all the talent. They had a big group. I don't know if they were from Russia 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 who comes off the street, has a big beard and place guitar and sings some song. But no, I understand. So what the occasion is much better yet, in my opinion, will Dj. It was on that show too. You are you're on it right. Yeah, most gold and I think he's been on every show. If their stance he's visits, great, they want Dj to be a part of it. Well, I would ask him just real quick. I saw in your bio that you run. So you think you can dance. You create addition. Is that? Yeah, what was that? How is that different, like are there different judges or there are? There's different judges. They I did the same thing for the most part. They asked me to perform as the guests and I performed a solo but the judges aren't different. Everything is different now the the hours are different. 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. You get like a little sipend maybe to buy personal things like toile and trees or whatever you may need. But some upside to the downside here and fogs and you get all these opportunities. Sometimes after but while you're on the show it's just a long list of restrict and long hours. Yeah, but I'm lucky. Like I said, they were way more and they work way more hours 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 a feeling that pit bull and Enrique and GLESIA's we're in the Ukraine or were they 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 lot of there's been a lot of movies and shows. So right now, what shows do you like that are on, you know, either Netflix, regular TV 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 this moment. I always appreciate the shows for what they for bringing dance to the forefront and we're making people more aware of it, but a lot of times it'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 they urge them to do a lot of tricks and a lot of flashy stuff because or to dance to like these popular billboard music songs, because they think that viewers are not smart and if they don't have a reference point to connect it to, 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 great at 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 the trendy 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 according the 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 aprol and gymnastics are just flipping every five seconds, like there's no artistry, there's no technique, 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, this is true. We really watching to people perform at their highest level. We're shooting from Pittsburgh and that was the home of Flash Dance. Oh, last dance was great lash. Yes, this was a good one. Yeah, Lash dance is amazing. Well, you probably liked it for a different reason than 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 obviously center 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'm assuming that you can do all types of dances, ball room, everything. Everything will not everything, but a lot probably. Like I was trained intense it. Twelve different styles. That's pretty amazing. So, like even the old school movies like you're talking about, like Gene Kelly, like singing in the rain, all those old movies that they I mean it was big back in the day. A lot of the movies were about dancing and showing that 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 not there's not a lot of there's not a lot of rehearsal time, because in the 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 music video and there's like two rehearsals and then you shoot the music video. So there's no time to really like explore and like create stuff. They're just like learn this step, step, side, side, side, clap, chimney and 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 to the audience, and concert dancing it incorporates the audience, but it caters to the art, to what you're feeling, what you're exploring, what you're trying to convey. That's more important than trying to desperately do anything to get an applause or to get ratings or to get people interested in it. It's more honest than my opinion. So what's your what's your typical schedule? Like you're teaching all over the world. You're teaching multiple company, is right. I mean 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 one of the busiest. I'm currently on tour with share and then during our greats I'm teaching and guest performing at Galas or different events. In between are on our days off from tour, I'm teaching and the cities that were in or choreographing and also producing and writing doing other projects as well. So I'm pretty busy. 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 very down 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 all of that. She's very fine, very sweet woman. You get to travel and go to a bunch of different places. You get to perform in front of fifteen to thirty, even more thousands of people. We did the met gala this year, which was really awesome. I never thought that I would be there. I was like, she was a surprised guest. I was like, oh my gosh, like the is so cool, like, you know, that's awesome. Yeah, he has to be very inspirational because she's been doing what she's doing for a low, low time she has. It's it's strange. She said a few weeks ago. She told us. She said it's so weird. She said, when I first started in this industry was one of the youngest people and now I'm one of the oldest people doing it. Yeah, like there was nobody my age when I started and there's not really a lot of people my age like now. Maybe what the rolling stones that may yeah, probably be kind of similar. You know, how many decades has it been for her? It's been for it's been at least five 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 with her three years now. Well then, that's what I guessaid. I never glanced to be just kind of fell into my lap. I didn't even really I made my generation. I've been shared from the movie my last and right. Believe. Do you believe? Right, Sonny and share like that. It was 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 feel like going, I don't need to go because I'm working a bunch of other things, but let's just oft like and see what happens. And they need into someone who was a dancer and who could do aerial stuff like trappe's and silks, and they were about four hundred guys there and they were looking more to and out of four hundred guys, I was the only one that could do 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 you ever done something like a I know it the Super Bowl. There's other big spectacles, big shows. Have you done anything like that? I would love to think the Super Bowl. I have not yet. I have worked with tons of artists. Worked with twenty one pilots. I've worked with SEVB and work with the Jackson's, I've worked with Jesse J. Yeah, let's goes on and on. Yeah, so you I mean somebody at the talent level that you have? I'm sure they're they're always looking for somebody like you to come 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's strange. I mean I'm in a different place now. I think before I always I would just take things because I was like I'm lucky, because I think in my mind I was like I'm short and I don't have the right body type and I all these reasons why shouldn't be doing it's I'm probably lucky to 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 or perform with artists or pick and cheese what I would like to do and what I 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 good family friend. Who She was? I don't know if you've ever seen the show's called dance moms and Pitt work. So Sonia Sue. I don't know if you know niasue. So she's a good family friend of ours. Her brother 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 it was on TV and I'm sure very commercialized and all that, but but she's taken it to another level where she's making her own music videos, she's she's on Disney channel, she's on soap operas like it is led to a great career for her. Yeah, and it's so what do you say to like kids 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 that and have that aspiration, and how would you motivate them? I would say if it's if you find something that you're passionate about, to continue doing it and 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 support you, that should just be a bonus. I think it should be the deciding factor and it's easier said than like I said, I was always the only guy at my class, and a ballet class, so that was not very fun and I got to use a lot of stuff, but I would read 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 yourself with people that support you and even if they don't understand you, they allow you to be who you are and, like I said, I think that that's the key. And sometimes you know it's not going to be the people who you think it will be, but at the end of the day you have to find ways to motivate yourself. If you if you love to do something, then I think that that's reason enough to keep doing it. Don't be discouraged in ways like being told you don't have a dancers body, and you know, like you, you have an unconventional dangerous body. You said you're a little shorter than in more muscular, and so you're at the top of the game without an answers body. So I've seen your pictures of Google and 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 like in football, like you have to be a six foot four quarterback, and there'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 passion you 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 have all of those things against you, but the love and the talent is so undeniable there's no way anyone can get around it, which is what I think has 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 like we need one of those, like I can use one of those, you know. So you have to be that much better, which is a lot of 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 human it's a dance convention where we offer classes and Qai's and different workshops. We travel the country. The director and owners Gramlokan Crane, and he started it because he wanted to connect dancers and teachers and do something for the community to encourage them, and it's basically a tour of notable faculty. Some of them have 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 to a new city and we teach over five hundred dancers and we answer questions and we try to motivate them and give them...

...advice or the future and where you going next? Where's as going to be next? We're all currently we start back in the fall and we do twenty cities a year and one national and Orlando Florida. So we start regionally and the fall in October in Orlando Florida and we go all the way till April. Dave, how many miles do you think 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 just just 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 seat because I'm six four. Well, he's so flexible, though, it doesn't need 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 very strange. Like I hate like, but I have a process. I usually don'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 going through. So I usually am felt tired, but I just passed out the like. And then other things I try to distract myself. I try to read or I do work and as far as me, because it's taxing and I do get really good stars, I'm like, man, I cannot go through TSA again. I cannot do this, like it's exhausting. And then you wait for your bags and then the bags don't show up and then just all of that, I try to remember why I'm going to where I'm going and how lucky I am, like you're going to inspire a bunch of kids or you're going to this place where you've never been before. or how many people get to do that? How many people are working jobs right now that they don't like, but they're just doing it because they need to provide for their kids or they need a means to get food? But you're doing something that supplies all of that and it's something you love and that's something that you should never forget. So I try to remember that too. We're traveling with entourage, with share. What's what's that experience like? You guys? Let's go pretty. First, glass and beautiful tour buses. Yeah, she's a shoot 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 thads and like little lounge areas and they get US whatever food we want for the bus rides because they're kind of long, which obviously I put down hot cheetos and gummy bears and everything. Probably not going to eat them, just like they're going to get everything we want, so I just put a bunch of stuff down. Yeah, it's wonderful. She's great. They they, she does this thing. We have Bingo nights occasionally which is always fun, and she from the crew to the dancers, the singers, everyone that's a part of production. She runs the huge ballroom in a hotel and there's free drinks and food and everything for everyone and we play Bingo for cash prizes and she just 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 crowd you'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 see twenty, twenty, twozero people. That's really big. Yeah, somewhere on there. What. So we've been through your life, you know, and one of the things that we do now is we like to go through what we 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 end and we like the fire a bunch of questions at you and have you answered real quick and just have some fun with it. So we're going to get your quick with right now. Okay, there's not a primaries there. Am I 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's got hollow and now there's no there's no, there's no x red ex or golden buzz 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 gonna go about doesn't, Richards and Nice. It's really hard. I'm just going to 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 like if people interrupt me when I'm talking. I think it's very rude. I like that. If someone if there was a movie about Dj Smart, who would play Dj Smart in the movie? Hmm, I would say either Darren Henson or it's just Faba. I like that. So it's good to be okay, if you could go back in time and tell a young Dj is smart one thing, what would it be? I would tell dj there's no one like you and you're unusual, but that's okay. That's going to be your biggest ass that one day. All right. So if DJ SMART, when he was twelve, decided not to be a dancer to be a track star. What would have been your favorite race, or whatever it would have been? You have that done in true event in track, for sure, hurdles are tough. I coached a kid in high school. His name is Zekieli any plays for Dallas cowboys now, and he was the state champion four years in a row and in the hurdles in Missouri. I didn't think that would transfer to the football field, but it actually because of the flexibility and everything like. His speed and his strength was incredible. Yeah, it's hard. You could probably high jumped too. I can see. Oh yeah, I could see him high jump, because I think you would have definitely done 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 right now, what is your favorite? Yeah, I know you're you're you're vested in a ton of different styles. What is your favorite right now? I think 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, who would 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 moment of the guard moving poppy somewhere. You know what anybody see? I'm he's just in a bathroom. Yeah, I'll yeah, reading the news. That digginess. 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 top favorite places that I've been already? Yeah, I would say probably to buy. Really what? Why do you like to buy? I always wanted to visit the first Philippa and I love to buy all, so I think it's just beautiful. But I wanted to visit the tallest building in the world and I was actually invite it to perform for an award show which was at the first Philippa. So I was like yes, two Burns in one song. Did you go to the top floor? It was like it was a little bit above midway through. So it was but I hadn't go to the top floor, but it was pretty high. Yeah, I so in New York at the Empire State Building, I took the kids on top and they were little and I've never been really afraid of height. I was so nervous and anxious I couldn't even go to the edge and look over because I was so scared for like the kids, and the elevator ride down was terrible. I was so nervous. Does any of that bother you? It does, it does. I don't like to stand next to the edge of anything. All right, Dave. Last one. What do you got? Um, real easy. 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 you big Jim Carrey Fan? I, like a lot of us, I think he'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's the most famous person on your phone right now? Well, famous person on my phone. Um, oh, that's hard. The most famous person on 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 you for sharing your story. With us in the huddle and I think it was just you just have an amazing personality, amazing story and I think your fans are going to love to hear and learn a little bit about dance and how important 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.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (159)