Willing A Way

There is nothing truer than the age old idiom that says, "Where there is a will, there is a way."

As I noted in my last post, the "Yeezus" Tour was put on an indefinite hiatus after the show's 60-foot screen was damaged en route to Vancouver. With all the uncertainties surrounding the tour postponement I immediately phoned my agent to discuss potential work opportunities in Los Angeles, emphasizing my desire to dance on X Factor. Even though it seemed highly improbable that the tour schedule and the television show schedule would align in such a way to allow me to experience both, I was hoping with all my might that it somehow would all fall into place.

And lo and behold, it did. 

What made me so hungry for this particular opportunity was the desire to work with the artistic forces behind the show. The creative team for X Factor is like something out of a dream: 

Creative Director: Jamie King - An artistic mastermind known for his work with pop superstars like Britney Spears and Madonna.

Choreographer: Galen Hooks - A visionary, industry veteran, and true artist whose resume reads like a thorough chronology of major commercial and entertainment industry projects. Incredibly talented, unique, and a college graduate (woo!). 

Associate Choreographer: Jae Blaze - A funky choreographer who is "synonymous with unparalleled creativity, exceptional work ethic, and... a commitment to the well being of her dancers." 

Associate Choreographers: Keone & Mariel Madrid - Dance God and Goddess from the hip-hop community whose talents are unexplainable:


I first met Mari nearly 6 years ago when I took my first hip hop classes with Funkanometry SF. Begin watching this video of Mari's class from 2007 at around 1:30 and you might recognize a little squirt in black sweats and a white t-shirt on the left:


And our paths continued to cross in the years thereafter. When I was involved with NSU Modern at UCLA, I remember seeing Mari and Keone at hip hop events like Vibe Dance Competition and Fusion. I have always deeply respected the duo's work with Choreo Cookies, or Cookies as they are known as now: 


Over the years, my admiration for these two as individuals and as a pair has grown immensely. 

The whole audition process for X Factor about a month ago solidified my feelings about the project. It was well organized, the dancing was challenging yet fun, and the dancers were treated respectfully throughout it all. I voiced my thoughts to my agent following the audition, letting them know just how much I wanted to work with the X Factor team. I repeated my desires to them again once I returned to LA.

The stars somehow aligned this past week, and I was very fortunate to be a part of Ellona Santiago and Lillie Mcloud's performances:


Jamie stood at the helm of the creative ship, steering and orchestrating concepts while each choreographer turned these concepts into reality. I worked mostly with Galen and Keone & Mari; working with them in the professional setting and being in the creative process with them was, for lack of a better word, magical.

The whole group
Me with Keone & Mari

Galen!

Marina: the sweetest and most talented wardrobe lady
So whether it was mere happenstance or my strong will, the improbable happened. This special project was a reminder that even when the odds are stacked heavily against me, with a little push and a lot of luck, I can turn a desire into reality.