Tarzan is one of the more accomplished dancers/choreographers working today. Based in New York City, Tarzan has taken the stage with luminaries such as Grace Jones and Madonna, performing everywhere from Afropunk in Brooklyn to the Rebel Hearts Tour. He offered some words of wisdom for guys looking to break into the world of dance and choreography, sharing what he’s learned throughout his career.
“Make sure that you research your business,” says Tarzan. “It’s fun and amazing to travel and work with different people doing different gigs, but you want to make sure that this is the industry that’s for you and it will fit your lifestyle. It’s a business first, most people only see the performance side of it.”
And Tarzan also believes in continuous learning.
“Always be in class,” he says. “Take all styles, from anybody and everybody. Don’t just stick to one style or one choreographer. Especially if your goal is commercial dance, don’t just think about dancing for a Chris Brown, think about dancing for the people who work for Chris Brown; creative directors, styling team. They work with all of these people, so don’t put all your eggs in oen basket.”
Fitness is important for your craft and Tarzan urges young dancers to not take it for granted.
“Take care of your body,” he advises. “A lot of dancers think that the only thing you can dod is dance and that’s it. you have to make sure you’re eating well and treating your body well. Eating well, sleeping and working out. You have to work out. Dance is not just working out, it’s a cardio form but you definitely have to work out. Take care of yourself.
“I learned from Ciara’s choreographer Jamaica Craft–these words have stuck with me ever since–she said if you stay ready, you never have to get ready. Keep your headshots on you, keep your business cards on you. Make sure everything is appropriate and business-ready—have your personality in it—but stay ready.”