June 12th, 2020 | Deneen White | music
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Deneen: Hey everyone, this is Deneen White and I am the host of the VIP Ignite live blog.
This is a special series of interviews being recorded during quarantine for the Coronavirus.
Our purpose of doing these interviews is twofold.
First of all, we want to create inspiration and second of all, we are doing this for the planning of what's needed to continue pushing forward in a career as an actor, model or musician.
I am here live with Dakota Pool who is from Boise, Idaho, and is an overall entertainer.
So Dakota, I would love to know what is going on in Boise, Idaho right now.
What are you doing during the quarantine?
KEEPING BUSY DURING QUARANTINE
Dakota: So the stay at home quarantine was instated probably three or four weeks ago by our governor.
I was on a job doing flooring when it happened.
I told my boss I was heading home.
I had to get some dance classes filmed because our dance studio is now doing virtual classes, mostly through Facebook live.
It's going to be put up on a YouTube account for the students to see.
Unfortunately, I'm limited and so I have to send videos to another coworker and then she redoes them and posts them and everything.
But there's been a lot in regards to dance challenges here and there.
I'm watching my friends.
I've seen a lot of dancers trying to keep active as much as possible.
Technically, my job isn't a very gray area as far as whether or not it is essential.
I've told my boss that when it comes to the bigger jobs, ones that are over a thousand square feet of flooring, I’ll go and help.
Not as much as possible, but most of the time I let him do whatever he needs to do because it's just me and him that do the flooring and his livelihood runs off of it.
I was able to call up most of my financial bills and everything to make sure that in a financial setting I was okay for this stay on quarantine.
I admit that I have seen a lot of people that post going out to a park or something to where there is enough space for social distancing to get some air so they're not stuck inside all the time.
From a personal perspective, I've done a little bit more as far as home workouts with some resistance bands that I have.
I've definitely looked into the coachings that we've had, and I got back into video gaming a bit just so I can connect with some of my friends that I can't see in person.
It's still important to have that connection to people and everything like that.
Deneen: Of course.
Dakota: If it does get to the point where they consider construction jobs non-essential and everybody has to stay home unless you're a healthcare professional, I know for a fact that I have a plethora of books, both electronic on my Kindle as well as hardcover.
Those books would be more than happy to be read through, so I personally have had plenty to keep me busy.
I know that most of Idaho, as far as Boise, Nampa, Meridian, or some of the bigger cities in our state are keeping pretty busy through everything.
Deneen: That's awesome.
Let's go back to these dance classes.
So you teach dance classes and you're taping them live, or you're taping them for people to see and to perform alongside?
TEACHING AND PERFORMING WITH OTHERS REMOTELY
I wish I had a better camera, and probably a little bit of a better wifi connection because I'm in a neighboring city to Boise.
It's a little further out there.
The connection is spotty at times and everything, but if I had a little bit of a better connection or a little bit of a better camera, I would be doing the videos live myself through Facebook.
Our studio themselves had been working on this for a while before our governor actually did the stay at home, because she was trying to just stay proactive and in front of everything.
A coworker of mine, a friend that I've known for years, is considered to be the second teacher to two of my classes.
What I do now is I film the new choreography and I break it down slowly for her.
Basically, I dance it.
I have to get it into just about five minutes for the program that I use for recording.
So I check to see if the choreography matches, and say “you raised your right hand here, you sat back three times or something”, or something like that.
Deneen: You put your left foot in, and you shake it all about.
Dakota: She'll go back to edit, and a normal class is about an hour.
You do a warmup for your first 10 minutes, and you get a good stretch.
All of the things you need to do to get ready.
The choreography should be about 40 minutes, if you're good.
I normally do mine a little bit differently.
They include stuff like across the floor, which would be just really basic dance moves that you wouldn't think about because the movement of it is so simple.
A lot of us do it in our day to day life without even realizing it.
It helps the kids work it out in their head, as far as, “Oh no, I can actually do this, it's no big deal.”
It helps them as far as knowing their body movement.
Then she will film the new choreography session that I've had for them, and do a cool-down stretch or warm up.
She tends to do a lot of improv freestyle, which is really important for dancers because it definitely forces a different creative mindset.
Deneen: Dakota, I have a question for you.
During the quarantine, people are at home and they're thinking, “Oh my gosh, what am I going to do?”
You're helping to bring dance classes to people.
How old are these people who are taking these virtual dance classes?
Dakota: Specifically for my studio and in regards to the classes that I teach, the oldest one that I teach I think is 15 or 16, and the youngest one might be five or six.
Deneen: That's awesome.
Now do you think that the whole family is getting in on these dance classes?
It's obvious they're playing it.
I bet you have mom's in the background, or dad's in the background busting a groove too.
Dakota: I know for a fact that there are at least probably three or four.
Our studio owner is actually also a studio parent.
There is a mom who does a lot as far as the board for the studio, and I know her kids do dance and she does a lot with it as well.
Plus one of the parents, I follow her on Instagram.
The same coworker who teaches the class with me tagged me in a video where a student I taught last summer was learning a move.
She was practicing it over and over in her kitchen.
She tagged me in it because she knew that I was the one that showed her that.
There's a decent amount of dance parents that are probably working as well with their kids.
FINDING PURPOSE AND AVOIDING STAGNANCY
Deneen: How does that make you feel?
How does it make you feel that right now, you're actually bringing joy and movement to people?
How cool is that?
Dakota: As a teacher, that is phenomenal.
I've always told people that I would teach even if I wasn't getting paid, just because I myself almost didn't dance for awhile because of some stigmas and self confidence issues.
You didn't want to look weird, but you have to look weird to get good at something most of the time.
Sometimes I hear a kid say, “I'm so glad I took your class, I was really happy because you taught me this.”
Or “at first it was really difficult, but then I got it.”
It's moments like that when you can see it in their eyes, that they're elated and over the moon because of the fact that they got something that in the beginning was difficult.
Then somehow something clicked and it just came through to them.
It's like a kid in a candy store; they’ve got rosy cheeks and the sparkle in their eyes.
They're just over the top excited.
Knowing that there is still an avenue to be able to get that for them so they can smile, stay happy, and stay active is huge to me.
Deneen: That's awesome.
That's kind of like what we're doing with the VIP Elite Talent Academy.
So let's talk a little bit about that.
We're offering an online coaching program.
How has that helped you sharpen your own skills during this time of being under quarantine?
Dakota: You were the one that I talked to specifically in regards to the Elite Academy and hearing about all of it.
It was one of those things that is a lot like dance; the more work you put into it, the more you'll get out of it.
On days when I am home because I'm not on the job or whatever, that’s a big thing for me.
I don't like stagnancy.
Obviously everybody likes their free time.
Everybody likes to have that moment of “I'm going to do nothing and I'm going to enjoy doing nothing.”
Through dance, through fitness, through the way that I was brought up, I'm used to having about two or three things going at the same time.
I love being able to go back through the coachings and take notes and really dive into the things that you do need, or the things that you thought you needed that you actually don't.
Actually learning what I would consider to be the backbone or the foundation of a lot of the industry is paramount.
Deneen: Out of all the coaching that you've watched, since you told me you’re binge watching the coaching, who has been your favorite coach?
Dakota: Honestly, I'll say Michael, the new lead to Newsies.
Deneen: Oh, Michael Urie!
We love Michael Urie.
He is the host of the Drama Desk Awards.
He co-starred in Ugly Betty.
He's a really good friend of the company.
He's phenomenal, isn't he?
Dakota: I actually need to go back and rewatch the first one that I watched of him.
Everything he was saying was so good and hit me mentally so well that I actually forgot.
It was one of those experiences where you are more excited about how great it was as a coaching then the content itself.
I need to go back and just retake notes on everything.
I would probably say that Allie Grants was the one that definitely gave me bullet points of things that I should be doing as safely as possible while I keep going through the quarantine.
Deneen: We love Allie Grants.
When she was 10 years old, she got a recurring role on the hit TV show on Showtime, Weeds.
She also co-starred in The Goldbergs and their spinoff show that they're doing.
She went to Harvard University, and got a degree.
Dakota: From the way that she carries herself, she seems very knowledgeable.
She has a wealth of knowledge and she offered a very different perspective during the call.
She asked how we’re doing through all of this, and admittedly I'm more introvert than extrovert.
So I posted up saying my introverted side is very happy right now.
She said “All of you guys are performers; you're entertainers, you want to be out there, you want to be interacting with people and everything.”
I realized that definitely is a side of who I am as a person.
It was really nice to see that.
She definitely knows.
YOU CAN BE WORKING, EVEN UNDER QUARANTINE
Deneen: She knows both sides for sure.
So what was your favorite take away from Allie Grant's call?
What was one thing that you've actually taken and put into action for yourself?
Dakota: I actually have three bullet point notes here.
She talked about the demo reel, which I don't have much acting experience with.
She said that was just fine.
Boise State University has a dance association, called BSDA.
I think they changed the name of it this past year and it's now a club instead of association.
I can probably go there and find some of my more relative, and probably what I would consider to be better, dance performances.
She said to do a five minute demo reel about what you can do.
She talked about keeping your headshots up to date and I have through at least two friends.
Some of them were closer than others.
They can do photography and do the editing for photos and everything like that.
I know she said to try and research five photographers in your area and try to figure out about them.
She talked about the resumes and how to keep a one page, and the setup she has.
I want to go through that again and try and figure out the resume set up that she was talking about because it seemed really on point.
The last one was the photos.
Deneen: The bullet points that you gave are fantastic because they're tips that anyone can do right now.
Anyone can be working on making sure that you're perfecting your craft, making sure that you are researching so that when you're allowed out, you can start getting those photos taken and get more comfortable in front of the camera.
So those two are very great points, and making sure that your resume is up to date and keeping it in good form is fantastic.
Something that you said was that you don't ever like to be stagnant.
You want to always keep moving.
FINDING AND MAINTAINING YOUR MOMENTUM
One of the words that I've coined for 2020 is “momentum.”
How do you feel that being a part of the VIP Elite Town Academy is helping you maintain that momentum when other people are just kind of chilling?
How is this helping you maintain your momentum?
Dakota: I'm actually going to tie that into Antoinette, because through one of the calls that I was watching yesterday, she used the word momentum right off the bat.
It was when she did a call two weeks ago.
To me that was important, because let's say you have three or four different projects going at the same time.
You might be focused on more that eventually fail, some that you might have stopped.
That's what she said, to make sure that you had peace.
I put mental health right next to that because you may have peace, but mentally you're jumbled.
She said to be consistent, so the note that I put down was “What did you do today?”
Since it is online and it is virtual, you get tempted to take a nap after something like this because you didn't sleep last night.
I actually put a blanket alarm on every day at seven o'clock.
That way I can keep that same momentum going in that I'm forcing myself to be more proactive in everything, while asking myself “What did I do today?”
I want to be able, on the days where I do stay at home to be able, to look back at the day when I go to lie down and not feel icky.
I don't want to feel icky.
I don't want to feel like I let myself down.
That's what I mean by icky, because everybody at some point has let themselves down and felt bad about it, because you think “I did this to myself.”
On the days that I stayed home, I pushed through a lot of different various aspects through dance, because I'm still working on choreography to Drake's practice.
I'm still looking at dance videos.
I'm still immersed in that world because that is a huge part of my life.
I'm still doing fitness things.
I love jumping my vertical jump at one point.
It was really great, and I'm using resistance bands to help with that.
But when I looked at my life, I thought “You're doing a lot of this but you've missed a lot of the acting.”
Which was where VIP Talent came in with everything, because you guys come out with a lot.
Deneen: I know, it’s like a fire hose.
Dakota: The fact that I am able to go back and rewatch and redo is great.
All I have to do is buckle down a little bit, and not watch some Netflix episodes.
Yesterday when I was watching Antoinette's call, all I could think about was one hour; one hour is about three Netflix episodes.
They take out commercials.
When I was trying to put a schedule in my head, even for work, I was thinking from six to seven in the evening.
Most people are probably home depending on their work.
If I'm able to spend at least one hour, I'm going to rewatch your coaching call, look at photography, or watch Alicia's videos on her favorite poses, or what you should be doing as far as photos and social media accounts.
If I can spend at least an hour a day, I probably won't feel icky because a lot of people don't realize everybody has the same 24 hours.
It's about what she knew.
If you're a lucky person and you get that eight hours every day for sleep, if you do nine in the night to five in the morning, that means that you have from five in the morning to nine at night to get done as much as you need to get done.
For me, I put in that time of seven o'clock, which varies depending on if I'm working or not.
I know for a fact that I can at least find an hour to keep the momentum going, to keep all that going in through VIP Talent.
With it being online, it's 100% on you.
It offers so much more because instead of needing to be in person or needing to read the book or needing to do hundreds of calls to try and get a minute or two with this person for Then I can go and find the things that I want to find and study.
Deneen: That's phenomenal.
I love what you said there, Dakota, because everyone does have the same 24 hours.
What you do with those 24 hours makes all the difference in the world because it is a choice.
I love that you said that you're making an effort.
You're doing that.
You listened to Antoinette Stratton's call.
For anyone who doesn't know, she's a great friend of our company, and she's a talent manager.
She works with people like Oliver Stone.
She manages her husband Richard Stratton's career.
He's a prolific writer and he's very much involved in the entertainment industry.
He actually just released his third book, which is really cool.
I love what you mentioned about Antoinette because she's very much one of those people who's very regimented.
I could tell you her schedule; I've never been to her house, but I could tell you her schedule.
I love that you quoted her in this because right now, no matter whether we're in quarantine or not, we all have the same 24 hours a day.
COMING OUT OF THIS STRONGER
The thing that we hope for and the thing that you're exemplifying is that you come out of this stronger.
If you make that small change, that's something that you're going to continue with.
Now isn't the time for complacency.
Now isn't a time to think, “You know what, I'm done.”
Now's the time for us to actually be making sure that we show up everyday even harder because we still have 24 hours.
A lot of us have more time now to be doing things that are going to help us move forward.
Dakota: Because you used the word stronger, this popped up to my head.
I saw it a few days ago.
It was a meme, because you know the internet exists.
It had Thor in Ragnarok when he came out shredded.
He's looking good like Chris Hemsworth does, right?
Then it had what everyone has called Fat Thor from Endgame when he has the suit.
It said you can come out a quarantine one of two ways: you can either be the slim one that's worked hard, that's done the work, or you can be the other one.
Let everything just kind of fall.
Deneen: I like to tell people you have two choices.
You can either watch Netflix, or work hard so you can be on Netflix.
Dakota: I've seen that one.
It makes me smile every time, and that's our goal for everyone.
Deneen: Dakota, I just want to thank you so much for being here today.
Thank you for being an inspiration.
Thank you for being a part of our VIP Elite Talent Academy and sharing your insights with us.
Keep doing those dance videos for the kids in Idaho.
I'm sure they're ecstatic every time they get a new one.
Dakota: It’s pretty fun!
Thank you so much.
Have a great rest of your day!
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