Sculpted Interview

February 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

I sat down with jewelry artists and sculptor to meet the lady behind the clay and the brain behind the business. Here’s to another Modern Women of the Month playing loudly in her one woman band.

The Internet Bachelorette: I want to start with the origin of this endeavor. Did you know that this was going to become a business? I know you’re an artist, primarily working with oil and canvas, how did that translate to sculpting jewelry?

Dre Swain: I wrote a book, fantasy, and I had this idea that it would be really fun to design bookmarks and charms for different characters to go with the book. I went to my friend who is a jewelry designer and asked if she could make these charms for me. We talked about what I needed and after our conversation she was honest and told me it wasn’t going to be worth my money to have her do it. Which was fine because I’m a big do-it-yourself person anyway, I’m always looking for my next hobby. I remember in High School I liked fooling around with polymer clay, making beads and stuff like that so I set out to make these charms out of polymer clay. I jumped on Amazon to get a how-to book on how to work with polymer clay. I wanted to become an expert before I dove in, and the first book I found was how to use polymer clay to make jewelry.

TIB: Planting the seed.

DS: Yup, I put that in my cart. So I get my books and bought minimal supplies. The first thing I made was a necklace, called The Pirate’s Heart. I wore it into work, and I wasn’t even that happy with it because it didn’t turn out like what was in my head. I brought it in for a show and tell and one of the actresses on the show I was working on, Victorious, bought it right away. She asked me a price and I just threw one out there and she didn’t even blink an eye. I was like, “What?! You know… I think I’ll make another necklace or two.”

TIB: How long ago was that?

DS: That was in September of 2010. I made my first piece. For fun. And sold it. After that the wardrobe department on iCarly at Nickolodeon bought everything I made. The were so patient, that’s when I was troubleshooting. Chains were breaking, things weren’t behaving the way I wanted, the pieces kept flipping around. They let me take the things home that were broken or weren’t working out so I could fix them.

TIB: How did you start promoting?

DS: I started promoting myself  using Twitter and Facebook. Word of mouth just around work caught on. At Christmas time this year I wasn’t sleeping because I had 12 hours at Nickolodeon and came home and had 8 more hours of work just to keep up with Christmas commissions. I kinda had to put the brakes on everything. Figured I had to take this really seriously.

TIB: Absolutely, your art is making money.

DS: I filed all my paperwork, my DBA stuff, got a website rolling, and made pieces in the meantime. And I have yet to make a bookmark charm. [laughs]

TIB: So you are a self-taught sculptor, which is amazing. What are the materials that you use and why are they unique to your designs?

DS: Like I said, I use polymer clay, which is an artist’s clay. It fires at a low temperature so I can fire it at home. It’s extremely light. So my big chunky pieces, like Lions Plume, Clockwork Heart, Elefish, they are big chunky pieces, but they aren’t uncomfortable, they don’t hang down on your neck, they aren’t super heavy.

TIB: But they look like metal? And you’re getting away with it. I wouldn’t know it wasn’t metal until I picked it up.

DS: They look like metal and now I’m starting to gild with 24 cart gold leaf. Even without the gold leaf it still has a metallic aged or brass look.

TIB: But it’s not.

DS: Even people with metal allergies can wear it. If they tell me ahead of time I can get rid of the chain and put it on a silk cord and they can still wear something that looks totally awesome.

TIB: Amazing.

DS: It’s such a versatile medium and I can incorporate watch parts, metal bits, Swarovski crystals, I even use diamonds in some of my pieces. For those with more expensive tastes and they prefer to have the diamonds and more expensive material, I can incorporate those as well. And for those who don’t have the money to spend I can skip the pricier adornments.

TIB: Your designs are very eclectic. I’m not even sure what type of style category you would be labeled under. It’s all really unique, which is what people want in jewelry especially. How would you classify your style?

DS: I think it’s this crazy mixing bowl of a lot of things. It reminds some people of Tim Burton. So there’s something Tim Burton about it, something Rock n’ Roll about it, and there’s something feminine about it. So I think if you put those things in a blender and when you pulled out the chunks there would be varying amounts of those elements in each piece. So that’s what my style is.

TIB: Very cool.

DS: And I love contradictions. Like the Monastache. It’s a classic with some humor. Humor goes into a lot of my pieces. I like to do things that are unexpected. With the Lions Plume it’s from a line called Hybrids where I’m taking animals and putting them together. So the lion’s mane is actually a bunch of tiny feathers. Same idea with the Elefish.

TIB: So it’s ears are fish fins?

DS: Exactly.

TIB: Ding, ding, ding!

DS: It’s recognizable as one thing, but upon closer inspection there’s more of a story behind it, that’s something else that applies to my pieces. I have a piece called The Repaired Heart and it’s one of my top sellers. Everyone who buys it feels compelled to tell me why. Everything from a girl who had a horrible childhood to a woman who bought it for her sister who just had heart surgery.

TIB: Wow. You’re learning a lot about your costumers. When you’re commissioned to create a certain piece for someone what’s your process?

DS: I like doing commissions, it’s like two minds are better than one. When someone else tells me a story of why they want a piece or a design element they want, it’s an exciting challenge to make what they want and still make it mine and make them happy.

TIB: What’s rewarding about selling a piece?

DS: The thing about painting is that there’s only one. I’ve stopped selling my paintings because that’s my baby, I wanted it hanging on my wall. It was painful to let them go. With the jewelry it’s a different form of expression. It’s not finished until it’s on someone. I get giddy every time I see someone put something I made on. And somehow the same piece will look different on you then it would on me then it would on your best friend. That’s when it’s really finished.

TIB: Where else does your inspiration drive from? I know you’re a lover of fantasy and there is something romantic and fantastical about this look. But then you have some pieces that are food related.

DS: I make lists of ideas and things I like, I have a notebook. I’ll go to a museum and write down the things that catch my eye. Sometimes I sketch it out, sometimes I have a picture in my head, but I write everything down. I’ll think if the craziest thing in the moment, be it genius or idiotic, I’ll decide later. To-Do lists keep me on schedule too.

TIB: What was your biggest struggle when starting the business?

DS: I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t even know what a DBA was. I asked a lot of questions and I got advice, but I didn’t have any help. I’m the accountant, I’m the sculptor, I’m the janitor, I’m the photographer and the model. It was hard at times but when there’s no one to help you, you pick up your boot straps and make it work. If other people can do it, why can’t I?

TIB: I know finances are a touchy subject, but you had mentioned that you aren’t making a profit at this time, everything is going back into the business. What are those expenses for a start-up company that people might not realize?

DS: It’s crazy when you have a web-based business. I recently had to upgrade my hosting server with GoDaddy to had a credit card payment option and was really surprised that it was $600. I have a merchant account, there’s a monthly fee for that, Paypal fee with each purchase, cost of materials, cost of gas to get the materials, post office. Everything has a cost. The cost of the box to ship the necklace in.

TIB: Good thing they’re all really light.

DS: [laughs] Yes, another advantage of polymer clay.

TIB: How did you arrive at finding a fair price for your merchandise?

DS: I had a difficult time with that. I use a formula for every piece. For every new design I make I have this formula sheet with a space for me to clock in and clock out, and every single material and how much it cost. So I have an hourly wage, which eventually I will make when I stop putting it back into the business, and there’s the cost of materials, times 2. So it covers what I used and pays for me to buy more to make another, then the business can grow.

TIB: That’s interesting. What was the reaction from your trusted costumers and mentors when you arrived at these prices?

DS: Surprisingly enough, people were saying they were too low. I think as young artists, we undersell ourselves when trying to turn our art into a business. I still sometimes get embarrassed to say what the price is, because it ain’t cheap. But at the same time it’s all done by hand and it’s someone’s art.

TIB: It’s your art.

DS: My mentors really were the ones who sat me down and encouraged me to charge what I am because they knew I’d never build a business charging what I first thought I should. That’s why I have the sheet, so I can make sure that I am charging a fair price for all the work and artistry that goes into it and I’m not cheating anyone out of their money. The prices are boutique prices, but they are for a very high quality product.

TIB: What type of clients have emerged from your prices and the quality?

DS: I’m really surprised. There are people who want art they can hang around their neck. I’ve gotten some orders from overseas.  I like to think I wouldn’t spend that much on a necklace, but I’ve done it before. For the right piece, absolutely.

TIB: Me too. You justify it by how much you love it and how much you’ll wear it.

DS: Right, how much use you get out of it. And how unique it is.

TIB: What is one piece of advice would you give to entrepreneurs and artists alike trying to pursue their dreams?

DS: Make sure you do love it. You are going to fight some battles to make it happen. If it’s not thinking about it, it’s making phone call to fix problems, tweeting, talking to tech people, more hours and frustration go into it, and you have to make sure that it’s worth it. Don’t undersell yourself. Come up with a formula that’s not only fair for your buyer, but fair for you and say it with confidence.

TIB: You have to own what you’re worth and know that you are worth it.

Jewelry from top to bottom: Clockwork Heart: Cleopatra, Screwfly, Typewriter Keys, Clockwork Heart (original), Repaired Heart, Bow-a Constrictor, Drops of Cupid

For purchases and browsing visit: dreswain.com

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Current deal: 3 for 40… refer three people and get 40% off your next piece. So tell her TIB sent you, I have my eye on a few things (wink).

I Have The Golden Cheez-it!

February 20, 2012 § 1 Comment

I’ll admit it, Cheez-its are the only part of my complete breakfast/lunch/dinner. Okay, I like ’em. Just a little. Sometimes when you’re not a wife or a mother (aka a Bachelorette) you eat Cheez-its for dinner. Well… I can see Cheez-it meals far into my future, I won’t stop at Bachelorette-dom so I’m just going to celebrate it.

I have this piece from Dre Swain’s jewelry line, Champagne and Cheese and I’ve been wearing it whenever I actually pry my finger tips from my computer and put on an outfit. It’s quickly becoming my new staple. Small enough to be part of my delicate style yet unique enough to be an attention getter.

It takes people a while, but I’ve been getting, “Is that a Cheez-it?!” Once someone even inquired if it was a real Cheez-it cast in metal. Yes, a Cheez-it. No, not a real one. Once people notice that it’s a snack food they want to talk about it. Conversation piece.

Why would I wear a cracker around my neck? Because you should honor what you love. Athletes wear their jersey numbers around their neck. Mother’s wear their children’s birthstones. Lot’s of variation of heart pendents out there (thank you, Tiffany). Please, I think a favorite food is better than being blatantly narcissistic and wearing your name around your neck, like you weren’t sure how to spell it or might forget it entirely.

That’s what I like best about Dre’s collection, it’s doesn’t take itself too seriously. I mean, I like my name and all, and diamonds, but a childhood lunch box item I love? Sold! She’s got a great mix of elegance and quirk in all her pieces and my Cheez-it is no exception.

What’s not to like about jewelry with a sense of humor? It’s your expression, wear what your personality around your neck.

For purchases and browsing visit: dreswain.com

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Current deal: 3 for 40… refer three people and get 40% off your next piece. So tell her TIB sent you, I have my eye on a few things (wink).

Centerpiece: Accessory

February 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’m sure by now you’ve taken a peek at Miss February jewelry artist/sculptor, Dre Swain’s line of jewelry and accessories and picked out and pinned up your wants and desires. While I like everything, I sometimes don’t know what to wear when. I have this syndrome where I have trouble accessorizing an outfit. Sometimes too little, sometimes too much. I asked Dre to give me some pointers on how to wear and how to pair.

1. Figure out if you’re jewelry is the ‘centerpiece’. A lot of times a really great piece of jewelry can be lost in a wild print or layers of an outfit. If you have a necklace that was created to stand out, let it be the focal point of your look. Wear something monochromatic. If it’s a short necklace wear it with a deep ‘v’ or something strapless.

2. If the clothing is the focus of your look, don’t accessorize with statement pieces. Choose something smaller and dainty. Find the balance. If your outfit was made to stand out then your jewelry should be more subdued. 

3. Go with your gut. Much like you listen to yourself about what you want for breakfast, let your mood lend inspiration to your accessories. Sometimes when we wake up we let one side of our personalities come through more that day. If you are feeling happy, sad, fruity or  cheeky. Let that be the guide.

4. Got up on the wrong side of the bed? Where a piece that changes your mood. It works! If you have a day ahead of you where you need to feel powerful and strong you might wear the Lion’s Plumb. If you wake up tired and groggy, put on All Hail The Glorious Bean (with a real coffee bean). Just knowing that you have that symbol on can influence the way you think about your day and your actions.

4. If you don’t know when you wear a piece, pick a specific event. Ex. Wear Zombie Apocalypse to a Halloween Party, or zombie movie date night. Wear the Mona-Stash to browse a museum, or an art gallery. Wear Breakfast foods to brunch with friends. It’s fun and festive. You can’t go wrong with wearing items that inspire the events you attend. It changes your mood so you can anticipate and enjoy the activities you participate in.

5. It’s okay to pick your jewelry first then decide your outfit. Sometimes let your jewelry be the antidote for the rest of the day’s statement.

6. Know where your jewelry is going, know the intention of jeweling up parts of your body. Dre makes a lot of necklaces. The neck is one of the most beautiful areas on a woman, nothing wrong with drawing attention to it. If you like a lot of rings think about what your hands mean to you. Do you work with them, create, care, cook? Honor them with some glitz. Wearing gems on your ears, if your a good listener.

7. Wear the length of necklace that’s right for your look. Sometimes you want something that rests right in between your collar bones, but that might be a little too short for some people. Be sure to adjust your short necklace to your own comfort level. If you aren’t comfortable in it, you won’t wear it well. For longer necklaces, pick pieces with 360 designs because they tend to flip around. All angles have to look good.

7. Select pieces carefully for yourself. It’s important to wear pieces that make you feel sexy, feminine and brings out qualities in yourself. You have a sense of style and so should your jewelry. Treat yourself to those items that define you, that no one else has. You’re a unique person.

8. What you wear should accentuate what you’ve already got. Because what you have is already beautiful. You’re decorating you. Put the cherry on top.

Photos From Top To Bottom: Dre Swain, Pieces of Gogh -or- Starry What?, All Hail the Glorious Bean, Daniella Monet wearing Morning Munchies on Nickelodeon’s ‘Fred the Movie 2, Stone Flutterby.

For purchases and browsing visit: dreswain.com

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Current deal: 3 for 40… refer three people and get 40% off your next piece. So tell her TIB sent you, I have my eye on a few things (wink).

Miss February

February 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

All month-long I am honoring jewelry artist/sculptor, Dre Swain. Her look is sure to turn heads, make statements and maybe even make you giggle a little. Always an artist, Dre’s medium was oil and canvas until she fell in love with polymer clay. Or as she so affectionately refers to it as: the love child of rubber and clay. She has taken her impeccable eye, attention to detail and sense of humor to reincarnate her artistic ability in fashion.

All of her pieces are diligently sculpted with a story or a riddle. Always the queen of contradiction, each piece only appears to be cast in heavy medal, when actually they are light as a feather. So you can wear the flashy pieces without the weight of it all. You’ll only remember you’re wearing it because people won’t stop asking you where you found such a unique piece. Maybe it was a gift from an adoring dude? Maybe you should forward him the link… hint, hint.

Let’s get a few of things straight, although Dre’s style is charming, wacky, and clever there are several constants that make it a Dre Swain Original. Each piece is conceived by Dre herself in her single lady operated business lair also know as her kitchen. She primarily uses polymer clay, as we’ve discussed, and each piece weighs less than an ounce. Everything is handcrafted by Dre herself and she is also responsible for the chain styling on each necklace or bracelet. These 360 designs can be commissioned with a variety of chain lengths, or ribbon. Even if they flip on their backsides during wear, their underbellies are just as fashionable. You’ll know every detail is perfected by Dre when you notice her signature on the piece, stamped with approval for wear and complements.

Like most artists, Dre has another job working on TV shows for Nickelodeon. It was here, with the help of the wardrobe department that she found her wings to share her art with the masses. The stylists fell in love with Dre’s jewelry and started placing them on the actresses for filming while encouraging her to make more. She has since expanded her operation and really finding herself a fan base. I mean, I’m a fan.

The Dre Swain Collection includes various pendants and necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings, and hair adornments. She has also recently expanded after experimenting with converting books to purses and personalizing notebooks and journals. She has also done various commissioned pieces for brides and sweethearts alike. Maybe it’s her whimsical style, or romantic fantasy essence, or maybe it’s how I’m lusting after everything in the collection that leads me to believe Dre is nothing short of a high-class Lisa Frank for the digital age, hold the neon colors. Wearing my Dre Swain Original always gives me a giddy feeling I haven’t felt since 3rd grade school shopping.

Pieces in Photos from top to bottom: Feathers and Chains on Dre Swain, Design variations of Mr. T. Rex, Esq., Beauty Mark Betty From the ‘KnuckleHeads’ collection, Daniella Monet wearing Mona-stache in Nickelodeon’s ‘Fred the Movie 2’, Bride’s Hair Adornment commissioned piece.

For purchases and browsing visit: dreswain.com

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Gift Certificates and Daily Deals available!

Current deal: 3 for 40… refer three people and get 40% off your next piece. So tell her TIB sent you, I have my eye on a few things (wink).

Miss February Foto Folly

February 3, 2012 § Leave a comment

I thought the very best way to introduce February’s Modern Lady Of the Month, jewelry artist/sculptor, Dre Swain, was to show off her sense of humor in her funniest, punniest pieces. It’s comedy you can wear!

Mona-stash. If you ever wanted to take a sharpie to something priceless.

Mono Skull w/ a Monocle. Better to see you with, my dear.

Bitter Betty’s Rude Candy Hearts. Because we all know V-day is coming up.

Zombie Apocalypse. Zombies are in this spring.

Champagne and Cheese. Food that thinks it’s fancy.

For purchases visit: dreswain.com

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Groovey Interview

January 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

I finally got the chance to sit down with Brookln Rogers to talk about dancing, teaching, overcoming injuries, healthy living, and a healthy spirit. She’s got a lot to say to grow your New Years Resolution into a life style.

The Internet Bachlelorette: Let’s go back to the beginning, how did you get started dancing?

Brooklin Rogers: I started dancing in the womb. I have pictures of me at one or two with big huge headphones. I always wanted music. Performing on our coffee table stage, me and my sister making up dances pretending we were in music videos. We would enter talent shows in, Salt Lake, my hometown. I was serious about it, I wanted my friends to really perform, but they didn’t know how so they just sorta watched me. It was always from a place of creation. I didn’t do a lot of imitation.

TIB: At such a young age who did you look up to?

BR: I would look at Micheal and Janet Jackson and I didn’t say, “I want to do what they are doing.” But, “I can do that, there is something in me that can create.” I did go to dance classes, but it wasn’t until I ended up in Hip Hop class that I felt at home. Then in High School I realized it wasn’t the classes I loved, it was putting on music and doing my own thing. I liked what came out of me, and I surprised myself.

TIB: It was more about the feeling of dancing.

BR: Yeah, having a relationship with the music. What’s the music going to give me next. I used the play a game in my head with the DJ, “give me something I can dance to.” I felt like I could dance to anything. People started giving me complements, but I didn’t really know what I was doing. I couldn’t see it, but I just knew how it felt.

TIB: Was it always your aim to choreograph?

BR: Well, I considered myself triple threat. I took acting, singing classes. Still to this day, I just want to be a rock star. I don’t know if that would ever happen, but I not so secretively want to be a rock star. I moved to San Diego because I was too intimidated to go right to LA. I was in Vegas for a while and I quickly realized that to dance in Vegas you are going to be a stripper or a showgirl. Both of those things were too “eye-candy” for me. So I danced with a crew in San Diego accompanying DJs at raves and concerts. Then the time came for me to go to LA and I was enrolled in LA Music Academy.

TIB: Music?

BR: Yes, I moved here with the intention of concentrating on singing for a year or so, thinking that dance wasn’t going to go anywhere. But I couldn’t stop so I got into the dance scene right away, finding a home with a group of girls who thought the same way as me. I knew I was in the right spot. Everyone was just there to dance, release our souls, we called it church. I became friends with a lot of DJs, one is going to be the DJ at my wedding. I started performing with Hip Hop crews from that.

TIB: Just can’t stop dancing when you are born a dancer. How did that translate to teaching?

BR: I started choreographing for musicals. While I was doing that I was working for a production company and my boss had two daughters who he brought in a lot and I got along with them. I had never taught dance, but I relate really well to kids. He kept asking where they should take dance classes and wanted me to teach them. So I took him up on it. Why don’t I start a class? Basically he enrolled all of my students, telling all the parents he knew, and I had my first class at Your Neighborhood Studio in Culver City. I had been taking class there so I knew the owner a little bit. I had a trial class, and there was a huge turn out of 6-8 year olds.

TIB: So it became a regular class at the studio?

BR: Yeah, and I started subbing for the adult classes whenever I got the chance. When I was first approached to sub, the owner asked me if I had ever taught adults. I hadn’t but I didn’t think I would be any different from kids. Sometimes they listen sometimes better, sometimes worse. [laughs]

TIB: I believe it. That’s a great way to ease into teaching adults.

BR: I really liked it. I started getting approached by other studios, and I got a couple of Hip Hop classes and I started brainstorming other styles I could teach. I subbed for a Burlesque class that was right after on of mine, and I like it. I did some Burlesque in Vegas, but I wasn’t into it then. But this time around, I really got into it, and the characters. Pulling from that choreography I started teaching my own Burlesque class, and really giving the students a cardio workout. I struggled a lot with the name of it.

TIB: Because it’s not really stripping even though a lot of people think it is.

BR: No it’s not. I do more of the musical theater movement, creative Fosse inspired. Women were being empowered to express themselves in a sexy fashion, letting their sultry side come out. It was almost like they didn’t allow themselves to do that anywhere else. I started feeling a real trust with my students, I think that’s because that’s how I treated the class, it’s just fun. We were just there to express ourselves and have a good time.

TIB: Then Burlesque really took off and that movie came out.

BR: That’s when it really blew up. And I love how the movie expressed the fun, dancing side of Burlesque. There’s a lot of controversy. The word really comes from ‘to tease’ at least that’s what I’ve been taught. I really aim to bring that out in my classes, that joking, teasing, cabaret style. They do sexy stuff but there’s comedy. I’ve had some comments on my YouTube videos, probably from guys looking for strippers, asking “where’s the sexy?” If you can’t find it, you got a problem. If you can’t see the beauty, look again.

TIB: Everything I read always says pick a workout you love. If you don’t love running, don’t sign up for a marathon. What about dance as fitness?

BR: I can speak from my own experience, that when I’m not dancing, even just teaching a few days a week, I can feel the difference. The fact that I love to do it, I don’t even realize I’ve started sweating. But when I’m injured and I can’t dance I notice that I’m stiff, sluggish. I spend a lot of time outdoors hiking, I hate the stair master. You won’t even find me in the gym. But I will walk stairs outside or a hard hike, and I get to the top and I’m sweating or my legs will be sore the next day. There are workouts to do outside of the gym. I definitely would recommend doing something you love, whether that be hiking, or running, yoga or dance.

TIB: What about body image? A lot of dancers get a bad rap for being malnourished.

BR: You know I used to spend hours at the gym, wanting that bikini body you see in the health magazines. I wanted my abs to be rock hard and all that, but I didn’t like doing it. I interviewed a lot of men, friends and realized they don’t really like that so much. As women we are striving for that perfect Barbie body. There is only a small percentage of guys that want that. Most guys want the combination of firm and soft. They say, Women are supposed to be soft. I think that these kinds of exercises, dancing, yoga, hiking, even aerobics, something that keeps your heart rate up is good for you and keeps you soft and firm in the right places. And everyone can do it. Everyone loves to dance, I’m sure there are people who say they don’t, but it’s because they think they aren’t a dancer.

TIB: Right, like I’ll sing in my car, but not at karaoke night.

BR: Everyone is a dancer. Music is the universal language and you relate to music intimately by dancing. That’s one way the music and you become one. It’s spiritual thing too. There’s no way that you can’t benefit from dancing. If you can get over that you aren’t supposed to dance like everyone else, you are supposed to dance like you, you’ll be fine. I taught Groove and that class is a really good way to learn that.

TIB: What’s Groove?

BR: Groove is a class that gives you simple moves, like a step touch, that you take and express that step touch however you want to. Then you aren’t pigeon holed into doing one thing with the movement. What I really like about it, is the flow of it. I even incorporate yoga movements, going through the whole body, stretching and strength depending on the music. This is a place where you can dance and get a good workout, sweat, no one is judging you. I always try to establish a level of trust in the class. No one is looking at just you they are too worried about themselves. Hopefully that makes people realize it’s no big deal. Listen to the music and see where it takes you. It’s a way of teaching people how to explore what the music is telling them to do and to evoke the dancer in all of us.

TIB: Probably great for people who sit at a desk all day. Get you exploring how your body moves, probably aids in preventing injury. Which is what I want to talk about next, getting over an injury. How do you bounce back into an active lifestyle?

BR: We were just talking about it being a mental practice. Life, faith and destiny. When I’m injured this is what I question. I made an agreement with myself and I said, “I’m going to do this professionally.” I started going to auditions, I had an agent, dancing at the top studio in town everyday, choreographing. One day I was in Hip Hop class and I felt something in my hamstring. I kept dancing, like everyone does, which is the wrong thing. The teacher started putting me in the front of the class, so I was under pressure in the spot light. It was a two-week period of this hard dancing and then everything locked up. I had sciatica, my back was killing me. I was bed ridden.

TIB: Just when things were taking off.

BR: I know. I was just getting there. Getting good auditions and music videos. I had to think a lot about what I was doing, what was my destiny, was I supposed to be a dancer? I was out for two years. That’s when I started doing more healing stuff, more yoga and I realized I had a lot of stuff inside of me mentally and emotionally that I believe I created as a block, because I couldn’t believe in myself the way I wanted to. I was living more out of fear. I was on the train, like a lot of people, where I had to put other people down. I was in the mindset that you have to work hard and push your way through. That, “I’m gonna make it” mentality is so big in LA. It seemed, at the time, anyone was willing to put someone on the street just to get what they wanted, fame and fortune. I had a lot of time to think about that when I was injured to see what my motive was. What I fell in love with when I was young, the community of dancing was no longer my motive, I had started doing it for the money and recognition. Everyone wants to get acknowledged and have their hard work pay off, but I struggled with this. It wasn’t until I started teaching did I start dancing again. Finally my motive changed back to doing for the love of it.

TIB: You had to be injured to become a teacher. You became a teacher and found your love for it again.

BR: I’m not a teacher because I think I know more than other people, I teach because I know I can express something to a class and make people feel comfortable. You hear it all the time if you want to get better at something teach it. I wanted to get better at choreographing, so teaching really helped me define my movement. It has only been in recent years where I realized, I’m giving back. I was given this gift of dance. We talked about non-dancers and now I’m giving them the gift of dance through a class. I discovered this side of me through this injury.

TIB: Is it better than music videos?

BR: [laughs] It keeps me going. There are a lot of dancers out there and we don’t get recognized as athletes and it’s really hard to make a living at it when you are in your top shape and that window doesn’t last very long. So when you are injured, you don’t have a job.

TIB: It’s really important to take care of your body and be healthy. For everyone. You only get one body.

BR: I know! Sometimes I think my unhealthy is most people’s healthy, but there were a lot of years I wasn’t taking care of my body. Going out, drinking, eating poorly. Getting older, I want to be able to dance into my grave. You take care of yourself, and honor your body.

TIB: When you are ill or injured you really assess how you live.

BR: Exactly. You really have to assess how your living. There is something in us, that drive. But you have to calm the voice and ask for help. Accept help, and put self-care first. That will help you heal faster and completely.

TIB: What do you want to do as a teacher?

BR: I want to be an inspiration. I want to show other women, you don’t have to be this Hollywood image in order to have the experience that these women are having. Brittney, Xtina, you don’t have to be a pop star to feel like that when you’re dancing. At the end of the day we are all just looking for an experience of ourselves that creates joy and love and laughter. That’s all I’m looking for and have my life be about that, being a leader or a guide to achieve that. Well, not even a leader, we’ll all go together to a safe place where women can enjoy their bodies.

TIB: A Dance Ambassador.

BR: [laughs] Yeah.

For more about Dancer/Choreographer/Teacher Brooklin Rogers check it on…

Facebook for updates and class times and flirty fun.

YouTube for instructional videos and eye candy.

Website for more information.

Check out Your Neighborhood Studio for class details.

Selected photographs by Anela Bence-Selkowitz.

 

 

 

Hot for Teacher!

January 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

Miss January, Brooklin Rogers, says one of the most important steps to taking a dance class is to find a teacher you like. I have been dancing since I could walk, taking classes for over 26 years in 5 different cities, I may be qualified to recommend a dance teacher, if I may toot my horn. Let me tell you, Brooklin is a great teacher for all levels.

Brooklin’s classes are always mixed level adults, but experienced dancers and beginners alike shouldn’t shy away from taking from her. She starts off with a great warm-up to ease her students into the movement of the class. You are sweating in the first five minutes, shedding extra layers almost immediately. A proper warm-up prevents injury and strengthens muscles used in the class. Brooklin’s warm-up combines the essence of the class with easy movement that gets the heart pumping, but it’s fun so it doesn’t feel like work!

When you go into a work out you want to be sure you are getting something out of it and are targeting the problem areas so you can see results. Brooklin’s class is no exception. She still leaves room for abs and tush to push yourself beyond plateaus. Also capturing the movement of the class even while doing crunches. Whether it’s hip hop, groove, or burlesque you’ll work your booty to the beat of that drum, which makes doing the dirty work more enjoyable than hitting the mat at the gym.

Brooklin’s choreography, no matter the style of dance, is always easy to pick up, fun, and created in a way that makes you feel your best. She has a unique way of instructing beginning dancers to propell them to the next level, building confidence and skill as well as challenging more advanced dancers by allowing them to find their own groove to the movement. So many teachers want dancers in their class to be a cookie cutter of themselves, but not Brooklin. She encourages the evolution of movement which is sometimes scary for experienced dancers. She forces all her students to think about the economy of movement in her combinations allowing for characters to be played.

The best part about taking a class from Brooklin is her sense of humor. From the moment you walk in the door you feel like you are visiting a close friend. It’s hard to be nervous when you got a pal there building up your confidence and cracking jokes. It’s like she invited you over for a dance party in her living room.

For more about Dancer/Choreographer/Teacher Brooklin Rogers check it on…

Facebook for updates and class times and flirty fun.

YouTube for instructional videos and eye candy.

Website for more information.

Check out Your Neighborhood Studio for class details.

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