Christina Black is a dancer in New York City. Originally from Hawaii, dancing wasn’t always her first choice. Starting late at the age of 12, she renewed her passion for dance in college after choosing to study Mechanical Engineering. Fast forward to present day with a Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering, she has done a national broadway tour, music videos, commercials, and is a dancer for the Brooklyn Nets. She graciously agreed to participate in this interview and I’m honored to share with you the following.
1. Dance is loosely defined as a series of movements that match timing and rhythm to music. From your perspective, help us redefine dance.
First and foremost, it’s an artform so there are all these different styles of dance. It has a lot to do with emotion and being able to clearly convey a story through movement and song choice.
2. Being a professional dancer in New York City seems like a dream job. You get to meet celebrities, live in a great city, earn money doing what you love, and you literally dance your way through life. Outside of the glitz and glamour of sequences and two-steps, what are the negative things about the industry that frustrate you?
You can’t fake dance, it’s a visual art. People can tell if you suck. We’re so much more disciplined and masochists in certain ways. We are really hard on ourselves. At the end of the day it’s business, you have to focus on selling yourself that way and less on the art….or the love of the art.
3. Music inspires dance and dance music in a very yin and yang , symbiotic relationship. Illustrate the relationship between you and your muse and how it impacts or influences your career.
Some dance doesn’t have anything to do with music. Putting a good dance piece with a good song is awesome and vice versa. But, it’s not like one takes priority over the other. I mean, some people would say that, but I don’t think that.
4. At some point everyone makes a decision in their life about what they want to do and what will define them. What caused you to go against being a wallflower or persuing a career in mechanical engineering.
Well, when I was in high school I didn’t have enough confidence to pursue dance as a career. I didn’t think I was good enough. So, I liked math and science, went to a bookstore and picked engineering out of a book. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Then I got to college and wasn’t happy. I didn’t want to sit behind a desk and I didn’t want to do engineering. I missed dance so I started to dance on the side. I found a dance company in Colorado who actually opened my eyes, dance is passion and it’s an art form. It’s not about how many turns you can do or how high you can kick your leg or who’s in front. It’s about creating a medium to explain to people your story through dance. I didn’t know that at all before. It gave me the confidence to try out dance and I knew that if I was going to try it at any point in my life, I needed to do it then.
5. Dancers in music videos, background dancers, or dancers in the corps de ballet go relatively unnoticed in the public eye. Does that bother you at all?
Well, I get noticed all the time (laughs). No, I’m kidding. Some people get into acting because they want to become famous. You don’t really get that with a dancer because it’s not so widely known. Like acting, the famous people in the dance world, I think the people that get recognized are the people who are really talented and are really amazing. I don’t think it really bothers anyone at all that they don’t get noticed. I dont know, maybe some people actually like that, not having people stalk them or anything like that.
6. It’s easy to get caught up in the success you have had so far. Who or what do you turn to, to keep your feet planted on the ground.
Friends and family. Like, real friends. You know, the friends that, if you start acting up saying things like “I’m doing this and I’m doing that,” the true friends that will check you and tell you there is a lot more to do. It’s always staying humble. Family is definitely good for that. They are going to be there for you through the good and the bad. They are going to congratulate you when you are doing really great things and they are going to put you down when you start getting cocky. But, for most of my friends, they are my friends because they’re all very humble and thankful for everything they’ve done. None of us really take it for granted.
7. What are some ego deflating casualties that you have suffered while performing?
Falling. At this dance company that I was with in Colorado I was known as the girl in the group that would fall all the time. I fell a lot. We had this one piece where there was a rope and I ran back all dramatically to grab the rope and I ended up stepping on the rope instead and I flipped over it and fell to the ground. Also, when you’re in a performance and you forget the choreo so you have to make it up on the spot. That is kind of embarrassing. But, falling is the biggest one. When you fall, you truly have to get up and say, “that just happened” and keep going. If you let it bother you, you are done for the rest of the performance. It happens. Life goes on.
8. Finish this sentence. I’ve learned the most from…
My initial thought was my parents. But in terms of dancing, Jenny shift who I danced with in Colorado.
9. Dance necessities?
A curling iron, foam roller, ice, and cookies.
I had such a blast working with Christina. She absolutely killed this shoot and made it look easy. This interview was a result of a collaborative effort between Chris Williams, Brad Frenier, and myself. To see more photos from the shoot you can visit my website: Thesis Studios. If you liked this interview, please like my Facebook page to keep up with new photos and interviews. If you are thirsty for more Christina Black head on over to her website for more: