Tutu’s Interview with Nick Demos
1. How has dance training specifically opened doors during your career?
If it weren’t for my dance training, I don’t believe I’d have a career today. My first jobs outside of performing were in choreography. That led me to directing and producing. Additionally, dance taught me how to teach because the teachers from my dance training taught me how to be a good teacher.
2. Have the rules, expectations or challenges changed for male dancers during your career in theater?
It is a completely different game now. There were far fewer of us during my career, so expectations were different. The training and the competition are so much stronger now. Technique was critical then but it is even more so now. The dancing is far more athletic now and has a much heavier gymnastic component. Also, it used to be that male dancers needed to sing. Now they need to REALLY sing.
3. What’s key now — any advice for younger guys?
My advice is to hone your craft. Train, train, train.
4. How important is networking and how best can young dancers cultivate connections?
Networking is vital in this industry. I wish I had understood that earlier on because your talent is not enough. You must meet as many people as you can. This means getting in front of the choreographers you respect and making authentic connections with them.
5. When you transitioned into choreography, production and management, did you miss dancing/performing? Did you continue training “just in case” or because of a passion?
I did not miss performing. I realized that my talents, my skills and my heart were in creating the work rather than executing it. I still craved movement, however, and transitioned that into yoga. I practice yoga daily now.
6. From high school days onward, you wore many hats both on and off stage. In terms of jobs prospects as well as personal development and growth, how important is a versatile skill set for an artist?
That is a tough question. Not everyone is cut out to wear many hats. I often wonder if I had chosen one path if I might be more famous. There is a lot to be said for single-pointed focus. However, that was never my intention. My intention was to be a working artist in this industry. I have worked professionally as a dancer, actor, singer, choreographer, director, artistic director, producer, writer, filmmaker and teacher. Part of that has been my personal evolution and journey. I’m always looking to expand myself professionally and, more importantly, as a human being on this planet. My growth and my artistic vision are aligned. Because of my wide-ranging skill set, I’m highly employable. I have many friends in this industry, however, who do one thing. They do it so well they don’t need to, nor are they called to, do anything else.
7. Do your thoughts on versatility change at different stages of a career (starting out versus established?)