A conversation with Eddie Garcia
Updated: Apr 25, 2019
When I was deciding on how I wanted to launch the new blog for the website, I mulled over the massive amount of topics I could choose from. Ultimately I decided that what I really wanted to do was talk to and feature some of my favorite dancers, choreographers and humans from around the world. So that's what we're gonna do. And no better way to kick this thing off than having a little chat with none other than choreographer Eddie Garcia!
Eddie Garcia is an accomplished director, choreographer, dancer and multifaceted entertainer with a solid reputation for choreography built upon decades of performing alongside many of today’s most celebrated stars.
At just 16 years old, Eddie’s incredible dancing style and technique delivered him to the world stage via many projects with Janet Jackson. He danced in some of her most iconic videos and performances of all time, including “Nasty”, “What Have You Done For Me Lately”, “When I Think of You” and the classic “Control” on the American Music Awards.
By the time Eddie turned 17, “The King of Pop” himself, Michael Jackson, hand picked Eddie to join him. This began with “Smooth Criminal”, still considered one of the greatest videos of all time, and continued with other well videos like “The Way You Make Me Feel” and “Speed Demon”. Eddie spent the next five years dancing with Jackson on the record- breaking and internationally acclaimed “Bad” and “Dangerous” Tours.
It was during those invaluable years of touring and working on countless sets that Eddie fine-tuned his innate ability to direct, produce and choreograph. He has since lent his talent to collaborations with well known artists such as Jennifer Lopez, Paula Abdul, Queen Latifah, Jane’s Addiction and many others.
Eddie Garcia’s artistic fingerprint has made him one of the most sought after names within the world of dance and choreography. He continues to enjoy engaging in new creative adventures and collaborations with the artists of today and tomorrow.
AM: Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with me today!
Eddie: Thank you
AM: You've had an illustrious career as a dancer and choreographer in the industry over the years. What would you say has been the most challenging and rewarding parts for you?
Eddie: I think the most challenging part is understanding that the industry is changing so quickly now. With social media driving so much of it. As a choreographer, it becomes essential to adapt with still not losing sight of what got you to where you are now: the fundamentals of dance - the actual work in class that will help you become better at what you do.
AM: There are many young aspiring dancers looking/working toward following a similar path. What advice would you give someone who is considering this career?
Eddie: Stay in class. Train, train, train. So many dancers are looking for that quick fix. That will not sustain you in this industry. You must train and seek out classes that will help you excel, not just classes where you will be “seen”.
AM: Along this same vein, what has brought you more joy: choreographing big industry projects for stage/screen, or teaching one of your Master Classes or Turns/Leaps classes in studios across the country?
Eddie: I love it all. They all have something that can give you an incredible feeling of accomplishment.
AM: As a choreographer, I often get asked how I'm able to create multiple pieces for different classes and genres without having them all look like the same dance. Where/how do you find your inspiration throughout the creative process?
Eddie: I love to tell stories. I find in doing so it will keep my dance pieces unique. I also feel like finding a variety of music helps.
AM: I have mixed thoughts on this next topic and would like your take. Do you think Social Media continues to have a positive impact as a platform for dancers and choreographers, or do you think it has a shifted into a now perhaps an over saturation of self- promotion?
Eddie: I think that social media can do both. It can give someone a platform to share their work, which I think is great. But, I find that there is no substitution for finding a class where that spotlight isn’t there- where you train and feel safe.
AM: Yes! So true. In the last couple of years you've branched out with a new project called Camp ME. What was the driving force behind the camp and can you tell the readers what it is?
Eddie: I started my camp because I wanted to create a safe space where kids would have a chance to train with some of Hollywood’s best choreographers and dance educators in an intimate environment with no judgments, while also having a chance to experience the outdoors.
AM: What has been the most rewarding aspect about it so far?
Eddie: I think the most rewarding aspect was seeing all the dancers interact. Because there are no cell phones allowed it gives them an opportunity to connect.
AM: As involved as you are with Camp ME, will you still teach Master Classes, and work on stage/ screen projects outside of that, or will your focus be primarily running the camp?
Eddie: I do all of the above. I still travel and do master classes. I still choreograph stage/screen projects. Camp ME is my passion project. A project that I am so blessed to be able to provide to young dancers. I am so thankful to all of the people involved that help me bring it to life.
AM: How would you like to see the camp grow and evolve?
Eddie: I always want to keep it intimate. I want each of the kids to feel special and seen. I think that this is so important. If we continue to grow we will always make sure that the experience isn’t compromised.
AM: How many students are able to attend the camp? What ages?
Eddie: We are able to have between 30-40 dancers this year. The max would be 40. And it's for dancers between the ages of 12 to 17.
AM: Where can people find out more information (dates, pricing, etc) about the camp?
Eddie: They can visit us at www.campme.org for information about CAMP ME. Here is a video from our camp last year, and below it is a video of this coming camp's faculty.
Camp ME is definitely a dream come true for me!
AM: One last question. I work with a lot of High School Dance Team students through Private Lessons. One of our prime areas of focus is working on getting and keeping their turns consistent (ie Doubles, Triples, Calypsos, Spinning Discs, etc). I have a specific way of helping them achieve success in this area, but as teachers we are always students first and continuously. Do you have a favorite Turns/Leaps tip you can share with myself and our readers?
Eddie: I think turns are all about placement. Being aware of where your center is. Everyone is built completely differently so it is important to know what works for one student may not work for the next.
AM: I completely agree! Thank you again for your time. I appreciate it. Truly.
Eddie: Thanks for reaching out!