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Ep. 144: Juel D. Lane -­ Dance Your Truth

What have you had to overcome to chase your dreams? Today’s guest overcame severe anxiety, explored what he wanted to accomplish in his life, and found the support to make it happen. His journey wasn’t an easy one, but it’s been fulfilling and rewarding, and—-the best is yet to come! He’s here as part of our celebration of June as Pride Month, and I’m beyond excited to share his inspiring story with you.

Juel D. Lane is an American dancer, choreographer, filmmaker, and one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch.” Most recently, Juel was a featured dancer in NBC’s Jesus Christ Superstar: Live in Concert, which starred John Legend, Brandon Victor Dixon, and Sara Bareilles. From October 2017 through March 2018, Alvin Alley American Dance Theater’s second company, Alley II, toured Juel’s piece, “Touch and Agree” around the world. Currently dancing with Bessie Award-winning Camille A. Brown & Dancers, Juel D. Lane’s dance films, Just Another Day, How to Kill A Ghost, and When the Beat Drops, showcase this multi-talented choreographer’s dynamism. 

Find what drives you

How does a kid get through anxiety? For young Juel, he was anxious, nervous, and didn’t know WHO he really was. It was his involvement in the arts that broke the hold of anxiety in his life. He says when you figure out what really drives you, then the anxiety evaporates. It was his high school years that revealed his love for the arts and set the path that his storied career would take. With unwavering support from his parents, he found that being on the stage and performing began to “feel like home.”

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Where the inspiration comes from

Can you be real and raw? Juel takes seriously his responsibility to create choreography that “strips labels and shows humanity.” His sources of inspiration bring the rawness and authenticity to his work. He explains that his work, How to Kill a Ghost, came out of a doomed relationship that he was reluctant to let go of. He used the dance as therapy for the healing that needed to take place. Juel produces “honest choreography that comes from an honest state.” He knows that people are looking for dance to “feed their souls.”

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Fighting the fear

How do you handle fear in your life? Juel says that he takes fear by the hand and says, “Not today!” When you find your zone and can stay there, then everything else goes away. Juel knows that amazing feeling when the lights dim and the curtains go up and he’s proud to have been a part of such monumental experiences in his career. The success is what pushes him to work hard and want more. When you push yourself, it gives you inspiration to lead into the next project. Juel shares how important it is to do things that scare you and help you conquer your fear.

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OUTLINE OF THIS EPISODE:

  • [:11] Juel’s recovery from performing in Jesus Christ Superstar
  • [:51] Young Juel who was full of anxiety
  • [3:25] Support, community, and his love for dance
  • [5:35] His college degree and his love for choreography
  • [9:23] How his work resonates with others
  • [10:10] Why people can relate to dance
  • [11:21] Bringing his work to the Alvin Alley American Dance Theater
  • [14:05] How his work has inspired people to become comfortable with themselves
  • [16:20] How Jesus Christ Superstar came about
  • [17:40] What it takes to perform for live TV
  • [19:18] Fighting the fear
  • [21:42] Juel’s goals regarding TV performances
  • [24:29] What’s next for Juel?
  • [26:21] Being in Atlanta vs. NYC
  • [29:15] Juel’s advice for wannabe dancers’
  • [30:34] Juel’s journey of ups and downs and where he’d like to be five years from now

RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THE EPISODE:

Juel on Instagram

Juel on Twitter

Juel on YouTube

Juel’s Website

This episode is sponsored by our patreon campaign supporters. Thanks to all of you for supporting my mission to inspire, equip, and empower people to chase their dreams. For more information on our Patreon campaign, or if you’d like to donate a dollar a month to help keep the show going, you can learn more at aimeej21.com/patreon

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