By Angelica Pugh, Program Director for NBAF NextGen Artist Program
The best way I describe who I am is to compare my career journey to that of a series of eight counts. You know, “1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8” or preparing a routine presentation with a countdown AND “5,6,7,8.” In dance, I have three ways I teach my students and my clients. The first way, by counts of eight – the counts match the beat and the rhythm, whether fast or slow. Then there is the second way, by lyrics – if there are any to a song, teaching each movement to each word (“24 Karat Magic in the Aiiiiiiiiirrrr”). Then there is a third way – if the song is complicated, full of different rhythms and beats, I simply teach by the feeling of the beat, helping my student/client get an idea of what moves I want emphasized – I make all kinds of noises, I tell them to close their eyes, feel it, get into the rhythm and just follow.
If you think about it, Life really is a series of eight counts, right? You learn the steps as you go, you mess up, you try to keep up, you practice, you get the steps perfectly… now you’re ready to perform, then the choreographer – since we’re using this as a metaphor, let’s call God the choreographer – then the choreographer adds or changes some of the choreography that you learned, or decides to change the entire routine altogether or keeps the choreography but changes the song that was being used to something more upbeat, slower or the same tempo, which gives you, the dancer, a different take on the routine you learned. And THEN, after all of that change that was just thrown at you, the choreographer stands back, looks at you and expects you to perform… showtime.
I’ve had many series of eight counts, many lyrics I’ve learned along the way and many times I’ve had to keep up with the beat of life – fast or slow – in my career journey, but it has all led me to who I am currently. I have the pleasure to be an Artistic or Creative Director/Choreographer. I implement creative visions and/or masterpieces in the arts to include dance, theater, film, visual arts and fashion. In addition to being the Artistic Director for my very own company entitled Angel Le Choreography Company, I get to implement creative visions for not just my own productions but productions, performances, weddings, videos, cheer & dance team performances for other organizations and the community. I am also the Program Director for the National Black Arts Festival NextGen Artist Program where I give hands-on exposure in careers of Fashion, Film and Visual Arts to students in Mays and Washington High Schools. I get to collaborate with probably every type of career field and have actually worked with the most amazing artists within the Atlanta Arts community.
For me, all that I get to do now artistically is way more than yelling “5,6,7,8,” it’s way more than telling someone what to do, or directing them to put on a show for me. It’s an art, it’s a passion, it’s a gift to be creative. This is who I am, and I’m looking forward to sharing my Why and my How with other women through these eight counts. Let the journey continue!