Just Dance! alumnus Justice Wooden (class of 2021) is attending the University of Southern California Glorya Kaufman School of Dance and touring with New York City Dance Alliance (NYCDA) as the 2021 National Male Senior Outstanding Dancer. Justice also choreographed a group hip hop dance for us this year!
Q: What is it like being a dance major?
A: At USC, I take two technique classes in the morning: ballet three times a week, hip hop twice a week, modern twice a week, jazz twice a week, and one partnering class. After morning technique, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I take an academic writing class for freshmen! I’m also in a class on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday called the African Diaspora.
After these classes, I usually get lunch and then head back to the studios for my afternoon classes! On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I go to Improv and Comp and after that, Dance Science… aka… anatomy and physiology for dancers! This semester, I decided not to take Repertory and Performance, which allows me to explore new things around LA and focus on touring with NYCDA! Between the people and the amazing campus, USC is such a nice school that I’m grateful to attend.
Q: What are the biggest changes (besides being on the opposite coast)?
A: The biggest change has been not having my car! Los Angeles does not have a strong transit system and lyfts and ubers get expensive quickly so it’s been a growling lesson trying to navigate travel throughout the city!
Q: Tell us about your NYCDA experience.
A: So far, I’ve been to Mobile, Nashville, Lansing, Vancouver, and Los Angeles! I love NYCDA weekends so much because it pushes me beyond my limits and allows me to watch dance and learn more about the behind the scenes of dance conventions. NYCDA feels like family and I can tell that they really want to see the best for me and all of the knowledge that they provide keeps me inspired at school and motivates me to try new and challenging things. In addition to that, the skills and tools that I’ve been learning (like time management, communication, working behind the scenes during competition, traveling, flying, communicating, etc.) have all added to my dance career toolbox. Overall, assisting NYCDA classes have been amazing and I’m so grateful for the opportunity!
Q: What is your advice for younger dancers?
A: Regardless of whether or not you decide to dance professionally, try to enjoy and absorb every moment with your dance friends! Yes, it’s fun to go to competitions and travel but dancing is so much more than that. You’re sharing a space with other dancers who want to express themselves and find an escape from the rest of the world, which is something that you will definitely be appreciative of later on in life! Everyday you should make it your goal to create a positive environment for everyone in the room because it allows you to have a more productive and happy evening at the studio! Try to set goals for yourself every week and never settle or get comfortable. Lastly and most importantly, Just Dance your heart out because that’s what we do!
Justice is a Charleston dancer who trained at Charleston Dance Center.