A few weeks ago, I had the delightful opportunity to chat with Nick Drago. We originally featured Nick in our article about the Infinite Dance Cast, and like many of us, Nick has an immense passion for dance education and the dance industry. It was refreshing and exciting to chat about daily classroom dilemmas, our experiences, and the rewarding components of being a part of this business.

Nick is originally from Houston, Texas and received his early training at the American Academy of Dance under the direction of Angela Jackson and The American Jazz Dance Company under the direction of Cece White. For college, Nick attended Oklahoma City University, graduating with a degree in Dance Performance. During his collegiate tenure, Nick met his close friend and future business partner, Grant Chenok. It was not long before the two noticed there was a lack of hip-hop education in the area, so they creatively merged their talents and formed a company that would bring hip-hop lessons to studios. This concept gradually evolved into Flow 40 Dance Workshops.

Post-college, Nick decided to move to Los Angeles to pursue a dance career in film and television. While he enjoyed the fast paced, ever changing nature of the business, he notes that is easy to regress into the idealistic stance of shooting luxurious, glamorous projects with top choreographers. Unfortunately, that simply is not the reality of the dance life. Within the commercial industry, there are undoubtedly peaks and balances and working on exciting, “famous” projects is not the everyday reality. And, while Nick has great commercial successes (to name a few: he appeared as Theodore’s dance double in Alvin and the Chipmunks, worked on a plethora of music videos {including a notable appearance in My Chemical Romance’s ‘Helena’ video}, and danced in The Muppets Movie), he has always loved the Flow 40 concept and has successfully used and implemented the brand to supplement his commercial work and empower dancers across the country.

Flow 40 Dance Workshops has assembled a creative faculty of down-to-earth instructors who value the old school mentality that dance education is THE top priority in training students. Flow 40 offers a variety of classes and instructors, so that studios can custom plan and select an intensive tailored specifically for  the needs of their students. Flow 40’s modus operandi is making the experience easy, efficient, and productive for everyone involved. Flow 40 instructors all share the commonality of obtaining inspiration from the dance classroom, and they want to share their success, influence, passion, and commitment with dancers across the country. Flow 40 is also unique in the regard that it is a league of male teachers, representing an under served instructor population within the dance industry.

When discussing teaching, Nick emphasizes the importance and power of “light bulb” moments. He describes the “light bulb” as the moment of awareness when the instruction translates and makes sense to the student. The power of the light bulb moment can last for years, and as an instructor, is it important that you are constantly asking: (1) How are you making dance steps interesting? (2) How are you making instructional moments last? Through Flow 40’s experiences in studios across the country, Nick reiterates that there is no substitution for hard work, and students must be fully committed to reap the success of achieving their highest potential.

As Flow 40 heads into the future, Nick is excited about celebrating the company’s 10-year anniversary next year. This summer, Flow 40 will have a booth at the Dance Teacher Summit and will begin initiating plans to expand into Europe. The company also has the goal of achieving a presence in each of the United States.

At the end of the interview, I asked Nick “If you could grant three wishes for the dance industry, what would they be?” He answered:

(1) To allow artists to always fully love what they do and who they are

(2) To award more work for professional dancers

(3) My career ain’t over yet, so I’ll have to get back to you!

The third response perfectly captures Nick’s personality, motivation, and enthusiasm. He is making a significant impact on the lives of dancers and the dance industry; whether performing, teaching, interviewing or sharing. And, I have no doubt there are many more accomplishments on the way.

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