John Anthony Garza was born March 3, 1983 and raised in the small town of Bakersfield California. He was very active from childhood, involving himself in activities such as: martial arts, baseball, track & field, 3-wheeling, cheerleading, gymnastics, and horseback riding. He helped out on cattle drives and professionally trained horses alongside his Dad from the age of 12 to 18.
He comes from an extremely close knit and culturally diverse family. His Paternal grandparents are from Monterrey Mexico. His Maternal grandfather was Irish, German, and Native American. His Maternal grandmother was of Scottish and Irish decent and raised in England. Garza has taken pride in his multicultural upbringing participating in Cinco De Mayo parades on horseback, attending The Highland Games, and local Indian Pow Wow’s.
Garza was most influenced by his late grandmother Annie McAllister Olinger. She introduced him to dance and theater at an early age by watching Gene Kelly movies, going to the ballet, and the theater. She raised her grandchildren listening to opera, watching musicals, and taught them to reenact Disney stories as she read to them. Garza quickly fell in love with the performing arts and, at the age of 12, he found dance to be his true calling.
Garza’s older sister, Christina, would have him fill in and learn her cheerleading routines which lead to them joining a local hip-hop group Latino Heat. The group was created for under privileged kids to help keep them off the street and out of trouble. Latino Heat practiced at parks, in garages, and backyards. They raised money with fundraisers and car washes for travel fees, performances, and competitions. After working with Latino Heat for three years, Garza moved forward and on to more serious training. He began taking classes from two well-known teachers, Kristin Doolittle and Bandy Gipson.
When Garza was a senior in high school, he visited his guidance counselor excited to discuss his career plans. Expecting her to be supportive, he was surprised when she told him dancers do not make any money and being from a small town, he wouldn’t make it. She told him to choose another career.
At 18, Garza traveled to Los Angeles to audition for Alvin Ailey’s Summer Intensive. This was a big risk as he had never taken ballet, modern, contemporary, Horton, or gram. His only training was in hip-hop and jazz. A member of their Board of Trustees, Denise Richards, impressed by his performance, approached him. She was shocked to learn he had no formal training, but offered him a scholarship which he accepted. One week into the training, Garza injured his back and suffered six slipped disks causing pinched nerves. It forced him to leave the program.
He endured three months of physical therapy and moved to Los Angeles where he signed with Lisa Caplona, one of Los Angeles’ top dance agents. Garza began taking classes and auditioning and, after a year-long struggle, he booked his first job – Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl performance choreographed by Gil Dudilao. Soon after he received a call from Brian Friedman asking him to dance on Britney Spears’ Onyx Hotel World Tour. Rehearsal conflicts forced him to choose between the two. He choose the steady paycheck of the tour – one of the hardest decisions of his life because he always wanted to dance with Janet Jackson. Three years later he was asked to participate in the first part of the Janet Jackson Rock Witchu tour.
Since then, Garza has danced for such artists as: Christina Aguilera, Pink, Mya, Snoop Dogg, The Ying Yang Twins, Ricky Martin, Erika Jayne, Nichole Sherzinger, Lil Wayne, The Black Eyed Peas, and his most recent tour, the Nicki Minaj Pink Friday World Tour. He has been on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Today Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The NBA All-Star Game, and more. Garza has traveled to over 28 countries teaching, dancing, and performing.
Garza has enjoyed music success on the Billboard Club Play Chart being featured on “Arrow Through My Heart” with Eddie Amador and Kimberly Cole, peaking at #16 on the chart. This paved the way for a major follow up release for the trio on Big Beat/Atlantic titled “U Make Me Wanna” which was featured on VH1’s Basketball Wives and NBC’s 2012 fall preview line up and made #10 on the Billboard Club Play Chart. Garza performed both titles as an opening act at the Big Bang 2012 New Year’s Eve Event for artists Lupe Fiasco and Cobra Starship.
Garza is now venturing into music full force with the new band The Kissboyz alongside Johnny Rice. The duo began writing raps and rhymes while performing with Erica Jayne on The Pretty Mess Tour. Orlando Puerta heard their potential and developed them for his new venture, Citrusonic Label Group. The two are now signed to Citrusonic Flavor. Influenced by Peaches, The Weekend, Daley, and Hot Chip, The Kissboyz capitalize on the dance wave currently happening in the music scene. Their debut single “We Party” is produced by international DJ/Producer Eddie Amador and the B-side features “Shady,” also produced by Amador in collaboration with Automatic Panic. On a side note, Eddie Amador has remixed records for Madonna, Seal, and Yoko Ono. Automatic Panic has remixed records for Jason Derulo, Mickey Avalon, and Donna Summers. The Kissboyz latest release “I Know You Want It” featuring Jonte and Keisha Renee hit I-tunes March 12, 2013 on Citrusonic Flavor. Dance Mogul Magazine is honored that Anthony took the time out of his busy schedule to provide some inspiration and empowerment for the next generation. In an industry where it’s easy to lose focus and a sense of reality Anthony helps us to see that it is his constant focus on being humble that has lead to his success. Attitude and reliability is everything in this world we live in and that’s a key point that we hope the next generation embraces.
Anthony Garza: I have been blessed with a number of mentors that took the time to personally teach me about the industry and their experiences. Choreographers and teachers such as Brian Friedman, Tovaris Wilson, Gil Duldulao, and Mikey Minden have helped me grow. I have assisted, danced, and performed alongside all of them and I will never forget what I learn from these talent people. I’m so thankful. I also wanna thank Lisa Capolla for being the first agent in LA to believe in me and fight for me. She is truly an incredible woman.