A multidimensional dance based artist, JoiLynn is an eclectic artist performing in artistic collaborations through various genres and mediums. Her dance performance can be seen on the stage, film, TV, and in concert dance. As artistic director of JoiLynn Productions, she choreographs and produces, technical, provocative and edgy collaborations utilizing her unique theatrical style of movement that fuses hip hop movement and aesthetic with athletic modern dance. She also has been a featured vocalist on recordings and stage and is an actress with a passion for action, sci-fi, and fantasy films.
Dance Mogul: You were technically trained early at some top institutions. How did you discipline yourself to develop your craft?
JoiLynn: I come from the experience of discipline being a gymnast and serious soccer player at a young age, but honestly it just comes from a place of knowing what I want and understanding that you have to do what is necessary to get it. I always say that to be a serious professional dancer you have to love it. Otherwise, you eventually fade out because it is a field that requires constant work and training that never stops.
Dance Mogul: You have achieved a lot as a performer. How do you remain humble with each opportunity you get?
JoiLynn: Being in a lot of different settings in the arts and dance and being knowledgeable gives you perspective and understanding that a lot of times it’s not personal. You may get a position because of something you’ve done before, because of your hair color, race, you’re in the right place at the right time or because you actually are the most capable. There are so many things that come into play.
Dance Mogul: Who are some of your inspirations?
JoiLynn: People who live in truth and this can come in many different forms from professional choreographers to just dancers I know that I see at battles, dance circles, or in class. I love artists who understand the art form and who are themselves and don’t believe the hype. I receive a lot of inspiration from watching artists and creators in other fields and how they apply art in their lives such as actors, comedians, or even scientists.
Dance Mogul: What have been some of your most memorable moments on stage?
JoiLynn: One of my most memorable moments on stage has been a workshop demonstration/performance for Journey to the West, the development of a musical based on the life of Bruce Lee. I was absolutely giddy about performing dance, light tumbling, fight choreography, singing and working with nunchucks in the same setting. I’m also absolutely in love with performing background vocals with the Afro-beat artist Wunmi. As a band, we are just purely expressing love and art on that stage and I get to express myself vocally and dance as well which is a great combination. It never feels like work and at our last show, Roy Ayers was in the audience and loved the show which was monumental.
Dance Mogul: What makes one a Master Teacher?
JoiLynn: An extensive understanding of your craft, not only technically, but how it relates to the world in addition to the ability to motivate and support the development of artists through their technique and helping dancers to create themselves. You have to be able to help dancers understand how, why and what it is they are doing.
Dance Mogul: Where do you see the future of Dance going art wise and businesses wise?JoiLynn: I’m happy to see that changes are happening and dance is gaining more exposure. I see a possibility of those in all forms of dance creating real ownership in their expression. However, I am worried about the integrity of the art in its many forms being exploited and misunderstood. One particular purpose of my company is to expose the dance that dancers know to the mainstream world and it is what I advocate for. We have to make sure that our art is not being misused and misrepresented.
Dance Mogul: What advice would you have for young girls that want to pursue the arts
JoiLynn: Know yourself and live in your truth. Also, it is not only important to have a mastery of the technique and knowledge, but be a human first and live. Stay away from being totally obsessed to the point where you don’t do other things and have other experiences. Know your humanness. Otherwise, how are you going to relate to your audience and how are you going to find how your art relates to you?
Dance Mogul: Is there anyone you would like to thank for helping you thus far?
JoiLynn: I can say that my four years at Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C. really prepared me for my career as an artist by giving me the technical tools and work habits that are essential to professionalism and I thank the faculty there for that. I also would love to thank my mother for always doing what was necessary to make sure that I was able to continue to dance. In addition, Dwanna Smallwood of the Ailey Company gave me a note when I performed in her piece while I was training at the Ailey School that told me to not wait for others to give me what I want and to go out and take it. I was having a particularly tough point at that time and the note was right on time and triggered a sense of hope in me. I am thankful for the little things.
Photo Credits: “Christian Buitron Photography”