Xavier Logan | Reflects on his Passion to Train at Juilliard

Photo credit: Christopher Duggan

Xavier Logan  

“Dance felt like home and I invested in it. Post enrollment into my first art academy, I discovered not only dance but the artistic realm.

I realized that I loved dancing, singing, acting, choreographing, and modeling. I soon after became a part of an acting studio, dance studio, and well-known local chorus.

It was then that I realized how much of a financial strain my career was on me and my family. Additionally, it seemed as though the more I realized being an artist was my calling, the more being ostracized increased. Over time my family became affected too. My parents lost friends, my brother was bullied, and I found little to no people I could trust. On the bright side, I’ve used this as motivation to go harder and become the best version of myself. I don’t want their sacrifices to go to waste.”

Dance Mogul Exclusive Interview…

Dance Mogul: What inspired you to pursue dance at Juilliard?
Xavier Logan: From a very young age, I’ve always seen myself dancing at Juilliard. There’s a video of me in the 8th grade manifesting it. What inspired me to make my distant dream a reality was the understanding that a lot of those I looked up to in my upbringing never got the chance to reach this milestone.

Dance Mogul: How do you feel heading into this new dance season?
Xavier Logan: I feel blessed and grateful heading into my 3rd year. An aura of bliss accompanies this current phase of life, and I can’t wait to indulge in this essence throughout the school year.

Dance Mogul: Can you describe the main themes or styles you’ll be exploring this season?
Xavier Logan: Within our 3rd-year curriculum, the dance styles we focus on include Ballet, Modern, Counter Technique, Floorwork, Improv, and Gaga. I’m most excited to be given the freedom to explore each codified technique. Our first two years emphasize the specifics of several Ballet and Modern styles, while our last two years emphasize trusting our knowledge/training of each style and most importantly exploring our individuality.

Dance Mogul: How has your training at Juilliard influenced your approach to these performances?
Xavier Logan: My training at Juilliard has catered to not only the way I approach performances but how I approach everyday life. The studio is a place to explore and as much are we are challenged to explore the dance space our educators advise us to tackle our everyday lives similarly.

Dance Mogul: Are there any particular performances or pieces you’re most looking forward to?
Xavier Logan: I don’t know if there’s any specific performance I’m looking forward to doing the most. I’m most excited to learn more about myself and my artistry throughout every process this year. I love performing, so anytime I get the chance to perform I’m ecstatic. Currently, we are working on our Annual New Dances performance and I’m looking forward to hitting the stage within a week.

Dance Mogul: How do you handle the physical and emotional demands of the rigorous rehearsal and performance schedule?
Xavier Logan: Reading, journaling, meditating, planning, stretching, going to the gym outside of the studio, and calling my blood and chosen family along with friends help me with the physical and emotional demands of the rehearsal and performance schedule. I also wake up around 4 a.m. during the week to insist that I have the majority of the weekends to myself.

Dance Mogul:  What have been some challenges you’ve faced in preparing for this season and how have you overcome them?
Xavier Logan: The biggest challenge for me has been remaining present. Juilliard is a school where a plethora of icons/opportunities walk in and out of the school every day. It’s easy to get wrapped up in who may be watching class or what guests may be in the audience. The best way I combat this is by trusting the universe and the process it took to get me accepted. A famous quote that often centers me derived from my mom, “If something is for you, it’s for you, but if it’s not it’s not.”

Dance Mogul: Are there any choreographers or dancers at Juilliard that you particularly admire or draw inspiration from?
Xavier Logan: I draw inspiration from every creative I encounter. There’s so much to grasp and be inspired by if your mind is open enough. My class specifically is composed of individuals who challenge me every day. If it wasn’t for the make-up of our class dynamic, I would not be pushing myself in the way I do.

Dance Mogul: How would you describe the collaboration process with your peers and instructors as you prepare for the season?
Xavier Logan: The collaborative process is quite breathtaking, not only are we allowed to collaborate in our department, but also cross-divisionally. I have had the chance to work with a composer, pianist, violist, and vocalist for a piece I choreographed in early February, not to mention we are given the option to have faculty feedback for each of our choreographic works.

Dance Mogul:  Can you tell us about any new techniques or styles you’ve learned at Juilliard that you’re excited to showcase this season?
Xavier Logan: I’m excited to further foster the hip-hop diaspora within Juilliard. My first year we took a Hip-hop course. In my second year, I choreographed a hip-hop dance that made history in becoming the first purely hip-hop dance to touch Juilliard’s mainstage. And now my third year I choreographed another hip-hop dance further diving into the elements of hip-hop’s history while simultaneously honoring its 50th anniversary.

Dance Mogul: How do you hope audiences will feel or what do you hope they’ll take away after watching your performances?
Xavier Logan: I hope my dancing offers an emotional reflection. I think it’s so important to reflect on where we are, have been, and where we want to go, and I hope my artistry gives everyone the chance to experience that.

Dance Mogul: Do you have any pre-performance rituals or routines that help you get in the right mindset?
Xavier Logan: I talk to myself encouragingly for 10-15 minutes. I always make sure to go through the whole show in my head at least twice before making my way backstage and I pray to connect with myself, the energies onstage and the energies in the audience.

Dance Mogul:  What advice would you give to someone aspiring to join Juilliard’s dance program?
Xavier Logan: I would tell any prospect amid applying to be themselves because everyone else is taken.

Dance Mogul: Are there any personal goals you’ve set for yourself this season?
Xavier Logan: All of my personal goals include cultivating more freedom and liberation within my approach to class, dance vocabulary, and life.

Dance Mogul:  Beyond the upcoming season, what are your future aspirations in the world of dance?
Xavier Logan: Post college I plan to be in a Eurocentric dance company, but throughout my dancing career, I hope to make an impact that leaves a legacy influencing generations to come to be authentically and unapologetically themselves.

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