Photo by Steven Taylor, courtesy Hooks

Galen Hooks Writes a Letter to Her Teenage Self

The multitalented Galen Hooks has solidified herself as an L.A. icon, thanks to her fierce moves and detailed, versatile choreography. As a teen, the L.A. native assisted choreographer Marguerite Derricks on movies including Donnie Darko and shows like "That '70s Show." Hooks graduated from Penn State University and has worked with artists including Janet Jackson, Justin Bieber, Britney Spears, Usher, and Miley Cyrus. These days, you might also recognize her from her viral videos—she's had over 60 million views across her social media pages. —Courtney Bowers


Galen,

You're on exactly the right path. The hard work you put in, performances you do for free, and your teachers and friends, will play a role in your future in ways you can't imagine.

You're living in the final moments of dance pre–social-media. Soon, dance will be forever changed, and you'll get to experience both sides of it.

You're going through some tough stuff right now: an extreme amount of rejection; not working when all of your friends are; being yelled at, picked on, and punished; being told you're not good enough. It feels terribly depressing and unfair, but these trials are making you work even harder to be the best dancer you can be. One day you'll learn what it's like to be on the other side of the table as a choreographer. You'll use this knowledge to teach dancers what you weren't taught and help them avoid the hurdles you had to overcome.

Hooks at age 8 (courtesy Hooks)

You'll never believe it, but you'll become all of the things you never ever thought you'd be. You'll teach, choreograph, direct, and produce—and you'll LOVE it!

Thank your mother every day for everything she does for you. She drives you to rehearsals, waits until midnight, takes you to auditions, sits on set, and dedicates her life to helping you achieve your dreams. You are so fortunate.

I love you with all my heart and I'm so proud of you.

Galen


A version of this story appeared in the September 2018 issue of Dance Spirit with the title "Letter to My Teenage Self: Galen Hooks."

Latest Posts


Photo by Jayme Thornton

How Paloma Garcia-Lee Manifested Her Dream Role, in Steven Spielberg’s "West Side Story"

On a rainy day in November 2018, Paloma Garcia-Lee got a call from her agent that brought her to her knees outside her New York City apartment: She was going to play Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.

The call came after a lengthy audition process with Spielberg in the room, and the role, originated by Wilma Curley on Broadway in 1957 and later portrayed by Gina Trikonis in the 1961 film, was her biggest dream. In fact, it's something Garcia-Lee says she manifested from the day plans for the movie were announced in January 2018. "I wrote in my journal: 'I am playing Graziella in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story.'"

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo by @mediabyZ

Am I Less Committed to Dance Because I Have Other Passions? (Spoiler Alert: NO!)

Let's face it—dance is HARD, and in order to achieve your goals, you need to be committed to your training. "Still, there's a fine line between being committed and being consumed." Dancers can, and should, have interests outside of the studio.

Not convinced? We talked with dance psychologist Dr. Lucie Clements and two multifaceted dancers, Kristen Harlow (a musical theater dancer pursuing a career in NYC and Kentucky) and Kallie Takahashi (a dancer in her final year at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts), and got the inside scoop on how having hobbies outside of dance can inform your artistry, expand your range and help prevent burnout.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Photo courtesy of Brittany Conigatti

Go Behind the Scenes of Annie Live! With Brittany Conigatti

Unwrap your candy canes, pour the hot chocolate and round up your fellow theater lovers: NBC is kicking off the Christmas season with its latest live-broadcast TV musical. Annie Live! premieres December 2 and features a star-studded cast, including Harry Connick Jr., Tituss Burgess, Megan Hilty and, as the title character, young phenom Celina Smith.

Luckily, people got a taste of what the special will entail when the cast kicked off the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with a performance last week. But since you’re never fully dressed without a Dance Spirit exclusive, we caught up with Brittany Conigatti, one of the young orphans and adult ensemble members in the show, to learn what it was like putting together a large-scale live production for the small screen.

The cast of Annie Live! poses for a group photo. The cast of Annie Live!Photo courtesy of Conigatti


Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search