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