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


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."

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A Letter from the Editor in Chief

Hi, dance friends. It is a strange time to be a person in the world, and an especially strange time to be a dancer. As the dance community faces the coronavirus crisis, a lot of you are coping with closed studios, canceled performances and competitions, and a general sense of anxiety about how your world will look going forward.

Yes, dancers are super resilient, and there's been a lot of inspiring community-building happening. #LivingRoomDances and Instagram dance parties and virtual ballet classes with the pros are wonderful. Dance can, and should, be a bright spot in the darkness. But that weird, empty feeling you have? It might be grief. The loss of the certainty of daily class, the loss of the promise of that big end-of-year performance—that's real. The dance studio has always been a safe place; it's especially hard not to have that outlet now, when you need it most.

We're here for you. We—and our friends at Dance Magazine, Pointe, Dance Teacher, The Dance Edit, and Dance Business Weekly—are doing our best to document the hurdles facing the dance industry, and to advocate for dancers in need. We're developing more online content that will help you maintain and improve your technique while you're at home, and process the mental and emotional fallout of all this upheaval. (You can keep up with the latest stories here.) And we're still making our print magazine. We have issues planned and shot, full of great dance stories and beautiful photos. We're not going anywhere.

We want to hear from you. Talk to us. Or dance to us. Or both. We won't stop moving, and you shouldn't, either.


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