Letter to My Teenage Self: Bobby Newberry

(Photo by Karlo Gomez, courtesy Danielle Marie Owens)

Growing up in an unstable household in Southern California, Bobby Newberry couldn’t afford formal dance lessons. Nevertheless, he spent hours practicing on his own, learning and fine-tuning choreography from music videos and performing at local talent competitions, hoping for recognition. It worked: At age 14, Newberry received a scholarship to train at Jimmie DeFore Dance Center, a small studio in Costa Mesa, CA.

After high school, he continued to study on scholarship at EDGE Performing Arts Center in L.A., where he got a chance to dance with choreographers Brian Friedman and Gil Duldulao. Since then, Newberry has choreographed for the Pussycat Dolls, Jessie & the Toy Boys, Pink and Eminem, and has appeared on “X Factor” and “America’s Got Talent.” In addition to teaching at JUMP Dance Convention, he’s also trying his hand in the music scene. He released his most recent single, “Flight from Paris,” earlier this year. —Jenny Dalzell

(Courtesy Bobby Newberry)

Dear Bobby,

Although you don’t have a supportive family or any financial means, know that things will work out. You’ll come out the other end stronger and smarter.

As you chase your dreams, people will try to stand in your way. They’ll say you’re not good enough and that your movements aren’t masculine enough. Ignore them. You are good enough. Follow your heart and your soul—not anyone else’s. Your dreams will come true.

Even when nothing seems to be happening for you, take the words of a friend to heart: “Be grateful for your time in the hallway.” When you’re waiting for doors to open, stay present. It’s during those downtimes that you’ll learn so much, and you’ll be able to appreciate the moments when opportunity knocks. Every day is a new beginning, and nothing happens overnight. Be patient.

Music will continue to be your savior. It’ll be there for you when nobody else is. In it, you’ll find hope, love, support, strength, truth and, most importantly, your voice.

Keep shining.

Love You,


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