MASTERCLASS LEGENDS: BRIAN FRIEDMAN [DS2DIO]


Uploaded by DS2DIO on 22.06.2012

Transcript:
GALEN HOOKS: Every dancer remembers the moves from Britney Spears Slave For You
music video. Brian Friedman is the one who created her signature breakdown along with
countless iconic moves for industry superstars like Beyonc , Janet Jackson and Mariah Carey.
Nominated for five American Choreography awards, four MTV video music awards and two Music
Video Production awards, he s internationally known for his on screen and behind the scenes
work on So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing With the Stars, America s got talent and X-Factor.
I am your host Galen Hooks. Brian, welcome to the show. BRIAN FRIEDMAN: Thank you for
having me. GALEN HOOKS: You're still so young and you've accomplished so much already
at such a young age. Um what when did it all start? You must've gotten an early start.
BRIAN FRIEDMAN: Looking back on it now it was incredibly early. I started when I was
eleven years old. I went to a dance studio that my mother, she had taken class she was
a dancer herself and a dance teacher and she judged a dance competition and I went and
watched it and these kids were dancing and they were exactly what I wanted to be. So
I made her take me there and she put me in the class. And they had all been dancing since
they were four and five years old, so I felt like the late bloomer. But I fell right into
it. I started competing with them and doing dance competitions. I was a very driven child.
GALEN HOOKS: Wow. BRIAN FRIEDMAN: I was the type that was, you know calling the shots
and dictating my career from a very early age. I told my mom we re gonna go to LA and
I'm going to work, you know. I wanna be in movies, I wanna do this, I wanna do that.
And she took me to the audition and at that age I learned, you know you have to fight
for what you want. GALEN HOOKS: I'm trying to picture you in auditions and I can picture
you just being like, I mean there would be no other choice but to pick you, like
you stand out so much. Did you feel did you ever not feel good at auditions or nervous
or did you ever mess up? BRIAN FRIEDMAN: I had no inhibition when I was a kid. It was
the only thing I loved to do. I hated school. Well I was held back in fourth grade because
I hated school so much I didn't do my homework, I didn't pay attention in class. All I wanted
to do was stay up all night and watch TV and fall asleep at school. So that was my struggle.
My struggle was having to deal with the fact that my whole class of friends went on and
I had to stay back. And that's actually why I started dancing. GALEN HOOKS: While Brian
may have been held back in school, his newfound love of dancing carried him further ahead
than he ever could've imagined, all the way to Los Angeles where he made some surprising
new friends on the set of the hit TV show Kids Incorporated. BRIAN FRIEDMAN: I met a
lot of my childhood friends on that show, one of which was Brittany Murphy and Eric
Balfour, another actor, and an actress Haley Johnson. And the four of us formed a group
and it was called Bless with Soul. And we were all very very white and very not soulful.
And we did the mall tours and I sang, I rapped a little in the group. It was terrible. [VIDEO
CLIP] It was just really bad, but that was the end of my singing career. GALEN HOOKS:
You were in the singing group, you left it, you were dancing and then when did choreography
start to come into the picture. BRIAN FRIEDMAN: I think the first time I ever choreographed
I was fourteen. And the whole time I was doing my childhood teen dancing in LA, I was also
still dancing at my dance studio, which was back in Arizona, the one that I started dancing
at, because I loved competition, doing the whole dance competition thing. So I would
be out in LA, I'd work on a job, I'd fly home, I would do my dance competition. We did Star
Search together with my old girls that I danced with. And I would choreograph at the studio.
That was my first time trying to do choreography. Um and I loved it. And then around sixteen
is when I opened my own dance studio with my mother in Arizona and that was so that
I could be more in control of what I was choreographing and get credit for it. And then I was on a
job out here in LA for Wade Robson, he was doing two projects at once and he couldn't
be there and he asked me if I would take over for him. That meant cleaning, it meant teaching
choreography that was already done, and it also meant coming up with some of my own choreography.
And I was nervous, completely nervous cause I didn't know if it was something that I was
actually talented at, especially doing it for artists and for dancers that are professional,
not dance studio dancers. So I did it and Julie McDonald from MSA, ah she came up to
me at a rehearsal and she said, you know you're work is really good. Ah have you thought
about doing this for a career. And I said not really. And she said well you know come
in and talk to me about it. So I was like okay, this could work. And Wade right after
that had another job that he handed to me and it was to work with um a fifteen year
old artist, Christina Milian. So I flew to Florida, brought my dancers, it was the first
time I was ever put in a position where I was actually doing creative direction and
coming up with what the whole show was gonna look like and that was the moment where I
was sure. I knew that it was exactly what I wanted to do. And I think I was maybe twenty
one at the time, twenty one or twenty two, um but I fell in love with it and there was
no turning back. GALEN HOOKS: Having found his true calling, Brian quickly became known
as one of the hottest choreographers in the industry. Collaborating with icons like Britney
Spears and Janet Jackson he soon found himself a rising star on shows like America s Got
Talent, Dancing with the Stars and X-Factor. All of that success however came with a steep
price. BRIAN FRIEDMAN: I danced myself to the surgery table. Um I mean that's what we
all do. GALEN HOOKS: And that was a while ago, right? BRIAN FRIEDMAN: It's been a year
and a half now. I couldn't stand up and I was getting pale and I hadn't eaten. I knew
that something was really wrong. So I had to go to the emergency room. I tore my labrum,
I had to have a bone shaved down, my (UNINTELLIGIBLE). It was just wear and tear from dancing, and
it hurts and it definitely affects your body in the long haul. GALEN HOOKS: [Wow.] So what
do you, so today, like when you re choreographing, what do you love about it? Why are
you so happy you made that decision to do this? BRIAN FRIEDMAN: Um, I'm thirty four
now, I've been in this for years and the fact that I'm still doing what I love to do, um
it's just unbelievable to me, to know that you can make a lifelong career out of you
know dancing in your bedroom. Um so I'm happy I did it, I'm happy I made that jump, because
I don t think that I would still be able to be a professional dancer right now. GALEN
HOOKS: Let's talk a little bit about your creative process. I mean you are one of the most skilled
at your craft that anybody has seen in the industry. You can choreograph with your eyes
closed. You can see somebody's pinky that's off in the back of the stage. Everyone is,
I mean the dancers are always commenting like how did he see that? Like I'm in the back
row and he saw that my head was here instead of here. BRIAN FRIEDMAN: It's a blessing and
a curse, it truly is. Because I never look at what s good. My eye never goes to the good.
My eye always goes to the bad. I only catch mistakes. And it it's not like that with just
my work. When I go and see films, when I go and see stage shows I can t stop analyzing.
GALEN HOOKS: You're OCD. BRIAN FRIEDMAN: It's terrible. It is really terrible. Um so I don t know.
I don t know if I love it or hate it, um but it is what it is and I accept it and I move
on with it. And I think that it does give my work a certain ah finished quality. Everything
that I do has to look tailored and and perfect. GALEN HOOKS: And it makes it a lot easier
on the dancers because you know the dancers feel like they're in good hands. They're safe
with you. You know what you're talking about, you'll tell them every single thing they have
to do. They they're never just left there. So. BRIAN FRIEDMAN: Right. GALEN HOOKS:
It's a definitely a blessing for the dancers to have someone like you. BRIAN FRIEDMAN:
If they're good. GALEN HOOKS: So you know talking about ah kind of this new generation,
new dancers you re working with. I know nowadays a lot of people are talking about how class
is just different. I mean what was it like back then and what is it like now? BRIAN FRIEDMAN:
It is a different experience. Um I think it's up to the people who are actually in the
dance studios to continue educating and training dancers. And sadly I don t think all of the
teachers around now actually do that. Um when I was young and taking class and the same
thing with you, it was completely different. There was a level of um I would say professionalism
and it was all about you would come in, your mouth was closed, you were there to learn.
There were certain rules that applied to class. You know you didn't talk, you wore the right
thing, um you grew as a dancer from that process. And now it's about showing up and learning
a combo, rarely warming up and being there to look good. And, don't get me wrong, like
we wanted to look good too, but we also did the right things before you look good. GALEN
HOOKS: Do you still get the same satisfaction out of just being a choreographer? BRIAN FRIEDMAN:
It's the teaching for me. That's what I love to do. It's, my workshop the Pulse, which
ah Wade and I are creative directors of, um that's where I feel like my dancer, my inner
dancer stays alive. GALEN HOOKS: Founded in 2007, the Pulse is Brian's way of passing
along his knowledge, experience and technique to the professional dancers of tomorrow. Together
with Wade Robson and some of the industry's most cutting edge choreographers, it's his
way of giving back to a community that gave him so much opportunity and success from such
a young age. [VIDEO CLIP] BRIAN FRIEDMAN: I get to go out and teach and and reach out
to you know probably thirty thousand kids a year. They re the next generation of us,
so it s really great to know that you know that heartbeat is still staying alive. GALEN
HOOKS: My final question I wanna ask you, cause you still consider yourself a dancer,
and I love that that you you've done all these huge amazing things but you are a dancer at
heart. What does dance mean to you? BRIAN FRIEDMAN: Dancing was my only language that
I ever spoke. You know I school ah I was terrible. I couldn't do anything right. I couldn't do
anything right anywhere. Dance was the only thing that I ever got right, and it's still
been what has made me get everything else right. My dance training made me a better
choreographer, my dance training made me a better director, it made me a better producer.
Ah it has made me a better mentor for people. So it's always the heartbeat. It'll always
be what is my driving force and I'll do it as long as I can. Even if I can't dance I
still will consider myself a dancer, even if I'm just doing a step touch. It's still
gonna be what drives me. GALEN HOOKS: It's gonna be the best step touch ever. BRIAN FRIEDMAN:
It will be award winning. GALEN HOOKS: Thank you for being here, Brian. Thank you guys
for watching. The great thing about this show is we can interact. Make sure you post comments.
You can post things on Facebook and Twitter. We'll make sure to get back to you and answer
any questions you might have. You can stay up to date with Brian and the rest of our
top choreographers and all of us here at DS2DIO. Thanks for watching. See you next time.