Today we’d like to introduce you to Anthony Berry.
Hi Anthony, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I was born and raised in Lakeview Terrace. I know this will sound very cliché but I have been dancing my whole life (obviously not professionally haha) but I grew up around family that loved to listen to music and dance. My family would listen to various artists like Boyz 2 Men, TLC, Earth Wind And Fire, Sam Cook, etc. and the list goes on. My mom was the dancer in the family, she loved to say I got my rhythm from her. My dad liked to dance but he didn’t have once ounce of rhythm. That didn’t stop him from having fun! Although I always loved to dance, I only danced at home and with family and I never told anyone because in middle school, dancing was not the cool thing to do. It wasn’t until high school that I told myself “screw it, I want to dance more!” I had found out that my high school had just started a dance team and I was in there so fast! Of course, I was super excited to be in something like this, and when I was in my first dance competition, it was great. Going down the timeline, some friends named Lilly and Chanty, who were also on the dance team, told me about this class that they were taking by my two future mentors, friends, family, and bosses Jackie Lopez aka Miss Funk and Leigh Foaad aka Breeze-lee.
I remember the day of my first class with them, I was so nervous because I was learning a new style of dance and I really wanted to impress them because of how Lilly and Chanty talked about them, all the videos I looked up on YouTube and all of the dance opportunities they got. Of course, I loved the class, but at the end they had a cypher where people go in and freestyle and show off a little of what they learned. I was feeling brave that so I jumped in the cypher and I felt like it was going great. I did a move that Lilly and Chanty taught me before, and little did I know it was a move that they learned personally from Jackie and Leigh. I remember talking to them after class and the rest is history! I had no idea that this little kid from the valley would grow up doing what he loves as a profession. I love what I do and will always be apperceived of the family and friends that got me here.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
If I am being honest, I never had a crazy life changing struggle when it comes to dance technique, but this doesn’t mean I never had struggles in my artistry overall! I have always had my own internal insecurities about being good enough to please any audience, either during a performance or a battle. Some days I try to dance and it feels forced, and also being a gay man, I always feel like I have to have that balance of my masculinity and femininity, which sometimes messes with my mind and movement. But at the end of the day, I have to acknowledge that I have been very blessed with a very supportive family and very supportive mentors, teachers, and friends that helped guide me throughout my life and through my dance career.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am a Hip Hop community teaching artist, performer, and ARTivist. The passion I have for this culture and the impact it has on myself and communities is what led me to the company I am with now, Versa-Style Dance Company, which is a 501 (c)(3) Non Profit Organization and Professional Hip Hop Theater Dance Company. We are located in Los Angeles and were founded in 2005 by Jackie “Miss Funk” Lopez and Leigh “Breeze-Lee” Foaad. In Versa-Style Dance Company, I was asked to join the core company about seven years ago and have been a principle dance ever since. I am also the company’s Merchandise Manager and the Co-Manager of our youth group, Versa-Style Next Generation.
Can you share something surprising about yourself?
I have a passion for cooking and trying new recipes in the kitchen. It’s relaxing, adventurous, energizing, and so many other things in one. It feels like cooking is a new art that I am learning and falling in love with. Seeing people eat my food with joy gives me a new form of love and passion for this craft. It also helps with my dance since it gives me a drive to learn new things. The motivation I get from learning to cook encourages me to also learn more about this hip hop culture and try to push myself in my freestyle.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.versastyledance.org
- Instagram: @Berry_Groove92
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VersaStyleLA
- Other: https://www.youtube.com/c/VersaStyleLA
George Simian and Beata Bernina