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Meet Brooke of Brooke Michaela

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brooke Thomas.

Brooke, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
It all started in 2011 when I was going to college for Theatre and Dance and had no idea how I wanted to get my work notice. I had just been diagnosed with juvenile diabetes, with a ton of hospital bills and I decided to go back to school to finish getting my degree. I knew outside of being apart of the dance company, I wanted the world to know who I was and that I had something to bring to the table. I started to rent the camera equipment that was offered at school and recorded my own choreography. I started to only post on YouTube and Facebook, but when Instagram soon came out, I would post on there. From this, I started to get attention and in 2013, I was offered to be an opening act for MC Lyte’s Stop the Violence Campaign just three weeks before graduating from college.

After graduation, I am now a dancer that didn’t have any money, no offers and no longer had access to camera equipment. I decided, with the little money I had, purchased a $10 tripod and a $5 flip camera. I continued to post my choreography videos and landed on MTV in 2014 and 2016 for competitions and had a dance role in the movie Michel’le: Dre, Suge and Me on Lifetime. In 2019, I performed on PBS’s Celebration of Music that was shot in San Bernadino, CA that will be coming out late 2020. This year before COVID, I judged dance competitions and step shows and was featured in an Afrobeat dance video that premiered in Ghana. Due to Covid-19, I have a few projects put on hold, but I will soon be working with a few artists for their upcoming shows in 2021. My message for everyone is not give up. You will have a million reasons to quit, but it will be the one reason that will keep you going. I did not allow a disease, unemployment, lack of resources stop me.

Has it been a smooth road?
Absolutely not. While in school, I found out I was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes and had to be rush to the hospital. With now a hospital bill of 20,000 and having to adapt to new lifestyle, dance has to temporarily sit out. Even when I graduated from college, I wasn’t fortunate to get a job in my field…well anywhere except the local grocery store. With student loan debt and making $8 an hour, I have another obstacle after another. In the beginning, there were no calls, no offers, no opportunities. I kept recording my work and getting it out there.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am a dancer, choreographer who specializes in hip-hop dance. I choreograph for dance competitions, dance companies and performing artists. The thing that I am mostly proud of is that I concentrate on the art of dance through rather than the business aspect. I remained true to the art form. From this, I have gained respect and the money came. The thing that sets me apart is my love for history and anthropology, where I studied different forms of dance (dancehall, East and West African dances, modern and contemporary dance, etc.) and blend it with hip-hop.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
If things remain the same, I see the loss of the art form. It’s beginning to be more about what will make money and attract viewers rather than what work will stand for a lifetime. When you see Paula Abdul’s choreography from Coming to America, you see a piece of work that everyone, no matter the generation, has respect for and do. I do believe it will be a big money making business, which is great but it will lose its essence and the raw realness which is the strong foundation for dance.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Geeno Mizelli ( Pictures with black and white top), KayKay Amponsah (pictures with multicoloful top with denim shorts on), Mike Harris (pictures with turquoise backround with black bodysuit), K Lowe photography (picture with lime green top and blue pants)

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