Today we’d like to introduce you to Derrique Daniels.
Derrique, before we jump into specific questions about your work, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
What got me into dance was 15 years ago in my older brother passed away from health complications which led me and my two other siblings( twin brother &younger sister) to be sheltered by our single mother until one day my mother came home with a newspaper and saw Greg Chapkis’ picture and the article stated he had dance studio called dance Unlimited in downtown Vallejo Ca, by this time my siblings and I were gaining weight from the sheltering and my mother wanted us to get out the house and get active. So she took us to a class and I loved but I wasn’t any good of course but then I told my mother “I want to be on the dance team” not even knowing if they had one.
After that first class we continued to attend more and more classes until finally Greg Chapkis told my mom to have US audition for the JR team and we did and we made it but even then I knew I wanted to be apart of the senior team, after four years of dedicated hard work, two no and three auditions I finally made the senior team. I was so happy to get the more advanced training I began to grow to love dance more to make it a career. Then in 2010, our Greg changed our company name to Chapkis Dance, then in 2011 we moved studios from Vallejo Ca to Suisun Ca.
2012 was a year of change for us, we decided to go to this dance competition called Hip Hop International where you compete against different team from all over the world and we didn’t place until 2014 where we won first in the USA division and we got fourth in the world and this sparked the start of great opportunities we began to receive over the years as we went to China for two weeks to dance for Volkswagen, danced on America’s Got Talent season 10, World of Dance Season 1, traveled to Switzerland and many more. As a personal career, this company allowed me to travel to different states and countries such as the Netherlands, Russia, and Ukraine to teach my choreography. Then in 2017, I decided to leave the company and focus more on getting my adult life together and work full time, I still danced in classes of course but it wasn’t as consistent as dancing almost every day for 13 years.
2017 was the year of a lot of sadness for me because I stopped dancing consistently and I thought I dint want to dance anymore but it was eating me alive to not dance. So in 2018 I knew I needed to finally move to LA because I wanted to since I was in high school but I was too scared, finally in august of 2018 I made the big move with my twin brother and some friends and since moving here I’ve done things I’ve dreamt of like, I was signed to one of the best dance agencies in LA ‘Bloc’, I dance back up for Childish Gambino at Coachella 2019, dance in Daddy Yankee ‘Con Calma” music video and Dance for him on Late Late Show with James Cordon and other smaller gigs here and there. It has been a long journey
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
My journey sounds like a life of adventure and opportunity but growing up being an overweight male dancer was not easy.
All through High school I was called “gay” or “fat” for my love for dance and my size and no believed I could dance for my size, I’d leave school early almost every day because of the bullies and my so-called “friends” I couldn’t stomach being in the presence of those people but that never stopped me I continued to dance and let that be my escape and so I am proud of where I am today and those same people who made fun of me now tell me how “good” or “proud ” of me they are but all I do is continue to focus on my goals.
We’d love to hear more about your work.
Now I am an independent dancer and Choreographer and I strive to be a choreographer/Creative Director for an artist and one day have my own Agency where we not only send dancers on jobs but also train them and give them the proper tools to be a successful artist.
I not only dance but I am also a stylist so with that I’d also want to style the artist I create for.
What were you like growing up?
As a kid, I was quiet and timid but after the bullying, through the years I am a lot more outspoken. I also in the band I loved to cook and of course, I danced.
- Instagram: derrique.d : styles_by_derq
- Twitter: derrique_d