MSA_LogoI without a doubt like to think of myself as a sponge this summer. Everyday brings new opportunities, and every day I am constantly absorbing information and being influenced by others around me. So much so, that I wonder sometimes if I’m giving back enough.

As an intern, it’s important to know when to speak up and when to keep quiet, and 80% of the time, its the latter of the two. However, just as I am really starting to feel at home at MSA, the program is inconveniently coming to a close. I’ve really become comfortable with my fast-paced boss Tony Selznick, who I admire for his pragmatic, determined attitude. He even let me sit in on a meeting today with some of the top people in the industry, which took me for a bit of a spin. I was clearly star-struck as I walked in and introduced myself to the group and plopped down at the table. I’ve never known why your hands get clammy when you’re nervous but I almost dropped my slippery MacBook due to a case of sweaty palms. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more inferior. I hastily began taking notes as my boss explained our new project to his audience, and little did I know, this meeting was about to be more than just a formal pitch. It was a conversation I’ll never forget, and Jojo Diggs is now my hero.

As our meeting progressed, I noticed Jojo was a little detached, or in deep thought about something else. And just as the conversation was coming to an end, she raised her hand and asked if she could ask a question. (WHAT?! Jojo Diggs does not need to be raising her hand- she’s more than entitled!) But she politely continued by saying, “I love what you’re doing here, but my heart has to be onboard”. I could write for hours about what came after, but basically Jojo had the courage to say that she will only participate in something if it coincides with her morals. It’s not about the money or the recognition, it’s about what you as an individual get out of something. In this case, she really wants young dancers to be educated about dance history and where current-day movement comes from. She wants our project, “Danceamatic” to not just be a competition for young dancers, but a platform for learning and educating young people on the history of their passion. It’s crucial not to get caught up in show biz and forget why we dance. And in that moment, I forgot I was in Hollywood.

In the beautiful words of Kendrick Lamar, “I’m inspired, so get inspired”.

Tony Selznick


Jojo Diggs


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