Updated: Mar 6
TCB: Welcome to The ChaCha Blog Ariana! Thank you for joining us.
AS: Hello!! Thank you so much for having me!
TCB: How did And You Will Dance originate? What inspired you to start the podcast? How did the name come to be?
AS: Right before I was about to graduate college, I was having a major identity crisis months before my graduation. I felt as though all my hard work, the crazy schedules that I would be on (i.e. school, work, work again, homework until 1 am, back up again at 6 am) all led me to this point and I was questioning whether or not I had made all “right” choices or moves.
Once I had the opportunity to slow down and really think, I realized that I had neglected a part of me for so long as I was laser focused during that chapter and that was dance. Dancing was something I did since I was 3 and once I graduated high school, I was focused on all the other things I had going on that I wouldn’t prioritize taking classes regularly. I put myself in the category as someone that “used to dance” and would take a class here and there once every few months, would take some classes out in LA and then go back to not stepping inside a studio for another 3 months.
It was so weird – I was just grinding in a different way – trying to get my degree by being on top of all my studies, being all in at my job that I told myself that I just didn’t have the time anymore. I really must have believed that I couldn’t have it all to really neglect that part of me for as long as I did.
So many breakdowns later and after feeling kind of numb pre-graduation with no excitement in my body brewing, I remember thinking to myself, “I really can’t be the only person who has felt like this, can I?” I swore that everyone around me was excited about graduation but me.
My excitement kicked in a couple days before, obviously the day off and a little bit after (but that was only because I was going on a tropical vacation afterwards, lol). Once that was over with, I came back and still had this feeling that I wanted to talk about these feelings of being stuck with other people. I wanted to start a podcast back then, but the name was a little different and the topic changed many times.
Being a lover of all things creativity and artistry growing up, I started thinking, well what if I talked to people that do things that I love and admire too? Dancers, choreographers, people who write, theatre actors, musicians, producers etc. If I ask them about themselves, I can be a fangirl about what they do, but also ask about them about a time(s) when they struggled and how they got through it and how that conversation with themself was like – that way I can get some pointers (lol) but also share it with anyone else that can use some inspiration.
And You Will Dance is just a marriage of things that I love – creatives, speaking with people and lessons. The name was inspired by a quote from Daniel Hillel (it’s framed in my room and was also my high school senior quote), “I get up, I walk, I fall down – meanwhile, I keep dancing.” That to me, that last line, always meant “I keep going” – that through it all, I’m still here and I’m dancing my way through it.
I don’t remember the moment that I came up with the term, “And You Will Dance” but I do remember thinking that Hillel’s quote reminded me of that one part in the movie Holes when Kissing Kate Barlow was reading the poem “Annabelle Lee” by Edgar Allen Poe to her student, “But we loved with a love that was more than love” and it having a rhythm to it. When I read Hillel’s quote, I almost hear that same rhythm.
I wanted the name to sound poetic and whimsical to how it made me feel, yet it still had a meaning that made sense.
TCB: How has your background influenced your focus and your direction?
AS: Well I’d just say that I’ve just always had an interest in people and learning about other people. Even my mom said when I was a baby, she said it seemed like whenever I would look at a person it was like I was trying to get a read on them (I sounded like a judgmental baby LOL); she also said it was weird.
I like watching documentaries, I like hearing interviews, I like reading autobiographies of people. I just like taking things in and analyzing it. I studied what I studied in college with the thought that I would land in the social services field and was primarily going to be working with people.
TCB: Who or what has been most influential in your life journey and your podcast journey?
AS: Life : My brother, hands down. My brother Alex is a little under four years younger than me and has Down Syndrome and is the reason I am the way that I am. I’ve always looked at the world differently because of him.
TCB: What has been the most surprising or most challenging in your journey thus far with AYWD?
AS: UM the fact that it’s so much work!! I out-researched myself before starting, part of the big hold up, especially this year. Looking for the right mic, wondering what button does what in what I edit in, doing my own marketing/social, editing (I have ways to go and sooo much to learn), like…. I thought I was supposed to just talk and upload and be done.
I’ve been asked why I don’t just let the editing be done by someone else since that was taking up most of my time at the beginning and my challenge with my first couple of episodes with guests, but I’m so annoying – if I know that I can do it by myself, I will. I’m stubborn about that. I like to re-listen to inspire the posts I create for the page. Maybe that’ll change one day, maybe it won’t.
But once I realized that other people do it on their own, and then maybe eventually let go of it so they can focus on other things, I figured that’s where I’m at right now too. Honestly I’m enjoying the process… I’m finding my rhythm and learning a lot about myself and how I need to operate my own.. brand (?! omg I feel a drop in my stomach when I say that), but I need this right now. This is good for me.
TCB: What do you look for when selecting guests to come on to your show? What voids are you hoping to fill or what niche’s are you hoping to contribute to?
AS: Super good question! I’ve approached different creatives who I can see & feel passion or love behind what they’re doing or they’re on their grind in unique ways.
Other people I have on my list are creatives that I’ve seen years prior on stage & felt something when I saw them do what they do best (ugh I want to say who this person is so bad) and I’ve had questions for them. I’m excited to approach this person in particular, just because I want her to know that I felt something in the 2 hours that I watched her and wondered not about the character she was playing on the stage, but her as a young girl who was living out her dream playing the lead role at the Pantages on a Sunday evening (okay there’s a hint).
It’s also kind of funny that we can look up to or admire certain people in life but we know that we’ve all had moments of “going through it” at some point and pulling that out of learning about that moment in time for someone is really eye opening. I just feel that creatives are inspiring people that have magic within themselves and most of the time make their art look effortless when expressed, natural.
Learning more about what it took from them as an individual & internally is what I want to learn and share with others.
TCB: Do you remember the moment that AYWD was first an idea? What sparked that idea and what steps did you take to bring it to fruition? What roadblocks did you face mentally or emotionally?
AS: See long question above ^^ My roadblock through it all was myself.
My “quarter life crisis” was really deafening. I was constantly trying to fill a void by focusing on the wrong places (like combing through job positions trying to find something that would satisfy alllll of the things I wanted… like what?)
The idea I think came about in the fall of 2017 when I was brainstorming and saying that I was going to make one. I even remember as time went on, my boyfriend would ask, “So are you doing your podcast or what?” then it turned into, “You’re not going to do one” just because I would say it but I had done nothing to start it and I’d say, “yeah just not yet”.
Honestly, I can’t even remember at what point it was that I had finally named it. I just remember that right when I came up with the name, I made the account on instagram and kept it… for a couple of years. So I’ve had to have had it since 2018.
My aunt also has her own podcast that she’s been doing for 2 years, (shout out to Not Your Mother’s Podcast, whoop, whoop!) and she was going through the process too but in her own way. When I would talk with her about it, it seemed like a lot of work and it’s not that it scared me, but we do things differently, so because I didn’t have a grasp on my “who, what, where, when” yet with mine, and then was being overwhelmed with info learning about hers, I said, “yeahhh…i’m good right now”.
I should’ve just started SOMETHING, but I didn’t. But I understand that I am on borrowed time and my timing was juuuust right. 🙂
TCB: If you could interview three guests on your podcast, dead or alive, who would they be and why?
1. Selena. I saw a video clip of her sitting on a table talking to someone across from her with a mic in front of her and envisioned her speaking with me and I teared up.
2. Andy Blankenbuehler – the choreographer for Hamilton
3. A secret. 🙂
TCB: How did 2020 impact your way of thinking and how did it affect or influence your action steps moving forward?
AS: What didn’t 2020 change… lol I just think this year, by making the move the way I did and finally addressing the reason for why I’ve held back in doing so, it made me open up the doors to reasons for other things in my life that I needed to work on.
My perspective feels so different, surprisingly more optimistic. After going through the feeling of loss and heartache time and time again in this year it really makes you think that you have to water your life where it needs some love to grow, where you can and every chance you have.
TCB: I’m lucky enough to have known you for some time now, but for others that don’t personally know you, you are one of the most authentic people out there. You are so full of compassion and love and patience from the outside looking in. How do you maintain those great attributes and what contributed to you being that way?
AS: Oh my goodness, thank you. That one caught me off guard, I teared up before the end of the second sentence (LOL). Thank you.
Honestly I just feel like I’ve always felt so deeply for other people. For as long as I can remember, I remember looking at people and wondering where they were in their headspace and if they were okay if they looked sad or something (the inquisitive baby grew up and is now a 26-year-old inquisitive young adult). You just never really know about a person until you ask them and they reveal parts of themselves to you; I’ve always been mindful of that.
Also, like I said my brother is a huge part of the way that I am. I don’t know what kind of person I would’ve been if he wasn’t the guy he was – i’m sure not terrible but my heart is a little more tender because of him.
Also I’m a Cancer if that makes any more sense.
TCB: When you’re not working and creating, what do you like to do in your spare time?
AS: I love to read and that was also something I neglected for awhile. Reading, listening to audiobooks, paint my nails, eat or do nothing. Doing nothing feels great too. I’d say watch The Office but it left Netflix…
TCB: We like to keep it real at The ChaCha Blog and not hide our faults or struggles, so with that, have you experienced any pitfalls or struggles so far? If so, do you mind sharing what that struggle was, and how you bounced back?
AS: Yes. So I accidentally deleted my show pre-launch and thought it wasn’t going to be back up in time before air date, I wiped out my photoshoot pictures from my computer AND hard drive and needed a software to bring some of them back (thankfully my photographer [aka my boyfriend] already had some of the chosen ones he was already editing – but these are all cosmetic struggles.
Right now my struggle is my structure, I need to just have a set time to dedicate like 3-4 hours of setting up my week so I’m not constantly feeling like I’m doing something. I’d rather save the madness for one day. But I’m learning patience and practicing patience through all of it.
I’m not angry when I get flustered anymore, I remain as calm as possible and breathe juuuust a little deeper.
TCB: What is your best advice for others looking to pursue this career-path?
AS: Have patience with yourself. If it is all new, and it’s so fun, but just breathe and be graceful with yourself.
TCB: Last but not least, where can people find you to stay up to date on your work?