We had the good fortune of connecting with Angela Carter and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Angela, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I heard somewhere that our brains are designed to keep us safe – that when it suspects we’re in danger, it tells us to run away.
I have experienced this many times over throughout my life. There’s always been this sort of internal tug-o-war. I’ll get an impulse to take a risk and act on an idea, then the voice of doubt creeps in and I second guess it. So I’m always battling this fight between my higher self (who wants me to take all the risks because it’s essential growth), and my lower self (who wants to hide in the corner and scroll social media).
Hi, I’m Angela. An overly-ambitious Aries who is obsessed with personal growth. I have a million ideas and often freak out when it’s time to launch one of them into the universe. Hundreds of thoughts take over and I enter a paralyzed state. It’s bad.
After repeating this cycle so many times, I realized that there is a beautiful correlation between taking a risk and feeling alive. As a creative entrepreneur, I’m learning to embrace the uncertainty and let it invigorate me (instead of scare me away).
I am learning that risk is like a muscle. You have to practice and develop it. The more you use it, the better you become – the more you grow. With a new project in development, the normal cycle of paralyzing fear is finally fading. The voice of doubt isn’t as amplified as it used to be.
Without taking risks, I cannot imagine what life I’d be living today. I am abundantly grateful to the Lord above for guiding me through it all.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I moved from Toledo, OH to Los Angeles at age 21 to pursue a professional dance career. This was officially the first time I felt actual fear run through my entire body.
I had visited LA during college, so I was familiar with the energy (and the traffic), but nothing prepared me for the actual move. Cost of living, landlord challenges, going to auditions, mental health struggles – you name it. I overcame the challenges with prayer, a strong focus, and many phone calls home!
I quickly learned that teaching and choreography was my preferred lane. My late friend and mentor Gregg Russell made sure I stayed busy and working. He helped me build a solid career, and for that I am eternally grateful. In 2008, Gregg, myself and my good friend Ryan Lohoff started Tap Into the Network – a touring tap dance intensive. The community we’ve built is absolutely incredible. I get to travel the world and share my gift of dance with so many talented dancers.
In 2015, I started Dance Genius, an online educational platform for dancers. We feature dance classes in all styles taught by professional choreographers and educators from Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta, etc. Members get unlimited access to jazz, tap, hip hop, contemporary, conditioning, and ballet classes presented by industry professionals!
In 2017, I got the idea to write and create a college guide for dancers. I put in about a year of research, interviewed some of my all-star industry friends, and formulated The Genius Guide for College Dance Programs. It’s a self published 90-page book full of helpful resources, college program information, and expert advice for dancers considering this path. I’ve been able to acquire some of the most well-respected sponsors in the field. I’ve been featured on Made With Purpose podcast, and get to do another one later this year. The college guide can be found on Amazon.
Last year, around the time the spotlight was on the racial injustices and inequalities in our country, my close friends highlighted some imbalances throughout the dance industry as well.
In addition to being traumatized by everything that was happening at the time (George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, etc.), I was also distraught by the realization that my own industry had some major inadequacies when it came to diversity and inclusion.
During a meditation, I felt an impulse of inspiration. Almost as if the negativity I was feeling began to shift into a different, and more hopeful form. I needed a way to channel my energy, especially being on pandemic lockdown.
I decided I wanted to start a dance event. A celebration of culture, diversity, arts, and movement. The faculty will be made up of a beautifully diverse collective of professional choreographers, dancers, and instructors. Our intention is to create a positive impact for underserved youth by offering professional dance training events at affordable pricing. In addition to elite level training, dancers will have access to mentorship, career guidance, and college resources. It’s a safe space of creative expression for LGBTQ youth and all shades of the rainbow.
It is my belief that when you take inspired action on a mission or dream, magic happens. I was selected to participate in the Caress Dreams to Reality Fund Program sponsored by an incredible company called iFund Women. In this cohort I’ve received coaching, tools, and support needed to raise capital for my project through crowdfunding. (Caress is the first funder of my campaign with a grant!)
It’s almost as if stepping out and taking the risk is being affirmed or validated on some level. Things are falling into place in beautiful ways.
The Black Angel Foundation is our non-profit organization, passionate about providing a professional and diverse training experience for young dancers. Our event is called Breakthrough.
I choreograph for competitive dance teams. I’ve performed on television and film. I got to guest teach on faculty for Tremaine Dance Convention – one of the greatest dance companies in existence. I get to create businesses and work alongside my friends. How awesome is that?!
All of these adventures wouldn’t be possible without risk, so I encourage you to make the jump – whatever it is. YOLO!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Friends and family visit often, so I get the opportunity to take them to some of my favorite places. A Beach Day is mandatory! I love Zuma – I always see dolphins. For gorgeous views, I go for a rooftop. Mama Shelter, JG at the Waldorf Astoria, and Catch are my top 3. Each has a different vibe and overall experience. Jumping on the ferry and spending the day on Catalina Island is a blast! Highly recommend. I think everyone should experience Sunset Blvd., especially Saddle Ranch! Good food and fun atmosphere. The best way to work off all the food is a nice hike. Runyon Canyon is the most popular, but there are some other amazing options too! Art exhibits, the TMZ Tour bus… I could go on and on! Haha!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My family who has always been the source for unconditional love. My friends who listen to all my crazy ideas and offer support.
Kevin Maher who referred me for this awesome opportunity.
(You’ll find others in the write up)
Instagram: @msangelacarter, @geniuscollegeguide
Take Creative, Ryan Lohoff