We had the good fortune of connecting with Celena Howland and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Celena, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I chose to pursue my artistic career because I believe life is meant for you to follow your passions, and once I found my passion for dance, I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else. I found what lit me up and brought curiosity, dedication, joy and excitement into my spirit. Following this feeling of fulfillment has shaped me into the person I am today, always allowing me to discover new ways of expressing my creativity, connect to others, and tune in to my state of “flow”.
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.
As a dancer, I’ve discovered so many layers of expression for myself by training in multiple styles of dance. In the beginning, I started out on the high school dance team (realized how much I LOVED dancing and performing for an audience), took my first ballet class at 17, and then decided if I was going to go to college, it was going to be for dance! I attended Sam Houston State University, where I trained in ballet, modern, and jazz technique and studied dance as an art form within choreography, performance, and improvisation. After graduating with my BFA in Dance, I was eager to expand my creative goals & moved on to pursue commercial dance in Los Angeles. Once I moved to LA, I spent a year training in hip hop, contemporary, jazz funk, heels and more at the Edge Performing Arts Center Scholarship Program; there I also learned many tips and tools for auditioning and working in the dance/entertainment industry. By the end of the program I signed with my talent agency, MTA, and have been working & auditioning for music videos, commercials, and live performances in the industry ever since!
Devoting time, energy and focus to learning multiple styles of dance has really shaped me into an artist who is versatile and skillful within my craft. Each step that’s brought me to where I am today definitely wasn’t ‘easy’, but I am grateful that my love for dance overcame the obstacles that I’ve faced. A big lesson I’ve learned along my journey is to be kind and loving and patient with yourself. Choosing my career in the entertainment industry has taught me to have perseverance when it comes to reaching my goals, and being your own cheerleader plays a big part in that. Mentally and emotionally, you should be your own best friend when it comes to finding success within your passions, leaving all doubts or negativity at the door!
A belief I hold firmly for myself is to never stop learning and experiencing growth. I love adding more tools to my toolbox of skill sets and I find bliss in learning new paths of artistic expression.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m a big fan of the scenic hikes all around LA so I would take them to a few spots like Runyon, Elysian Park, Griffith, & the Culver City stairs. We’d definitely make a beach trip, my favorite spot is El Matador State Beach in Malibu! We would eat at the local bicycle cafe, Spoke, and rent a bike for a cruise along the LA river. I’d sign us up for a dance class at Playground LA and then enjoy walking along Melrose for some window shopping. If we’re feeling a night out, we can grab drinks and dinner in West Hollywood!
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?
First, my mom! She is my best friend & #1 FAN! My mom recognized the talent in me and did everything she could to help me discover & nurture it. She’s always told me, “where there’s a WILL, there’s a WAY” and encourages me to always “GO FOR IT!” anytime there is an opportunity to grow or achieve more towards chasing my dreams. S/O to ALL of my dance mentors, teachers and educators throughout the years who have taught me to explore my imagination, move with intention and that it’s ‘OK’ to break the rules, once in a while. Another for my friend and mentor, Brinn Nicole, who took me under her wing the first week I stepped into her heels classes two years ago. My confidence, performance quality, and emotional delivery has completely transformed for the best by learning her techniques!
& A final shout out to all the artists and performers who pour their soul into their craft leaving their audience sparkling in inspiration and awe (: I’ve been so inspired by countless artists who have left me with this feeling that I only wish to do the same for others when sharing my talents.
Photo 1: Photography by Alissa Roseborough Photo 2: Photography by Karina Moore Photo 4: Photography by Stephen Dietrich Photo 5: Photography by Johnny D Young