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Sep 22, 2020

This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra interviews Jim Cooney, a New Yorker who has collaborated with multiple Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award winners in his career as an award-winning director, choreographer, and educator. Jim’s work spans both national and international audiences, and he has been praised by The New York Times for training performers with “audition must haves: character, motivation, and endurance.” Most recently, Cooney has developed a curriculum to help artists integrate their artistry, finances, and health and take charge of their careers.

Jim is a wealth of knowledge, both around the art and technique of dance and how to succeed on and off the stage. On the podcast, Jim deep dives on the elements that make dancers (and, frankly, any professionals) successful in their careers and shares some practical advice for listeners on taking steps towards developing a healthy mentality and, thus, unlocking profound success.


Moving Quotes:

[On having a healthy mindset] “For most artists, the roadblock is themselves… You can create anything you want to create. You don’t need to wait for someone else to give you an opportunity."

“A lot of branding work [as a dancer] is the mindset work — knowing yourself and how you want to position yourself and how you want to shape the conversation around yourself."

“Be kind to yourself and realize anything is possible. You can be your biggest cheerleader or your biggest enemy."

“What you have to offer the world, the world does need. If you keep your gifts to yourself, you are robbing people who need your gifts… Just imagine how fruitful the industry would be if everyone’s gifts were allowed to flourish."

[On personal branding] “Your social media and your personal website are the best ways for you to shape your reputation and provide the talking points that you want people to say about you."

“If you don’t pay yourself first, you’re never going to feel like you have enough money to save."

“Our bodies are our own vocabulary, and we love to explore it and make new words and phrases."

“When you’re focusing on the art form [of dance] — on the movement — politics doesn’t matter. Government doesn’t matter. Dance is an artistic expression of our humanity."

“What is your ‘why’? What is your bigger reason that you get up in the morning and make every decision you make?"

“People who are called to the arts tend to not want to be people who segregate. Artists are more about understanding the human condition and are more empathetic."


Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed:

4:57: Jim explains why he recently spent some time in Aleksandra’s birth country, Russia.

7:41: Jim discusses how dance is a cross-cultural language and why bodily expression is such a powerful language.

13:46: Cooney walks through his “three pillars” to unlocking a successful career in the arts.

24:02: Jim shares some exercises that may help individuals find purpose and fulfillment in their lives.

30:25: Cooney discusses some ways that listeners can further learn about his professional development methods and ideas.

34:27: Cooney shares some tips for freelancers who may be looking for a more stable income stream.

39:50: Jim describes the importance of developing a personal brand and gives some pointers for how he’s developed his own personal brand.

43:02: Jim shares some advice for dancers (and professionals, in general) around having a healthy mindset and being willing to share your gifts with the world.

45:00: Jim discusses his latest projects and what the future holds for him.


Bullet List of Resources – 

Jim Cooney