By now you’ve probably seen the new viral Volkswagen advertisement (.mov) that features an updated Gene Kelly poppin’ and lockin’. Kottke pointed out that the dancer was David Bernal, aka ‘Elsewhere.’ He’s got a brief interview with him on his site.
There’s a website with more videos over here (this one is my favorite–look for the third dancer (.wmv)). If you scroll down a bit on that page, you’ll find a section on that page called ‘Practices and Philosphies’ where Elsewhere comments a bit on the how and why of his art. There’s some great stuff there that translates pretty well into excellence in pretty much any other domain, including management. Here are some excerpts:
Being myself – as corny as this might sound I think that being myself has been one of the most important attitudes that I have maintained. By "being myself" I mean dancing the way I sincerely want to dance, regardless of what others think or what the latest trend is. Being myself, has kept me motivated because I am doing what I truly want to do.
Experimenting – Even though dancing is an art, trying to come up with your own moves and style makes it seem more like a science due to the amount of trial and error that is involved. For every decent move that I add to my repertoire there are usually dozens that are too lame to use. My experience has proven that the more moves I attempt to create, the more likely I am of creating moves worth keeping.
Practicing by repeating – Whenever I make up a new move, set, routine or style that is worth keeping, I won’t actually use it (performing) until I know it by heart; am able to execute it unconsciously. In order to get it down, I practice the particular thing I’m trying to learn over and over and over again.
Looking for influence beyond dancing – Dancing is an Art form that is based on movement. Beyond the scope of dancing there is a world of movement to be inspired by: machines, nature, kangaroos, etc.
Ignoring labels – Labels can hinder one’s aim of being original because they devise implicit boundaries. For example someone might say: To be a Bboy you have to do this, but you can’t do that, because if you do, you’re not a true Bboy. Of course my own intention was never to fit into a particular conventional criteria but to be a unique hybrid. As Benny Golson has said, "When new things are discovered they have no name"?¦they defy description."
Using my influences to realize my own potential – There is a natural tendency to imitate what influences you. I think some degree of imitation is expected and even necessary for an individual to learn, especially for beginners. Speaking from my own experience, I became more original when I began using my influences as insight for realizing my own potential. I realized that I could alter and even improve upon the moves and styles that influenced me into something that was distinctly my own.