Every now and then I come across people who aren’t aware of how innately inspirational they are; they don’t seem to realize how their words infiltrate the souls of those around them – working like coffee running through veins, awakening their bodies, powering their minds, and pushing them forward. Ten minutes into meeting with movement artist, creative director, and choreographer Jon Boogz, I realized he is one of those people.

Boogz’s resume alone is nothing short of inspirational. From humble beginnings working on Carnival cruise line; to street performing in Venice Beach, to working for Cirque choreographing the Michael Jackson ONE show, to collaborating with the likes of Gloria Estefan, Complex, and Naomi Campbell, Boogz’s journey has been extensive.

But it’s who Boogz is, more so than what he’s done that leaves a distinctive impression. When I first met Boogz he grasped my hand between both of his, dipped his head and said, “Respect, nice to meet you.” Being in his presence, he exudes respect and kindness in a way that’s excessive, but genuine; all encompassing, but not suffocating; reserved, but not passive. In a way, his demeanor is reflective of his journey. And if there’s one thing I took from speaking with Jon Boogz it’s the importance of the creative journey.

Jon Boogz Unxommon
Photography: Ryan Alexander

Boogz truly understands the process of pursuing your dreams. As he speaks on the ups and downs of his path to success, he delivers a message so clear it nearly takes my breath away in its simplicity – Your power lies in your journey, and your journey is your own.

“[Everyone’s] path is different. Once I stopped worrying about why others were successful and I wasn’t is when I became successful. I was like, ‘why are you questioning [his success]? You don’t know that dude, you don’t know what he’s been through, and you don’t know why he’s there.’ I used to question people’s blessings, which is like questioning God’s plan.”

But something Boogz doesn’t question is the fact there is no end to the perusal of your dreams. There is no time-frame, no expiration date for when your dreams will shift to reality. “It’s like probability,” he says. “If you put in the work it’s guaranteed something’s going to come back. You just can’t put a timeframe on it. I’m spiritual so I say this in a sense of God has his own timing for everybody.”

If you continue on the path you’re on and believe in your power, it’s almost guaranteed that one day you’ll wake up and everything you’ve ever wanted will call itself your life, but you have to work for it.

Boogz says, “There’s this quote, “hard work will always beat talent, if talent doesn’t work hard.” It’s not skill that separates people, but work ethic. There are so many talented individuals I can’t keep count, but who’s going to work harder? Who will lose sleep? Who will do whatever’s necessary to be successful? Who is willing to put in more time and more effort to make sure the product is A1?”

In addition to putting in work, comes the practice of visualizing what you want. Boogz believes strongly in manifestation, and claiming your journey from the jump. “Everything I’ve done, I’ve said it early on, and I’ve said it repeatedly,” he says. In fact, before snagging the job choreographing for Cirque Du Soleil, Boogz told people he worked for Cirque already.

Jon Boogz Unxommon (3)

“I know the power of manifestation [because] I’ve seen it happen with my own eyes; there is no one that can tell me manifesting what you want doesn’t exist. If you tell me that shit, you need to get out of my circle.”

And his circle is something he doesn’t take lightly. He prefers working in teams, noting the importance of keeping good people around him. “I’m a group person. I know if I’m fucking up my teams got me. I surround myself with the best people, so even if I’m not in the right creative space they can help uplift me.”

And how does he find his way in that creative space as an artist? Boogz credits his precision, punctuality and professionalism. “There are tons of amazing artists, but then they’re spacey. You send them an e-mail, and they respond 5 days later. I want people to be shocked at how quick I get things done. I put pressure on my team because we’re all extensions of each other. We need things done quick, and if we don’t get it done then we fucked up.”

And that’s exactly what makes Boogz and the creatives he works with so distinctive, they deliver a product that’s dope at a speed others just aren’t doing. “For the most part it’s about getting it out in a timely manner, especially [working] with a brand.” Boogz, who worked with Adidas for Complex Con, says the brand was surprised he and his team were able to release content (a trailer) the day after Complex Con. For Boogz, completing the project fast was simply second nature. “We stayed up all night in the hotel putting it together, the next day we sent it to the team, edited it, and then once we were happy with it we launched. And that’s that.”

Jon Boogz

He speaks on his creations with a sense of knowingness in their brilliance. Boogz knows what he’s delivering is nothing short of ‘crack’ as he refers to it, and carries that confidence in his speech. He notes some refer to it as being self-indulged, but writes that off as coming with being an artist. “I feel like any real artist is self indulged,” Boogz says. “If you’re not self indulged, it’s not going to pop for you. You have to really believe in yourself and what you want to do. [In the past] I would say things to give myself confidence because other people weren’t giving it to me.”

Because that’s the thing, isn’t it? You have to believe – in yourself, your power, and your journey. You can’t let the bumps distract you, because the bumps are part of the process. According to Boogz, “I don’t believe in Plan B’s, Plan B’s are a distraction from Plan A. There’s always going to be some fucked up shit that happens along the way; you can’t expect to just have a smooth ass ride.”

But the most beautiful thing about Boogz isn’t his insane talent, his ability to manifest his creative vision into reality, or even his journey of perseverance. In a world that constantly teaches us to be afraid, Boogz’s beauty lies in his unwavering faith, his belief in his own power, and the way he is unapologetically himself.

Jon Boogz Unxommon (4)

“I don’t really have any fear because I’m comfortable in my own skin. I feel good being who I am.”

“I’m not scared because I have faith. I believe in God. I believe everything happens for a reason, I’m in my place for a reason, I’m doing what I’m doing for a reason. I’m trying not to fear things I can’t control. I can only control what I do, and that’s trying to put out the best quality art I can to help heighten awareness around real issues.”

 

 

And heighten awareness he does. His short film Color of Reality was inspired by his wish to heighten awareness about some of the critical issues we currently face as a society (jonboogz.com). Boogz notes, “Art speaks to people in a way that words can’t. I feel like if I’ve got a platform to say something I really want to say something, if I have the ability to captivate I want to say something, I feel like it’s my job to do it, I almost feel obligated.”

But with all the talk of manifestation, and the power of hard work and timely delivery, Boogz realizes that the creative journey all comes back to one thing – loving what you do.

“[Ultimately] I knew I wanted to be doing something bigger with [dancing]. I just kept at it. I don’t know how many lives we get. If this is the only one I get, I want to do what the fuck I love to do, and that’s just the way I feel.”

After he says this he’s met with my silence – the silence where you’re left analyzing how every choice you make going forward will be forever impacted by what you’ve just experienced. He glances around quickly, a look of sincere consideration etched in his gaze. “Is that cool? Did we get enough?”

I nod quickly, still taking it all in. Our photographer and videographer start clapping as Boogz shoves his hands in his pocket, delivering an easy smile. “Good. I just want to make sure we got everything you need.”

No worries, Jon Boogz. I got everything I needed and more. Way more. Thank you.

To learn more about Jon Boogz and his dance
company Control Freakz visit his website jonboogz.comInstagram: @jonboogz
Credits:
Interview conducted by: Ajolla Cole, Creative Director
Photography: Ryan Alexander
Written by: Zauni Tanil, Editor-in-Chief