Tispr Stories: Bash Johnson is Dancing His Way to the Top

Every Friday we check in with a freelancer or small business person who is following their dreams and doing what they love. This week, we’re chatting with Bash Johnson. Bash has been a professional dancer and international choreographer for over 8 years. He’s worked with artists like the Pussy Cat Dolls, Kanye West, Lil Kim, and major brands including L’Oreal Paris China, Aston Martin Shanghai and Lee Jeans Europe.

Here’s what Bash had to say about business, choreography, and inspiring others.

How did you get into dancing?

Growing up, I was always a natural dancer. I watched a lot of Michael Jackson concerts and music videos on MTV and VH1 and absorbed everything I saw. MC Hammer, Aaliyah and Usher were all influences.

Whenever we had a family gathering or party I always was the person to get the party started. In school I was always pretty shy until I joined the step team in high school. It was my first live performance ever, dancing in front of my peers. The pandemonium and response from the audience left me wanting more.

What’s it like being in the entertainment business?

This line of work isn’t as easy at as it looks. You have to have tough skin and be prepared to be broken down, then be strong enough to get back up.

But it’s so rewarding doing what you love. I feel like it’s not even work anymore. I get inspired by working with different clients on all sorts of projects. Every time I book a new job, it pushes me to go above and beyond what I did on the last one.

Throughout your career, you’ve partnered a lot with brands, celebrities, and TV shows—what’s that like?

It’s an amazing experience. I’m still processing all of the opportunities I have gotten so far. It feels surreal—one day you’re growing up watching celebrities and TV shows, and before you know it you’re part of history and working with your favorite entertainer or brands.

I’m hard on myself, and I’m always striving to do more. Sometimes I have to make myself stop and look back at all I’ve accomplished so far, and appreciate what I’ve been able to do.

"To see somebody be the paint to your canvas and perform the art of your work...it can honestly bring tears to your eyes. I put my heart and soul into each project and to watch it come alive has absolutely warmed my heart.”

Why do you do what you do?

It makes me happy to see other people happy. When I dance, I grab people’s attention and it inspires them. Dance is so therapeutic for me. I feel like I can express myself through dance.

What’s it like watching your choreography come to life through others?

It’s the best feeling ever to see somebody be the paint of your canvas and the art of your work. A year ago, I created a choreography concept video and when I edited the footage it brought tears to my eyes. I put my heart and soul into the project and to watch it come alive it warmed my heart.

“In choreography, there is no right or wrong move. Be organic and you’ll be great. And be confident on what you create.”

What advice do you have for people who trying to make a business out of their passion?

Some people dance for attention and popularity. I look at my dance career as a business more than anything. And I am a true testimony of there is no “one way “ to success. Brand yourself. I believe that to succeed in dance and business, it’s 50% talent, and 50% image and personality. Always be yourself and don’t try to pattern your career after anyone else. We’re all different and have something to offer. There’s money to be made for everybody. Step out of your comfort zone and find your unique voice.

How has dancing changed your life?

Dance has changed my life tremendously. It freed me. It’s taken me to places I could have never dreamed of. And it’s shown me that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.

To learn more about Bash and see some of his amazing choreography, follow @bash2talented on Instagram.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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