The Geo view: Dance for love — and fame may follow

Geo Hubela is a world-renowned hip hop dancer and choreographer.

Geo Hubela is a world-renowned hip hop dancer and choreographer.

By Rebecca Wojcinski  

When you want to make it in the dance industry — in fact, any industry — you need to have a certain motivation. Whether or not you know it’s there, something inside drives you.

Unfortunately, as renowned hip hop choreographer Geo Hubela told me, so many people’s motivation is fame.

Those of you who are involved with social media will know where I’m coming from with this next statement: It can easily be about the numbers. We see those people getting “famous” off of Instagram, Twitter, and Vine. We see it and think, Well they did it. Why can’t I?

“A lot of this generation is facing fame, and ‘How many Instagram followers can I get?’ and ‘How big is my YouTube account?’” Geo said. “The focus has become heavily on numbers.”

Geo has had a front-row seat to fame throughout his two-decade career. He’s danced with Michael Jackson, ‘N Sync, Britney Spears, the Spice Girls, Jessica Simpson, Jennifer Lopez, P!nk, Will Smith, and many more. His crew ICONic was on season one of MTV’s Randy Jackson Presents America’s Best Dance Crew. Then, both Geo and his protégés became famous in 2011 through the success of the ICONiz Boyz, a crew he created comprised of his students.

Geo's credits include modeling for Capezio.

Geo’s credits include modeling for Capezio.

The ICONic Boyz became a pop culture phenomenon, but when the members started prioritizing money and fame, Geo distanced himself.

“The fame affected them and their families, and the focus became on money,” Geo said.

Today, most of the Boyz are trying to make it as actors and singers. Only one of the original members remains with Geo; he’s assisting Geo in bringing up the next generation of Boyz.

“I stepped away from a quarter-million ICONic Boyz followers and said, ‘I’m sorry but it’s just falling apart,’” he continued. “We didn’t have the passion and it became more about the fame.”

As someone who grew up wanting to be a professional dancer, this is a strange thing to hear. I had the dream of becoming a backup dancer because I loved to dance. I never thought about becoming famous from it; you never hear much about the backup dancers becoming involved with fame. The focus is usually on the headliner.

“Now,” Geo said, “ many dancers do it because the motivation is that you can become famous from it.”

Let’s face it: Celebrities get money, and a lot of it. That’s what people have their eyes on. But Geo’s advice is to keep your priorities in order.

“You have to do it because you love it first,” he said, “and with hard work and dedication all that fame and success will hopefully follow.”

Easier said than done, right? I get it. Being famous sounds really cool and you don’t want to wait. However, Geo has a good point, hard work really pays off.

Geo with reporter Becky Harms during a release party for the LSY! book "Be the One!" (Photo by Natalie Brophy)

Geo with reporter Becky Harms during a release party for the LSY! book “Be the One!” (Photo by Natalie Brophy at Performing Arts Dance Academy in Hamburg, New York.)

Yeah, you’ve heard it a thousand times, but it’s true. I’ve seen so many times that when people go into their career field because they love it, they end up being very successful.

“I do it because I love it.”

This simple quote sums up everything Geo was trying to prove.

He went after what he loved and had that passion for dance. He taught what he knew, and he said this is his favorite part about his career.

He has always kept that passion for dance first in his mind and when things started going downhill, he stepped back and remembered why he did it in the first place.

Do it because you love it, not because you “sort of” like it.

Rebecca Wojcinski is a sophomore in the Live! Starring … You! program at Mount St. Mary Academy in Buffalo.

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