Vinny Balbo: It was only a matter of time before I discovered dance.
Just like most of my friends and the people that I work with, I met Vinny Balbo through Instagram. I was always interested to know more about Vinny because his feed has an interesting mix of architecture, dance, and fashion. In this conversation, I ask him about the toughest part of being a professional dancer, learning choreography, his love for architecture, and overcoming the fear of being judged in a dance class.
So, why dance? What got you into it?
Vinny: Growing up I was a very rambunctious little fella. It was only a matter of time before I discovered dance. Like most dancers from this day and age, I got into dance because of YouTube. I would mainly watch a dancer by the name of Bboy Junior. The way he dances basically looks like it’s physically impossible. It blew my mind, and I felt like I had to be able to dance like him to impress the other kids at middle school.
Haha! Were you able to impress the other kids in school?
Vinny: I only impressed my friends who danced. Most other kids thought it was super weird and mocked me!
Aww. I see, I see. So, what's the toughest part of being a professional dancer?
Vinny: Aside from sore muscles and joints, probably the stress. Like any artist who works professionally, you can never know what’s coming. You could be the busiest person one month, and not book a single job another.
Do you compete as well? If not, and given the opportunity, would you do it?
Vinny: I never really got into the battle or company competition scene.. However, I absolutely love to battle, but usually when I compete, it's just between a few friends and all in good fun!
How often does it usually take for you to learn choreography?
Vinny: Longer than I'm happy with. It's my biggest struggle with dance as a whole. Because I started my career as a freestyle dancer, it's a very different mindset when learning choreo. Sometimes I wish choreo was drilled into my head since I was 5 years old... but on on the flip side, I'm very pleased with my freestyle vocabulary that a lot of "strictly choreo dancers” otherwise struggle with.
Before filming a commercial, how often would you rehearse?
Vinny: It really depends on the specific elements of the job. In most of the commercials I've worked on, I’ve just freestyled. But on the rare occasion that I do have to perform choreography, it's usually 1 or 2 days of (8 hr) rehearsals and an additional rehearsal prior to filming on the day of the shoot.
How would you describe your style - dance and clothing wise.
Vinny: Well, they usually have to cooperate with one another. If it's clothing I can't dance in, I won't wear it. I really love black and neutral tones for most of my clothing. I'm very minimal and simple when it comes to personal fashion.
What have you been listening to lately?
Vinny: Lately I've been listening to a lot 80's and 90's hip-hop. MF Doom, A Tribe Called Quest, The Beastie Boys. Which is funny, because it's the polar opposite from what I normally listen to.
Does your love for architecture have anything to do with dance or is it more of just a personal interest?
Vinny: Architecture has a huge impact on my dancing. I've always been fascinated by the relationship between human and structure. Architecture plays a big role with all my dance videos. When I make a video I try to have the architecture, clothing, texture of dance, and song all complimenting each other.
What would you say to a person who wants to start dancing but doesn't want to attend class? What would be your advice for overcoming the fear of being judged when you're just starting out?
Vinny: I would say we have a lot in common. One must realize is that dance in a personal journey, and fear of how others view your movement is the last thing you should be focused on. If you let that fear take over, it will seriously hinder you from progressing as a dancer.
Do you have anything coming up? What should we look forward to?
Vinny: There are a few commercials that have yet to be released that I'll be sure to share once they're out! Other than that, I have a few personal concept videos in the works that I am extremely excited to share with everyone!
You can follow Vinny Balbo on Instagram and Twitter: @vinnybalbo