Eric Bean Jr.

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EP 102: Eric Bean Jr. (autogenerated)

[00:00:00] Dane Reis: [00:00:00] you booked it episode 102. 

[00:00:05] Okay, let’s get started. I am excited to introduce my guest today. Eric being junior. Are you ready for this, Eric? 

[00:00:14]Eric Bean Jr.: [00:00:14] Yeah, I’m ready for this game. 

[00:00:16] Dane Reis: [00:00:16] All right. Originally from the Island of Bermuda, Eric attended university of the arts in Philadelphia, where he received a BFA in dance education, double emphasizing in modern dance and choreography is professional credits include . The Bermuda dance company, Busch gardens, Williamsburg Elion dance theater, where he earned the rank of soloist principal, dancer, and guest choreographer. 

[00:00:41] Koresh dance company, where he worked with choreographers, such as Robert Battle, Ohad, Noreen, and artistic director, Ronan Koresh himself. He was a featured dancer in Dawn Arden’s Jubilee in Las Vegas. He was a featured male dancer slash singer for Viking ocean cruise lines. And most recently the North American touring cast of Disney’s the lion King. 

[00:01:04] In 2010, he founded Jericho dance and arts education organization, and charity designed to create educational and performance opportunities for pre professionals in Bermuda. And it’s become an internationally sought after master dance, instructor, choreographer and creative director. 

[00:01:22] Eric. That is a quick intro of who you are in what you’ve done, but why don’t you tell us a little bit more about yourself? Fill in the gaps, who you are, and a little bit more about what you do as a professional in the entertainment industry.

[00:01:37]Eric Bean Jr.: [00:01:37] Thanks. For that little bit of an intro and a little bit of a recap into my, my past. It was 

[00:01:43] Dane Reis: [00:01:43] My

[00:01:44] Eric Bean Jr.: [00:01:44] kind of kind of crazy learning those things about myself all over again. So, yeah. You know, like you said, I’m originally from the Island of Bermuda. Uh, I was born there and I spent a large portion of my life there. Um, after that, I moved to Philadelphia once university of the arts. And, uh, directly after that, I was offered a spot interest dance company. And I was a member of that company for six seasons. Uh, so it was very fulfilling, very rewarding. And then shortly after that, I decided to make my way out West and I moved down to Las Vegas and Las Vegas was such a wonderful place to come to that. Officially called it home for the last almost seven years now. So Las Vegas is my home base. When I am not on tour with the lion King. Uh, but beyond being a performer with the lion King, I also get the opportunity to, uh, teach master classes and workshops around the country. And also around the world. I’ve taught in Bermuda. I’ve taught in. Uh, in Korea. I’ve taught in is in Israel and I’ve taught in Australia. So, uh, I get the chance to teach and I also get a chance to choreograph. So those are my main things that I’m doing right now, especially right now during this corn team.

[00:03:01]Dane Reis: [00:03:01] Yeah, that’s amazing. You know, Eric, , you know, I knew about some of the dance company stuff I knew about. Obviously we work together in Jubilee and I knew about lion King, but all of the other international choreography and teaching work, that is so cool. I did not know that part of everything. Amazing that you’ve worked that into your entire career.

[00:03:21] Eric Bean Jr.: [00:03:21] Yeah, thanks so much. You know, I always try to make, ’em make opportunities for myself whenever I get a chance to, uh, especially because teaching is one of my passions, like you said, my degree is in dance education. And the main reason that I went into dance education is because I was lucky enough. To have teachers who really took an interest in me and really fostered my passion for dance. So, you know, that encouraged me to want to pay it forward in and be that bright light for somebody else.

[00:03:49]Dane Reis: [00:03:49] Yeah, I love that. Well, Well, let’s move on to this next section here. And Eric, look, I am a sucker for a good quote. What is your favorite quote? You’d like to share with everyone.

[00:04:02]Eric Bean Jr.: [00:04:02] Okay. My favorite coat quote is a quote by Ulysses dove. And it says I have nothing to prove only something to share.

[00:04:12]Dane Reis: [00:04:12] I love that. And can you expand on that, on how that’s applied in an worked into your life and your career?

[00:04:19]Eric Bean Jr.: [00:04:19] this is actually a quote that, um, I first heard when I joined Elion dance theater, whenever we would get ready to do a performance, we would all gather in a circle with our artistic director and we would hold hands. And he would  remind us that when we go out on stage, he wants us to remember that we have nothing to prove and only something to share. And it really resonated with me. Uh, because I was one of those people who started dance late. You know, so I always, um, I always had this little sense of fear that I would never be as good as those who have been dancing for most of their lives. You know, I didn’t start dancing until I was 15. And that’s when he late in the game, you know, when you think of most, especially most young ladies, uh, they start dancing probably when they’re three, four or five years old taking their first. You know, pre ballet classes. So for me to 

[00:05:15] Dane Reis: [00:05:15] daughter’s in dance right now.

[00:05:17] Eric Bean Jr.: [00:05:17] Exactly. Exactly. So for me to start so late and like end up in the position where I decided to go to school for it full time and actually pursue it as my profession, I always had that little bit of fear in the back of my mind that I would never measure up. So having that, that saying of, you know, I don’t have to prove anything to anybody. All I need to do is go out and share my love and my passion for dance. And it will, uh, it will translate. And it will resonate with the people who see it. I was able to take that and. Uh, utilize that in every aspect of my professional lives, you know, so every time I teach something, anytime I choreograph something, anytime I go into an audition, anytime I, you know, step out onto the stage as a performer. I always  remind myself that I don’t need to prove that I’m a good dancer or that I’m a good artist. All I’m trying to do is share my love and my passion for what I’m doing with the audience, so that I’ll hopefully touch somebody.

[00:06:22]Dane Reis: [00:06:22] Oh, yeah. I love that. And I love that. You have embodied that quote so much. And I know. A lot of the people listening to this do not actually know who you are. I’ve seen you dance or had the pleasure to see you dance, but I have, and you absolutely embody that you are such a joy. To watch on stage every time I’ve seen you perform you, you just ooze, just so much excitement and joy in  gratefulness for what you’re doing on stage every single time I see you perform.  It’s so great to see someone like you on stage every time I love

[00:06:53] Eric Bean Jr.: [00:06:53] Thank you. Thank you, Dave. That that like like makes me warm inside. It makes me really happy.

[00:07:00] Dane Reis: [00:07:00] It’s the truth, man. It’s the truth. All right. Well, let’s move on to this next section here. And Eric, of course, you’re an entertainer, I’m an entertainer. And I think that you’d agree that this industry can be one of the most subjective, brutally, honest, personally emotional industries, either of us have probably ever experienced. And, you know, you know, as well as I, that in order to create and have a successful career in this industry, like you’re having now, it takes a lot of dedication and hard work. And while yeah, there is an outrageous amount of fun and excitement doing what we do being on stage.  There are also our fair share of obstacles, challenges, failures that we are going to experience and we’re going to have to move forward through. So tell us, what is one key challenge, obstacle or failure you’ve experienced in your career and how did you come out the other side better because of it.

[00:07:56]Eric Bean Jr.: [00:07:56] Yeah, that’s, that’s a great question. Um, I’ll definitely say that one of the biggest challenges that I faced in my career, especially when I decided to transition from. Um, living on the East coast and moving out to the West coast was my body type. You know, on, uh, on the East coast, I am. The ideal body type of a male dancer. I’m tall, I’m long. And I’m li. And that’s what you normally look for when it comes to concert dancers. So dancers who would dance and dance companies, but over here on the West coast, everything has a little bit more of a commercial feel to it. So, you know, they’re looking for things. Or for people who will really, uh, have that ideal body type and physique that’ll look really good. Uh, for hip hop dance and for music video work and, and just things of that nature. And that’s just not me. That’s not, that’s definitely never been my, uh, my look and my build, you know, I’m naturally a thinner person. So, uh, when I moved out here, I was having a little difficulty finding work because everything that I was going in for, they wanted people to be really big and buff. You know, And like really have all these muscles. And I was like, that’s not me. I’m, I’m very toned, but I don’t look like I can bench press a Buick, you know? I just don’t. 

[00:09:22]You know, it was one of those things where I had to just sit myself down and. No. And be okay with the fact that that is not my body type. And that I am good enough. And remind myself, going back to that quote, I have nothing to prove. I only have something to share. And I knew that, you know, the right position would happen for me when it needed to. And then lo and behold, Jubilee came along and, uh, they were getting ready to do the revamp and that’s when I had the chance to audition for it. Uh, when Frank Gatson was working on the new version of the show, And though I didn’t get cast did as a member of the performing cast, because again, I didn’t have the, you know, the big build that he was looking for. I did get cast it as an assistant to his creative team. Because of the fact that I had my lean physique and he saw my technical background and my training. And his team decided that I would be a great body for them to use, to structure this choreography and then assist them in teaching it to the cast. And from there. You know, things just kept falling into place. And I think, uh, maybe six months later, Uh, Diane Palm, who was the manager of Jubilee, offered me a job and I became a member of the cast. And I was part of that cast for a year and a half.

[00:10:52]Dane Reis: [00:10:52] Yeah, that is such a great journey. And I love again how you bringing it back to your quote and you’re so right. And. Body image or not even really body image, but. Just the fact of what your body composition is. Really does play a big role, especially in the dance world. Right. Right. 

[00:11:12] And it’s one of those things that you. And you can be frustrated all day for what you don’t have. But at the end of it, you have to embrace what it is, who you are. I spent way too much time trying to be that cookie cutter chorus boy. Four. A Broadway show in that is 100% not my body.

[00:11:32] Eric Bean Jr.: [00:11:32] Right.

[00:11:33] Dane Reis: [00:11:33] I am that bulkier guide. It’s just it’s. And. The quicker that you can. Be honest and truthful with yourself and embrace what you’ve been given The more quickly and more effectively you can move forward into. A career that is suited for you, not something that you’re trying to make a cookie cutter duplicate of it’s your career, your journey. Embrace it and move forward.

[00:11:57] Eric Bean Jr.: [00:11:57] Yeah, I want 100% agree. And you know, it’s not to say that you can’t, you can’t, you know, improve upon your body or even change some of the things in your body. Visual. I know people who started off like me and were very thin and streamlined and decided they wanted to, you know, get a little bigger, a little broader and, you know, change their lifestyle. Got bigger and bulkier, but for me, for the. Of dancing that I like to do. I just don’t, uh, I just didn’t think that that was something that would be buyable for my career’s longevity. You know, I, I love being able to, uh, Have large legs and be very streamlined and have the ballet dancers, physique. That, that makes me very happy. It’s it’s an aesthetic that I enjoy. Um, portraying because that’s what I like to watch as well. So, you know, I decided to not really focus on that and just maintain what I have and if I decide to get a little bigger. Sure. But it’s never going to be anything to the extent of, you know, Being the quote on quote gym rat. You know, the quote unquote muscle guy. That’s just not my, it’s not my build. It’s not what I’m looking for.

[00:13:03]Dane Reis: [00:13:03] Right. We’re not going to be seeing you in chip and Dale’s anytime soon is

[00:13:05] Eric Bean Jr.: [00:13:05] Right, right. Right, right. That’s that’s just not, not going to happen.

[00:13:08] Dane Reis: [00:13:08] And that’s totally cool. And I love that and you own it. You know who you are and you know, you know, your lane and you stick at it and you succeed in it. I love

[00:13:15] Eric Bean Jr.: [00:13:15] Yeah. Thank you.

[00:13:16] Dane Reis: [00:13:16] Beautiful. Well, let’s Well,  move on to this next section. And this is to a time that I like to call your spotlight moment. That one moment in time you realized, yes, I am going to be an entertainer for a living or maybe it was, yes, this is what I need to be doing as an entertainer. Tell us about that.

[00:13:40]Eric Bean Jr.: [00:13:40] This has gotta be really funny. Because I, you know, I always was dancing around my house when I was younger. My mom told me I was obsessed with the Mickey mouse club. You know, growing up. And Crazy enough. Like, I don’t remember being obsessed about it. I always like, knew that I really enjoyed like Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilar. Cause they were on the Mickey mouse club, but I didn’t think anything of it. I always thought I was still going to be, you know, one of the quote unquote regular jobs, whether it be like adopter oil lawyer, or. You know, a dentist, something, but, uh, when I moved to Bermuda, I think I was nine years old. Uh, when I moved back to Bermuda to live with my dad for a little bit. I was going to primary school and we had a lady who came in and she, uh, was going to write a slave for our school. And it was a Christmas play. And the name of the Christmas day was I’m going to do say this two ways. It basically was, uh, Oh, Santa is too big. But it was right. But. It was set in a Bermudian accent. So it was, and by Santa is too big. So. The whole premise of the play was that Santa had gained weight. And he got too big to actually fit in the sleigh. And so the whole, uh, play revolved around the L’s and mrs. Claus trying to help Santa lose weight in time for Christmas. And I ended up being cast as center. 

[00:15:20] You know, You know, I was like, I have no idea how this happened, but I ended up being cast as Santa and it was so much fun that I think that’s what kind of gave me a little bit of a. Have a inkling that this is probably going to be something that I want to do. But it wasn’t until I, uh, until a few years later when that same director. was doing a production of a show that we called the youth youth theatrical traveling road show. And it’s something that she did every other year in Bermuda and it would cast high school students. To travel the country and do a performance once a week. And each parish of the country. And, uh, she ended up casting me as one of the lead performers and I got to sing, I got to dance and I got to act. And that’s when I realized that this is totally something that I want to do for a living. And ever since then, it’s been my passion. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

[00:16:24] Dane Reis: [00:16:24] Yeah. I love that. I it’s. It’s very hilarious to me that you were cast as Santa Claus.

[00:16:29] Eric Bean Jr.: [00:16:29] I know. I’m like, and I was like the smallest one, which is. So funny, like they had to, they had to make me a little fat suit. I think it was like four pillows like that. They had to like stitch together. It was hilarious.

[00:16:44] Dane Reis: [00:16:44] Amazing. I love it. Well, let’s piggyback on that real quick and talk about your number one. Booked it moment. Walk us through that day, the auditions and call backs. If they happen to be a part of it. What was going on in your life. And what about that moment? Makes it your favorite book? Did moment.

[00:17:05]Eric Bean Jr.: [00:17:05] So I would have to say that my number one booked at moment. It is when I booked the lion King. A little bit of a, of a backstory about that. Like the backpedaling. Um, I originally wasn’t planning to go to the audition. I had already been offered a job. So I had already been offered a job to, uh, join a cast on a cruise ship. And I want to say it was for Holland America for one of their cruise lines. And, um, I had been offered the job and I was just waiting to receive the contract and then my vocal coach, um, and one of my friends sent me an email and were like, Hey. Lion King is doing an audition in a couple of weeks. In California, you should totally go. And I was like, well, you know, I’m supposed to be there that weekend anyway, because me and my fiance and our families were planning to go to Disneyland that weekend. So I said, okay, the audition is on Thursday. We were planning to go drive up on Friday. So I said, let’s just drive up, uh, a day and a half early and I’ll go to the audition. And see what happens. So I ended up going to the audition. Uh, I make it all the way through. I wanna say it was maybe a hundred or 150 male dancers. I made it all the way through to the end. Uh, and we got down to the last three people. And they had a thing. And then afterwards, I, uh, they said, do you have any questions? And I said, you know, I would just love to know, um, how long can I expect to hear something back because I have another job offer on the table. And I just want to make sure that. I can make the right call. You know, I don’t want to accept a job, offer. A few guys are gonna offer me a job offer in and all of these things. So he was like, Oh, you know, you know, you should hear back from us sin. And probably a week or so. Great. Literally that day. 

[00:18:57] I got my contract from Oh, from the cruise ship company and was like, okay. I’m gonna see if I can put off signing this for a few days. And so I told them, I told the crew somebody, Oh my God, I’m so sorry. I’m out of town for a week. I don’t have internet access. I will sign this when I come back. I promise cool. No problem. A week goes by. I don’t hear anything from lion King yet. And I was like, Oh, I guess they must’ve gone with somebody else. So I go ahead and I signed my contract and send it off. The very next day I have, um, I have a gig here in Vegas and I’m like, great, let’s go and do this gate while I’m at the gig. I get a call from the casting director of lion King. He says, Hey, Eric just wanted to give you a call and just give you a heads up. You’re going to be receiving a call from Thomas Schumacher in a little while. He’s calling to offer you a spot in the show.

[00:19:51] And I’m like, Oh my God. Oh, my God. Are you serious right now? And he’s like, yeah. Yeah. So, you know, congratulations in advance and you know, I will go ahead and, uh, hopefully see you soon. And so I hang out with him five minutes later, Thomas Schumacher calls me, offers me a spot in the lion King. And I’m ecstatic. I tell everybody what’s going on. From the gig, they’re all ecstatic. And then literally directly after that, I might, now I have to call the cruise ship company. 

[00:20:21] And tell them. That I just got into the lion King and I need them to rip up that contract. 

[00:20:31] So, uh, you know, So, uh, you know, they were very, very gracious. I was very happy. Uh, you know, the gentleman who I was working with, he, um, he completely understood. I was like, you know, I just got a job offer from the lion King national tour. And he was like, well, of course you have to take it. And I was like, Oh God, thank you so much. Yeah. I was like, I was scared that it was going to be a huge issue. He was like, no, you literally just entered this contract. You know, rehearsals. Aren’t really starting for us for another two and a half months. We have plenty of time to recast the spot. You know, we’re not going to deal with any of those legal issues that are written into the contract. I will just go ahead and tear this up. And he said, you know, if at any point in time, You find yourself where you’re a free agent again, and you be interested in going out on the ship. I would love to have you. And I just couldn’t be happier. Couldn’t be happier.

[00:21:24]Dane Reis: [00:21:24] Oh, that’s such a great story. I love that. And you know what, so this has come up a little, quite a few times. Uh, speaking with different people on the podcast and the way you went to that audition. You were never intending to go in the first place you were like, Oh, you know what? Let’s just go a day and a half early. You know, it’s a great opportunity. Want to be in that show. Let’s see what happens. And then I’m going to continue on and have this great time with my family. Right. Right. 

[00:21:52] And. It’s become such a through line that is becoming so important. I think for everyone to really hone into and pay attention to that. 

[00:22:01]It’s happening more often than not that people are booking the shows, big shows, dream shows, and it’s about that energy and that vibe and the. The field that you have going into the room that you’re not hyping it up to. Oh, it’s the lion King. It’s been on Broadway for a million years. And it would be the best thing in the entire world that you’re like, You know what let’s just go in. Let’s see what happens. Let’s do my best and then continue with life. And it’s those experiences. That are consistently booking. Jobs.

[00:22:31] Eric Bean Jr.: [00:22:31] Yeah. Yeah, definitely. And you know, it’s, it’s actually something that, um, I’ve kind of, um, Started started telling my students when I teach them, you know, cause I, uh, I have times where people will ask me to teach, uh, and audition mock class, you know, just to kind of start getting students ready for what it feels like to audition. And, uh, one of the things I always tell them is that it really helps if you treat every opportunity or every audition. Like a chance to take a free class. Because it takes the pressure off of the audition itself. 

[00:23:04] Stop thinking about it, like, Oh my God, I have to impress them. And Oh my God, you know, this could make or break the next moment in my life or in my career, you start thinking about, okay, what can I learn from this class? You know, this is a chance for me to learn something new and take, uh, Uh, you know, learn a new courts, a new bit of choreography, or, you know, learn, um, a new style of movement from a person. I wouldn’t have a chance otherwise to work with. So, you know, the minute you start thinking about it in those terms, I’ll let you know is just basically a free class. The sooner you start to relax into it and then your personality really gets a chance to shine through because that most auditions, that’s what they’re looking for. Of course they want to see, you know, if you can retain the choreography that they’re giving you and if you could execute it, but at the end of the day, they’re hiring you as a performer. They want to see what you bring to the table.

[00:23:57]Dane Reis: [00:23:57] Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely such great insight and advice for everyone out there. And let’s move on to this section in, let’s take a moment to talk about the present. What projects are you working on now? Where do you looking forward to? And, Hey, it’s a crazy weird time. We are amidst this global pandemic. How do you see the entertainment industry moving forward in the next couple of years?

[00:24:24] Eric Bean Jr.: [00:24:24] I know, right. right. We are in this crazy, crazy time right now, so much has changed. Um, let’s see, uh, As of late, I’ve really been doing a lot of. Virtual teaching. Um, whether it be. Just something that’s simple. And for myself be, uh, my social media. Or whether it’s, uh, for, uh, dance studios who are somewhere in the nation right now who have, uh, you know, known me through my time with lion King or who have heard about me, be a word of mouth and just teaching classes for them. I’ve also been kind of using some of this time. To, uh, work on my craft, you know, and work on myself as an artist. Uh, so I’ve been, uh, putting together different ideas and. Um, different movement phrases for future projects. I might want to work on, uh, one of the projects that I was working on right before quarantine started. And then I had to put a, put a little hiatus on it because of everything that’s going down is a project that I started last year. Um, it’s a cabaret called off strip. And I do it here in Las Vegas. I started doing them last year. And it’s basically a, uh, a Halloween party. With a cabaret. Uh, element involved. So, uh, each year I wanted to have a different theme and I wanted it to be a little reminiscent of Broadway bears because we don’t really have a Broadway bears here in Las Vegas anymore. So, uh, this was an opportunity for me to create something that would allow the locals, the local performers in the community to get together, create something of their own, to showcase their talents, and then also raise funds for a good cause. So when I did it last year, we raised funds for the center, which is the local LGBTQ center here in Las Vegas. And it actually was a huge success. I couldn’t be more proud. I think we had somewhere between 10 and 15 performers who, uh, who signed up and donated their time and their talents to perform. Uh, and out of those performers, some of them were my cast members from the lion King. They decided to come in on their day off, flying clear across the country because we were literally on the other side of the country. And they flew in on their day off. And they, uh, saying and danced and, uh, you know, did spoken word and it was absolutely fantastic. So, uh, that’s definitely something I’m really proud of. And, uh, it’s something that I’m still working on for next year. We weren’t able to do it again this year only because of the fact that now with everything going on, um, we’re still not at a place where it’s safe for us to be in an enclosed environment for performances. Right. So, uh, so I was like, you know, let’s just go ahead and let’s, let’s not do it this year because if we’re going to do it, I want to make sure that we do it right. So I was like, let’s go ahead and put this on the back burner and we’ll do it again next year. And hopefully it’ll just give me some extra time to make it that much grander.

[00:27:23] Dane Reis: [00:27:23] Yeah, absolutely. I love that project so cool.

[00:27:28] Eric Bean Jr.: [00:27:28] Yeah, so that one’s really cool. It’s a, it really holds a special place in my heart because it was, you know, something that just literally came out of me wanting to create opportunities for locals, for locals to create and locals, locals to perform. So, um, beyond that, uh, something that I’m looking forward to is that I actually, Jeff got into grad school. So I am going to be, yeah, I’m going to be getting my master’s in arts and cultural management. So, uh, you know, it’s giving me an opportunity to learn a little bit about what it takes to run a business, especially a business in the performing arts. You know, whether it be a nonprofit or whether it be a larger. Production company, like something that would run the lion King or something like Cirque de Solei, you know, it’s just going to give me the insight, uh, about what it takes to manage something like that, because you know, I’m not always going to be able to kick my face and. And, you know, Spin like a top one stage in front of an audience sooner or later, I’m going to want to go ahead and hang up my dancing shoes. So, uh, I thought what better way? Um, or what better time really to start learning about those things. Then now when we are in this quarantine and we have this downtime to better ourselves.

[00:28:45]Dane Reis: [00:28:45] Yeah, absolutely. And that whole side, the business side, the logistic side of this industry is fascinating. And it’s also outrageously important. To creating your own long career. 

[00:28:59] Eric Bean Jr.: [00:28:59] Yeah, absolutely. You know, and, uh, this kind of goes right into where I see are. Uh, industry moving to in the future. Because with everything going on right now. Um, and all of the shows that are either in, on hiatus or the shows that have had no choice, but to close, I feel like, uh, it’s basically creating room and opportunity. For the next generation of creatives to start putting their names out there and putting their ideas out there, you know, uh, you and I deign, we are part of that generation of the next group of creatives to, uh, you know, . Inspire the generation underneath us coming up. So, you know, I could be the next Don arguing or the next Alvin Ailey. You know, I, I, uh, I guess we’ll never know until we actually get the chance and this situation though, it’s terrible. It’s creating opportunities for us in the future to be able to have these chances. So this is the perfect time for, uh, for people to start putting those ideas together and coming up with creative ways to get their material out there and get it seen.

[00:30:06]Dane Reis: [00:30:06] Yes, I love your opinion and your insight on that. I also agree with you that. While this is an awful and very unfortunate time. For everybody, but specifically for the arts and the performing arts that I think out of this, there’s going to be more opportunity created. For the performance arts industry, then we’ve seen, it’s going to be a Renaissance of opportunity flooding our industry when we have the opportunity to come back safely and I’m really looking forward to it.

[00:30:37]Eric Bean Jr.: [00:30:37] Oh, absolutely. You know, especially here in Las Vegas, because Las Vegas, uh, at one point in time was one of the meccas of live entertainment. You know, and now with, uh, what’s been going on with COVID and even a little bit before COVID, the city was doing a little bit of a gear shift. And things were starting to become a little bit more, um, about sports entertainment. And, you know, uh, I think it’s been said to me a few times that the trends in Las Vegas kind of happened in ways, you know, for awhile, it was about a live entertainment and then it was about nightlife. And now it’s a little bit more about sports. But, uh, I feel like after, uh, this quarantine and after the COVID crisis has settled and we’ve kind of gotten a hold of it that we’re going to go ahead and gear shift again, and we’re going to start seeing more live entertainment, pop up.

[00:31:27]Dane Reis: [00:31:27] Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. And I think if you even just look at it, From just the amount of. People that will be entering and exiting this industry. Or choosing to leave prematurely? Well, prematurely is probably not the right word. Uh, but the people that are. Going to be entering and, or leaving this industry through this period. Cause there’s a lot of people that, you know, had gigs or had shows and had been in the industry. And maybe it was a bit of out of convenience that, you know, this is what I’ve done and I’ve got the connections and the work keeps coming in. So I’m going to keep doing it. But now that the work’s dried up, there’s a lot of people throughout the entire world, in our industry that, you know, you know, they’re like, all right, You know what I think, I think I’m going to move on officially from this industry. So when it does come back, a lot of these people. Won’t come back to this industry in the same capacity that they were, and that means there’s thousands and thousands of positions and jobs and opportunities available for that next generation to step right into.

[00:32:25] Eric Bean Jr.: [00:32:25] Oh, absolutely. You know, a case in point is Cirque du Solei, you know, searches LA right. Right during this pandemic, uh, was having a huge issue with, um, with the structure of the business. And I believe they officially had filed for bankruptcy. And, uh, you know, because they had did that filing and because everything that had happened with COVID, they have started restructuring and downsizing their, their business. So a lot of people on the internal end of that are no longer in those positions. But the company’s still plans to, to, uh, you know, resurface and re-emerge on the other side of this, um, this pandemic. So it will, it will mean that they will have all of this. Uh, all these opportunities available for young creatives to come in and start putting their stamp on projects for Cirque de Solei. You know, it’s like, that’s like a young creatives dream job.

[00:33:17]Dane Reis: [00:33:17] Yeah.

[00:33:18] Eric Bean Jr.: [00:33:18] So. 

[00:33:19] Dane Reis: [00:33:19] It’s going to be really exciting to see what happens and how everything moves forward and develops in the next couple of years. Absolutely.

[00:33:25] Eric Bean Jr.: [00:33:25] Yeah. I feel like probably the next, the next decade is going to be very, very exciting as far as like the arts are concerned.

[00:33:32] Dane Reis: [00:33:32] For sure. Well, let’s move on to one of my favorite sections in the interview. I call it the grease lightening round. I am going to ask you a handful of questions. I want you to answer them as quickly and concisely as possible one after another, or are you ready?

[00:33:51] Eric Bean Jr.: [00:33:51] I am ready. Let’s do this.

[00:33:53] Dane Reis: [00:33:53] All right. First question. What was the one thing holding you back from committing to a career as an entertainer?

[00:33:59]Eric Bean Jr.: [00:33:59] I would have to say the stigma associated with being a male dancer. Yeah, that was always a hard one. There’s always so much, uh, so much backlash. And, you know, you’re always seen as being, um, soft or, you know, being feminine if you  dance. But really, I wish somebody would’ve told me this being a male dancer is actually the epitome of strength because we have to be able to support. Our female counterparts and still make it look effortless.

[00:34:29] Dane Reis: [00:34:29] Absolutely could not agree more. And the second question. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

[00:34:38]Eric Bean Jr.: [00:34:38] I would have to say. Uh, it was from one of my really good friends. He said, no, the difference between a fan. And a friend.

[00:34:47]Dane Reis: [00:34:47] Very

[00:34:47] Eric Bean Jr.: [00:34:47] Yeah, right. Kind of Kind of deep.

[00:34:49] Dane Reis: [00:34:49] Yeah. Yeah. And the third question, what is something that is working for you right now? Or if you’d like to go pre COVID, what was working for you before our industry went on? Pause.

[00:35:01]Eric Bean Jr.: [00:35:01] I would say something that’s working for me right now is virtual classes. You know, when you’re on tour, it’s always kind of hard to find a class. And now with everything that’s been happening with, with quarantine, we’ve had an abundance of virtual classes. So I’m hoping that when all the dust settles and we get back to life, as we know it, the virtual classes will still be a thing.

[00:35:25]Dane Reis: [00:35:25] Yeah, absolutely. And the fourth question. What is your best resource? Whether that is a book, a movie, a YouTube video, a podcast, maybe a piece of technology that you found is helping your career right now.

[00:35:39]Eric Bean Jr.: [00:35:39] So I actually have two things. One of them is, is the Estelle voice. Training system. It is absolutely phenomenal. Especially as somebody who didn’t get a chance to really study voice, it really just builds you up and give you all the tools that you need to know. The other one is actually, um, something I found on. My Instagram, it’s a choreographer’s board shop by a gentleman named Kevin Jenkins. He is a brilliant choreographer. He does a eight 10 week, uh, like choreographers course. That literally he charges you a hundred dollars for it. And he has so much insight in not just how you create instructor, your choreography, but the business of choreography, like how you develop a social media following how you negotiate your contracts. You know, um, uh, how you contact dance companies and, uh, and you know, how you become a viable person for them to want to hire. And it was a fantastic 10 week course I could not have, you know, as for better, it was money. Well, Well, Stan.

[00:36:47] Dane Reis: [00:36:47] Oh, amazing. Love that. And the fifth question. If you had to start your career from scratch, but you still had all the knowledge and experience you’ve collected from your career in this industry. What would you do or not do, would you do anything differently or would you keep it the same?

[00:37:06]Eric Bean Jr.: [00:37:06] I think. You know, I’ve had such a, a great career, even though I started late. But if I were to have all this knowledge and start over, I would probably start a little bit earlier, just a little bit Geico, you know, maybe when I was 10 or 11 around the time where I know I would actually still enjoy it and not burn myself out. And I would also try to take more summer dance intensives. I don’t, I don’t think people understand how, uh, how much do you actually learn? From going to these summer dance intensives and the opportunity that it creates, they are, you know, it’s just amazing to get a chance to work with all of these amazing, um, dance teachers and choreographers and artistic directors. So I wish I would’ve taken more summer programs.

[00:37:57] Dane Reis: [00:37:57] Oh, fantastic. And the last question. What is the golden nugget knowledge drop you’ve learned from your successful career in this industry? You’d like to leave with our listeners.

[00:38:09]Eric Bean Jr.: [00:38:09] All right guys. So I want to make sure that everybody hears this loud and clear, because this is something that I have learned. And I’m so glad that my teachers instilled this in me. Talent will create the opportunity. But work ethic will create a legacy. It is so, so important for you to not burn bridges and to actually put forth.  solid work ethic because I have been in many situations where I have been hired simply because. Of word of mouth because I worked for somebody in one show and somebody else was casting a project. And that person who I worked for before. Talk to me up and were like, Oh my God, he’s an absolute joy to work for work with. He works hard. He’s on time. He’s professional. Literally those types of things are so important in this industry because word of mouth is literally your bread and butter. That is like your reputation. It really does proceed you in this industry.

[00:39:17]Dane Reis: [00:39:17] Yeah, 100%. I can absolutely even be a Testament to that exact advice. I mean, in Vegas, I been fortunate to performing nine shows. I’ve auditioned. Open auditioned for two.

[00:39:30]Eric Bean Jr.: [00:39:30] Exactly. Like, like I’ve literally been in situations where, um, somebody has asked me about a performer and I had to give them my honest feedback and say, you know what? I’ve worked with this performer before. They’re not really that strong. And they tend to argue back with you. It may not be the best choice and that performer ended up not getting the gig. You know, it’s. And it’s not even about the talent, cause they’re a fantastic dancer, but because of the personality and the fact that somebody was not able to speak highly of them, They missed an opportunity.

[00:40:07]Dane Reis: [00:40:07] Yup. Yeah, loud and clear. So good. So good. And to wrap up this interview, Eric, it is time to give yourself a plug. Where can we find you? How do our listeners connect with you? Is there anything you want to promote?

[00:40:24]Eric Bean Jr.: [00:40:24] Oh, absolutely. So, um, best way to find me is on my Instagram it’s EBJ dance and that’s also the, uh, the. Address of my website. EBJ Dan’s dot com. So I’m always on there. I’m very interactive with everyone. You know, I always say, if you see me on, or if you have a question about something or, you know, just want to chat about Dan still free to message me, I will more than likely get back to you. Um, if you’re interested in taking classes with me, I teach a weekly class, uh, in person in Las Vegas at the rock center for dance, but I also teach that same class via zoom for the rocks. Center for dance. So that happens weekly. Uh it’s normally every Friday. And then also, I just started to become involved with this really cool, um, studio that one of my good friends Bravida threat. Is opening. It’s a virtual dance. And it’s called the studio. Bravo. And she’s doing a series called studio Broadway because she’s actually the Fino dance captain of the, the New York cast of Disney’s the lion King. And so she’s using her connections with all of her friends who work on Broadway. To create an opportunity for others to take dance classes from her friends who are, you know, in shows like Hamilton and shows like kinky boots and shows like wicked. And then of course shows like lion King. And what she’s planning to do is have us record, um, these classes and some of them will be streamed live and they will be up on her, her, uh, studio so that people can sign up and take class. So again, that one’s called the studio Bravo.

[00:42:11]Dane Reis: [00:42:11] Beautiful. And for everyone listening out there, I have put the links to everything ever just talked about in the description of this episode. So you can easily connect with him. Eric, it has been such a pleasure to have you on loads of gold and insight. Thank you so much. 

[00:42:28] Eric Bean Jr.: [00:42:28] Thanks Dane. It was really fun.

[00:42:30]You know, I’ve, I’ve missed chatting about dance.

[00:42:33] Dane Reis: [00:42:33] Yeah. 

[00:42:35]