EP 31: Ryan Kelsey (autogenerated)
Dane Reis: [00:00:00] You booked it, episode 31. Hey, entertainers and performers of the world. I’m your host, Dane Reis, and welcome to you. Booked it. Where I chat with inspiring entertainers, seven days a week by digging into their journey. We’re going to discover everything you need to do to be a successful entertainer. You know, cause training usually skips that part about how to actually make your skills work for you in the real world.
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[00:01:22] Let’s do this. All right, let’s get started. I am excited to introduce my guest today. Ryan. Kelsey, are you ready for this Ryan?
[00:01:33] Ryan Kelsey: [00:01:33] I’m ready, man. Excited to be here. Brilliant.
[00:01:35] Dane Reis: [00:01:35] All right. Ryan was born and raised in Las Vegas to a family in the performing arts. His mom and dad did several shows on the strip in the eighties and nineties and he and his sister are in the industry to this
[00:01:48] Ryan Kelsey: [00:01:48] day.
[00:01:50] Dane Reis: [00:01:50] Brian has danced in several shows in Las Vegas, including Jubilee, Vegas, the show and pinup. He’s also done shows all over the world, including China, Japan, Poland, Germany, Ireland, and many other countries. He’s currently the dance captain and resident guitar player at Chippendales Las Vegas, where he’s been for the last six years.
[00:02:13] Ryan that is a quick intro of who you are and 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.
[00:02:28] Ryan Kelsey: [00:02:28] Yeah. thank you, man. So, like I said, I’m born and raised here.
[00:02:31] My, folks danced in several shows on the strip. Back in the day, the old start a hotel, my mom danced in the Copa room. I was actually born in between shows and, you know, my, my, yeah, my dad actually went back and did second show after I was a really quick birth and I was healthy and, they, they didn’t have any coverage for him at the show.
[00:02:49] So of course they let them go see a son, but he was doing solid goals at the Riviera at the time, went back into the second child. So I, you know, I guess it’s been in my blood since, since I was born. absolutely. So yeah, when my mom retired from being a show girl, she has her masters in dance anyway. so she went right into teaching.
[00:03:05] I grew up, you know, I sort of joined dance, not against my will, but it was more out of boredom cause she dance studio as a babysitting service, essentially, you know, my dad was still working at night, so then we show so in the evenings I would just hang out at the dance studio and you know, do my homework there and play with the other kids.
[00:03:22] And I was just kind of stuck there. so I started taking gymnastics and then the, Teachers sort of convinced me and a few other studio boys like, Oh, come on, I’ll start ballet together. I’ll start dance together. So we kind of begrudgingly did. and then here I am 20 years later still doing it. But, yeah, I, started one of my first shows was Jubilee, which ran for 35 years.
[00:03:40] Over that I think actually, Jubilee is my entire family has done it. So my dad was in Jubilee in 85. My mom was in Jubilee, 87, 88. I did it. No three and my sister did it in 2010. so we’ve all, we’ve all kind of read the brand long enough that we got out ran through that show. But yeah, I started traveling.
[00:03:57]I did a, a version of tap dogs. I was primarily a Tapper at first. I was okay at jazz. Okay. Ballet. I was, it was pretty good with my feet though. So, I got a show called tap dogs, up in Reno. And then there was a stump ask show, back when that was a big thing that, was Torian China. So they auditioned here in Vegas, it was Vegas owned.
[00:04:15]so I ended up going to China for a little while, make us noise and then, Yeah, that kind of just slowly led to shows where, like I was tapping a little less, maybe doing a little more jazz and you know, my, my jazz musical theater kind of develops it as much as, as an adult, as it did in studio as a kid.
[00:04:32]to the point by the time I was, I did a, the one I did in Japan, we were, it was Japanese cruise ship and, You know, we, we, that was primarily, you know, jazz, musical theater, very cruise ship, you know, old school musical kind of style shows. And, you know, there’s always like an around the world show and, you know, it’s always, always the same themes.
[00:04:49]that really rounded out my, a lot of my different techniques. And versatility’s just, cause you had to do so much different styles of dance, you know, there. And I, by that point in time, it wasn’t much of a Tapper anymore. I mean, I still could do it, but. you know, jazz is developing. And, when I got back to Vegas, I joined Vegas show and that’s, you know, was a really, really, still, it’s a really challenging show, really stylized.
[00:05:10] And, a man named tiger Martina really helped me develop like the character work and, you know, putting meaning behind some of my movement. as I was in that show, when I was dance captain to, I was responsible for teaching, The males and the females. So like just unlocking some of my own movement where, you know, to learn how to like teach us feminine step or, you know, to move in a different way that wasn’t used to.
[00:05:29] So, that was, that was a really good charity there, Vegas a show. And then I moved over to it to pinup, which, which I watched you close. Yeah. I started, I did the very first show. And you did the last one, right? I was there that night. Did indeed. Yeah. So that we booked into that show. just one male track and.
[00:05:47] And, so you know how hard that show was and how it I’m partially responsible for how hard that show was the, sorry. It’s
[00:05:55] Dane Reis: [00:05:55] totally fine. I think it might be physically the, one of the hardest shows I’ve ever done.
[00:06:00] Ryan Kelsey: [00:06:00] Yeah. But I loved it. Yeah. thank God. It was, I think it was just five wasn’t one show a night, five days a week.
[00:06:05] So that was the only way to survive it. Absolutely. But yeah. And then after that, took the nails in the end for anyone out there that doesn’t know. Chippendale’s is, is, while it is a male review, they try to be much more than just big guys, you know, taking clothes off. so they have a mix. We do have some body builders, but we have a lot of like former athletes, people that you can, you know, are used to body movement and, you know, maybe weight transfer that you can coach up with dancing a little bit.
[00:06:29]but we, we, these days we have like four to five. Properly trained dancers. I’m on staff at all time that, you know, our, our, the technique of our dancers has gotten harder. And, so they, I was working part time at Chippendales and, full time at Penn at the same time. And then, chips made me a great offer and I loved it there.
[00:06:46] I loved working with the guys. I loved teaching and training the guys. So, yeah, it’s been a six year journey now where I’m on the dance captain. And, like I said, I played guitar on the show as well. So that’s where
[00:06:56] Dane Reis: [00:06:56] I’m at. That’s fantastic. Yeah, I like that. You mentioned pinup and then you bringing it back to when you said that you were born between shows and then your dad went and did the second show after everything was okay.
[00:07:06] And you were healthy. I have a similar experience while I was in pinup. we had Avalene our little girl and had her at eight 30 in the morning and then had pin up that evening. And there was, at that point, we had already known that the show was, is going to close soon. Ish. So. They didn’t have any swings or covers for me.
[00:07:28] So I was either nobody gets paid that night or I go in and we all get paid. So I went and did that show that night, which was, I can’t even remember really doing the show. It was a blur and such a crazy high of, you know, having a child that day. Right. That’s pretty cool. and is it correct in saying that your father is also part of
[00:07:50] Ryan Kelsey: [00:07:50] that is correct.
[00:07:50] So, Yeah, he’s worked his way up. My father, the maniac man. And he’s, he’s one of those people that really just anything he ate, he sets his mind to, he does it wholeheartedly and he usually has great success in whatever he’s trying to do. So, you know, he’s a dance for years when he retired, he got out of the industry and got into, high end retail.
[00:08:09] And he did that for 20 years. That was primarily when Laura and I were still at home. So it was really, you know, taking care of the family, you know, my mom, she’s a phenomenal teacher. It’s just, you know, dance teaching doesn’t always pay the most. So, so yeah, so he was really, kind of doing the work for the, for the money, you know, and then once Laura and I were my sister, Laura and I were out.
[00:08:28] The house and successful. he, he kind of realized he missed the theater. So he, just applied while he was still working during the day I applied for any like wardrobe or tech job around town that he could find that would take him, that wasn’t unionized. Cause it wasn’t part of any union. And, he actually, his first job was Vegas.
[00:08:46] The show, was like, worked for, drove there for like two days a week. and then he got offered, showstoppers at the wind. Which was a really, really good job, you know, I think we’ve seen through this pandemic, how well the wind has treated their employees. And so he was happy over there. but showstoppers was a grind, meant a lot of costumes, a lot of washing, a lot of maintenance.
[00:09:04] Yeah. And, and so he, opened up a Chippendales and you kind of asked me like, is that weird? Is that like, am I stepping on your toes? Like, is it weird to have your dad there? And it’s important understand that Kim and I are absolute best friends, you know, I’ve dealt with that relationship. My whole family, like, we’re just great, great friends.
[00:09:20] It doesn’t feel right. He’s only a father if I need them to be, that makes sense. Like, if I’m struggling with something, I need some probably advice. but besides that we have best buddy vibe. So I was like, dude, yeah, come like, be happy. if that’s the job you want, like yeah. I’m, I’m all for it. Very cool.
[00:09:35] So, yeah, so he started there and then long story short, he ended up learning all the wardrobe tracks. the tech crew ended up seeing his work ethic and they needed some coverage. So they ended up, they were like, Hey, do you want to learn tech? So he ended up learning both deck tracks, and he could run the light and soundboard, run the shows from either board, by the end of it.
[00:09:53] And so he knew literally every backstage position. Whoa. Yeah. And then, the way it works, because we’re a seven day a week show. So we have a, basically a front of house manager and a production manager in, in house every day. but we obviously need swing coverage for them cause they can’t work seven days a week, just to kind of fulfill their daily duties other day pays off.
[00:10:11] So, because he knew the show is, you know, as an ex dancer and then knowing wardrobe, knowing tech, you know, he just knew the show in a really intimate way. So they asked him if he wanted to manage. Cause he already knew everything. He already knew. The people knew the numbers, knew how the show is supposed to go.
[00:10:23]so yeah, so he started as a swing manager and then, last November, They gave him the full time gig. So he is now the, production manager of the Las Vegas Chippendale
[00:10:31] Dane Reis: [00:10:31] show. Oh, that’s fantastic. What a cool journey.
[00:10:35] Ryan Kelsey: [00:10:35] All
[00:10:36] Dane Reis: [00:10:36] right. Well, let’s move on on to this next section here. And look, I’m a sucker for a gun quote.
[00:10:42] What is your favorite quote that you’d like to share with others? Listeners,
[00:10:47] Ryan Kelsey: [00:10:47] man, you know what? I really struggled with this question because as you’ll see in this interview, I. I’m the opposite. Like, I, I tend to be super long winded and everything has a little nuance and I want to go on onto different tangents and down different roads.
[00:11:03] And what does that mean? And like loop back around on this. And so like getting. Getting one thing in one quick little sound bite is just not the way my brain operates.
[00:11:13] Dane Reis: [00:11:13] Fair enough,
[00:11:14] Ryan Kelsey: [00:11:14] because I have a gas bag. I’ll just sit here and, and ramble. So, yeah. Is that also my like harpooning this podcast by my, no,
[00:11:22] Dane Reis: [00:11:22] not at all.
[00:11:22] Not at all.
[00:11:23] Ryan Kelsey: [00:11:23] I just there’s like so much nuance and philosophy in everything like. No. I mean, I kind of live by the idea of work hard, play hard. I know that’s old and not really the most like thought provoking one, but I really do, especially in a town like Vegas, you know, you know, there’s a lot of fun to be had here.
[00:11:41] I always make sure I do the work first. You know, if you do the work, then, then you can have the pay off and you can live that life, you know? But, but yeah, it just, you know, work hard, play hard, but the work hard comes first in that, you know, like if you do the work, then you get to reap the rewards.
[00:11:54] And it’s not always that cut and dry, but it’s it’s sometimes it can be that
[00:11:58] Dane Reis: [00:11:58] simple. Totally. Well, let’s move on to this part and look, Ryan, of course you are an entertainer, I’m an entertainer. And I think you’d agree that the entertainment industry. Is one of the most subjective, brutally, honest, personally emotional industries in existence.
[00:12:18] And you know, as well as I, that in order to create and to have a successful career in this industry, like you’re having now takes a lot of dedication and hard work. And while. Sure. There is an outrageous amount of fun and excitement to be had being on that stage, traveling the world. There are also our fair share of challenges, obstacles, and failures that we’re inevitably going to experience and we’re going to have to learn to move forward through.
[00:12:50] 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
[00:12:59] Ryan Kelsey: [00:12:59] because of it? Well, I was fired from my first two jobs. My first two desktops, both tapped out, I guess, a Jubilee I technically was not renewed. You know, I allowed after six months, my contract expired and didn’t offer me a new one.
[00:13:13]you know, and I was 17 and 18 years old at the time. So, that was obviously. Challenging to a young kid. Like I went from like getting a job, you know, I was actually ahead in school, but I, skipped and then proceeded to homeschool my senior year because I got a job offer at 17 this summer, before my senior year.
[00:13:31] So kind of going from that mentality of, Online, like this is going to look like I only only been dancing for five years. I’m already getting a job offer and you know, and you know what it’s like, like a boy at a dance studio, they get a lot of preferential treatment. So I didn’t necessarily have that honest people around me because they just wanted boys and they were just, they would love everything I did regardless.
[00:13:54] So I went from that, that high of like, man, I’m really doing this, to, to really getting, getting knocked down a few pegs, Pretty quick, you know, and, and, you know, you know, I got like dogs cause it, same thing. I put the hype with the play before the work, you know? and that, those, if anyone doesn’t know that shit, it’s an all male tap dance show and it’s based in Australia.
[00:14:12] So you can only imagine what kind of a culture target was for me, like hanging out with like 15, 16 year old dancer girls to like, 30 year old Australian men backstage, like I’m a bit different. Yeah. I was trying to be cool guy with them and, and, you know, it wasn’t, it didn’t work out. you know, so, so yeah, I was very rightfully fired from that job.
[00:14:35] And then, people, he was a little more of a question Mark. there was six guys that got. That either quit or were released. there’s one of those things that they were all white guys and the six guys that brought in were all Latinos. so did I, you know, I had a good record of that show, but I also didn’t looking back.
[00:14:52] I didn’t do a lot to like stand out, you know, or like really submit myself there. I kind of just existed there. So, you know, it was, I don’t know if it was, if they were changing the look of the show or if they were. You know, if it was something that I did, I never really got that answer. so yeah, so it just kinda made me reassess.
[00:15:09]I got the job offer. The next job I did was a show called honor, leading as the one in Ireland and, I got referred to a friend of a friend, cause she was looking for I’m an Irish dancer, which that’s, those are my specialties happen, Irish that, so I got a cold call for it and super excited. but like that even came with the tattoos, like, listen.
[00:15:26] So like I’ve called around about you. Like you got recommended to me by one friend, but like I’ve heard not great things about you, your work history from another friend. So like if you’re going to do this job, I expect X, Y, and Z. I’d like to hear life a future potential employer, like say that, you know, I actually almost didn’t take the job just cause, like purely like my ego was hurt, from hearing that and you know, I was like, man, did, is she, or is she going to have something against me through this whole run?
[00:15:56] Is she always going to look at me like, I’m that way, even from not. So I was unsure about taking it. and in retrospect, it’s one of those like kind of pivoting moments where I’m like, kind of snap me out of it, you know, and made me realize like, alright, this is. This is what it’s going to take to be a professional dancer.
[00:16:13] And, and, I’m happy to report that. That was the last time I’ve been like out. So I guess I figured it out a little bit.
[00:16:21] Dane Reis: [00:16:21] Yeah, that’s great. And it’s, it’s really amazing to realize that while this is a giant industry, it is so small in so many ways. And inevitably someone knows everyone, you know, and.
[00:16:37] People talk and it’s, that’s why it’s so important to, like you said, have that work ethic, put that work before the play and to, and to be nice to him.
[00:16:45] Ryan Kelsey: [00:16:45] Yep. I’ll I’ll I’ll say one of my most like, Oh my God, this, the dance world in the former world is so tiny moments was, a couple of years, I guess it was a year or two after that, the after mentioned Irish job, I was the only American on that job.
[00:16:58] It was mostly English, dancers, a couple Irish dancers and, So I was back in Vegas and, I was a friend of mine that I did you believe with. he’s like, Hey, I’m going to have tonight. I’ve got a friend in town. I’m like, come on out. I was like, sure, that sounds great. So I met him at a bar and this is my American friend that I had at Jubilee with, you know, five years prior.
[00:17:20] And then his friend walks in and it’s someone, I did my Irish show with an English dancer that he did a cruise ship with. I was like, wow, goodness. Like how small is this
[00:17:30] Dane Reis: [00:17:30] world? It’s crazy. And it happened that kind of stuff happens more frequently than I would have ever thought would happen
[00:17:37] Ryan Kelsey: [00:17:37] for sure.
[00:17:39] Yeah. All
[00:17:40] Dane Reis: [00:17:40] right. Well, let’s move on to this next section now to a time that I like to call your spotlight moment. That one moment in time that 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.
[00:18:01]Ryan Kelsey: [00:18:01] that, that moment came late into my career.
[00:18:04]I would say. I didn’t have that Clare clarity until a Vegas, a show, which was 10 years ago, which is, I was 25 when I, when I joined Vegas. And so, you know, I’d already been dancing for seven, eight years. you know, I think this was just the product. again, my parents were great. They never forced me to dance by any means at all.
[00:18:25]but it was both their passions. Not only was it around because of my mom’s, the studio she was at, but it was just, you know, They loved it, they cared. So like, if I did a good dance thing, you know, my parents, of course they connected to that in a different way, you know, compared to like when I learned a cool guitar riff, you know, cause I had also picked up guitar by that point.
[00:18:44] And so I love that part of it too. I love being part of the family thing, but my connection wasn’t really with dance itself. I liked dance. but yeah, my connection was just with like the experience of it and you know, I was treated as a boy, a dancy. I was treated well and you know, the same funds see like better than working in an office, you know?
[00:19:01]so you know, my career kind of followed that, you know, you know, I, I did have a less of a, like a. Tiffany within myself, more like a, like a spiritual, like, okay, this is the path that needs to be on was when I got that cold call too. I mean, how, how many times do you get a phone call and be like, hi, I’m looking for you.
[00:19:18] I want to take it to Ireland. Okay. That is a sign because I was really contemplating after losing those first two jobs, I was really contemplating walking away from the industry and, So, yeah, I got that cold call, so I was like, okay, this must be the path I’m supposed to be on. But again, it wasn’t like an ensemble is former.
[00:19:34] It was more as a human. and then, yeah, it just kind of followed that, you know, I came back and, and you know, I got my show in China, same thing, kind of a song tap, Irish, that type of thing. and by the time I got back from that, I was almost 21. so I just auditioned to entertain at the Rio. and, for anyone that doesn’t know that they hire ’em back in the day, they used to have male dancers as well, but they hired male and female singers and dancers, to, you know, serve their drinks on their casino floor.
[00:19:59] And then you do little performances in between. So I got that job. It was kinda, you know, you can make, you know, a hundred, 200 bucks in tips a day and, you know, I think they have like eight or 10 bucks an hour. Base rates. I was like a good job. Like I’m around, I’m a performer friends didn’t really have a plan.
[00:20:11]and then I got another show, through the same, the same choreographer that took me to Ireland. got me a magic show in Holland, through another set of circumstances that I’m like, okay, this must be the path I’m on. and that led to my cruise ships, same, same producer. so I got back to Vegas, kind of, you know, it was fun and it was fun to be on stage and it was fun to perform, but like I was doing this cause.
[00:20:33] Holy crap. I get to travel. Like someone’s paying me to go to Japan. Like yeah, I’ll do that. Dance is on the top list of things I would do to get a free trip to Japan, you know? Totally. so yeah, you know, it was. It was just fun, you know, and, and, but it wasn’t like I was connected to at least dance. I love performing, but at least dance, I was never connected to that way until Vegas the show and, and working with, you know, tiger Martinez, who I mentioned before, who him and I have had our ups and downs and back and forth with.
[00:21:02] But, no one. Was able to unlock a care about movements, you know, the way he was in me and to watch, you know, he could break down, moves, you know, emotionally he could break down, moves mechanically, and just really, you know, he may be a better dancer and a much better teacher. And that’s when I started to really connect with dance.
[00:21:21]you know, maybe not one single moment, but like, as I went through that show and was teaching and learning from him, and then, you know, that Vegas show is the story of Las Vegas. So, you know, it was my family history, you know, the, the, they start with like the neon bone yard with all the old signs. And like, some of those signs tells my parents stands that, you know, so this thing clicked in of like, especially when my parents saw the show, like they saw like their child in a musical about their history, you know, it was just like, it was wild.
[00:21:50] So like, that’s the moment I felt like, all right, I belong. I’m now doing this. Not for like, The added benefit of like a travel or the added benefit of like, I’m not at a desk, man. I’m now doing this for the sake of doing it and that’s, you know, that’s when it changed, but I was,
[00:22:09] Dane Reis: [00:22:09] yeah. Well, let’s piggyback on that question and let’s talk about your number one, booked it moment.
[00:22:16] Walk us through that day, the auditions and call backs. If those happen to be part of it, what was going on in your life? And what about that moment? Makes it your favorite?
[00:22:26] Ryan Kelsey: [00:22:26] Yeah. Say Vegas, the show, you know, the cold call to go to Ireland is a close, close number two. but, yeah, I left my cruise ship without a plan.
[00:22:36] So I’d been out there for five contracts. It’s two and a half years. And, you know, it was just, I just thought it was time, you know, traveling and see life is great, but it can wear you down, you know, and, Sorry. I just came back to Vegas. You know, I had a little money saved up, but I didn’t really know, what was going to happen.
[00:22:51] And, again, the face just sort of intervenes that, a friend of my dad’s another older ex dancer in town, called me in and. He was like, listen, there’s an audition for, there’s a new show from this guy named tiger. Martina. I danced with him and he’s brilliant. I think you would like him. And I think he would like you, I think you should go to this thing.
[00:23:10]and it turned out to be the original Vegas, the show audition. And it was literally a week to the day after I got back from my cruise ship. So I mean, the timing when you said someone looking out for me. yeah, so I went and, you know, and it was a big turnout and it was actually intimidating cause I had been.
[00:23:24] Out of the audition scene for awhile, you know, I’ve been literally out of the country for what’s actually been longer than that. Cause I did, the hotspot magic show into the cruise ships. So those total together, about four years that, you know, I had an audition for anything I’ve not been around. the, the Vegas scene and Vegas auditions are a little bit different.
[00:23:41] Like, you know, like a New York where you, you know, you’re going in like very plain clothes and like, you know, LA, which, you know, is very street and commercial, like Vegas is like, Girls are in like hot bras panties, makeup, and guys are like in tight shirts and the physiques out here for both the men, the women are always impressive.
[00:24:00] So like walking into a Vegas audition can be a little overwhelming if you’re not ready
[00:24:05] Dane Reis: [00:24:05] for sure.
[00:24:06] Ryan Kelsey: [00:24:06] People everywhere wearing nothing. Yeah. I remember walking into that audition and just being like, Oh man, like I’m used to like, yeah, that, that that’s that that’s that cruise ship. Oh boy. All right, here we go.
[00:24:18]but yeah, there was, you know, the guys audition despite only 10 or 15 guys there that day. but it was me and one other guy, you know, they, we learned one combo. you know, super quick learn one combo took half an hour, 45 minutes learned, and then we just drilled it and did it, and then did it in groups and call it a day.
[00:24:34] And, there was me and one of the guys that they called to the table and they’re like, you two are the, the for sure ones. so thank you. Like you’ll be hearing from us, but we, we want to start rehearsals in a couple of weeks. so yeah, just like. Taking that taking that dive of, you know, quitting a job, you know, overseas and returning home with zero plan and then, you know, booking a show in my hometown, which is something I hadn’t done for years.
[00:24:58]just that, that was a really good one for me.
[00:25:00] Dane Reis: [00:25:00] Absolutely. And you booked it. In the room immediately, which is always a very cool.
[00:25:06] Ryan Kelsey: [00:25:06] Yeah. Cause then you don’t have to like, is it gonna be one day is it’s going to be a week? You don’t have to like sweat out, waiting for that phone call. yeah. So walk out of there, you know, with that knowledge, it’s just such a rewarding experience.
[00:25:16] Dane Reis: [00:25:16] Totally. Well, let’s take a moment to talk about the present. What projects are you working on now? What are you looking forward to? And look, it’s a weird time and we are amidst this global pandemic. How do you see the entertainment industry moving forward in the next couple of years?
[00:25:34] Ryan Kelsey: [00:25:34] So, yeah, my, as far as what I’m working on right now, I am just in this beautiful Chippendale’s bubble.
[00:25:42]but you know, I kind of, you know, I still love doing it. You know, anyone that knows Vegas knows that there’s great, like charity work and, and, benefits and stuff. There’s plenty of reasons to go dance, you know, for dance sake and just help people out or raise money or whatever. as far as any, so like stuff like that, I still love, freelance gigs are still all over the place.
[00:26:01]you know, they were up until the pandemic. So, you know, You know, learning, you know, booking a gig and you learn two numbers over two days, then you do it for a corporate entity. Like that, that stuff is still very fun to me. but mainly like I’m in chips, worlds. I’ve got a lot of responsibilities over there.
[00:26:14] I’m, you know, as the dance captain, I’m in charge of training and then you guys keeping our current guys clean, you know, we much like a biggest show or any other seven day week show. you know, we are seven days a week, you know, that requires, you know, I need to be prepared for almost any combination of guys to be off.
[00:26:32] So right now I’ve got a staff of 13, for nine positions, which means four guys can be off any given night. So that means I need four to five people to cover any tracks from that quarter in a group number to like a feature spot. So I’m keeping the guys up to date with all the information, you know, multiple guys from multiple tracks.
[00:26:52] I do the scheduling as well. So that takes up a lot of my time when we’re going. so know that’s the project is I, I love the show, I believe in the show. I think it’s really rewarding to see. Some of these guys that never thought they’d be able to dance, just consider themselves big and OB to start to wrap their heads around it.
[00:27:09] I think it’s fun for the audience that comes to show, to see guys that were more capable than they thought they were going to see. so that’s a huge passion of mine. And, you know, again, like I think my journey of, you know, not falling in love with dance right away, that it was kind of just around. I, it gives me a way to like relate.
[00:27:29] To some of these guys that, you know, like they, I want to be at our job cause it’s fun, but they don’t necessarily have a passion for dance, you know? so it allows me to like kind of teach and connect to them in a way that I think is kinda cool. And, so yeah, that’s, that is the project like sustaining what we’re doing.
[00:27:44]you know, once we get back is the project. So, if anyone out there, when it comes to chip and they’ll see what I’m working on, we’re 18 up and guys, girls, anybody you’re everybody’s welcome. There’s cheap plug once we get going. But, yeah, as far as the, the entertainment industry moving forward, I’m.
[00:28:01] Maybe too optimistic, but I just, I think it’s going to come back fast and strong. I’ll tell you this, my, my experience leading into the pandemic. and this is shared. I have friends in the expert lists shows. I have friends in fantasy. I have friends in Lorenz. so like, not even just review shows, I kind of asked them, I was like, Hey guys, how are your audiences?
[00:28:23]Leading up to, the paramedics. And they said the same thing that I experienced, which they were crazy. they were full, they were patched. and, and cause people, I think. If they didn’t know the extent that a shutdown was coming, they knew something like that was coming. You know, some, some things were locking up, you know, Italy was in the middle of their craziness.
[00:28:41] China was locked down, and they felt it building. And I’ll tell you what, from March 1st to March 14th, we were averaging our theater maxes at like two 50, just shy of 300 somewhere in there. And, we were, we were above 200 Everett, like Wednesdays. We were above 200. We were slammed and the audiences were crazy.
[00:28:59] They were invested in, they were screaming. They were partying. They were. Yeah, because I think they felt it coming, that they might not be able to do that for awhile. And I think, I mean, we’ve seen, you know, regardless of what your feelings towards endemic are, No. We’ve seen that the States that have allowed a little more freedom, that people instantly are taking it.
[00:29:19] You know, the, the beaches in Florida are jammed the, you know, a couple of weeks as it stayed open in Cali, you know, bars and restaurants, where was it? I think it was, was it Wisconsin? I can’t remember someone like the governor had like a shutdown order and then like the state Supreme court overruled it.
[00:29:34] And like bars opened that night and the bars were packed. This was like a month ago. So I think people are ready to get outside. I think a lot of people, you know, are not, you know, as crazy concerned about the virus where other people are more, you know, want to shelter more and things like that.
[00:29:50] But I think there’s a significant group of people that’s kind of ready to, take life head on again. And I think, the moment you open some of these show doors, I think we’re back. I really
[00:29:58] Dane Reis: [00:29:58] do. Yeah. I. Can be really interesting to see how things move forward, but I can absolutely relate the, I was SME and calling absence the day before Caesar shut down all showrooms.
[00:30:12] And I’m pretty sure if I recall, we, we had, I want to say over 600 people in there and I think the rooms eats around six 50, six, 80 huge audiences. You know what I mean? Just absolutely massive audiences. so we’ll see what happens. Hopefully. Hopefully it all comes back
[00:30:30] Ryan Kelsey: [00:30:30] quickly. Yeah. The only pick up is like, if you know, small or big company, you know, if staying financially available to get there, you know, we see all the, the money problems that Cirque is going through.
[00:30:43] And, you know, I saw it human nature. It’s not going to return. after their 14 year run here, that’s a smaller set of just, you know, four guys in the band. So, yeah, it’s just like, can these companies, you know, did some of them get that, you know, government assistance loans, or can they survive this time of not being open so that they can open the doors?
[00:31:02] That that’s going to be the one and only hiccup, getting back a hiccup since it’s such a light word for that, that’s going to be the major obstacle in getting back. you know, but yeah, these, if these companies can even stay afloat a little bit to get their doors back open, I think the people will be there.
[00:31:17] I agree.
[00:31:18] Dane Reis: [00:31:18] Well, let’s move on to one of my favorite sections in the interview. I call it the grease lightning round. I’m going to ask you a handful of questions. I want you to answer them as quickly and concisely as possible. Boom, boom, boom. One after another. Are
[00:31:34] Ryan Kelsey: [00:31:34] you ready? You know, quick, concise is my weakness.
[00:31:38] Dang. Come on.
[00:31:40] Dane Reis: [00:31:40] Let’s see how we go.
[00:31:41] Ryan Kelsey: [00:31:41] Alright.
[00:31:42] Dane Reis: [00:31:42] First question. What was the one thing holding you back from committing to a career as an entertainer?
[00:31:49]Ryan Kelsey: [00:31:49] I wasn’t sure if I liked it.
[00:31:51] Dane Reis: [00:31:51] Fair. Second question. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
[00:31:58]Ryan Kelsey: [00:31:58] learn anything you can’t so diversify yourself as much as possible.
[00:32:02] If there’s someone that you’re working with that has a scale, There’s someone that juggles it, someone that knows the kind of dance that you don’t there’s, whether it’s a teacher or a coworker, like take time, learn anything you can. Cause I’ve gotten so many jobs because I could do a lot of things.
[00:32:15] Even if I didn’t, wasn’t a master of any one of them.
[00:32:18] Dane Reis: [00:32:18] Totally. Third question. What is something that is working for you now? Or if you’d like to go pre COVID, what was working for you before our industry went on? Pause.
[00:32:32] Ryan Kelsey: [00:32:32] Don’t make it so that no one’s outworking you, you know, if you’re working harder than anyone else, they, you know, even if you don’t have the talent or you don’t have the look or whatever, that makes you indispensable if you’re working harder than anyone else in the building.
[00:32:49] Dane Reis: [00:32:49] Absolutely add. I mean, I can personally relate to that from being initially put towards the back of a dance number and then the next thing, you know, You’re front and center.
[00:32:59] Ryan Kelsey: [00:32:59] Yep.
[00:32:59] Dane Reis: [00:32:59] Simply simply outworking people. Fourth question. What is the 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
[00:33:14] Ryan Kelsey: [00:33:14] now.
[00:33:15] Cool. I don’t know if this is gonna be the most helpful answer, but the, the best resource is. Other people, people around them, you know, any, any professional, anyone that’s done, anything that I can even get access to. even as a dance teacher, you know, someone that’s, you know, been any anywhere around the industry, if you can pick their brain, usually better than a book, which is a little more talking at you.
[00:33:39]as great as some, I’m sure there’s some phenomenal books out there, but yeah, just, just getting as many different people’s opinions as possible and then deciding. The ones, you know, the advice that works for you because there’s some things that work in my path, aren’t going to work for other people.
[00:33:52] And, you know, some people’s advice that was good. If I would’ve taken it, I might’ve failed. So there’s a lot of ways to do it. You have to do it your way. but you know, getting information from a lot of successful people around you, whether it’s through podcasts or talking to you directly is, is key.
[00:34:07] Dane Reis: [00:34:07] Wonderful. I 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
[00:34:25] Ryan Kelsey: [00:34:25] same? I mean, you know, grateful for my journey, including the hard lessons.
[00:34:30]so it’s hard to like say I would give those up, but yeah, no, I totally, I would definitely make. Different choices. I just would’ve, I would have worked harder in the beginning, you know? I would realize, you know, I’ve, I’ve come to have joy in work and, you know, when you, the feeling of, you know, applying yourself and, and really conquering something and getting your head around it, you know, it’s hard to start, but really it is so satisfactory.
[00:34:51]when you, when you finally get a skill you didn’t have, or when you. Get a job because you worked harder, you keep a job or you learn a new craft or, you know, whatever it is. So I probably just would have applied myself more in the beginning in classes, you know, I would have taken different classes, on top of the ones that I was taking, you know, just to, you know, understand that the satisfaction that comes with that on the other side, I didn’t kind of know that at first I thought I was just kind of like.
[00:35:15] Oh, you do this. And if I can skate, if I do this much, then I’m good enough and I can skate by. and it’s, it’s not as rewarding, but it took time to learn that
[00:35:23] Dane Reis: [00:35:23] for sure. And the last question, what is the golden nugget knowledge drop you’ve learned from your successful career in the industry that you’d like to leave with our listeners?
[00:35:35] Ryan Kelsey: [00:35:35] I, yeah, just continue on that. Like, like diversify yourself idea. That’s like. I’ve gotten so many jobs. Cause I had a random skill or more likely, you know, that it’s gonna be a handful of people out there that, you know, you mow what you do, ballet or the moment you do jazz, or the moment you pick up an instrument or a moment you paint a painting.
[00:35:54] Like, you know, you love it. And that’s what you want to do. No question those people. I say like it’s already clear. So just dive in and focus all your energy into that. For me, you know, and I think a lot of people as you’re kind of sampling things and then try to figure out what’s what do I want to do?
[00:36:10] This is cool. Maybe it’s in this ball park. I don’t know. learn any skill you can. So for me as a dancer, you know, you know, Tap and I step and jazz and musical theater and modern and lyrical. you know, those things can be other very rarely were people looking for a jazz master. You know, sometimes you need some lead roles and shows and things like that.
[00:36:31] A lot of the times like,
[00:36:32] Dane Reis: [00:36:32] Hey man, I got
[00:36:33] Ryan Kelsey: [00:36:33] like, I need someone that can do a little bit of like these five things. And because I fit that, I got jobs over more talented dancers than me. So I would say, you know, and, and at different times, you know, if you can get into a professional setting, you know, there’s going to be a coworker around you that has a skill that you don’t at least one, probably the whole staff you’re with.
[00:36:52] So, you know, pick their brains like. You know, if someone’s a belly dancer, if someone does this, especially the big thing these days is, is, you know, all the aerial stuff, all the pole Lira and then soaks and all that, like dabble in everything. cause I’ll tell you what the while there’s top jobs for like the best pole artists in town.
[00:37:14]there’s a lot of jobs for someone that like. Can do three pole moves, can like do a couple rolls on the silks, but then like can get down and do a jazz combo. Like there’s actually a lot more work for that, you know? So absolutely. You might find, you know, a joy, you know, I picked up guitar, you know, we really get to it on the podcast, but like, I picked up guitar young as like a, okay.
[00:37:38] If I don’t love dance, like maybe I need something, that’s not family involvement just for me. And so I just picked up acoustic guitar when I was 16 and it very much was just a hobby, you know? And, you know, as time has gone on, it kept playing. So I kept like doing it and it’s become a huge passion of mine and chips has put it into the show.
[00:37:56]and it’s now my favorite part in the show. I’m like, yes, I’m featured, but it really is like, I love getting up playing music and, and, I’ve, I got a few acoustic gigs with some singers in town and like, it’s so fun for me as, you know, a 35 year old man in the last couple of years. Like I haven’t looked a brand new thing that I thought was a hobby turns out like this is a giant passion of mine, but that’s because I tried something new.
[00:38:18] I diversify myself, I, you know, picked up something different. So I’d say if you have, especially in the day and age of. YouTube. there’s I mean, there’s anything you want to learn? Like I can learn guitar. I can learn how to fix a toilet. I can build dry wall. Like you can learn anything on you, honestly, in this day and age.
[00:38:35] I mean, really there’s no substitute or a real teacher at some point, but like, if you have any curiosity at anything, Google it, man. Just look it up, you know, dive in because the more of these little crafty weird skills you have, the more just in general in life, like I think it’s a richer life to live. And then, you know, definitely makes you more hireable, you know, and it tends to grow.
[00:38:55] You know, if you’ve got a bunch of skills and you’ve applied yourself to different crafts, just kind of grounds you in a different way to where, you know, you’re easy to work with. Cause you you’ve already untangled yourself. Like this is what I do. Oh yeah. Do this. Okay. Go over here. All right. Like a new skill.
[00:39:09] That’s cool. They wanna teach you this. Like, I don’t know how to do it, figure it out, like bringing that mentality into a work habit sphere. I can tell you as someone who’s, who’s now in charge of hiring, like. That mentality goes so much farther than any one skill. I’ll tell you that right there.
[00:39:24] Dane Reis: [00:39:24] Absolutely massive advice for anyone out there listening and wrap up this interview. 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?
[00:39:39] Ryan Kelsey: [00:39:39] You can find me in my living room because that’s the only time. No. When, when the COVID restrictions a lift to the point where shows can come back, Chippendale’s, currently runs at the Rio hotel.
[00:39:52]there’s also rumors about that, but for now, for now, we’re going to say the Rio hotel. but you can always find, so there’s a simultaneous Vegas show and tour. I do the Vegas show, but chippendales.com or at Chippendales on all social media. If you just want to follow the show. right now my, I have nothing to promote God, this is awful.
[00:40:09]my, I used to run everything through my Instagram and, that was taken down. Someone made a fake account of me and they shut down all the Ryan Kelsey account.
[00:40:17] Dane Reis: [00:40:17] Oh no.
[00:40:19] Ryan Kelsey: [00:40:19] So yeah. And I’m actually, I kind of enjoyed I’m a little bit of a social media break. So I’ve actually very purposely not started one.
[00:40:25] Once the show gets going again, I’m, I’m going to just start a brand new one and it’s fine. If anyone’s ever tried to get ahold of Instagram, you know how impossible it is. So, I would say that, like, my name is Ryan. Kelsey. I’m always bounced around in town. I will be at Chippendales when we reopened. So I would say just, follow the, the at Chippendales and then.
[00:40:41]once my Instagram gets going again, the Chip’s Instagram is great about, you know, tagging and, and, and making sure that our, our personal Instagrams are looped into that. So once I get going again, you can find me through,
[00:40:51] Dane Reis: [00:40:51] Chippendale’s. Perfect. Well, Ryan, thank you so much for being here today and joining me.
[00:40:58] It’s been fantastic having,
[00:41:00] Ryan Kelsey: [00:41:00] thank you so much for having me on, man. I appreciate it. This was fun.
[00:41:04] Dane Reis: [00:41:04] Give it up for our five star reviewers, M B Ratliff, BJ Wolf, and just D thank you so much for your support. Thank you so much for joining us today. My one call to action for you is to go to youbookeditpodcast.com and join our free email community.
[00:41:24] Where we dig deep into a continually growing resource of truly actionable things you can be doing right now to help you advance your entertainment career. Don’t miss an episode. We have a new guest, seven days a week search for you, booked it on Apple podcast or your favorite podcast app and subscribe today.
[00:41:47] All the best to you. We’ll see you tomorrow.