Community Spotlight: Gina Menichino
Gina Menichino is only 21 and yet she has traveled all over the world, books work consistently in Los Angeles, and recently danced in Tiesto’s latest music video. The Festival Voice was eager to sit down and share our community spotlight with her to discuss dance, life in Los Angeles, and her Coachella dreams.
So I’ve been staying in LA the past three months. The last two years I’ve been traveling a lot with choreographers as an assistant. And now I’ve decided I want to start dancing and training. It’s hard to work as a dancer in LA if you’re not in LA constantly. Everything is so last minute and you have to be on top of it. So it’s been really good being out here, doing my thing, and I’m really happy and pushing myself in ways I never thought I would as a dancer, performer, and an artist. LA is such a cool place to live.
What is your forte style of dance?
My forte style of dance is motivated by expression. That’s where the story comes from. It’s not really focused on the aesthetic and physicality – of course that’s part of it – but I think that motive, contemporary dance, interpretive… that’s my thing! But I love jazz funk and I love hip-hop. They’re different worlds but long story short: contemporary.
Where do you get the bulk of your work? What genre do you find you audition and book more often that other types of work?
The last two years I’ve been assisting contemporary choreographers. Now I’m doing more jazz/funk and I’m booking more jobs doing commercial stuff, as opposed to assisting and contemporary work. Everything is commercial out here.
Have you been working exclusively in dance this whole time?
I’ve been working a normal job since I was 16. When I’m not dancing I do a lot of things. I like to work in the food and customer service industry. I started working at this smoothie shop recently. It’s more chill than service and it’s a really great job. I work with great people and have great managers. It’s called Body Energy Club, seriously it’s the best smoothies you’ll have in LA. Working is necessary you know? You can’t be out here and not have that, unless you’re in the 5% who are established and making the money.
So you worked on Tiesto’s music video. How did that come about?
The bulk of my work comes from my friends and people I meet. I put myself out there, take classes, show up. I’m hungry, fearless, brave – I’m not scared to put myself out there. I’m genuinely curious about people and connecting and finding that level of vibe where something really special can be born. And I search for that and it comes to me. I worked with this choreographer I had never worked with before. She asked me to dance with her for a submission for the ACE awards. From that job we worked really well together and she liked me for who I was as a performer. So that relationship blossomed into more jobs and one day I get a text and she had a submission for a music video. I got the job, I showed up, and it’s a shoot for Teisto’s video.
Was Tiesto there?
No. She laughs. You never really know whats going to happen until it starts happening. But the crew was really nice and the shoot was super professional. I love being on set.
So what’s your connection to EDM culture?
When I was in high school I was in the scene. I went to festivals and followed artists. I loved going to festivals and I would hang out in the back and just DANCE my heart out. I love house and trap. I’ve been to Hard Summer, Life is Beautiful, Life in Color, etc. I’ve been to Hard Summer a few times and I love their lineups. I’ve been out of the rave scene for a while but I still love the culture and the family. I still have plenty of friends who are heavy in it and have been lifted out of their darkest places by their festival family. I think it’s really cool that people can do that for one another. I plan on dancing on the Coachella stage one day and traveling around the world dancing.
So whats next?
Dancing. Just dancing. I’m moving to North Hollywood next month to be closer and more involved with the community. I’m really excited for all of that. I can’t think about anything else right now because I’m just so excited. Working. Training. I might be back home the last week of July to teach and visit my home studio. Yeah that’s the focus right now.
What advice would you give for aspiring dancers?
Stay true to yourself no matter what. You got to follow your gut. And in order to do that you have to take a deep breath, relax, and let it happen. You know what you want. Things can get really overwhelming, but you just got to listen. The answers are inside of you.
Swami Gina, everybody! Thank you so much for your time. I wish you the best of luck in your career and hope to see you soon. Merde!