We had the good fortune of connecting with Jimmy Locust and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jimmy, we’d love to hear more about your end-goal, professionally.
Personally I don’t see my career ending as I feel I want to create until I die. My goal is to continue to spread the love and knowledge of dance with the performing arts to all who want to grow from it. My career has already been full and I’m humbled and blessed to have worked for some of the top names in the business such as dancing on the MTV Video Music Awards and touring Europe with Michael Jackson, being a featured dancer in Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 Film Short that brought forth videos Miss You Much and Rhythm Nation. Also, dancing for Paula Abdul at the height of her music career in her videos Forever Your Girl and Knocked Out. Paula also featured me in the Eddie Murphy Classic Film Coming To America in the famous Wedding Dance Sequence. I now own dance studios in Connecticut and South Florida but I would love to open in London one day.
What should our readers know about your business?
Transitioning from dancer/choreographer to businessman was an interesting path. I was 50% owner of my first dance studio and had partners. The reality hit me hard when I found that all the revenue wasn’t being split 50/50. That hurt but I learned from research that I needed an Operating Agreement that detailed all the info. As a dancer you just want to dance and teach but there is so much more and with my lack of knowledge I was taken advantage of. I left that business and started my first dance studio Locust Performing Arts Center. I hired a team of advisors CPA, Attorney and Business Consultant. Also, in that time I created an Anti-Bullying program called Harmony Nation that tours the school systems and teaches children the detriments of bullying. The cast are all school aged kids as I feel kids respond better to other kids. Since I formed Harmony Nation I have turned it into a business as now I sell the rights around the country to other schools so they can form their own Harmony Nation groups. Three years ago I opened another studio in South Florida called Locust Dance Academy and it was very successful but because of the rise COVID-19 cases in Florida this year as a business move I’ve made Locust Dance Academy totally virtual and it has proven to be a good move. When the cases go down I plan to buy a building (as I found in South Florida many landlords can be challenging to deal with) and continue with the Locust Dance Academy movement.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would love to shout out all the people who told me not to give up on myself when I doubted my artistry. My mom who saw my art and encouraged me to fly. Jazz Dance Icon Gus Giordano (R.I.P.) who gave me my first professional job as a principle dancer in his company Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago when I graduated high school. He taught me to stand strong, work hard and don’t be ashamed of who I am as an artist. Director/Choreographer Otis Sallid who taught me how to work in the fast paced Los Angeles Industry Scene and I grew as his assistant on Commercials, TV, Stage and Films.
Linkedin: Jimmy Locust
Facebook: Jimmy Locust
Other: www.locustperformingarts.com www.locustdanceacademy.com
Jody Frank Justin Locust