What do you do after being successful with your craft and want to help others? Well, if you’ve worked with the likes of Mariah Carey and Beyonce and have worked on so many music videos that you’ve lost count, and have won MTV Video Music Awards due to your talents in choreography, you open up a school!
Anthony Burrell, a creative director, choreographer and actor, has recently broken ground for The Anthony Burrell Center for Dance (ABCD), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Atlanta, Georgia. The organization is committed to expanding the reach of dance and theater using the arts of catalyst for social change.
Burrell took time out of his very busy schedule to speak to us as he explains the purpose of ABCD, some of his achievements and gives advice for those who want to follow in his successful footsteps.
You recently had a fundraiser. What was it for and how successful was it?
During the fall of last year, I was finally able to make a dream of mine come true by opening The Anthony Burrell Center for Dance. I wanted to create a space where the dance community had an opportunity to enhance their talents and expand their artistic capabilities by exposing them to the best training from some of the industries greatest teachers. Our grand opening celebration was this past weekend to introduce the city of Atlanta to the academy as well as raise funds to expand the program and provide scholarships to students with a financial need.
You’ve choreographed some successful events, including Beyonce’s Super Bowl Halftime Show and the 2016 MTV Awards. How does one prepare for events of this magnitude and what process do you incorporate to make sure you bring the artistry of the performers at such an explosive level?
During my down time when I am not traveling, I spend a lot of time at home. During that time, I tend to get lost in music and it allows me to create what’s on my mind. With the artist, I think its important to study their emotion and how they feel to be able to deliver a piece that is authentic. It shouldn’t be forced it should always look natural.
What plans do you have for The Anthony Burrell Center for Dance in terms of the operation and mission of the non-profit organization?
The Anthony Burrell Center for Dance (ABCD) is a non-profit organization committed to expanding the reach of dance and theater arts with the hope of enriching, inspiring and transforming the lives of its students, using the arts as a catalyst for social change. This is what I truly believe. In my career, I was afforded the opportunity to be exposed to various forms of artistry that the art itself became my relationship. I fell deeper in love every time a new experience came about. I want to be able to give these students the same opportunity. Teach them the techniques, allow them to explore conferences, workshops, auditions; show them how with dedication and determination, they can take their career anywhere, not just dance.
What advice would you give anyone who wants to be successful in entertainment?
You are only as good as you train. You must stay focused. Listen to your heart. If you aren’t serious about mastering your gift, the industry will never take you serious.
Besides the running of the school, what are some of your immediate and future career plans? Any special projects or anything you’d like to talk about?
Right now, my only focus is to continue to build the programs here at ABCD. This has been my dream so it’s too early to think about anything else. I’ve waited for this, therefore, my all is this.