Jump to the Rhythm with Calli
Dancer and Choreographer Reveals How Dancing Has Helped Him Spiritually and the meaning behind his phrase, D.T.I.G.
By Bridney C.
The 26-year-old dancer and choreographer Calli is a dancer from Connecticut who has competed in several dance competitions in the state and all over the East Coast. Coming from an artsy household, he, his father, two sisters always danced and played instruments such as the guitar, bass, saxophone, clarinet, to name a few.
His mother danced as well and sang songs around the house. After seeing a Michael Jackson music video at the age of 4, Calli immediately became inspired by Jackson's dance style.
Since then, he knew he wanted to be a professional dancer, and as a little boy, he says dancing helped him understand the world. "His [Michael Jackson] dancing is amazing and gave me chills, especially when he did the moonwalk."
The moonwalk was and still is Calli's favorite move to imitate. He was also inspired by R&B artists Usher and Omarion when he danced in the movie, You Got Served.
In high school, he briefly dabbled with creating original music and remembers his first song, a rock song being the deciding factor that dance was his ultimate career goal.
He has also coined his own phrase he uses on his social media, D.T.I.G., which stands for Dance to Inspire Greatness. He says the abbreviation is a reflection of who he is, how great-fully humble he is to share his gift with others and owes it to having a humble attitude.
"One of the keys to being a great dancer is being a good person, and in turn is reflected through your dancing, which is what I display. Dance To Inspire Greatness is a way of life, something and somewhere, where you can be yourself, be happy, and grow as individuals and as a group," says Calli.
Classifying his dance style as "different and unique," Calli says his style of dance allows him to be free and become one with his dancing. His style of dance represents happiness and spiritual awareness.
His style also represents his struggle and fight to create an artistic form of expression. Calli was a part of Tznmot Aztro, a contemporary dance company based in Hartford, Connecticut.
"Dancing amongst contemporary dancers and all-style dancers was amazing. Every movement felt like we were apart of the universe."
He also danced for another company, which he remembers as encouraging their dancers to have no limits to their energy and movements, RKUM FAM, which stands for "RAW KRUMP UPON MOVEMENT." RKUM FAM is an all-style and krump dance company.
Being a member of RKUM FAM felt like being a part of a family who looked out for each other. He cites Jus Hues, the CEO, and coordinator as a positive individual who provided support and mentorship to him.
Since deciding on stepping away from those dance groups, he is now a solo but often collaborates with other dancers and choreographers around Connecticut. He rehearses 4 to 5 days a week for 3 to 4 hours at his home studio.
In his free time, He enjoys watching movies, including dance flicks such as You Got Served 1 & 2, Stomp the Yard, and his favorite, Step Up Revolution.
"I go out there and make the dance floor my home wherever I go. It feels amazing."
One of his favorite things about dancing is traveling to different competitions outside of Connecticut. Calli has been fortunate to have traveled to Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and other locations around New England.
His favorite place he loves to visit is California, where he was born. He recommends everyone to visit California's ocean-scape sceneries and sandy beaches while enjoying the summer breeze.
"Always be yourself and never be afraid to stand out. Being yourself is YOUR superpower, and You should ALWAYS be proud of who you are... Always!"
Be sure to follow Calli on Instagram to see his dance moves and for updates