We recently sat down with Dancer, Choreographer, Director, Actor Eartha Robinson to ask her to share some of her thoughts with us about the Performing Arts business. Originally from Harlem, New York, Eartha studied at the ‘famed’ High School of Performing Arts. After performing in the original cast of The Wiz on Broadway, she moved out to Los Angeles with the cast of the popular TV series Fame! and went on to perform, choreograph, etc. with many established Artists, on Award Shows, Music Videos, TV & Film. Currently, Eartha still works in ‘The Industry’ but is the Founder and co-Creator of a Performing Arts school called THE H.E.ART (Heartfelt Education through the ARTs), located in the ‘H.E.ART’ of our North Hollywood (‘NoHo’, for the uninitiated!) Arts District.We started our conversation by asking what was the secret to her success on Broadway and elsewhere?E: I attribute my success for Broadway, TV, Film, Theatre – no matter what – on being prepared. Be prepared through training and technique . . . getting the best training & technique is everything. Find out what is going on in your area, keeping your finger on the pulse and never giving up – there is a technique to everything from auditioning to getting the job (and keeping the job!) so you’re always aware of your surroundings & where you want to go. You have to set goals for yourself – where do you see yourself a few years from now? Always want to do more and improve on what you did the day before in your craft. Training is everything – You have to put yourself in the position of always being ready when an opportunity presents itself. Voice Lessons, Dance Lessons, Acting Lessons – take them all. There should be no such thing as ‘I’m just a Dancer’ or ‘I’m just a Vocalist’, for example – it’s all about the bigger picture that is Stagecraft. Technically, emotionally it’s about being ready.
We then asked about the kind of challenges someone might face, as a Performer. Eartha gives out one of her signature infectious laughs.
E: “No! . . . No!” is the challenge, because someone is always going to tell you “No!” and that, in itself, is a challenge. If you’re prepared, ready to go forward, those ‘No’s’ can become steppingstones in your learning curve, to find a way around that challenge for a positive outcome. Right now, we’re in this unprecedented Covid environment but we have to find a way around it so your heart, the true form of the Artist cannot be held back, and we look for other ways of accomplishing something, expressing something in a different way – perhaps even better than before. Simply put, there are always hurdles that life puts in our path & success lies with those who find a way over or around them – such things force us to think differently, keeping us on our toes and this can ultimately be good for us, challenging us to find another way of approaching something.
On asking about Eartha’s Performing Arts school, Eartha responded . .
E: Opening up a Dance School was something I hadn’t really thought about doing, but I knew that I wanted to give back. I love giving back, so that’s what I started doing – I love the Arts and I know where it’s brought me from, and where it continues to take me and I want to give that insight and passion to others who may have very little exposure to Arts in their lives. So many of our Kids today have no involvement with the Arts and have no way to express themselves creatively: to discover that they are special, different and that being unique . . . and perhaps a little eccentric, is OK! So, I opened up The H.E.ART (Heartfelt Education through the ARTs) in the hopes that I could share what I have and my dreams for and with others and generally to do my part in trying to make the World a better place. I believe this comes with knowing the Arts & being self-expressive – not being afraid to let your own voice be heard.
Finally, we asked Eartha what tips she might give upcoming Dancers . . .
E: Training, Training, Training – seek out the best places to train & don’t limit yourself to one thing – for example, HipHop can be informed by studying Ballet, Modern and Jazz techniques, etc.
Never be late – In New York, our teachers, choreographers and directors used to say “If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late. If you’re late . . . . you’re fired!”, meaning you have to respect your time and the time of others, showing that you’re committed to your craft.
Find Hobbies – hobbies are good, they help define who you are and they give people a more well-rounded sense of who you are and what you’re capable of.
Find other people to study with. Break out of your usual routines, get out of your comfort zone. Read. A lot! (No, seriously!!)
Be kind to others – take care of people who are working for you & working with you.
Love your craft and keep working on your craft. If you’re doing it right, you should never feel you’re finished and that you’ve learned everything there is to learn – there’s always something more, so you should never, ever stop learning.
Lastly, I would wish everyone has a blessed 2021 – Come and see us. We love Artists!! Mask-Up/Dance On!