World class dancer Filippo Calvagno has worked with some of the biggest stars in the world, including Whitney Houston and Bananarama, to name a few. We recently caught up with him in LA to find out about his latest projects and some of his favorite performances. Here is what he had to say:
Please introduce yourself to the readers and how and when did you first get into performing?
Hi, I am Filippo a Professional Dancer currently living in Los Angeles. I have been dancing professionally for about 12 Years now and I’ve been lucky enough to have been able to work in different fields of the dance industry and travel the world. I first started dancing when I was 11 years old at a local Latin/Ballroom dance Studio in Germany, where I grew up. At 16, I decided to add hip hop and jazz to my training and had my first professional dance job on TV at 18 years old.
What inspired you to get into the entertainment industry?
Music is what connected me to dance! From a very young age I was especially, into pop music. I was fascinated with music videos and would record everything on VHS and then copy what the performers would do. I think that’s what really started it and from then on, I just learned more and more about it. I always liked music and always liked to move so I don’t really remember a specific age when I got into it. I actually never thought that I would end up working in the Industry or even end up dancing for the artists that I had admired growing up. I followed my passion which led me to my first job and then it just continued from there, one step at the time. Never in a million years did I think that I would end up living in Los Angeles, working in the entertainment Industry.
What kind of training have you had, if any?
I started training in Latin/Ballroom when I was 11 Years old until I turned 16. I learned everything from Cha Cha Cha, Rumba, Jive, Paso doable and Tango.The Latin Ballroom scene was my world, I was training every day after school and would compete on weekends. After a couple years of doing it, I was curious about adding new styles to my repertoire. I joined the New York City Dance School in Stuttgart/Germany that offered classes in every style from Ballet — African Dance. I was taking classes from professional choreographers and dancing next to professionals that danced for living. It was incredible and it shaped me to be the dancer that I am today.
What has been your favorite role to play so far?
There has been so many it is hard to just pick one! I have worked on so many different projects that they all become special in their unique way from the choreographer that you work with, your cast members, the style of dance or maybe your favorite musical artists.
Some of my favorite jobs to look back on, are dancing for Whitney Houston because of course, it’s Whitney Houston and because I loved everything about that job. Working at Disneyland was also a big dream of mine ever since I was little, it was Incredible to perform to Disney classics at the park every. Being in the Hot Chip Video and pretending to be a boy band was also hilarious, I had people ask me after, if I was really part of Hot ChipJ Touring the world with Bananarama was great as I worked for a long period of time and we all became very close. Eurovision 2010 was amazing, it was such a fun and unique experience. I felt like I was in a Eurovision bubble for about 3 months and I got to spend some time in beautiful Norway. Being a part of the Olympics 2012, will always be special to me because it was my last job in London before I left for America and I had my parents sitting in the audience.
What has been one of the most exciting achievements of your career so far and what was it like working with (the late) Whitney Houston?
I think just being consistent for the last 12 years and working as a professional dancer in London and Los Angeles is a very big achievement for me. I grew up in a very small town near Stuttgart/Germany and I never thought that I would be doing what I am doing today for a living. I am just so grateful to have worked with so many incredible people throughout my career.
Working with Whitney Houston was just incredible, everything on that job was just perfect! Jeri Slaughter who choreographed the show was a dream to work with and so was creative director Jamie King. Whitney is just such an Icon and sharing the stage with her, hearing her voice live and dancing to that was just a moment I will never forget. I had a lot of friends dancing on that job with me, which made it even more special. I just loved everything about it, even down to wardrobe and Whitney was just so lovely and impressed when she first saw us dancing to her song.
What projects do you have coming up?
I just wrapped up a shoot for Harley Davidson which I am excited about and to see the end result, I am working on a Big Beach Body event in Nashville next month that I am really excited about it, also. I have worked on it for the past two years and I am looking forward to seeing everyone again. The beauty in life as a dancer is that you never really know what’s next! Your life can literally change within hours. It’s scary for some, but I have become used to it now.
Who would you most like to work with?
I would absolutely love to work with Britney Spears! That would be my ultimate dream job, I grew up with her music and I was obsessed with all of her videos and concerts. She and all of her team of choreographers to dancers have been a huge inspiration for me. It would just be the icing on the cake for my career if I got to dance for her.
What are your plans for the future?
I would love to work more in film and TV and I am taking acting classes, as I would love to have a role that would allow me to dance and act at the same time. I am also currently writing a script that includes dancing. Film is definitely something I am very interested in.
What is your advice to aspiring performers?
I would say to train in as many styles as you can and to be versatile. Don’t get stuck with one dance style. You might go on tour with a hip hop artist, but you have to do a Tango in one of the songs. You literally never know, so training and being the best you can be, is the best preparation I would say. Also, always be nice J