We had the good fortune of connecting with Carlton Vernon and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Carlton, what do you attribute your success to?
Throughout the course of my professional experience, my adaptability as well as an awareness of my worth have allowed me to find success in a variety of environments within my career field. Whether performing, leading, or creating, I approach each endeavor fully informed and therefore more able to apply my abilities to the benefit of the venture. Artistic projects are often riddled with challenges; I feel the most successful when I allow the challenges to inform a new direction, an evolution of the work I set out to accomplish. Adapting to a new set of circumstances is a liberation from the inside of the box that I constantly draw for myself and my plans, and that can be incredibly exciting. Like a puzzle, or any game with an end goal, adapting quickly and calmly can be informative, motivating, and rewarding. When the mission of the work remains the focus, there are limitless pathways on which to arrive, successfully. Overcoming obstacles through innovation is only enjoyable as long as I have a clear understanding of the time and energy I give to my involvement. When I commit to anything, I make sure to communicate as much as is necessary to leave that commitment feeling as though all parties involved have achieved the ultimate amount of success possible. While I am a perfectionist, an avid hustler and idealist, I have come to recognize my worth. Because I understand the parameters of my abilities and my energy, I have been able to find success in much of what I have done.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
As a dance artist and creator, I am so grateful to have been incredibly fortunate in my field. Even before this global pandemic, the arts are a tough environment to navigate towards success; I have moved frequently, worked countless side jobs and been many versions of the person I am today. The University of Arizona’s dance department started me down a journey of adaptability, as their intention is to prepare a dancer for a career of diverse abilities. When I graduated early and made Chicago my base of operations, I worked tirelessly as a teacher and gig-er to support the unpaid apprenticeship I had with a well known contemporary dance company at the time, River North Dance Chicago. Through a company closure and constant financial uncertainty, I have remained positive and persistent, a hustler focused on developing my artistic expression. Four company dancer positions, an international teaching gig, and a choreographic assistant role later, I have made an amazing life in Dallas, Texas with the Bruce Wood Dance Company. BWD has continued to provide its dancers with work – we have remained safe while rehearsing, performed outdoors, and created a highly acclaimed dance film. They have given me choreographic opportunities, supported my creation of a workshop, and even promoted the evolution of my artistic abilities into film production. Beyond the various roles I have enjoyed on stage – from Balanchine works to Garrett Smith, Bob Fosse to Gus Giordano, Gustavo Ramirez Sansano to John Neumeier – I am most proud of my open mindedness. I have felt the most successful when I have embraced the new, acknowledged my callowness, and danced onward.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
While I am relatively new to Dallas, and COVID has kept me from fully exploring the city, I’m going to pretend this scenario is happening in a post-pandemic world. Dallas is full of fabulous eateries and activities – bottomless mimosas at Breadwinners, trolley rides to Klyde Warren Park for live entertainment on the mall, rooftop BBQ in Deep Ellum, and nights spent at the Rustic or Truck Yard beer gardens with live music. Of course, I’d have to take them to the Arts District for theater and dance at the Moody Performance Hall or Winspear Opera House.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
It is because of the immense support I have had from my immediate family, my encouraging parents and enthusiastic siblings, that I have continued to reach for goals beyond myself. Most likely, I never would have left my small town in California had it not been for the future my family knew I was capable of creating.

Website: http://www.brucewooddance.org/
Instagram: colesuela

Image Credits
Sharen Bradford Michelle Reid Vincent Hardy Brian Guilliaux

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