Interview with Jabu Graybeal (@jabuworld)

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Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path? 

I used to dance and drum on stuff around the house as a kid! My mom thought I would love Tap Dancing because it’s rhythm and movement combined into one! I took my first class at the age of 7 fell in love and have been doing it ever since.

I studied with JUBA award winner Gene Medler of the Chapel Hill Ballet School and was a member for 9 years of the North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble (NCYTE), one of the most renowned youth tap companies in the world. I have performed with a diverse group of companies, such as Caleb Teicher & Company and Chloe Arnold’s Apartment 33. I am also a member of the band, Postmodern Jukebox and have performed all over the world with them. I was the first tap dancer to be accepted into the Berklee Global Jazz Institute Workshop at the Newport Jazz Festival and was included, under a nomination from Michelle Dorrance, in the December 2017 issue of DanceSpirit magazine as one of the dancers to look for in the next generation of the tap.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started doing this? 

One of the craziest experiences was going to New Dehli, India on tour with Postmodern Jukebox. We made a detour on our Europe/Asia tour to perform at a private birthday party event. It happened to be one of the worst days of pollution in history there! We were told to wear air filtering face mask at all times & it didn’t help that we were performing outside. I think the client actually bought some machine to suck out the smoke from the air. Besides the smoke, it was a really cool experience! The food, the animals and the people were amazing!

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”? 

I recommend that you stay open to new ideas and environments for yourself and for your projects. Be open to collaboration, and most important of all be kind to everyone!

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story? 

I am extremely thankful for the mentors and support I have had so far in my career. I want to thank Gene Medler, Juba award-winning tap dancer based in Chapel Hill. He really gave me the freedom to express myself as an artist. I also want to thank Chloe Arnold and Maud Arnold for being there for me along my journey! They gave me the first opportunity to perform in New York when I was 13 and have not only become a better dancer but an overall better person too.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world? 

Yes! I have the opportunity to dance for many public schools all over the united states. Most kids don’t have the opportunity to see a live performance let alone tap dancing! I’m so glad that I’ve been able to inspire young people to get up and start doing what they love!

Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life? 

Work hard and stay humble. This applies to my whole life and my day to day activities. You have to work hard at what you’re doing but you’ve also got to stay humble along the way because the success will come as you go!

How can our readers follow you on social media? 

You can follow me on Instagram @jabuworld.

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