Interview with Sandra Colton, dancer, singer, author and business woman
by Anthony Gardner
Friday Night Hip Hop
Who is Sandra Colton...
Born July 27, 1978, Sandra is a dancer, singer and actress. Born in Des Moines, Iowa and raised in Millbrae, California and later in Las Vegas, Nevada, she is the younger of two sisters. First performing at age three, Sandra later became known as part of the tap dance duo, Colton and Colton with her sister, Christine Colton. The duo went on to win the 1992 Star Search Teen Dance Championship and performing as an opening act on the Las Vegas Strip. Colton and Colton opened for Bill Cosby and Lou Rawls and headlines at the Showboat Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Sandra Colton is a member of SAG/AFTRA and ASCAP. As an elected member, Sandra served on the Los Angeles Board of Directors for AFTRA and was appointed to the SAG Dancers’ Committee in 2009. An author of the 3rd edition of "BOOK ME! How To Become A Successful Working Dancer In Hollywood" is available in print and on Kindle. Sandra is the publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Dance Track® Magazine and Dance Team® Magazine. She also is the creator of the Artist Awards and the new FIERCE 4®. She is also penning her very own dance-inspired greeting card line called Spot On! Greetings, helping the world laugh at DanceGiggle.com and writing her first screenplay.
Information above is courtesy of IMBD and Wikipedia
by Anthony Gardner | Friday Night Hip Hop
I had the pleasure of spending some time on the phone with Sandra. She was very open and forthright about her professional career as a dancer and business woman. What is clear is that Sandra enjoys what she does and her passion is to share dancer's lifestyle stories. As she reminded me on several occasions during our talk is that "dancers are more than dancers. They are people with interests and experiences outside of their gig". With that in mind, I hope you enjoy the conversation I had with Sandra as much as I did.
Anthony: How old were you when you started dancing?
Sandra: Mom started me in dance when I was 3 years old. I started as tap dancer but my preference is Jazz and Jazz Funk.
Anthony: What is your music preference?
Sandra: I listen to various types of music but enjoy pop and R&B. I think that is because of the music influence from the late 80’s and 90’s.
Anthony: What are some of the things that you would like to be able to do?
Sandra: I have a few business ideas; I would like to see my screen plays come to fruition. I also want to be an owner of a hotel and either a co-host or host a talk show. Some day I would like to get married and have kids but at this point, I can only control my career aspiration and the rest is in god’s hands [laugh].
Anthony: Tell me about what you do now
Sandra: I own and run two online subscription base magazines and they are available in Apple’s “Newsstand”.
Anthony: How did you transition from your professional dance career to magazine owner, editor and author?
Sandra: I received a minor in Communications when I graduated, so when I was dancing, I participated in dance organizations such as SAG/AFTRA and ASCAP. I did a lot of writing for different entities and decided to do something with the information. I use to blog about my touring and singing experiences. I then decided to write a book titled “Book Me! How to Become a Successful Working Dancer in Hollywood”. I then created a companion work book to accompany my “how to” book.
I was featured in Dance Spirit magazine and I realized that no one was writing about what I wanted to write about. There is more to a professional dancer then their gigs. I wanted to write about dancers lifestyles. such as what they do before and after their jobs. I wanted a magazine for professional dancers and dance enthusiasts, so I started Dance Track.
Anthony: Tell me about Dance Track and Dance Team Magazines?
Sandra: Dancers were not born dancers. Dancers have stories and lives to share outside of the gig. Professional dancers have amazing lives outside of their job. You can find out about a great travel location, great foods at various restaurants, shops overseas and other experiences. Dance Track speaks to their lives. We try to offer a more holistic view of a professional dancer’s life. People enjoy reading about food and health tips and movies, and all of these insights can be articulated through dance lenses.
I started Dance Track (DT) 4 years ago and it is a quarterly subscription. It is a couture magazine that features professional dancers. We talk to dancers about their past and how dance intertwines with their current life. When I think about DT, it could be for people who don’t even watch dance but might be interested in dance. These are people who are interested in books, music and the latest movies, then realize its about a dancer.
I just launched Dance Team (DTM). The first issue premiered July 21st, so it is very new! It is also a quarterly subscription. Dance Teams is a “How to” for dance team, studios, dancers and it will feature crews and professional dance team such as the Rhythm and Blue Dance Team, who dance for the Dallas Cowboys. They are the only dance team in the NFL. Another example is a friend I know who is professional LA dancer. He opened a studio in Texas where he is from so in Dance Team I do a feature on him going back home and opening a studio. My hope is that this magazine will reach a lot of kids and teens that are interested in how to success. It will tell them how to interview and what to do to prepare for an audition. These are things that if you want to pursue dance as a profession, you should know.
Anthony: Where is your staff located?
Sandra: My staff is in multiple locations across the country. They are in NY, Florida and California. I also have some professional dancers that contribute articles. Another source of information is Twitter. I found that Twitter is a great tool to obtain information.
Anthony: Tell me about how the collaboration with Dance Mom’s came about?
Sandra: I had sent an e-mail to someone who used to do publicity for Dance Moms about DT doing collaboration with them. About three weeks later, I was contacted by Dance Moms to do a segment. They said that they were working on a segment that included DT. I was caught off guard and surprised! This was a great opportunity for DT but it was challenging to figure out what and how we were going to publish for that special issue. It was off cycle, we’re a quarterly publication and we had already completed our “summer” issue.
Owner & Editor-in-Chief,
DANCE TRACK Magazine,
DANCE TEAM Magazine
The stories/articles were very challenging to pull together. Typically we plan over a course of months what we want to pull together for a quarterly issue. We typically would have time to line up stories, topics and articles as well as required resources to publish an issue.
We had 30 days to come up with topics/articles to put into the issue. We decided to come up with a separate issue. The issue was going to be “Back to School” theme, so we had to find articles that fit the theme. It was challenging because of the time constraints. On top of that, it was summer and a lot of people and businesses that typically help us with the publication are not available. One thing that was very important to me is that I wanted to ensure that people would get a full version of DT, because that is what my readers expect. I did not want to do a scaled down copy.
We went onsite for 5 days (Dance Moms production is located in Pittsburgh) and took part in Dance Mom’s annual recital. Although we were onsite for 5 days, we only participated in two days of actual shooting.
One day was the photo shoot and the other was part of their annual recital/concert. We did our DT Cover Issue reveal at the recital. I had to decide on the winner and then we had to do a mock-up overnight of the magazine cover, which is what you see on the show. Once we did the reveal on the show, the cover could not change. We had to find stories to match the “Back to School” theme. This is why on the cover there is only one article mentioned. Typically we have a number of articles spotlighted for the magazine. It was challenging but a great experience and opportunity for the magazine. Doing the collaboration with Dance Moms definitely added to the subscription base. Being seen by over 3,000,000 viewers definitely had an impact on DT subscription base.
TV & Movie Credits
"BOOK ME! How To Become A Successful Working Dancer In Hollywood." by Sandra Colton, Abigail Mortimore, Heather Burton and PJ Graham (Nov 16, 2009)
BOOK ME! Workbook by Sandra Colton
(Dec 10, 2011)
ABOUT DANCE TRACK MAGAZINE
Dance Track Magazine, the #1 magazine for professional dance, is the industry’s go-to trade/lifestyle publication. Rather than simply providing highlights of dance; Dance Track features the artist - the dancer. Their focus is two-fold: To support all that makes the dancer an artist, and what makes the reader want to watch, hear and read about them again and again; and to show the reader the inner light that beams from the dancer and beckons them to follow their journey. Dance Track Magazine also showcases noted artists such as actors, make up artists, designers, fashion stylists, directors, hair stylists, producers, painters, sculptors, writers and more, who have an impact on dance and who have felt the impression of dance on their own lives as well.
ABOUT DANCE TEAM MAGAZINE
Dance Team Magazine is a new publication from Sandra Colton. Dance Team Magazine is where high school dance teams, dance companies, pro dance teams and dance crews live the dream! Focused on giving dance teams of all kinds an opportunity to shine, DANCE TEAM MAGAZINE is where dance teams are stars.