In a time where following your dreams is a daily hustle and success may seem instant or "overnight" for some, it's become less likely to get authentic insight into the people who have a large following on social media. They sometimes feel out of reach, living a seemingly perfect day-to-day life. Without knowing anything about that person, we could be quick to label them "Instafamous"; assuming the new cool kids are all talentless selfie addicts.
For Will Adams, his rising popularity could overshadow the trenches he went through in the beginning of his career and the man he fought to become through it all. I want to share this story of what happened when purpose came knocking and took an effervescent dancer from Indiana to heights beyond his own imagination.
"I moved to LA in August 2009 because I was tired of just going to school and getting by. The breaking point was when Michael Jackson passed away. I knew that I belonged somewhere else where I can be more creative."
When I met Will he was fresh off the plane and the stage name Willdabeast was an instant conversation starter. We ended up booking a 3 month job together to perform at the grand opening of the Aria Hotel in Las Vegas with a crew of 35 dancers. We danced wherever and whenever we could so we constantly shot concept videos and did each other's club performances. As a friend, he became a consistent source of good vibes and honest conversations about life. It felt like I'd known him since I was a kid. As we both grew in our respective path, he would often express how much teaching really fueled his spirit. At the time, he was continuously booked with top selling artists. Will considers his favorites to work with were T-Pain and Usher because he loves their music and felt the most alive when he was on stage with them. Even though his resume was thicker, getting a teaching spot at the commercial dance studios in North Hollywood still wasn't easy. Studio owners and other instructors had only seen him as an amazing freestyler or work as a background dancer. Regardless of how much support he got, Will continued to stay focused on sharing his own expression of artistry with the people around him.
"After I was on tour with TPain for two years I just felt like I could do more. Like my impact could be more than dancing for someone. That's why decided to build my own brand and start teaching in LA and really try to get people to see what I felt like was special about my movement, brain, creativity!"
With the beautiful Janelle Ginestra at his side, Willdabeast began to build a dance and media based empire brick by brick. He started teaching as much as possible and doing Youtube videos that would eventually gross hundreds of thousands of views within a day. With the help of videographers Tim Milgrim and Brazil Helton shooting Will's raw energetic style in an authentically captivating way, the world soon became addicted to the beast. Even with all the sudden notoriety, he continuously reminds himself that in order to take over the world, the value of having the right energy and an "Anything is Possible" mindset around him is priceless.
"It's super important to have a great team, they are your ears and eyes, as well as the people that can tell you know when you have a really bad idea. lol There have been plenty of times when I felt like I couldn't continue in the entertainment industry. It's really hard and it's also very unfair at times, but my faith and my will to win always kept me going."
"As we were all in rehearsal for Immabeast, if you were to look around, we had so many different ages, races, religions, sexualities in one space and it didn't matter. I barely even noticed because to me they are all family. I thought "wow, how rare is this? To have a room full of love". I could go on and on about all the different powerful things I've learned. Being a part of ImmaBeast and being able to work so closely with our team has truly changed my life." - Allie Laliberte - Canadian dancer / assistant
To date Willdabeast grosses over 500 million views on his YouTube page with 1.6 million subscribers. He's continuously traveling around the world to teach master classes to Millennial dancers looking to train hard and release their inner Beast. Will's dance company, Immabeast is more like family, but this isn't the Mickey Mouse Club. These are superstar talented, off the wall amazing dancers from every corner of the world that come together to pour their hearts into every ounce of the experience. His BuildaBEAST workshop convention was beyond sold out this year. So much so, the entire production was moved to a new ballroom that could accommodate all 800 eager dancers waiting for their turn to train with the most elite masters of movement in the business.
"Right now I have about 75 active company members. I have about 150 alumni throughout the whole world. When looking for new dancers I look for heart and a special hunger that you cannot teach. Characters is also SO important. I feel like you can teach technique, and you could get someone to be clean, but it's very hard to teach someone to want to be a star !! Developing dancers is very important to me because it's something that I did not have in my life. I really wish I had someone to help me out, show me the ropes, and make me better and actually care for me to be better than them one day. So now I choose to instill that in other people."
"Working with Will was honestly nothing short of life changing. I've always been a strong driven person but we all have self doubt. When I started working with Will and the team, I realized anything is possible. The way they are changing the game and making huge moves for us dancers is incredible and there's no doubt in their minds they can't do it. They changed the way I look at myself and my talent." - Allie Laliberte - Canadian dancer / assistant
Most recently Will and Janelle were blessed to choreograph the nominee announcements for the 2016 BET Awards, a new campaign for Hennessy, and develop rising star Jordan Fisher. In addition to that, he's launched the first ever streaming and video on demand service for the professional dance community called The Beast Network. So with all the free gear and amazing experiences he's had, when I asked Will what his favorite gift was, this is how he replied.
"The best gift I've ever gotten is from the Millennium dance company. They gave me a dog tag with the BET Awards congratulations on a job that I did that was epic for myself and my company. And on the other side had my mom's name, who passed away a few years ago!"
The loss of his mom to cancer shook the entire industry and from it came an outpouring of love. Endless posts and comments of support and prayers came in. We all felt the loss because the best part about seeing someone like Will flourish is that you know everything he does comes from a genuine place. Although it was one of the worst days in his life, Will still came out and taught a class in memory of his mom. His love for dance and impacting people's lives isn’t just for show. He went into a spiritual zen to remove all negative, doubtful thoughts about his journey even in the midst of such a painful experience.
"We'd known each other for about 7 years but actually got closer doing Luckie's Cyborg Safari piece back in the day. We were coming up together as brothers; so much talent, so much hunger and pushed each other's dreams further. After receiving so many no's from jobs we would die for, I knew we had to create our own avenue. Will was one of the founders with me recruiting people into Oceans 11 which landed us a spot on ABDC Season 6 as Eclectic Gentlemen. The best thing about seeing his journey is how much we talked about our dreams and all we had was bills, no money, and faith. It's crazy how you don't need much, just to believe in yourself." - Fresh Redding - Longtime friend and business partner
Before anyone was paying attention, Willdabeast was already providing unfathomable opportunities for the dance community. It's no wonder people are magnetically drawn to his smile and charismatic teaching style. When you strip all of that away, the understanding about the power in his purpose is what keeps the Beast Takeover full steam ahead.
So if you ever come across @willdabeast_ on social media, know that his smiling selfies are the product of perseverance and determination. Go ahead and give him a double tap. Being completely truthful I always knew that people would know my name one day and feel a different energy when I walked in the room. I just didn't know how that was going to happen. So the fact that dance is the main reason so far that people know my face, my movement, my voice is very surprising. I knew it would happen I just didn't know how!
About the Author
Come and join Luckie in the coolest dance class you will ever take.....
EVERY WEDNESDAY in NoHo Arts District at Evolution Studios - grab a few friends for this fully interactive, high energy house party! Its all about letting loose and feeling the groove of the 90s deep down in your bones!
Class opens with a 15 minute 'watch and repeat' style warm up aimed at improving flexibility, relieving stress through breathing techniques, and maximizing range of motion. We'll pick up the pace with a nonstop mix of Hip Hop movements that not only improves cardio stamina and calorie burn, but strategically targets and tones ALL major muscle groups. http://thatsluckie.com/
Some of his Industry credits....
Luckie was featured as a choreographer and onscreen dance partner for Oxygen’s hit show Dance Your A** Off where he landed a spot in the finale. His choreography/staging for the off -Broadway remake of the 1975 choreo-poem “For Colored Girls”, received two nominations from the NAACP Theatre Awards. He then had the pleasure of creative directing and choreographing promotional spot dates and television performances for Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday album including the Femme Fatale Tour, Rockin’ Dick Clark New Years Eve, and Good Morning America.