When I was growing up, there was only one thing on my mind: dancing. Although it might not seem like it, my early career path as a dancer actually gave me unique skills that led to me becoming a web developer and designer for the DISCO marketing team.
My creative journey began when I took my first breakdancing class at age 11 and I immediately fell in love. I got my first job as an assistant teacher at 13 and my passion flourished into a vibrant career. I taught at over a dozen studios, started my own dance studio, worked in an all-styles dance company, became president of my high school ballroom team, and even traveled to India to teach dance to hundreds of boys in rural orphanages.
Creativity in all forms
A year into my university studies as a ballroom dance major in Utah, I realized that even though dancing was my passion, it could only carry me so far. I moved to Melbourne, Australia to study computer science and interactive design. As somebody who thought of themselves as much more creative than analytical, I worried if this was the right path for me but I kept pushing myself forward. I soon realized that the skills I learned in my career as a dancer were actually not that different from my new path of design and development.
Freestyling and The Flow State
In the two main styles of dance I pursued (breakdancing and ballroom) there is an emphasis on freestyle dance: the ability to immerse yourself fully into the music and move improvisationally with whatever arises in the present moment. Freestyling puts you in a state of mind that psychologists call “the flow state.” I found this state invaluable in my career, as it helps me fully immerse myself in any creative project. I create my best, most authentic work by unshackling the mind from distraction and heightening my creativity by detaching thoughts of self-doubt, or overanalysis.
Choreography and Structure
The second aspect of dancing that was invaluable to shaping my career as a developer/designer was my experience with choreography. In both, you take a step back to look at the bigger picture of creating meaning, then work on each individual part to contribute to that goal. This skill was invaluable in my ability to solve complex problems especially in coding that require a lot of analytical forethought and planning. Another aspect of choreography that immensely helped me in my job at DISCO was the ability to create meaning through movement. Interaction design and animation are not so different from choreographing a dance. Any time I am working on editing a video or creating animation for a web page, I utilize the same pattern of thought that I would when choreographing a dance piece.
My Career at DISCO
After graduating from university, I decided to move to Austin, Texas because of the vibrant tech scene. After having a few interviews, I interviewed with DISCO and immediately knew this is the company I wanted to work for. What really stood out to me was the company's emphasis on “the inventor's spirit” — the idea that you should not accept things as they are but instead innovate and create meaningful work that might be considered unconventional. This is where real creativity is born. The emphasis on innovation and creativity DISCO resonated with me with my background in dance. Whether it’s accessing higher levels of creativity and authentic work through the flow state, or tackling difficult challenges and big projects that require careful planning and forethought, it’s amazing to see how two seemingly different career paths can still complement each other so nicely.
My role at DISCO has become much more than my job title, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love stepping into new and sometimes challenging tasks to grow as a professional instead of walking a fixed linear career path. Over the past four years my role has gone from building an internal sales enablement tool to filming video testimonials and editing many types of internal and external videos. Most recently, I built the new version of our website that you are reading this blog on right now.
I have immense gratitude for my mentors at DISCO who pushed me outside of my comfort zone and allowed me to realize my full potential as a creative. I can’t recommend working here enough for anyone who wants to start a meaningful career and be a part of a vibrant community of driven people.