With passion and determination, Motionwear model Jocelyn Mastro has built a bicoastal dance career while staying true to herself.
Motionwear model Jocelyn Mastro has been dancing since she was a year old, and at the tender age of 8, she went pro. In the decade since, Jocelyn has been traveling from coast to coast, performing in every dance genre from Jazz and Funk to Bollywood and Musical Theater and mentoring other young dancers along the way. As she pursues her passion and expands her horizons, Jocelyn has held on tight to her individuality and never lost sight of her personal values.
In this Q&A, Jocelyn shares some of her cross-country experiences and offers tips for chasing your own dance dreams.
Have you noticed if one genre is more popular on the East Coast vs. the West Coast?
Hip Hop and Jazz Funk seem to be more prominent on the West Coast in studios. Contemporary and Musical Theater, I find, are more prominent on the East Coast. All genres are offered on both coasts, but some styles are offered more than others. I think both coasts have so much to offer.
Are there any differences in the attitude toward dance?
It varies based on your discipline regarding your attitude and the area you study. Usually, you are either a stylized conservatory dancer or a commercial dancer. But I like to be well-rounded in all genres. I feel like it completes you as a dancer. The attitude on the West Coast is more geared towards music videos, television commercials, and becoming something significant in the industry, choreography-wise. East Coast dance is geared towards Broadway and stage-based performances. Competitive dance, I feel, is even more prominent on the East Coast. Convention dance and Master Classes are really big on both.
Are the classes more intense on the West Coast?
I don’t necessarily think they’re more intense, but they definitely are more fast-paced and demand a show. There’s a lot of emphasis on getting the perfect video than really perfecting the choreo — big difference. I think social media has a negative effect on this, because instead of putting in the hours to train technically, there seems to be more of a focus on followers and likes.
Is it easy to make friends switching coasts so often?
I adjusted well on the West Coast. I’ve been bicoastal since I was 8 years old, between New York and Los Angeles, so it’s been easy for me to adjust to a new lifestyle and the demands of the industry here.
Do you have any tips on making friends for new dancers?
Don’t be afraid to meet new people. Walk up to someone and ask their names and where they are from. I often, at first, would attend a convention or a competition or danced at an unfamiliar place and been just stared at for hours because no one wanted to approach me. Often people would say, “I was so afraid to walk up to you; you’re a great dancer and you inspire me so much, and I just wanted to tell you that." I walked away sometimes thinking, “I have been here all day, and I could have learned so much about you and been given a new friendship, just not an Instagram or TikTok follow.” I like meeting new people and being inspired by them. So, never be afraid to approach someone; you never know where that friendship will lead.
Do you still keep in touch with your former teammates and studio?
My teammates are family, so I’m always rooting for them, no matter where I’m located. I still stay in contact with my students, providing private lessons and teaching Master Classes while living in LA. My dancers mean everything to me, and my studio family will never not be a part of me. The studio owner is my very best friend, and my old dance competition team coach is also. We FaceTime a lot.
Do you have any words of inspiration for aspiring dancers?
I think the best advice that I was given was from my Mom, to "Dance for you and only you." It’s my motto to this day and continues to motivate me. I tell it to everyone. There’s so much emphasis on social media these days and so much competition in the classrooms and on stage, plus the desire to be better than the next person. When a dancer dances for someone or something else other than themselves, they lose sight of why they are there. They lose confidence in themselves when they start to compare themselves to other dancers; the drive for perfection or the win makes them begin to resent the love they once had for dance, and they set themselves up for failure. So, stop trying to impress others. "DANCE FOR YOU AND ONLY YOU!" Nothing else matters. Get rid of the noise that surrounds you and dance like no one is watching.
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