Transcript, The Dance Edit Extra Episode 6: Gaby Diaz on Taking the Road(s) Less Traveled

Margaret Fuhrer:
Hey there, everybody. I’m Margaret Fuhrer, the editor and producer of The Dance Edit newsletter and podcast. Welcome to The Dance Edit Extra!

This episode features another “So You Think You Can Dance” all-star—we’re on a bit of a “So You Think You Can Dance” streak, here, after Comfort Fedoke last time. Our guest this week is Gaby Diaz, who straight-up won Season 12 of the show. Then, instead of going on to have the type of entertainment-industry career that a lot of “SYT” alums pursue, she ended up bridging the gap between the commercial scene and the concert dance scene, doing some of both.

I say “ended up” as if it all just happened to her—it didn’t. She has been extremely thoughtful about the decisions she’s made at every point in her career. I loved getting to hear her talk about how and why she took each of the steps she took.

Thank you all again for subscribing to the Edit Extra, and now enjoy this conversation with Gaby.

[pause]

Margaret Fuhrer:
It is such a pleasure now to be joined by Gaby Diaz. Hi Gaby, how are you doing?

Gaby Diaz:
I’m doing well. How are you?

Margaret Fuhrer:
Good! It’s been a few months since we last talked, so it’s good to see you again.

Gaby Diaz:
It’s been a few months. Life has continued moving fast, so happy to be chatting and checking in again today.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Yeah. I feel like your life is perpetually moving very fast. So most of the world first got to know Gaby when she won Season 12 of “So You Think You Can Dance” back in 2015, and since then she’s had this beautifully diverse career that’s spanned commercial and concert dance. She’s experienced all these different corners of the danceiverse. And very soon you’ll be able to see her dancing in not one but two big films. First up is tick, tick…BOOM!, which starts streaming on Netflix next week, November 19th. And then, of course, the long awaited Steven Spielberg West Side Story, which is finally, finally coming out next month.

But first, as we usually do on The Dance Edit Extra, I wanted to sort of go back in time and talk about baby Gaby, about how you discovered dance and the training that sort of set you up for this really omnivorous career that you’ve had.

Gaby Diaz:
Baby Gaby’s first intro to dance was watching her sister in a dance class. My mom would take me to the studio with her…

Margaret Fuhrer:
Classic.

Gaby Diaz:
Right? Classic. And I peeked through the window on my tippy toes. And they just had to wait till I was potty trained enough to put me in classes. So two and a half, three years old, and that was it: I was in my first dance class. And from there, I was never really interested in doing anything else.

I think that I was immediately just hypnotized and mesmerized by the amount of different avenues the life of a dancer could take and the many different genres. And it just seemed to me, okay, even just within this dance bubble and this dance world, there are so many different things to learn and work on and never fully master. It was a life I knew would never bore me.

And I had a lot of energy. I have a lot of energy as a person. And I think that’s what contributed to my interest in training in everything growing up. I went to a studio that offered classes in everything, and it was really one of the only studios in Miami at the time that really had good tap classes. So I stuck it out, and that was something I’m ultimately now happy that my mom encouraged me to stick with, with tap.

And from there it’s just been, anything I haven’t done before, I want to do it and I want to work on it.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Yeah. I’m actually glad you brought up tap specifically, because I just wanted to remind everybody, in case they’ve forgotten, that you went on “So You Think You Can Dance” as a tap dancer. That was your official designation. Not that you’re not a great tap dancer—you are!—but I know that wasn’t how you initially auditioned for the show. Do you mind going over that story again, because it’s so fascinating?

Gaby Diaz:
Yeah. I think being a fan of “So You Think You Can Dance” since I was like 10 years old, watching it from the first season, and then getting older and having friends like Ricky on the season before mine—I felt, A, that I was a strong enough tap dancer to represent tap on the show. I felt like, okay, this is a genre that I respect and will work my very hardest to represent well on this show. And a lot of tap dancers had made it so close to winning. Not that winning was the goal, but tap dancers before me on the show had been paving the way and getting closer and closer every time. And I was like, I think that this could be the year. I think I could bring it home for tap.

So that’s really where that drive came from for me. And odds of a brunette contemporary girl getting on the show. There are just so many more—there are so many more brunette contemporary girls auditioning. And I was like, I got to represent for the tap community.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Yeah. That was a huge moment for tap, when you won the show. Who were some of the tap dancers who appeared “So You Think You Can Dance” previously that you really admired?

Gaby Diaz:
I mean, the season prior, Zack Everhart and Valerie [Rockey], having two tap dancers make it to the end was amazing. And I think Aaron [Turner], the season before; Curtis Holland, Alexis Juliano from Florida. Melinda [Sullivan]. There are so many incredible tap dancers. And as the seasons went on, we started to see these tap dancers really excelling in the other genres more and more and more. So I just wanted to join that club.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Yeah. That’s a good club to be a part of. I know—and that list of names, thinking about where they’ve all fanned out to across the dance world since then is pretty awesome.

Gaby Diaz:
They do it all. That’s what was also cool about the show and going on as a tap dancer. It’s like, I love tap, but that’s not the only thing I’m going to do. And we’ve seen it in, like you said, the careers of these other dancers on the show before me, their careers have taken off in a million different directions, and that’s exciting.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Yeah. So, I don’t mean to skip over your whole “So You Think” journey—I just think it’s fairly well documented—but so, after the show, after you won, you followed a, I guess pretty typical sort of winner’s trajectory for a bit: You returned as an All Star, you were part of a commercial dance tour. What did you like about and learn from being part of that entertainment side of the dance business?

Gaby Diaz:
I loved the momentum at first. I mean, it was, at first, it was my dream. All I wanted to do was truly make it onto that show just to meet people just so that people could see my face and see how I work in a room. So whether I had won or not, I was most excited about the transition into being in L.A. and getting to make sure that I maintained these work relationships beyond the show and made sure that I was going to class and putting forth the effort to, I don’t know, just keep myself on these people’s minds.

And Shaping Sound was so exciting. Coming back as an All Star was always exciting because I loved the show and I learned a lot from the show and felt like a lot of the dancers, not on the children’s season, but Season 14, were some of the people who I auditioned with. I was close to their age. So I felt like I could really relate to the contestants in a way that some of the more seasoned All Stars, who had been doing this for such a long time…I just, I don’t know, I had a different angle, I felt like.

So I loved the rush of it all. And I felt like I couldn’t do enough. I wanted to do as much as possible to give back to the show that I feel like I owe that show for life, happily. And then also just the excitement of touring and getting paid to be a professional dancer, not dancing behind an artist, was a rush that—I don’t know, it’s special to know that you’re selling out houses yourself.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Yeah. I neglected to mention that the commercial dance tour I was referencing was Shaping Sound.

So yeah, you were working a ton, you were very much in demand in that part of the commercial dance world. But then—was it in 2018 that you sort of made a right turn and joined Hubbard Street’s professional program?

Gaby Diaz:
I don’t even know what year it is now, but that sounds right to me, 2018.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Somewhere around then.

Gaby Diaz:
Yes, it was 2018. I kind of went through a weird, I don’t know—I think all artists kind of go through these moments where you question everything that you’re doing with your art. And you’re like, is that my peak? Did I peak already? Was that it? I’m only 20!

So I went through a little bit of a spiral and ultimately just—I felt like I had been working consistently enough and was able to thankfully save up and have a solid foundation for me to then make the conscious choice to slow down and dive back into training, which was the thing I fell in love with about dance in the first place. And I’ve said this before, but performing gives me so much anxiety! Where I truly thrive as a dancer and what fuels me the most is being in class and being in a studio and working on something.

So I think I had been missing that feeling, and had been wanting to be a little bit more low key, not completely off the grid, but just kind of work on something without feeling like I had to, without feeling like anyone needed to know what I was up to. I was going to be in ballet Monday through Friday at 10:00 AM every day, and I didn’t need anyone to know. It was for me again. And I’m glad I did. I think at the time it was confusing.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Confusing for you, or for other people, or for…?

Gaby Diaz:
Confusing for other people. It never seemed confusing to me. I think from the outside, looking in, it looked like a step backwards, because all of a sudden I was paying to be in a training program after I had already started a professional career. And I was saying no to things, which I think now we are normalizing more and more, but at that time—and how young I was—I think it looked like a step backwards in the eyes of some.

But I knew that I cared more about the longevity of my relationship with dance more than my resumé, ultimately. And yeah, I needed to do that for me. And I’m so glad I did, because I feel like I morphed as a dancer in my years at Hubbard Street.

Margaret Fuhrer:
I know, you’re right—in the accounts of your career that have been told thus far, there is often that sense of “Whoa, that’s such a surprise, that’s a dramatic turn!” And yet it does seem like more and more it’s less surprising for dancers to make that kind of move. It seems like there’s been a bit of a sea change in the dance world. Have you seen and felt that too? Why do you think that is?

Gaby Diaz:
I think we had a lot of time to reflect during the pandemic and during that whole year where things were really, really shut down. A lot of people were evaluating their “why.” And I felt pretty okay during the pandemic, because I had that moment already. I had already done that a couple years before. So I knew, I’m not going to be working during this, and that’s okay. Because I’m very clear that is not the reason I do this.

I feel very fortunate to work professionally doing the thing that I love, but I think, I don’t know, maintaining relationships—it’s funny to think about, but maintaining relationships with people, friends that I grew up dancing with at the studio who don’t dance anymore and have “normal” careers and just maintaining that perspective of, I am very lucky that I get to do what I love for a living, but it’s also okay to just have a job because you need to have a job.

And if that means that I work in the service industry, I’m not above that. If I don’t want to do this dance job because it doesn’t speak to me, then that’s okay. I don’t need to do it. I think more and more people after the year 2020 had those conversations with themselves. Everybody had to figure out how to keep moving forward and still be people without the things that they do—human being, not human doing, that whole idea. And so I think, yeah, post that, it feels like there’s been a shift.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Yeah. Yep. You just had your moment earlier in the game.

So you said you morphed at Hubbard Street. I mean, first of all, why was Hubbard Street the right place for you, and then how did you morph there? What was your transformation like?

Gaby Diaz:
Hubbard Street was high school Gaby’s dream. I went to a performing arts high school that was very concentrated on ballet and modern. So strict ballet-modern every single day. And that was the contemporary dance company in the US that employed dancers full-time, year-round. And I don’t know, just having friends go to summer intensives and getting to see some of their work and following what they were doing for their spring series on YouTube and stuff—Hubbard Street was like, had I gone the concert route fresh out of high school, it was Hubbard Street or nothing.

And I was actually on tour with Shaping Sound, and we must have been near Chicago. We were maybe in Milwaukee or something. And my friend Kate Harpootlian, I think I had mentioned to her: “I think after this tour, I kind of want to move to Chicago to do this training program at Hubbard Street.” I knew and recognized the name of the woman who was running the program, Alexandra Wells, and just had immense respect for her. So I was like, I mean, I trust this woman and I feel like I’m ready to shake up my choices as a dancer and my habits and just my movement language and how I express myself.

So I feel like just being around the company members who had… Some of them had been with Hubbard Street for 12 seasons. To watch how they worked, to watch how they interpreted information, was amazing. And I had freakout moments where I was like, I’m so good at taking in choreo and spitting it back out. But in terms of my artistic voice, no idea! Haven’t talked to her in a long time. So it was a slow process. I mean, it took me two years. And by the end of the second year, I felt like, oh, I’ve found a little groove for my myself. I feel comfy improvising now more than even learning choreography.

And that just took being in class every single day and getting over the fear that people knew what I had done before. I came in late to the program because I was finishing “So You Think You Can Dance” with Lex [Ishimoto]. So everybody knew, and I had to just get over that mental hurdle of, we’re all here with the same goal. Everyone in the program was there to learn and to grow. And it was beautiful, because there were a bunch of different dancers of different ages, so it didn’t feel like college necessarily. And just had to surrender to what that time was going to be, and that nobody was going to be patting me on the back for doing it, necessarily.

The amount of time spent with myself in a studio allowed me to listen to my body in a way that I never had before. I have that with me forever now. In anything, any choreography that I learn, I have a completely different approach because I have a completely different relationship with my body.

Margaret Fuhrer:
So you’re very much a process person.

Gaby Diaz:
Love a process. Can’t get enough.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Well, so how has that translated, now that you are back doing some projects that are more entertainment-, industry-oriented, where maybe the turnaround is a little quicker, maybe there isn’t quite as much time to marinate in ideas? How does that all work out?

Gaby Diaz:
I think I feel very lucky to have experienced “So You Think” as well, because I have that brain. I’ve trained my brain in both ways. So now it just feels like moving forward with anything I choose to do. I kind of want to just ping pong back and forth, to keep exercising my quick brain and my process brain.

I got very lucky with West Side, because we had a rehearsal process where—Justin Peck comes from the ballet world. So we had company class as a warmup every morning, and I couldn’t have been more thrilled. I was like, oh, this is such a beautiful marriage of all the ways that I like to work and all the things that stimulate me in the room. So I don’t know. I think I’ve just been lucky. Or I’m also just listening to my gut and trying to just do things that offer me what I want.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Yeah. Now that you’ve found that Gaby voice again, you can bring that to everything you do, whatever part of the dance world it’s in.

So let’s talk about West Side Story, since we started getting there already. First of all, how did that opportunity come about? How did you get on board that project? Because everybody wanted in.

Gaby Diaz:
Yeah, this was a wild universe-taking-care-of-me moment. I was at Hubbard Street apprenticing, and unfortunately, they didn’t have a contract available for me to be a full-time company member. And I was kind of in this place like, well, I don’t know what to do. Do I stay another year, just kind of figuring out what my next move was going to be?

And I got reached out to by Patricia Delgado, who is a wonderful woman who I looked up to growing up in Miami. Her and her sister, Jeanette, were dancers with Miami City Ballet. I did Nutcracker with her when I was little, took class from her sister, was obsessed with them.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Join the club!

Gaby Diaz:
They’re legendary in Miami. Yeah. Surprise, Patricia’s married to Justin Peck, who, surprise, is choreographing Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story. And Patricia had reached out to some of her connections in Miami, just asking: They were going to hold auditions for West Side in Miami. Do you know of anyone Hispanic around this age that we should reach out to, to come to the audition, whatever? And a ballet teacher of mine from high school recommended me to her.

So she reached out to me just to let me know that they were having auditions in Miami and that they’d love to see me if I could make it out. And it was so funny. She was like, “Hi, I’m Patricia Delgado”—like, introducing her herself to me as if I wasn’t obsessed with her already. [laughter] And that was so surreal to hear from her in this time where I wasn’t sure where I was going to go next. And I was like, oh, done. Done. I am the right age and the right ethnicity. Are you kidding? I have to go and do this. So I flew to Miami to audition, and I auditioned and got the job.

Margaret Fuhrer:
I mean, I’ve talked to a few different dancers now who were on that set, and to a person they’ve all just gushed about what the energy was like, the vibe was, on that set. Can you talk a little about—I mean, you’ve talked a little bit already, but can you keep talking about what that was like, to be working on that project?

Gaby Diaz:
It was the most magical experience of my life. I think anyone you ask would say the same thing. And that started from the top. The way Steven Spielberg set the tone for this summer, for this six months that we were all going to spend together, was just so classy and right and warm. It was a lot of our—I mean, most of us, it was our first film experience, and it was this massive thing, and there weren’t really these big blockbuster celebrities, necessarily, carrying lead roles in the film. They gave a lot of opportunity to new talent. So we just felt like a family immediately, because we were all very much experiencing the same rush. So everyone was able to relate to one another in a way that, I don’t know—I don’t know if any one of us will ever experience again. It was the perfect storm of things.

I mean, I can’t believe it’s been two years. I feel like I will talk about that summer for the rest of my life. And just—that is one thing where I’m like, I may have peaked at 23 doing West Side. Like, I don’t know how much better it gets than Steven Spielberg. But yeah, it was incredible. It was incredible. It was so organized. Everyone was so respectful, nice. The dancing was incredible and fulfilling and challenging, and it fueled me and filled me up in every way.

Margaret Fuhrer:
And it sounds like based on another conversation that we’ve had, it sounds like you and Justin Peck connected artistically, too. What was that like?

Gaby Diaz:
That was the coolest. I mean, I just fell in love with his movement language and his form of expression pretty immediately, because it’s just such a nice marriage of ballet, but it’s free. So it still challenged me technically. I felt like I had to take class, I had to be in shape to dance Justin’s work, but I didn’t feel restricted. It didn’t feel suffocating to me in the way that I think ballet growing up, I just was like, huh, not for me. So I fell in love with his movement.

And I think in the room, being someone who—knowing that about myself at the time, that I just loved being in the room and being in rehearsal—I started getting really into trying to figure out what it was that he was thinking before he was going to say it.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Mind meld.

Gaby Diaz:
That fueled me up, just being like, Oh yeah, let me see where he’s going with this and see if I can offer an idea—even if it’s a wrong one—if I can now tap into all the work I did to find my voice and make choices. How can I now bring my voice to this and honor the integrity of what he’s asked me to do?

And he’s really calm in the room, which I appreciated. It never felt, and still doesn’t feel like, there’s ever a, “No, that was a bad choice.” There’s no pressure. So I feel very free to make choices with him. And I think that’s all I’ve ever wanted when working for a choreographer, is that sort of that mutual respect for one another. And that trust that, I’m here because I love your work and I want to do your work and I want to help you deliver your vision. And you trust me to do that.

Margaret Fuhrer:
I know, it’s funny—I feel like in some ways Justin’s been designated the heir apparent to the Robbins legacy. And yet, I mean, I never knew Jerome Robbins, but from what I’ve heard, the two could not have more different ways of working.

Gaby Diaz:
Of working!

Margaret Fuhrer:
Even though the end products are, of course, intricately related.

So that was your first film experience.

Gaby Diaz:
Yes.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Quite a way to start. And then, so tick, tick…BOOM!—that was a pandemic era project, right? That all happened during COVID, during sort of the height of COVID?

Gaby Diaz:
That was a pre-pandemic, then shut down due to pandemic, then picked back up during pandemic project. So, that was wild. I had a lot less responsibility in that one—thankfully, honestly, for my mental health. Because the living in the bubble was something that—I experienced it and I can say I did it and I survived it, but what a challenging time for everyone making anything. Everyone had to be so meticulous about protocol. And it was really challenging. And I’m excited to see that movie, because I saw firsthand how hard everyone was working to make sure that they could safely get it done without compromising the project.

But yeah, that was a very different experience, in that I was not able to run around New York and hang out with the cast and build these relationships and have these euphoric movie-making moments, because of the state of the world.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Yeah, yeah. Suddenly your entire life is intricately choreographed, not just what you’re doing in the studio, it’s everywhere.

So Ryan Huffington choreographed tick, tick…BOOM!

Gaby Diaz:
Yes.

Margaret Fuhrer:
And I was just thinking about how Justin was brought into West Side because he’d been steeped in the Robbins style and he can sort of channel that in a thoughtful way. But tick, tick…BOOM! doesn’t have a strong choreographic tradition associated with it. And Ryan Huffington, his whole thing is that he has this singular, really idiosyncratic voice. So, first of all, what was it like working with Ryan on set? What kind of set was it?

Gaby Diaz:
He was amazing. I mean, I am always down for someone who knows exactly what they want and then it just allows me to be either, yes, I think I can help and deliver, or no, this isn’t the job for me. And he in the audition was just very clear, kind, great rehearsals, super efficient. We got things done very quickly and I love that. I love working like that. Especially if, in COVID, we didn’t have time to necessarily explore and be in a studio for hours, and we didn’t have that liberty on set.

And the nature—I mean, I don’t know much about the movie, but I think his expression and his movement language just compliments the tone of this story. I don’t think it needs to be big production numbers necessarily. It’s more about kind of enhancing the human, what the human quality already is.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Yeah. Which is exactly what Ryan is good at.

Gaby Diaz:
Yeah. And that was great. And that was so cool to do. And it was interesting to dance like that on film. I think I had never, ever experienced anything like that. It was a more like artsy—more like, oh, kind of the stuff I was doing at Hubbard Street off camera that no one will ever see because you’re not allowed to film it. Now we’re bringing to camera. And I was down and I was game for that. I had a great time working with him. It was my first time working with him.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Oh, that’s so cool. Yeah, I know—probably because there aren’t big production numbers, that’s not the way dance is baked into the movie, I feel like the previews that we have seen, we just don’t see all that much of the dancing. So I’m just very curious as to what it actually looked like, what this dance world that he created look like.

Gaby Diaz:
I’m excited to see. I’m excited to see the world. Because that’s what I think, or that’s what it seemed like to me, the whole project tick, tick…BOOM! was they were trying to tell this story through a very specific lens and create this Jonathan Larson world. And in the brief time that I was there, it felt like, all right, yeah, this is totally in the world. This is going to be a cool, different musical. So I’m just excited to see the final product.

Margaret Fuhrer:
How crazy that your first two film directors are Steven Spielberg, and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Gaby Diaz:
I know. I’ve been spoiled.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Pretty crazy.

So you’ve had all these diverse experiences. What’s still kind of on your career bucket list? What either dance avenues or other artistic avenues do you still want to explore?

Gaby Diaz:
This is something I hadn’t really even been thinking about until more recently, having done now another project during COVID for film. I think I’m excited to go back to performing live. I think I’m craving being in a studio and taking my time with something and maybe performing it four times and you got to get a ticket to see it and experience it and then it’s gone. Yeah. I think I want that for myself next.

I don’t try to look too far in advance, because I feel like anytime I thought I knew what I was going to be doing for a little while, it just completely changes, and I’m surrendering to that, and I’ve actually enjoyed where that has taken me. So not thinking too far in advance, but I think one day I would like to start stepping out of performer and into more rehearsal director. Just being that right hand for a choreographer. I think is something I want to do and a responsibility I’d like to start to take on as I transition out of performing.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Why does that sort of role in particular appeal to you?

Gaby Diaz:
I think it offers me the ability to be part of a process, no matter how quick the job is. Because even if this is a quick commercial gig, if I’m the associate or the assistant to choreographer, director, whatever it may be, I’m in conversations about what we’re going to do and in brainstorming. And I’m thinking about things before we even get in the room. And it allows me to just be with it for longer, I think, which is what I love.

I think with the right choreographer and the right relationship again—it’s like how I feel with Justin: I love getting to try to help deliver someone’s vision. Because I don’t necessarily have the desire to choreograph, or not right now, at least. I never really have had the desire to set my own work. I like improvising, and I like free movement for myself as a meditative thing and just to move around, but I don’t have that bug to choreograph and set work and immortalize any of my thoughts in that way. But I like helping other people do that.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Yeah. I never thought about it, but that kind of role—you are the process person. That’s exactly who you are when you’re taking on that kind of job.

I was curious: if Hubbard Street came to you today and said, “hey, we have a spot”—are you going?

Gaby Diaz:
As a dancer?

Margaret Fuhrer:
Yeah.

Gaby Diaz:
Oh my gosh. I don’t know.

Margaret Fuhrer:
It’s such a different company now than it was even a couple… I mean, Linda-Denise [Fisher-Harrell] is there now…

Gaby Diaz:
It is a very different company. And I feel like I had my time there. I love Hubbard Street and will be a fan forever. But I think, thinking about what it actually means to be a company member full time, year round, no longer serves me where I am today. I want to have the ability to just do other things if I want to. Yeah. It’s just a whole other world.

Margaret Fuhrer:
All right. So finally, I know you don’t like to plan too far ahead, but what’s kind of on your immediate horizon? I know you just finished a film project, which sounds super exciting. What else is coming up?

Gaby Diaz:
On the immediate horizon—right now I’m taking a break.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Well, do you want to talk for a second about the project you just finished? Because I think people will be excited.

Gaby Diaz:
Yeah. This was another six-monther—West Side was about six months as well—a full summer of rehearsals and filming a massive movie. A massive movie in a very different way. We had very exciting names on set with us. And it’s a Christmas movie, so the tone is very different than Romeo and Juliet/West Side Story. So a much more lighthearted film, where it was just about creating fun numbers to tell the story of this movie.

And that took a lot out of me. I think coming out of the pandemic, going into such a long job, I wasn’t ready. I was not in shape necessarily. It took a lot out of me in a way that was shocking to me, because I had such a wonderful experience doing this with West Side, and was looking forward to doing this again, surrounded by great people. And it just felt like…I don’t know—it was a sign to me that I’m craving doing something else right now.

So I’m taking a break, probably through the holidays. And who knows, someone might call me next week and be like, “I want to do this tiny little indie thing,” and I’ll be like, “Yes, I’m down!” But the plan right now is to just kind of slow down through the holidays, go see my family, and just kind of plant my feet in New York. My goal would be to do something in New York and to work and live in the same place, because that is something that I don’t get to do very often, and I’m excited to cultivate a home base for myself that feels like home. I had just moved in to my apartment in New York before leaving to Boston for this movie for six months. So I think I’m also just antsy to be home and sit on the couch and not feel bad about that, and know that the right thing will come along and speak to me.

And I don’t know, I’m practicing listening to how my body responds to hearing about a job or seeing an audition. Am I nervous about this? Do I feel like if I got it, would I want to do it? So I’m just slowing down to ask myself those questions and be okay with that.

Margaret Fuhrer:
That’s so funny—a couple episodes back, we had Britt Stewart on, who was on set with you for this film project you just did, and she was saying exactly the same thing. She felt burned out in the industry so young, and it’s this idea of actually listening to how your body responds to a potential job and how much that can tell you. Yeah.

Well, you’ll have a well-deserved break, and while you’re taking it, we’ll be watching you on screen in like 16 different projects, which is great.

Gaby Diaz:
That’s the cool thing, too: now, I kind of just get to relax and watch these things come out. We’ve been waiting for West Side for two years and tick, tick…BOOM! is coming out soon before that. So I want to just also have fun meeting up with those people again and embracing those experiences and being like, “Look what we did! That’s so cool.”

Margaret Fuhrer:
Yeah. Take a minute to actually pause and celebrate your accomplishments.

Well, we’re super excited to see those films too. We’ll link to all the relevant information in the show notes. And where should people keep up with you if they want to see what you’re up to on social media?

Gaby Diaz:
Best place to keep up with me would be my Instagram @itsgabydiaz. And I have to say I don’t post a lot, because there’s not always something to keep up with, but if there was something very exciting that I really wanted to share, I will share it there. You can always reach me by Instagram. I will always respond. I’m just not always necessarily letting people know what I’m up to, but that would be the best place to find me.

Margaret Fuhrer:
It seems like you have a very healthy relationship with Instagram. You share if there’s something to share, you’re not a compulsive sharer.

Gaby Diaz:
Yeah, trying to live off my phone as much as I can.

Margaret Fuhrer:
Yeah. Totally. Well, Gaby, thank you so much. This has been really nice, to chat with you and hear your perspective on things.

Gaby Diaz:
Thank you! Thanks for reaching out.

[pause]

Margaret Fuhrer:
Thanks again to Gaby. So very excited to see her onscreen in those two films. And thanks to all of you for subscribing to The Dance Edit Extra. Make sure to check back here for new episodes every other Saturday. Have a great weekend, friends.