We sat down with Nuzest Ambassador and Professional Hip Hop Dancer, Christa Albert, to chat about her dancing career, goals and how she maintains her performance.
How did you discover dancing? Who brought you to it?
When I was younger, I would always dance around the lounge, making mum and dad sit down and watch me while I danced my own choreographed routines.
When I was in intermediate there was an audition for the school hip hop team, and I had a friend that insisted I should do it. I wasn’t really interested at all, I said no, that’s not something I want to do, but she kept insisting. So, I did it, started dancing and got into the team and basically haven’t really stopped since. It was kind of a weird way of getting into it, someone forcing me to do it and me saying no. It was just a bit of fun at the time, I was only 11, and at that point it was just fun to move around, dance to the music and be around other friends. The hip hop teacher had her own hip hop team outside of school and asked me to be a part of it. I was super excited and just went for it. I carried on and was able to move through groups as I got older, such as ReQuest and The Royal Family Dance Crew, so that has been an exciting journey.
I was originally with The Royal Family who won the world champs, I was with them for three years, and then decided to go off and do my own thing for a little while. Now I am not as such in a group, I do jobs with a choreographer that I know really well, Kiel Tutin, he is incredible and he has a lot of job opportunities that come through, so I’m working with him and his team called NZX. I’m doing a solo thing, but also able to get into all of these other things at the same time which is nice to have the freedom to still be able to do what I want to do, but also get these jobs and perform with this group of people.
What does dance mean to you?
I love it, I love everything about it. I love training and I love being around people that you are dancing with. I would say my favourite part about dance is being on stage, I just feel so happy and so empowered when I am on stage performing to crowds of people, the rush you get is incredible, so indescribable. You are filled with so many emotions, you are happy, but you’re scared and you’re nervous. You’re so excited and you are having this mini freak out and as soon as you walk out on stage you forget all of that and the muscle memory takes over. You just start performing and it is just so incredible and I am very grateful to have been able to have those opportunities to do that and then to continue to do that as well.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am waiting on the confirmation about the next leg of the tour that I have just been on, I was over in Taiwan on tour with Jolin Tsai. We did six shows in Kaohsiung in Taiwan, which was incredible. It is meant to be a world tour, but because of Covid-19 they have had to postpone most of it. They want to do another leg in Taipei, Taiwan, so just waiting on confirmation on that which should go ahead at the end of March.
We do a lot of submissions; this is where we put together choreography in New Zealand and send it over to Korea and around China. Kiel Tutin also does a lot of work for Blackpink. We send off the submissions, the artists learn it from the videos and put it in their music videos. We have sent submissions off to groups like Blackpink, Twice Jeongyeon and ITZY.
What’s the next big goal for you?
I have a few goals, I have been lucky enough to accomplish a few of the goals that I had when I was younger, but a few of my bigger goals is to dance on stage with artists like Ariana Grande, Dua Lipa, and also my favourite New Zealand band Six60, I would love to be on stage with them.
What has been the hardest moment in your career so far?
There was a moment in time (22) where I kind of lost faith in myself completely and the skills that I had gained overtime. I was very self-conscious and negative towards myself and that made it hard for me to continue dancing. I was constantly doubting myself and anything that I did which was not a nice feeling to have while trying to do something that you love. It was just this weird mix of emotions and it wasn’t nice to not feel good in something that used to make me feel so good. I ended up having to take myself away from dance completely, step back and work on myself and my confidence, to ensure that I was in a good place before I could come back to dance and be confident enough to be able to actually dance in front of someone or dance on stage or just feel good about dancing in general. It took a while as well; it took me a long time to figure that out and I didn’t have anyone around me that had experienced similar things, so I felt like I was doing it by myself. I ended up out the other side, so I am happy to have found that confidence and to come back around and come back into dance and find myself again.
It comes in waves as a confidence thing, I assume it would be like that for any sports person or any person in general really, with the confidence it is something you must continuously work on. You are putting your heart on the line constantly and you have judgements back from that. It’s really hard to have your career and your passion in the same boat, but it is a constant thing that I have to work on. I am glad that I have been through that so I can learn from it so I can at least try and help myself through it again.
What does your training schedule look like?
It’s very up and down, if we are doing submissions or training for the tour or have a job coming up, we could be in the studio for 8 hours a day for weeks, depending on how many jobs there are. Then when we are waiting on jobs it can be very minimal and I am not really in the studio that often, so it just depends on the music market and how often they are putting out new songs or needing new choreographed dances. When we are able to go on tour, we just have to go with the flow really, there isn’t really a strict schedule that I stick to.
What do you do to recover?
I do yoga to stretch out my body. You put your body through a lot when you are on stage throwing yourself around. I like to see a chiropractor, it helps me a lot for recovery, that one would probably be my number one. When I was away in Taiwan, I had a bath in my hotel room so I would put epsom salts in the bath and just sit in there after every show, it was just amazing for my body. I don’t have a bath at home, but anywhere there is one I definitely take the opportunity. I also make sure I am getting enough sleep, I am very strict on 9 hours of sleep, that is what works well for me.
How do you maintain peak performance?/ How does Nuzest help with your performance?
I am definitely very big on nutrition, I make sure that I eat clean every day and that helps me to maintain that peak performance. I make sure that I have a good breakfast, a lot of the time I have protein pancakes with Clean Lean Protein, because it covers everything, so I just blend all the ingredients in a nutribullet and cook it up. I make sure that I am eating enough goodness to really fuel my body. I always have my Nuzest Good Green Vitality shot in the morning as well as fish oil and a shot of apple cider vinegar. If I miss out on the protein pancakes, because I am in a rush, I will just chuck my Clean Lean Protein in a smoothie and take it with me.
The Good Green Vitality I literally swear by, I can’t go a day without having it. I have told all of my friends and family about it; my partner is taking it with me and for a section of time he was taking it and not having his morning coffee because it was making him feel so good. I will take it and it gives me a boost of energy and it helps me get through the day, my partner said the same thing as well. It has all the nutrients you need for the day and obviously I still eat healthy on top of that, but it is such a good boost and I definitely feel a difference in my energy and my mental state.
Outside of Dancing, what do you love to do?
I love nutrition and natural medicine, I am currently studying to become a naturopath, so outside of dance I would say that is my biggest passion. I love listening to what someone is going through and try to help them with nutrition and to have a better lifestyle and just to be happy and healthy it just makes me feel so inspired to be able to help someone else feel like that is even better. I love spending time with my family and my friends and being in the sun.
Any advice for up-and-coming dancers?
Believe in yourself. Being your own biggest supporter, I think is so important, you shouldn’t look to get confirmation from outside, you need to be confident in yourself, you need to be passionate enough to follow what you want to do, setting goals and going after them. Try to not let other people’s opinions affect you in any way. Know that it is possible to make dance a career and do everything that you want to do. There are so many incredibly talented dancers in NZ that have proved that. Just go for it.
Interview February 2021