As they prepare to judge and perform their professional floorshow at the Spring 2017 District Showcase, we caught up with Jimmy Mulligan and Dani Atkins to find out a little more about this pair of versatile Arthur Murray consultants, and their interesting dance journey.
AML: So tell everyone a little about yourselves. Like, what was the job you had right before starting with Arthur Murray?
DANI: I worked at a dancewear shop while gigging as a singing telegram-er, Princess actress, (for little girls' birthday parties,) and even a professional mime.
JIMMY: I was an inside salesman for a medium/high voltage electrical protective and switching company. Basically, I sold really really big and fancy fuses and switches... and I danced West Coast Swing and Hustle at night - much more exciting.
We need to know more about your Mime Life (actually sounds like a hit show on Bravo). Did you have a favorite Mime or princess moment?
My Favorite Princess Moment?
Walking into any of those birthday parties filled with little 3 and 4 year olds that got absolutely spellbound and well-mannered because Cinderella was in the house.
Favorite thing about Mime life?
The physical comedy of it and making people laugh without saying a word. I feel like what I do now incorporates the best of both of those roles so well:
The physical and facial expression in miming and the beautiful gowns and elegance of being a princess.
AML: So how did you get started with Arthur Murray?
DANI - While I was competing ballroom as an amateur, I worked reception for a new Arthur Murray studio in Bloomfield, Connecticut. I fell in love with the community and the joy and was happy to immerse myself, eventually as a teacher, in the company.
JIMMY - I was a local West Coast Swing Dancer here in Chicago. I had the opportunity to participate in a few different local charity events and through that I met Quinton MacAdam and Jill DeMarlo (you have probably heard of them). After getting to know them a little, they invited me to come and check out the studios... and as they say "the rest is history"!
AML: Can you remember having a "lightbulb moment" as a pro? Like, when you started to see this as something much bigger than it is?
DANI - Like, when did you realize that this was more than just a job? There have been so many a-ha moments!... The first time I danced with Robert Nakazawa was definitely one.
JIMMY - YES!!! Soon after I started (like day 2 of being full-time). Cha-Ling Chang was the counselor at the time. She (and others) asked me what AM career path I wanted. They gave me some options, I picked one, and every day they held me accountable to help keep me focused. I had GREAT mentors!!!
AML: How did you two become dance partners?
BOTH: Our mutual friend and coach, Snow Urbin, suggested us partnering when we were both in partner-limbo. I was thrilled about finding a new partner and new home in Chicago!
AML: What's something funny/quirky about your dance partner (that's safe to share)
DANI - Do I have to pick just one? Hmmm... he randomly meets so many famous people. It's crazy! I'll not see him for 5 minutes and he'll be back with a picture of a "The Voice" contestant he bumped into in the lobby or something. It blows my mind.
JIMMY - HHAHAHA Dani likes to enter hugs from promenade position! When you see her from a few feet away, put your arms out like you want a hug and She'll approach you sideways. It's super cute and everyone should do that to her all week!!!
Jimmy's Many Brushes with FameSat next to George Clinton on a plane.Met Leslie Mann walking down Michigan Ave. (Chicago), she’s really nice and funny.Dennis Rodman, The Rock, Hulk Hogan and many more… but here is the “best” story.One year after Superama, my late Sunday night flight out of Vegas was canceled/delayed. So I went back to the hotel. Since all of my friends were already gone I decided to stay in my room and just rent a movie, District 9 (that comes into play later).The next morning I went to the airport a bit early to have breakfast at the airlines “club” (they gave me a pass for the inconvenience). I was eating next to a man that commented on the plastic cutlery.From there a light conversation occurred.I told him why I was there, and he showed a lot interest. I told also about my current travel delay and basically what I did the night before. He asked what movie did I watch, so I told him, "District 9". He asked what did I think of it. I sad it was OK.His response: “Just OK?”Me: "Yeah it was OK"He said: "That’s too bad, I directed it!!"
I put my for down and tried to swallow only to realize I was having breakfast with Peter Jackson. In all fairness he was really only a producer on that movie.
AML: We are really excited to see the two of you perform at our District Showcase. Can you describe what the students an expect from your show - you know, without giving away too much?
DANI: Jimmy looking cool and me being a ham on the dance floor-- I make so many faces!
JIMMY: A show that only Dani and I could possibly give!!!! American Smooth plus some things I think we are pretty good at (or at least we have a lot fun doing)!!!! ... AND I think there is something in French in one of our numbers.
AML: Just between the three of us, what's the word on the streets about the District Showcase in Northern California?
DANI - That they're fun and mighty! I can't wait to see it for myself!
JIMMY - I am SOOOOO over the top excited to have been invited to be a part of this. If you ask anyone in AM they will tell you how big this event is. The energy is Amazing and it's packed from start to finish with a whole lot of AWESOME!
🔥Rapid Fire Questions🔥
🔥 One celebrity you could totally hang out with
|Blake Shelton||Gwen Stefani|
🔥 A movie that's made you emotional
🔥 Essential dance item you always forget to pack
🔥 Best Halloween costume you've had in your life
|Louis (Brad Pitts character from Interview with a Vampire). I had the make-up professionally done and all together it was pretty awesome!||Christine Daae and my then 7 year old brother was the Phantom with the mask and opera cape and everything.|
🔥 Morning practices or Late night practices
|I prefer mornings but with my current travel schedule it's all over the place. When I'm home it's both!||Late Night, When creativity comes to life!|
🔥 One thing you're currently obsessed with
|Guitars..... I probably have one with me..||Pizza and tacos|
🔥 What's your Arthur Murray message to all the students out there?
DANI - I love how this is the one place where I've witnessed EVERYONE experience the "cool kid" effect. (That scene in every 80's teen movie where someone has a fantasy of walking down the hallway of their high school and everyone knows their name and is excited about their presence.) It still amazes me that it's real and happens in front of me everyday! That's one of my very favorite things about all Arthur Murray studios.
JIMMY - Everyone's journey is different, Enjoy yours, it's special and incomparable to anyone else's.
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