Q&A: Fik-Shun

Fik ShunThere’s quite literally a world full of opportunities for hip-hop dancer Du-Shaunt “Fik-Shun” Stegall. The So You Think You Can Dance season 10 male winner added heat to Fox’s #1 rated summer television show, popping across the stage like a living flipbook. Whether dancing solo or with partners Fik-Shun’s animation-like musicality captivated audiences, a trait which hasn’t changed since or before his 2013 breakout.

Currently featured on the official website for global giant World of Dance, the Wichita, Kansas native known for his exceptional control and timing is taking every coordinated step to fulfill his dream of headlining his own dance tour. Before hitting the road for another date, Fik-Shun took a moment to speak exclusively with SoulTrain.com.

SoulTrain.com: Last fall, SoulTrain.com published an original fictional short story titled Dance Off: Fik-Shun vs Michael Jackson. It didn’t take long for word to get to us that you’d read it. Now that you’re here speaking with SoulTrain.com, tell us what you thought of it.

Fik-Shun: Number one, I was very honored. Number two, to be compared to Michael Jackson, I thought that was amazing because before I knew I wanted to dance I knew I wanted to perform. I wanted to be in front of people doing something they liked. So I watched a lot of Michael Jackson; he made people cry, he made people faint! So to be the subject of a short story with him, I was like “Wow!” I couldn’t believe I was reading it! It made me feel like I’m more than just a person who dances.

Fik Shun 2SoulTrain.com: Dance, like a good story, seems like such an emotional investment for the dancer and the audience. You appear to really get into it too!

Fik-Shun: I do! Just getting the chance to perform for people, in front of people, and for them to see what I can do is an emotional investment. Every moment is special. I’m making them smile, making them…feel something! When I street performed, just getting people to stop and watch was an emotional investment. I hold those moments dear.

SoulTrain.com: Soul Train created a number of moments people hold dear. There were, and still are, definite emotional connections to the show. So, Fik-Shun, we can’t help wondering whether you’d be a Soul Train dancer if the show still aired today. You coming down the Soul Train Line every week would be must-see television.

Fik-Shun: Man, me being a dancer on Soul Train would be great for hip-hop culture! I feel like it would show the continuation and growth and evolution of dance that has come about over the years. And it would be a great feeling to be around the Soul Train atmosphere! People seeing you on Soul Train was a huge deal. For people like my parents Soul Train was that thing! If it was still around it would be even more of an honor to be on the show.

SoulTrain.com: Is it challenging for professional dancers to find consistent work?

Fik-Shun: It is but it isn’t. When it comes to finding work as a dancer, it’s more about your drive and dedication to it. You can never give up because there are points where it does get difficult. But that’s with anything. There’s never really an easy way to build up work to where it’s comfortable. You have to work hard at it, and you have to understand what it is you’re doing. It’s even harder when you don’t know where you want to go or where you want to take it.

SoulTrain.com: Not knowing surely gets directionless dancers involved in unfavorable career situations. What are the most respectable options for dancers today?

Fik-Shun: The more ideal would be commercial work, teaching, doing conventions, performing with other artists as backup dancers…Personally, I feel like, why not have the dancers be the main attraction? It would be nice. That’s what I think about when I dance. I don’t think about me dancing behind someone, I think about either dancing with someone, opening up for someone, or being the main act. I feel like dancers can do that. It’s possible, we’ve just got to make it happen. And, honestly, we’re not that far off!

SoulTrain.com: When dancers are mentioned in mainstream media headlines the subject is usually their bodies, not their skill. Why do you feel that is?

Fik-Shun: Typically it’s the old saying of “sex sells.” You’re attractive, you’re muscular and fit; that’s where that comes from. Skill should be just as important, if not more important than appearance.  Someone could think you’re ugly or gorgeous, but if you can’t dance, you can’t dance.

SoulTrain.com: Well, you sure can dance, but did you know you were a storyteller before you appeared on So You Think You Can Dance?

Fik_Shun: No! Well, I take that back. I’ve been dancing for a long time now even though I’m still young. When you listen to music it makes you want to tell a story. When you vibe with the music you’re going to tell a story, regardless. I was more unaware because I was just doing what the music was telling me to do. Unconsciously I didn’t know. What I learned about was the beginning, the middle, the end.

SoulTrain.com: Was that the most diverse dance-related entity you’d been part of?

Fik-Shun: Yes, for sure. Being around all those different styles and people with so many different techniques made me appreciate dance more than what I learned street dancing. I grasped you can learn from all styles, even if you don’t necessarily do those styles. If you pay attention you can grow as a dancer in your own style. So You Think You Can Dance was so diverse it gave me such a wider range.

SoulTrain.com: Millions saw your range and your style. Now tell us how much you’ve grown since.

Fik-Shun: I’ve grown in my skill, maturity, and my knowledge of knowing my body and how things work in the dance industry. Ever since I started dancing, I’ve always wanted to be better than myself the day before. And you’re supposed to be better than you were before! That’s what you’re focusing on. It happens naturally to do that. It makes me smile when people tell me I keep getting better. Sometimes I work so hard I don’t always see the improvement because I might feel like I’m doing similar things. So when people say I’m getting better, I’m like, “Thank you!” I’ve grown to be a better dancer, and I never want to stop growing.

Follow Fik-Shun on Twitter @Dance10Fikshun, and connect with him on Facebook.

—Mr. Joe Walker

Known as “The Word Heavyweight Champion”, Mr. Joe Walker is a biographer, author, entertainment journalist and columnist, currently a senior writer for SoulTrain.com, staff writer for Muskegon Tribune Newspaper, and consultant/writer for Liquid Arts & Entertainment’s liquidae.com. Also co-creator of TheGrooveSpot.com, Walker’s acclaimed, award-winning work has been published thousands of times regionally, nationally, internationally, and online. Follow him on Twitter @mrjoewalker, connect with him on Facebook, and also visit his blog ByMrJoeWalker.blogspot.com.

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