Stephen Galloway’s Got All The Right Moves
The Creative Movement director Stephen Galloway is stuck at home in LA and he’s ok with that. “It’s a very interesting dynamic that we are all experiencing,” he said. “The common denominator for everyone is wanting to go out yet for me I don’t want to rush it. I feel safe. Friends are joking that I have agoraphobia but it’s not that bad yet.” He’s been diving into his Pisces energy. Pisceans have no problem entertaining themselves.
We’re catching up after his collaboration with TRR for a video celebrating self- expression in pearls in honor of Pride. The Zoom video features inspiring LGBTQIA+ community stars like chef Angela Dimayuga, model and artist Richie Shazam, and non-binary model Dara. Guiding talent over Zoom was a first for Stephen but he loves the end result. He wasn’t sure how it was going to be because he describes his talent as “the gift of the heat on stage. It’s the exchange with the talent in person.”
The video’s director, Hunter Abrams, said working with Stephen was a dream. “Spending nearly a full day with him (virtually) was truly such a gift. Stephen makes everyone he works with feel and look like the star they can be.” It’s no surprise because the TRR’s creative calls with Stephen always leave us energized.
Stephen is gifted at working with people, especially with talent onstage. He’s a trained dancer who spent years in Ballet Frankfurt and is now known for creative collaborations with designers and showing models how to move on the set of a fashion shoot to create unforgettable images. The stage ignites his creativity. He’s consulted with modeling icons, famous photographers like Inez and Vinoodh, legendary designers like Issey Miyake and Tom Ford, national politicians, and served as a choreographer and creative consultant for the Rolling Stones. The biggest thing he learned from Mick Jagger is to remain curious and gracious. Both traits he has in spades.
We talked to Stephen about finding yourself through movement, the power of intuition, the importance of being in the moment, and what it’s like working with Hollywood’s A-List.
Be An Expert And Know Nothing
“People often ask how do I make people move on set or on film. I always say it has to do with the individual. You may think she’s beautiful and has this big contract: her life must be perfect. But often this person is not necessarily the happiest person and they may not have rhythm. There’s a lot of work and emotions that go into movement. Bill Forsythe, my mentor, really a father figure to me, would always say you have to be an expert and you have to know absolutely nothing at the same time. When you’re able to understand how that cycle functions that’s when you’re able to take whatever the conversation is even further.”
Lost In Translation
“I love working with people who have an understanding of physicality rather than the concept of being a dancer. A ballerina isn’t necessarily going to move well in a modeling situation. It’s a different art form. If you’re a violinist who can play Bach, it doesn’t mean you’ll be able to play Duke Ellington. Models understand their bodies and they are in touch with the idea that what they are doing is a physical reaction rather than choreography. I don’t want them to try to do choreography, I want them to be free to express themselves in movement.
Looking back at the Gucci campaigns I did with Inez and Vinoodh, you see the physicality. There was no dancing but the models all understood the mood and direction. The success of those campaigns had a lot to do with communication. Give the talent in front of you the choice to interpret what you are saying. You never want it to be a one to one translation. A little getting lost in translation is where the magic comes out.”
“Bill Forsythe always said that I have a quality that puts people at ease and allows them to trust me. Working in this field for so long, it taught me to embrace each situation differently. I read the situation and how the talent is. On my recent Vanity Fair shoot with Ethan James Green, how I met each of the talents was fitting to the interaction with the individual. You are dealing with so much energy when you are dealing with personalities including Jennifer Lopez, Renee Zellweger, and Eddie Murphy and the list goes on and on. It’s like a new day every five minutes in a situation like that. So, you need to be able to read the room and react to the energy fittingly.”
Work As A Collaborative Process
“I don’t want it to look like there’s a creative movement director on set. It shouldn’t feel like there’s a choreographer there. I want a person to be comfortable enough to allow what they perceive to be physical movement to come out of them. That’s where the magic happens.”
The Show Is Over Before It Begins
“Early in my career, someone said to me the show is already over. All you can do is go out there and do the best you can. That always puts me at ease.”
A Lifelong Love Of Fashion
“I have always led a fashionable life. My mom read Viva and Vogue. I saw all the Eunice Johnson produced Ebony Fashion Fairs. I’ve been involved in fashion longer then I worked in it. It’s important for any dancer who’s working as a creative movement director to understand that you have to love fashion to work in this space. I remember when I started working with Inez & Vinoodh. They love fashion. They would be going through the collections with the stylist. Every single look. The Last thing they ever wanted was to see the clothes just show up on set. For me, as a movement director. I need to know the clothes and understand them.”
“Stonewall to me means having respect for those who came before me. What Stonewall represents is a symbol of what was no longer acceptable. There’s a gift that comes when you can’t take it anymore. They demanded that society face the truth.”
“My superpower is my intuition. I feel with my gut. That’s the biggest thing. Everything comes back to a deep connection to my own inner voice. That’s how I have always been. I always remember being in conversation with myself. That conversation has helped me provide the way to move through any situation.”