We were lucky to catch up with Nino Daniel recently and have shared our conversation below.
Hi Nino, thanks for joining us today. It’s always helpful to hear about times when someone’s had to take a risk – how did they think through the decision, why did they take the risk, and what ended up happening. We’d love to hear about a risk you’ve taken.
This is definitely a question that is going to be applied towards TWO risks I’ve taken. The first risk comes in the form of starting my own dance class. Let me take you back to November 2015. I had been applying to graduate and doctoral programs in an effort to become a psychologist. I did all of the applications, the interviews and NOTHING. Not one admission to the 8+ schools I had applied to. The final “No” was given to me in January of 2016. At this point, I felt hopeless and very lost with what to do with my life. I decided, over many nights of thinking and planning, that I was going to start a dance class. I paid for the promo photos, the flier, the logo, the printing, interviewed different studios, plotted 8 weeks worth of routines. I was exhausted and nervous by the time March 06, 2016 came. That day was the very start of my dance class career. That day sparked so much joy in me and other people around me took note of the classes and my potential talent. From then on, I began choreographing for stage performances which lead to music videos which led to traveling to different states and showcasing my talent which led to a larger scope of opportunities and creative growth. This past March celebrated 6 years of choreographing professionally. THANK YOU to God and everyone who has ever supported the classes in any way.
The second risk comes in the form of comedy via a little social app called TikTok. I had downloaded the app in January of 2020. Much like everyone else, I wanted to see what the hype was about. I gave it my fair attempts, told myself that TikTok will be the place where my comedic side is housed. One fine evening in April of 2020, I was driving to my parents house and little idea sparked about a possible comedy sketch routine I can perform and upload on TikTok. Three days later, 04/16/2020, I filmed an uploaded the first episode of what is now a viral series called ‘Caucasian Complaint Department’ or #CCD as we now know. The start was slow, but there was some form of momentum behind this series as my notifications page was constantly going off. New likes, supportive comments, and 10K followers within two weeks of the first episode. The risk came in keeping up the series and also attempting to introduce new ones. I feel it is safe to say that things worked out for my comedic skills on TikTok. As of February 2022, I sit just shy of 100k followers and over 2.5 million total likes on my work. I’ve had the amazing opportunities to meet and chat with other celebrities, garner brand deals, and create a stream of income off of TikTok. If you like laughing, check me out at OfficialNinoDaniel. (Shameless plug!).
Nino, love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
To those of us just waking up and getting acquainted with me, hieeeeeeeee I’m Nino Daniel! I got into the dance/choreo industry actually back in elementary school. My friends and I would come up with these fantastic ideas for a talent show and I absolutely loved being the creative driving force behind curating the dances. I began to see a professional focus in March of 2016 when I started my own dance classes. I would teach every Sunday at Dancers Domain to a small group of students. There was so much discipline involved with this creative/business move of my life. I always crafted two weeks ahead of schedule. If I wanted a routine taught on 05/15, it would have to be ready by 05/01. There came a lot of promotional work as each class had it’s own digital flier which would need to be appropriately and heavily marketed. Every. Single. Week. There were so many times that I had to leave events or gatherings early because I either had to craft a routine or teach a class (and this is still true in present day 2022). In the spring of 2017, I was approached by a local drag queen Piper M’Shay, to help build their talent portion of an upcoming drag queen pageant, Miss Gay Arizona America. Piper and I held auditions for any available dancer in the valley, scouted places where would rehearse, introduced props and costume changes, etc. That start with Piper was the catalyst for all of my future choreographical endeavors. I was approached by many other drag performers, non-drag performers, and even some big names in the mainstream music industry as the years rolled on. As my dance profession gained more traction, I really honed in on what it meant to be devoted to your craft. There was a lot of sadness with not being able to be present for my friends, my parents, my sisters, or even my relationship with my fiance because I could be doing as much as 6 productions at one time (I did, I do not recommend it at all. Oh my God). Throughout these very critical years, I learned many things about myself. I learned who to invest my time into, what aspects of my craft need improvement and which aspects I want to keep, how to be a friend and business partner, how to stand up for myself and be paid fairly for my work, and most of all I learned how to keep the creativity alive and fresh. Year after year.
Presently, my services include: open level dance classes, private dance classes, choreography services, background dancing, talent acquisition and talent management, performance consultation and performance editing services, artist development and support services, directorial services for music videos. My ask of anyone who works with me is to talk with me about their personal creative goals, their artistic creative goals, and what brings them a sense of true self. Dancing and creating is very psychological, very cathartic, and I aim to foster a place of safety while also keeping anyone in tune with who they really want to be. I believe the things that set me apart from what is currently out there are my work & performance ethic, high levels of professionalism and communication, keeping it human, and I personally want to be satisfied with the work that I’ve put into a production or performance.
The thing that I am most proud of is still being asked to be apart of someone’s creative goals. I love working with seasoned clients and new clients because the treatment towards a person and production is the same 110% from start to finish. I really feel blessed to still be doing choreography and dance 6 years later. What I hope people see and experience in working with me is how much I want everyone to be the best version of themselves through dance. Dance saved my life and becoming an award winning choreographer helped me shape the rest of my life. Being able to utilize your body for artistic expression is just a chef’s kiss moment for me which is why I get so hype in watching what other people can cook up with my support.
We’d love to hear a story of resilience from your journey.
The biggest and best story that I have is my whole life. Being born and raised in Bosnia, my path of life was almost built for me prior to even being born yet. I want to clarify: I was told I could be anything, but the options for what’s acceptable in our culture were quite slim. Coming from a conservative, traditional family and growing up as a gay artist and creator was something that I don’t think was in the cards for anyone in my family. After each attempt of getting me back on a more acceptable path, I still chose to move in the direction that felt right for me. There is actually one story that comes to mind, oh my God. I won’t say who, but someone in my close family once called me “talentless” in an effort to deter me from becoming an artist, but a doctor instead. This person attended a talent show I was in, sat in the audience, watched me dance and play piano in a costume I designed and crafted to turn around and call me talentless. Unfortunately for this family member, I went on to succeed. Heavily. The resilience lies in always choosing me. Always opting in to do what I feel is right for me and my future. I really am the black sheep of the family in that I defied everything I was every told I would be accepted as and simple became the best version of Nino Daniel there could ever be. To anyone reading this, it may get difficult and you may feel guilty by going against what your family and parents wish for you. There may be days of serious imposter syndrome (I’ve had my fair share). Always remember this chance you get in life is for YOU. Fulfill whatever purpose you may be intended to complete. Grow into the You that you’ve always dreamed of.
What do you think is the goal or mission that drives your creative journey?
The particular mission is to leave a legacy, to leave generational wealth, to be a pillar in the community (AZ and globally). My goal is to get to the end of my days knowing that I was as creative as ever, that I fulfilled God’s plan for me, and that my name one day fills a room the way Britney Spears’ name does. I’ve got a long ways to go, for sure, but I am immensely thrilled with and proud of what I’ve accomplished.
- Instagram: OfficialNinoDaniel
- Facebook: Nino Daniel
- Youtube: OfficialNinoDaniel
- Other: TikTok: OfficialNinoDaniel
Action Shots: Defy Vizions.