This acclaimed young dancer and choreographer has figured out a way to use his powers for the good of our community, and we have been better off because of it. Now, “Leg Up On Life” founder Daniel Gold schools Thotyssey on what is sure to be his biggest, most daring and benevolent showcase yet. [cover photo: @coreyrivesvisualart]
Thotyssey: How are things with you, Daniel?
Daniel Gold: I’m great! How are you?
I was confused with Simon, because I thought they killed it. However, I will say Lagoona gave some epic mic drops moments, and that they all looked stunning!
Yes! I think they won over the country watching, which is more important.
Now, you’ve had a long career in showbiz… you’d probably make a pretty critical judge yourself if someone put you on a panel for a talent competition.
I have been on some judges’ panels in the past, and I would say that your guess is correct! It’s always important to give some critique so people can grow when you’re in that position. Clearly, in a more positive light, though… unlike some!
So, where are you from, and how did you begin as a performer?
Texas born and Jersey raised! I started out at a recreational studio, where my Mom would make costumes in exchange for lessons. I went to Boston Conservatory for a hot second before I realized it was too expensive for me, so I began auditioning. I booked my first tour, and the rest is history!
That tour was Beauty & The Beast, right?
Yep! One of my first professional gigs!
You’ve since appeared in several productions all over the country, but you also work frequently now as a dance teacher and choreographer. What do you love more, performing onstage or making things happen backstage?
Honestly, I don’t think I could ever pick one over the other. Anything involving dance is what I want to be doing. I’ve been very happy that my work is creating, whether it’s on people as a teacher, a choreographer, or performing.
Do you have a favorite Broadway show, as far as just choreography goes?
Right now there is a LOT of great stuff running on Broadway, with fusing other styles of dance to the traditional theatre experience… which has been eye-opening for a performer / choreographer. Personally, Moulin Rouge has such a cool movement vocabulary that is bringing something new to the scene!
Exciting! And I must ask: the CATS movie! Will this be creepy, fun, or both?
Honestly… it’s CATS. I think the dancing is gonna be cool, and it should be fun to watch all these dancers with the crazy CGI they’ve got going on.
Tell us about the Leg Up On Life, the major fundraiser showcase you’ve created some time ago that’s been so beneficial to so many causes within our community. How did this come about, and how has it developed over time?
Well, Leg Up On Life started in 2017–I held my first event, which was a class series to help promote up-and-coming teachers / choreographers to raise money for Dancers Against Cancer. After that, I realized I wanted to continue moving forward bringing people from different areas of the arts world together… not just dance. I starting by holding the first Queens for a Cause, which brought together drag, nightlife, and musical artists together with singers. It became a monthly show at The West End, then moved to Suite Bar (this summer, though, Queens for a Cause is on a hiatus as we gear up for Night Of Life). Since then, I have strove to do different events that bring the whole arts community together, and to expose artists to new crowds that maybe are used to supporting only one of the artistic mediums.
You’ve had one tremendously successful Night of Life at Le Poisson Rouge last year, and on Monday, August 26 you’ll be bringing us a new one… this time at the gorgeous new Sony Hall! Tell us about what we can expect from this evening!
Well, hands down the biggest event yet! The Trevor Project is near and dear to my heart, so getting such an insanely stacked lineup [to support the charity] has me beaming! We have such an amazing mix of drag artists, musicians, and choreographers. I am collaborating with a handful of the queens, and choreographing some crazy exciting numbers. The others in the lineup have also begun rehearsals, and they are ready to bring you everything. Our DJ, Bbari, is also ready to keep the room bumping when doors open, and for the afterparty! It’s also great because it’s a solid mix of new to Leg Up artists and Leg Up veterans, all coming together for it and promoting a sense of community.
For all our drag fans out there, tell us the queens that will be part of the lineup.
I’m excited to have back Boudoir LeFleur and Hibiscus, and welcome some to their first Night Of Life like [Stephanie’s Child member] Lagoona Bloo, who just did a different Leg Up event called ART|Pact benefiting Dancers Responding to AIDS. Coco Taylor, Juicy Liu, and Jax have performed at our monthly Queens for a Cause in the past. Big shoutout, of course, to Selma Nilla and Miz Diamond Wigfall–I think they have been the only queens to do all three Night Of Lifes! It’ll actually fall on Miz Diamond Wigfall’s birthday this time!
Amazing! Sounds like there’s something for everyone, and all for a great cause! It must feel wonderful to know that all your hard work is benefiting the community so much.
That’s my goal! It definitely is amazing to know I’ve found a way to combine what I love with work that I find to be so important. I can’t thank the artists who come together for my events to dedicate their time and talents. My goal with Leg Up isn’t only to help give back to the community, but hopefully inspire it within the Arts and LGBTQ+ worlds.
Anything else coming up for you?
Well, I’ve been choreographing for some of my girls for their upcoming shows. Just did two numbers for Selma, who will be bringing them to Ritzy Bitz’s new brunch on the 11th. I’m teaching at STEPS three or four times every week for the month of August. Aside from that, just jumping into rehearsals for Night Of Life and trying to sell tickets!
Have a great show! Final question: if you did drag yourself, what would your name be?
Ah, that is tough… I genuinely have had random names in my head periodically, and none of them are coming to mind right now.
I’m sure when she’s ready to step out, she’ll announce herself! Thanks, Daniel!