Answers from Justice Draconis in anticipated following interview.
I am finally ready to reveal the interview answers from Justice Draconis; asked and anticipated by my readers. So, take your time to read and dwell upon them.
I said to Justice, “I have known you since last year when I went to see your different performances three times. They were quite diverse and I described them earlier, but what is more important for me is this direct access that is just perfect for me to communicate with you on a personal level. However, as my readers don’t have that access, I have incorporated their questions with mine, as I promised them.”
“Why and when did dancing with fire, also known as a twirling, fire manipulation and fire spinning, become your prime focus as a career?”
“There are three parts to answering that question, and the first is “why”? I love to inspire people, and I’ve found that the biggest satisfaction in doing so, personally for me, is through performing arts and teaching Yoga; that is what makes me feel like I am flying.
When? In 2006 I made my first attempt to follow my desire and to make Performing Arts a full time career. I first quit my corporate job in attempts to make performance my primary income. At that time, I was working with Illumination Fire Troupe, had my own troupe- Dragons Fire Theater, and also my band Niobium.
However, there is a third part to this question. On a practical level, as a home and brand new car owner, I was faced with the down turn in the American economy. The performances become thin, and people who were living in part of my house had lost their jobs and as a result stopped paying rent. I turned back to the corporate world for a stable and sufficient income. Though I quite enjoyed working for Uponor, Inc. in Apple Valley, managing their Ecoflex Product line, I felt that I should be investing my management skill into myself in what I felt was like my other life; life on stage.
So, in early 2009 I decided to get rid of nearly all of my possessions, quit my job and move somewhere else with a better economy to rebuild my passions in a full
time career. Australia became the ultimate choice, having a primed economy; and the Gold Coast was the top location choice with its well developed Entertainment Industry, famous life style and pleasant sub-tropical climate. It is so warm compared to Minneapolis, with its frequent temperature drops below -20C and snow in the winter. It was the right choice for me. I am very thankful to my sister, who also lives here and has been helping me spread my wings to fly.”
“You call yourself a full time ninja and actor just to attract attention or is there a more meaningful identity behind it?
“Ha-ha-ha-ha!!!!! About Ninja, there is a little joke behind that. Back home, I’ve been known as Just~ICE Ninja by a huge percentage of the music and dance performance community. Justice = Just+ICE, and Ninja comes from my diverse background. I grew up as a gymnast and have been doing yoga for many years, with a focus on strength and flexibility. In parallel with yoga, I also have been into different styles of dancing, including break dancing. I love to combine dance movements of jumps and kicks from a variety of different martial arts, with fire spinning, with original stage costumes and with intricate authentic makeup. Ninja is just there… As to ‘Actor’? I have done a bit of acting and I am interested in doing more for both exposure and pay; but my primary focus remains in performance arts.
But Ninja action to me shows I can be quirky and have a bit of humor; but it’s all the crazy physical stuff I do in the dance and acrobatic realm.
It is all for fun… let me show you something.”
“It was simply hilarious, but on a serious note, what are you offering as a Certified Yoga Instructor, Meditation Coach and Kampucha Brewing Instructor?”
“On a serious note, those are the things that I’ve been doing for a long time and have built up a ton of techniques for. I haven’t been in Australia long enough yet to organise full time lessons in any of these areas; however, I am planning to teach regularly. At this point in time, I only conduct private lessons, and if anyone is interested they can send me message through Facebook.”
“On your Facebook info page you state:” I’ve been on stage for more than 5 years. I train hard/nonstop to constantly improve skill, showmanship and style.” How and where do you conduct your training?”
“I train different things in different ways with different people and at different places. For example: for Aerial acrobatics I occasionally at Trix Circus in Southport; or you can find me climbing silks on the massive Fig Trees around the Gold Coast. So, when you see me up there, come and say “Hello”!
For manipulation of fire, I train with a variety of local performers at their studios or in the parks. For example: every Sunday night, in Burleigh Heads is a massive drumming, dancing and fire jam at the Justin’s Park, after 6pm. When I’m there, I like to improvise and relax; exercise new techniques or perfect different moves which I am not 100% comfortable with for my diverse professional shows at clubs, corporate events or private parties. As a professional, I must deliver the best, and as a passionate performer I strive to be the best. That is what I am paid for. This is my job, my professional reputation and my passion. This is an absolutely true statement of mine- ‘I train hard and nonstop’.
At least once a week when I am not working I go out to dance… If you’ve seen me out, you know I pretty much stay on the dance floor the whole night.
It’s a great workout, keeps me more agile and helps me dance with my props better. In my shows on stage I am consciously aware of the space around me because dancing with fire is, by all means, a dangerous exercise; and not just for me but also for the audience, as any professional performer with fire is surely very aware of.
A big complementary part of my show is my original choreography and of course my music selection. I always observe what is popular on the local music scene. When I choose new music for my performance, I am changing a routine, or adding new movements to create a new artistic show with which to entertain and inspire my audience.
I also do a lot of training at home. We have a weight room set up and a pole for fitness which I’ve found to be excellent for cross training, especially for aerial acrobatics.”
“That is so much training and exercising! When do you rest?”
“When everybody else does, I rest when I sleep.”
“You mentioned about your ability and interest in climbing trees. What attracts you to such activity?”
“I grew up in a town that started out being fairly rural. I lived on a little more than one acre of land surrounded by a lake and forest. I’m not sure why I liked climbing trees so much, but I certainly had an abundance of a variety of trees available right outside my doorstep in which to climb and play. As far as I can remember, I started climbing and swimming shortly after I started walking and I never stopped.”
“Okay, Justice. On your Facebook info page you have three favorite quotations, they are: “Do or Do Not, there is no Try”; “Every Passing Moment is a Chance to Change it all around”, and, “Dance and Play!!!” Can you tell my readers why these quotations are your favorite?”
“Do or Do Not, there is no Try” comes from Yoda, one of my most favorite
fictional characters. I’m the type of person that is full on. I give my all to all things I do, or I don’t bother. So, this quote really hits home to me.
“Every passing minute is a chance to turn it all around”, said Penelope
Cruise in Vanilla Sky. To me it is a very powerful motivational phrase. We human beings, as a life form, each grow and mature in our own unique way, that means we grow and mature more in some ways and less in others, but we all have room to grow and mature in all aspects of our lives. Any time we recognize something in our lives that we dislike, we have the opportunity to change course for the better, including our inner selves. Remembering this quote at specific points in my life has really helped me to make some tough, yet powerful and productive, choices.
As for “Dance and Play!!!” Ha- ha- ha! Oh, yes! My opinion is that the meaning of life lies simply in experiencing it. And again, we all have the choice of how to experience our own life. My opinion is – we should be enjoying it! Do you remember what it was like to be a child and to just cut loose when you were playing; to sing or scream like no one was around, except mom; to dance like no one was watching? And who cared if someone did anyway!”
“As you said earlier, you have been doing yoga for many years. Can you tell my readers more about Kundalini Yoga and what is the difference with Vinyasa style yoga?”
“Yoga is generally based on two separate disciplines, physical and mental, combined into one meditative practice or system of exercise. The actual practice is based on controlling both the body and mind to achieve a state of reunion with the higher spirit. I understand that right now we have very many different branches and styles of Yoga, and many who are not familiar with it can get confused. However, I will try to explain what I personally practice.
My own practice is a combination of Kundalini and Vinyasa Powerflow. Kundalini Yoga is based on breathing combined with physical movement, and is designed to loosen the spine and subtly awaken the chakras through the flow of Kundalini energy –the natural power energy of Self. I find Kundalini Yoga alone to be too mellow; however I really appreciate what it is and find some of the sequences quite beneficial for me. Vinyasa is a more vigorous breathing and synchronized movement combined with static poses. However, in certain parts of my practice it can look more like a Tai Chi (a slow flowing movement) movement rather than holding yoga poses for a long time.
Power Flow, specifically is a Vinyasa style of Yoga has a fitness focus of stretching that slightly resembles an aerobic style. The most obvious part of this practice is where it centres around a core work out via sit up sequences. The whole practice, in comparison, still feels more like Yoga than aerobics.
My Kundalini and Vinyasa Powerflow turns down the intensity of power flow enough to add more spine loosening, breath work and meditation while still gives a strong kick- in a typical power flow practice.”
“What does it really mean to have skills like: Poi, Staff, Fans, Palms,Wands and Spheres?”
“These are the various apparatus and props that I have exercised with, or am experienced in manipulating. Poi, Staff, Fans, Palms, Wands and Spheres are tools and props for my performance with fire. There is a great explanation of tools and props by WikipediA for those who want to understand it better.”
“What has been your biggest challenge as a performer? Have you been able to overcome that challenge and how?”
“The Biggest Challenge has been turning my performances into a full time career and business. Moving to Australia has helped me to do so, and at this point in time more than 80% of my income is made from performing.”
“Where have you performed? What are your favorite venues and why? Do you have any upcoming shows?”
“My upcoming show is in at East night club. Everything else is either Corporate or Private bookings. However, if the weather is good, you’re sure to find me at Justin’s Park in Burleigh Heads on Sunday evenings at Dusk. I’ve performed all over the US Midwest, and recently at a variety of places on the Gold Coast.
In Queensland my favorite venues is East Nightclub. Favorite venues in the USA are Club Pyramid, Epic Night Club, First Ave, Kingman Studio, The Rock Night Club, Ground Zero … I could keep on going… But what is important to understand is that each Venue has its own uniqueness that makes it very special for me.”
“What have you always wanted to do, but haven’t done yet?”
“Perform in a full production Circus. Non stop!”
“What do you consider as your greatest accomplishment?”
“Being brave enough to make the sacrifices needed to live my dreams and manifest my own destiny.”
“Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge for offering financial or emotional support?”
“I have so much emotional support from my entire USA network, but my sister Marri and her fiancé Brett are providing me with most support since I’ve moved to Australia. I am very thankful to all my friends, and especially to Marri and Brett.”
“When I was searching on the Internet I found this entry on Google: “Owner: Justice Draconis”. What is your relation with ‘Trick Concepts’?”
“I have absolutely no relationship to Trick Concepts. They are a wholesale and retail outlet for fire props and performance gear but I have no products of theirs at all…I only remember that I once participated in their photo contest,but that is it…”
“You proclaimed that you are vegetarian and a vegan which creates slight confusion because of the significant distinction between the two types of diet. Vegetarians do not eat meat, fish or poultry, but might eat dairy products such as yogurt, eggs or cheese. A vegan, on the other hand, eliminates all animal products from ones diet, including dairy products. Would you like to give some explanation on this point?”
“My dietary preferences are RAW and Vegan; however I’m officially a
vegetarian because generally I don’t have moral issues against consuming dairy products or honey. My issue is with Dairy Industry mass production methods, especially in the USA.”
“Would you like to share your favorite recipe that you believe you have mastered?”
Hmm… I don’t claim mastery over anything, really, but in terms of creativity and arts, food is the one thing I’ve done longer than anything else in my life…
Let’s make an easy semi -vegan desert.
2 cans of coconut cream;
1 cup of honey or Agave nectar;
2-4 cups of any fresh or frozen fruit.
Blend coconut cream and honey with half of fruit. Place in freezer for
half an hour.
Mix Bite sized fruit and half frozen sweet cream in large bowl and freeze all the way through.
Eat like Ice Cream! Yum…!
P.S. The consistency of this concoction is controlled by the quality of all the ingredients. Agave works better than Honey, and adding a little bit of Guar Gum can help as well.”
“As I have observed that you have a considerable fan base and as your popularity is still growing, where can my readers find more information about you?”
Video inspired by band Niobium – The Secret Adventures of Innocence. ( click on the link to view)