Brian's compliments make you leap!

July 8, 2008

If you’ve been following my blogs this week from The Pulse in New York City, you know this: Brian Friedman is tough, really tough. A compliment from him is enough to make a dancer leap in excitement … which I found out this week when I told Chaz Buzan, one of the 10 guys who is part of the Brian Friedman Intensive, that Brian had singled him out in a conversation with me.

“Really?” Chaz asked me, his eyes widening. “What did he say?”

“He told me you were part of a group of guys who are emerging,” I said.

“Yesss!” Chaz cried. His black hair flopped on his forehead as he jumped in the hotel hallway, landing squarely in front of Kayla Radomski. “Brian said I’m emerging!”

Kayla, who is Chaz’s partner in a featured duet in Friedman’s piece, could appreciate the magnitude of the compliment. Now 17, she met Brian at a dance convention when she was 11. He called her to the front at the end of his class, then visited her studio to teach the next year. Ever since, Brian has choreographed solos for Kayla and had her assist him in his teaching. She just graduated high school a year early and is planning to move to Los Angeles with her mother, Renee, to pursue a full-time entertainment career.

Earlier that day, Kayla, who has been represented by Anastasia Miller first at Bloc and now at Clear Talent Group since age 14, missed Friedman’s rehearsal to audition for Broadway’s West Side Story. She didn’t make the cut in part, the casting people told her, because she had Barbie-doll looks that made her stick out too much in a crowd.

Any rejection is disappointing, but I’m guessing Kayla, who does indeed have sunny blonde hair, can live with this one. She told me her ultimate goal is to be a superstar (put another way: NOT a performer who simply blends in). And Brian, her mentor, has clearly deemed her worthy of standing out. He chose her for that featured duet with Chaz, of course, and he also singled her out as one of his “leading girls.”

“They’re amazing,” he told me. “Every one of them is really the glue that’s holding the number together right now.”

For Kayla, Brian is a key connection that will help her when she makes the big move to Hollywood.

“I’m close with him and can talk to him about things,” she said. “He’s out there and he knows all about everything, so he can help me when I need some advice.”

You can be that advice will be right on point – even if it’s in the form of raw criticism.