Maleek Washington on Superheroes and His Sneaker Collection

February 21, 2019

Camille A. Brown dancer Maleek Washington captivates audiences with his super-fluid, intricate contemporary moves and adept musicality. His exceptional technique and presence have also landed him gigs with artists including Sia and Rihanna. An NYC native, Washington grew up in the Bronx and trained at the Harlem School of the Arts, Broadway Dance Center, and LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts. He attended The Boston Conservatory on a full scholarship before accepting a job with CityDance Ensemble in Washington, DC. He’s also worked with Kyle Abraham and his company Abraham.In.Motion. for four seasons, and became the first African-American male to perform in Sleep No More. Most recently, Washington performed in NBC’s “Jesus Christ Superstar” live. Catch him dancing with the Camille A. Brown company this month at The Joyce Theater in NYC and at University of Arizona in Tucson—and read on for The Dirt!

Where do you feel happiest?

My happy place will always be NYC. The city gives me energy that can’t be matched.

What did you want to be when you were a kid?

I wanted to be a lawyer.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I can beatbox. EP coming soon. 🙂

Do you have any bad dance habits?

Sometimes I ask too many questions. It’s because details matter to me.

What’s your dream gig?

A Broadway show that reps my culture in the Bronx.

What are your pet peeves?

My time being wasted.

What’s your biggest fear?

Losing my mother. Had a scare once; it shook me.

What are you most nervous about?

I’m not a fan of big crowds. Too many unknown variables.

What’s the most-played song on your playlist?

“Too Deep for the Intro” by J. Cole

Who are your dance role models?

I have two: my boss Camille A. Brown and Desmond Richardson, both dance majors from LaGuardia High School. They gave me the blueprint.

What’s your most-watched TV show?

I’m a Marvel/DC nerd so…”Daredevil” on Netflix. Runner-up: “Justice League.”

What’s your favorite dance movie?

“White Nights,” 1985. Baryshnikov and Hines were masters in their art form.

Who can always make you laugh?

Me, myself, and I! All three of us are hilarious. Only-child syndrome.

What foods can you not live without?

I’ve lived in DC and Boston, and I love New Orleans, so seafood. Shrimp, clams, mussels, lobster, and crabs.

Do you have any nicknames?

My family calls me “M&M.” My friends call me “Leeks.”

Who would play you in a movie?

The prince of Wakanda! Forever!

Have you had any embarrassing moments onstage?

I’ve split my pants onstage sooooo many times. You just get used to it or learn what a gusset is.

Who’s your dance crush?

Bianca Brewton. She’s a queen on and off the dance floor.

Do you have any guilty pleasures?

My sneaker collection. I own over 200 pairs of kicks. Those are my babies!

What fitness item can you not live without?

My foam roller and a lacrosse ball.

Do you have a favorite non-dance workout?

Hot yoga, but I want to get into boxing.

What would you be if you weren’t a dancer?

The marketing director for Nike or Jordan.

If you could work with any choreographer, who would it be?

Ulysses Dove and Alvin Ailey. Learning from the greatest minds in dance and they’re both black men.

If you were a superhero, what would your special power be?

The power to control time.

A version of this story appeared in the February 2019 issue of
Dance Spirit with the title “The Dirt: Maleek Washington.”