Ray Basa is a Los Angeles native that brings his own light to the City of Stars! Although he comes equipped with an accomplished resume and skill as a freestyler, Ray made a name for himself by becoming the go-to teacher for house dance. Ray brings a joy and a sense of welcoming to the classroom, making it a safe space for both beginning-level and advanced dancers. We at TMilly are so excited to spotlight him in our first run of “Teacher Highlight,” a series that will deep dive and get to know some of our illustrious faculty!
Who is Ray Basa (according to Ray Basa)?
Ray: I’m still figuring that out every day! You know, Ray Basa is a brand. He’s a happy, adult, child-like kid who is trying to enjoy life and share that with people. But through enjoyment, I know that he struggled, and that’s how he got to a place of being happy. He had to be in a really dark space to get to where he is. That brand is built off that feeling, but more so I think the brand of Ray Basa is happy and energetic. The deeper side is who I think Raymond Earl Basa is…I don’t know that I share Raymond Earl Basa as much as I do Ray Basa. I think Ray Basa is the destination and the way that Raymond Earl Basa wants to live.
How did you start dancing?
I actually started dancing by going to all-ages clubs in LA, but they were more underground. I could go anywhere with my cousin because she was my cousin. She was like a senior, and I was in 8th grade. I would just go to clubs with her and that’s how I started to dance. I would listen to music and there would just be all these people getting down. I would just dance around!
What inspires you?
Life, in general, inspires me and I think that’s the beauty. Because I’m trying to open myself up to the world and see what other people are passionate about. Seeing their passion inspires me. That pushes me to strike deeper into my craft and try to understand it in new ways. It’s going to take me a long time to discover what dance is and what it means to me. I think every day I’m rediscovering it in new ways. That, to me, is inspiring!
What do you love about dance?
What I love about dance is the infinite possibilities of the way your body could move. It’s crazy to understand that there are different styles that you can create just by being you, that haven’t come into the mainstream yet. We only know dance through the styles that people establish a foundation towards, but what about all the movement that people just naturally do? You don’t understand that because no one really records it as a dance form. It’s always evolving through just being social and connecting with each other. I’m sure there are so many dance styles and forms that I don’t even know of and that don’t even have a name. That’s what I love about dance!
What’s on your bucket list?
I’m not the type of person to have a bucket list. I’m very much an in-the-moment and how-I-feel type of person, but my main goal is to have a house in Los Angeles!
What are you most proud of?
Making it this far! Given the circumstances, I don’t give myself enough credit. Because you always want more. But being able to make it this far and not give up or let life tear me down–I’m very proud of that.
Do you have any advice for dancers who are just starting out?
Follow your feeling first and foremost! If it feels right to you, don’t let anyone else take that away. When it comes to critiques, that can be what tears a dancer down and makes them want to give up, depending on their attitude. That’s why I say follow your feeling. If that’s what drives you and you want to keep pushing, keep pushing!
Do you have any advice for dancers who might be more advanced?
Remember to find your balance! When you get into the dance world, you get so caught up in dance. You need to embrace other aspects of your life. Dance is your life, but it’s not the only thing in your life! Use that to balance yourself out. Too much dance and you’re going to burn out, and you’ll go crazy. It’s going to mess with your mental health, and that will translate into your professional life. You have to find your balance and stay grounded, and that’s what people are going to gravitate towards.
What do you want to see more of from dancers?
I wish we supported people who want to do all of it. People who want to freestyle, people who want to do choreography, or both! People who feel they want to go in the underground scene and then book a tour! I want people to be more accepting of everything that you want to do. Because as dancers, you’re slowly discovering new things that you like all the time! It’s okay to discover that and dive into it! But for the people who are interested, they really need to understand what culture they’re doing. People really want you to live out that culture.
Your hopes for the dance community/industry moving forward:
Everyone who chooses a life of dance is connected, and I think we should stop attacking each other or distancing ourselves from each other. We should be as one and trying to push that artistry and culture out into the world as a union. So hopefully, we can start supporting each other more, regardless of what genre we do or what kind of niche you’re in. We’re all connected in a form of movement.
How can people support you?
By accepting me for me! Just try to understand who I am, and embrace my flaws as well as my talents! That’s the best way of supporting me.
- Loves to watch: NCAA volleyball, virtual apartment tours, and Korean zombie shows!
- Loves to listen to: “Acoustic Winter” on Apple Music
- Loves to eat: Pasta and donuts
- Loves to spend free time by: Getting out of the house, hiking, exploring LA–while staying off my phone!
- Also loves: Collecting different art and toys! I have boxes full of them!
Follow The Basa Stop on Instagram–Ray’s curated, upcycled clothing shop!