An exclusive interview with Janet Godkin
A top-dancer for over a decade, an agent who has changed the lives of thousands of girls for the better and an aspiring writer we are proud to present our guest Janet Godkin on today’s interview to reveal the secrets behind dancing, happiness and self-discovery.
Letty: Hi Janet. Thank you so much for giving us your time today.
Janet: Thank you for having me Letty.
Letty: How did your first trip to Japan change your life?
Janet: It helped me to overcome many fears; of flying, of life style change. By stepping out of my comfort zone & into the unknown; I listened to my inner voice & trusted
myself. I didn’t let “fear” take over. I felt more grounded in Japan. I realized there is a whole universe out there to be explored. I realized “travel” was the best education I will ever get.
Letty: What did you like most about the country and its culture?
Janet: The people of Japan are very “giving.” It is part of their nature to “pay it forward.” If they give you something- they don’t want or expect you to give it back. They want
you to give to the next person. It’s an unselfish gesture. The Japanese are organized and peaceful people. They don’t like drama. It is a society that runs smoothly given the enormity of the population. The food is light, soulful and tastes like real food- not genetically modified. They take great pride in preparing food, and sharing meals. I found solitude at the temples & shrines. I loved bussing up to the mountains and oceans where you can be at peace with nature. One of the greatest treasures – is that the Japanese do not steal. If you lose something – you can go back a day later & find what you thought, you lost where you left it. If it isn’t there, then most likely a foreigner (gaijin) took it.
Letty: How did the industry change your personality after 33 years of successful career as a dancer & agent?
Janet: I danced for 10 years & have been an agent for 23 years. While dancing, sometimes, I’d be thinking- “wait a minute I’m up here naked with all these men staring at me. Is this normal?” But at the same time – a huge part of me just needed to dance. I needed the self-expression. I got hooked by the lifestyle of freedom & money. It wasn’t that I couldn’t do anything else, I am just a free spirit –a gypsy type. I am not a nine to five person. It was always in my soul to be free & travel. I found so much pleasure in travelling & meeting new people. I yearned for “real life experiences” that money just could not buy. As an agent, my sole purpose & goal is to share those experiences with other dancers who may feel lost, or the yearning to find something “more” from their lives, by offering good places to travel to. To summarize; through the world of dance & travel I felt awakened & alive- I want other women in this industry to feel that as well.
Letty: What advice would you give to young women who want to become more confident, break boundaries and live life to the fullest?
Janet: I find “worry & fear” to be debilitating. A lot of dancers who contact me are negative or jaded right out of the gate. Rightly so, they probably have had bad experiences; many have a difficult time with “trust.” Maybe it has to do with their upbringing or past relationships & experiences; but what I have noticed is that 99% of the time, if a gal is expecting the negative, that is precisely what she will attract. There is beauty and/or a life lesson to be learned & cherished in every experience. Don’t walk away jaded- find the gift! I wish some ladies had better negotiating skills to help them face challenges with difficult situations & people head on. If they had that under their belt their confidence levels would soar.
Letty: What happens to a dancer if she gets an unfair treatment on the part of managers/owners? Is she provided with an alternative option for work from the agency?
Janet: There are so many bad club owners, staff, and managers I’ve lost count. I have a rule within my agency; if I hear about a problem once, I stash it in my memory bank, then if I hear it again, I stash it again, third time, I perk up. I will 9 times out of 10 remove the rogue club from my listings. I know there has to be some truth to what the ladies are telling me by the 3rd time I’ve heard it, but there are always voices & opinions being thrown at me from both sides. It is often truly difficult to know what or whom to believe. That said, I give all dancers two or three chances and will do my best to offer an alternative booking. If trouble is following them however, then I know it’s something they are attracting. I can’t keep helping someone who is challenging the people around them. This is not what travel opportunities & work is about. I like to believe in challenging oneself- not others.
Letty: Which were the three most valuable lessons you learned from working in the industry?
Janet: 1) I learned that it is through the bad that we find the good. Learning to look back & laugh about all the things that I felt went wrong- then seeing it was all for the best. 2) The truth is always more apparent in what people do rather than what they say. Actions really do speak louder than words. 3) I learned to lower “my expectations” in life. Seems that anytime I had high expectations the turnout didn’t live up to those high expectations. I see that it’s important to be at peace with where I am at – the universe is teaching me something, so I should slow down & listen to what it is. (I’m still working on this last one, lol.)
Letty: What is the most important asset for a dancer to win over a client-the mind or the body?
Janet: By “body” I assume you mean aesthetically speaking? If so, I would go with the “mind.” We get so knotted up about our appearance, but the sole attraction to the opposite sex, is indeed, “confidence.” Male or female (the same rule applies.) How you carry your body, your approach, your body language speaks volumes. As an example; if dancers were to kneel down to ask for a dance, gently placing their hand on the man’s knee, look him in the eye & smile, with confidence, it softens them right up. Hard to say no to that.
Letty: Do you think that we are simply a product of our circumstances or we can shape a better future for ourselves by making the right decisions?
Janet: I used to feel as though I was on the back of the bus of life with someone else driving it. Nowadays, I feel more in control. I feel as though I am driving the bus now. If more ladies realized that they are “driving” & in fact not “the passenger” they would discover they are no longer victims of circumstance but products of their own choices. They will then in turn feel more in control.
Letty: What makes you happy?
Janet: I feel most happy when I get thankful letters from dancers who tell me that I helped them with a good place to work; that where I booked them they were able to save money for school or help a family member, or when they’ve had a life-altering experience that enhanced their well-being in some way.
My dog made me happy but he passed away in March 🙁 Freedom makes me happy- the freedom to create. I am also an artist & I feel at peace when I am creating a colourful painting that will outlive my existence on this earth.
Letty: Is there anything left for you to achieve? Any unfulfilled dream?
Janet: Yes, I want to write a book.
Thank you for your time Janet. It was a great pleasure to talk to you.
Janet: Thanks for having me today Letty.
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