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Joe Manuel Gallegos Jr. ...Got the Part

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Joe Manuel Gallegos Jr. ...Got the Part
When Santa Fe, N.M., native Joe Manuel Gallegos Jr. moved to L.A. at the beginning of 2011 to work as an actor and a dancer, one of his priorities was to sign up for an electronic subscription to Back Stage. Shortly after, he saw a casting notice for a fitness DVD. "It was a dance gig and was right up my alley," he says. He attended the open call with approximately 150 other dancers and was one of the six dancers selected.

The audition consisted of a dance portion in which he was taught a Latin–hip-hop fusion-style dance and then was asked to perform demonstrations of some basic fitness moves. Gallegos has experience with most dance styles—including jazz, ballet, tap, hip-hop, modern, partner dancing, and Irish dancing, so he was well-prepared. He also had experience teaching dance, so the demonstration aspect of the audition came naturally, as well.

Rachel Tonick, coordinating producer on the DVD, says Gallegos was the first pick for the males. He had a great presence as soon as he walked in, she says. "Joe is a very polished dancer and very polite. We could tell he would be professional and easy to work with." She says he was exactly what she and director Cal Pozo had in mind when they started casting.

Pozo planned to shoot the whole DVD in one day, so it was important to have the routines perfected ahead of time. "We had three intense days, very long days of learning three major numbers that were taught in the instructional videos, and then some cool-down exercises," says Gallegos. They then shot the project in one day. Gallegos says he would love to work with Pozo again if the timing works out, and Tonick says they would love to work with Gallegos again.

Gallegos arrived in L.A. with a solid base, since he had been working in the film industry in New Mexico, Nevada, and Utah and was a member of SAG. "I fell in very quickly and adjusted," he says. Since he started work on the DVD so quickly after moving to L.A., Gallegos thought it was great to hear stories and get insight from the dancers in the cast who had been working in L.A. for a while.

Gallegos says his dance training helps with the stunt work he has been doing for a couple of years. Though he loves dancing, he is focusing on acting and has worked on a commercial and a pilot since the DVD. He notes that now that he's past portraying teenagers, he frequently gets cast as police officers, EMTs, or clean-cut professionals.

For more information on "Billy Blanks Jr.'s Fat-Burning Hip Hop Mix," visit www.meettheblanks.com/billy-blanks-jr-fat-burning-hip-hop-mix-dvd/.

Joe Manuel Gallegos Jr. is represented by Jamie Ferrar Agency and Jody Black at A&M Talent House.

Has Back Stage helped you get cast in the past year? We'd love to tell your story. Be in the weekly column by emailing casting@backstage.com for New York or bswcasting@backstage.com for Los Angeles with "I Got the Part" in the subject line.

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