The Artist as Entrepreneur

For someone who thrives on ‘slashes’ Choreographer/Director/Actor/Writer, Myles Thoroughgood can legitimately add ‘juggler’ to the list, the type that entrepreneurs are notorious for being.

As a young man raised in Philadelphia’s inner-city neighborhood of Kensington, Thoroughgood has become a shining example for those who want to venture out to practice their art of choice and become an executive of their own destiny.

How did it happen? For Myles, it took a keen eye for observing everything around him and watching soap operas that introduced lifestyles worlds apart from his own. That, coupled with courage and determination.

Starting his career as a dancer in dinner theatre and then the WAVES Jazz Dance troupe, he performed to sold out houses from Atlantic City to London’s Royal Festival Hall meeting icons along the way, such as Maurice Hines whose recognition was one of his defining moments. As the troupe’s Company Manager and so enthralled with his talent, I piqued Myles’ interest with a move to Los Angeles. Once there, he made a name for himself as an actor in theatre, commercials, and coincidentally, on an NBC daytime soap, while also creating solo dance pieces, most notably, PIGMENT and MADE IN THE USA, which premiered at LaLa Mama in NYC.

At the time, The Disney Channel was looking for three choreographers to alternate weeks on the (new) Mickey Mouse Club. With no experience choreographing, Myles recorded his style and submitted footage to be a contender for this coveted position. The Channel found him to be a perfect fit and offered a contract to be the sole choreographer until the show wrapped five years later. After hundreds of rehearsals, shoots and videos with cast members including Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake, JC Chasez, Keri Russell, Britney Spears, and Ryan Gosling, Myles embarked with the same ‘eyes-wide-open’ approach that brought him to this crossroads in his career.

His modus operandi was driven by what inspired him, and he proceeded with true entrepreneurial spirit. He wrote and performed a one-man show that spanned the ages from a young boy to a doctor of philosophy. He choreographed for theme parks beyond Disney and Universal properties, throughout the U.S. and Asia, and continued honing his core skills as a dance instructor.

The career that started in Kensington has led to global exposure and business opportunities. Writing and directing for live Nickelodeon shows now takes Myles to international locations as he continues to stay close to his roots seeking experiences that are relevant. His regular gig with the Orlando library system, bringing words to life by reading to children, grounds him, and as he says, “kids have no filter and react authentically, so it is an exercise in acting too.” Teaching dance class, a key to tapping creativity has remained a constant on his roster. And, starting in 2015 he became a founder of the Interactive Academy of Performing Arts ( which will open doors of professionals in various disciplines to aspiring artists around the globe.

Staying the course to ensure a successful track takes energy, commitment, diligence, and as every entrepreneur knows, is very often a ‘one man show.’ That said, the creative process can reach its heights when an artist/entrepreneur has a go-to person to oversee their ‘back office’ — someone to bounce ideas off of and handle administrative tasks that are common to every business and profession. For Myles, the factors are publicity, negotiations, document preparation, budgeting and scheduling, all managed by GoToPerson (

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