Angela Trimbur is a true renaissance woman; not only is she the founder of the LA City Municipal Dance Squad – an inclusive women’s performance group that has shared the stage with the likes of Hillary Clinton NBD, but she’s also an actor, writer and director.
We asked her how she keeps her creativity going across a multitude of mediums and spoiler: it involves going on solo karaoke trips and sharing an office space with her beloved bird, Henry Trimbur (who of course, has an IG). Read on, and shop her picks below!
You started the LA City Municipal Dance Squad, can you tell me a little bit about how that got started?
I joined a community rec basketball team called “The Pistol Shrimps” in an effort to learn a new sport. I wasn’t very good, but my strength on the court was that I had a lot of energy and found it very fun to just be a wild card out there. “Go out there and confuse them!” our coaches would say to me when subbing me in. I would do cartwheels mid game while headed to the other side of the court, run actual circles around the opposing teammate I was playing defense on, etc.
I was invited to my first Lakers game at The Staples Center one night and figured I should go, “for research purposes”. At halftime, I was excited when the Laker Girls ran out on court. Now we’re talkin! They took their places and once the music started, I felt disappointed. It almost seemed like restricted movement in a sense. On the drive home, I was thinking about how the JOY of a classic halftime show is a given – everyone wants to escape into a quick exciting confetti burst intermission. I wanted to find a way to create a fresh type of halftime for the women’s community basketball teams.
I gathered a group of girls who wanted to dance and asked permission from the municipal sports office to perform. They were a bit baffled as to why but eventually granted us permission. We rolled our big speaker into the community center every Tuesday night, and danced for all the games. Our routines are a sort of tongue-in-cheek, somewhat silly, somewhat irreverent, somewhat sexy, eccentric, sentimental choreography. We have also been asked to perform halftimes for The LA Derby Dolls (roller derby) and even The Sparks (WNBA) at the Staples Center, which felt very full circle. We have been up and running since 2014 and I hope we never stop.
Your dance squad has had some pretty amazing opportunities, like getting to open for Hillary Clinton, can you tell us what that was like?
We got an email asking if we would be interested in performing for a Girls Build LA summit, a non profit organization focusing on building up young girls confidence and leadership skills in order to succeed…opening for Hillary Clinton. I hard blinked twice to double check I read that right: “Hillary Clinton”?! We were all so honored. We worked hard on brushing up on our empowering Beyonce “Survivor” routine and showed up at the LA Convention Center the morning of the event, greeted by close to 10k middle school girls. Then backstage warming up, we noticed security doubling up. There she was! Hillary! In a floral blouse and a black soft leather jacket (a great choice in my opinion). She was kind and available and very inspiring, looked you right in the eye and shook your hand with a welcoming vibe and graciously took the time to take pictures with whoever asked.
Our performance felt like 20 seconds (it was 2 minutes) and we all kinda teared up afterwards. Seeing so many young hopeful girls sitting out there facing us as we danced for them was a very surreal and heartwarming experience. Honestly was one of the most fulfilling things the squad has done thus far in many ways.
Can you tell us about the community that makes up the squad? How did you find them? Are they all professional dancers or do they do it for fun?
I described the plan in a Facebook post and invited any women who wanted to be a part of it to join me at the dance studio – about six showed up. From then on, I always had my eyes peeled, I would see a girl at a house party dancing really fun and full out, and I would recruit her. Eventually the squad’s presence on Instagram kept growing and I got so many messages asking how to join so we decided to hold auditions. We had 85 women audition for our last round of looking for a few new squadlings. It was quite an exciting unexpected turnout! The squad spends so much time together as friends and want to keep a tight, well balanced, eclectic group, so we are always looking for someone new who would add something fresh to the fam in their own authentic way. Everyone on the squad has different professions and are in different places in life. I have learned so much about female friendships through keeping this all going.
None of us are true professional dancers, we just work hard at challenging ourselves and finding our personal “Full Out Best”. It’s a different skill level for everyone, each has their own strengths. Come audition!
You’re also an actress/writer/comedian, how do you balance all of these creative projects?
Right now I am working on writing my first feature film, a children’s book, directing a short film I wrote, and developing a tv show about the dance squad. It’s a lot to juggle, but I enjoy the plate spinning, knowing the plate could fall and that’s ok. I like to stay in the mindset that everything creatively clicks into place when it’s supposed to and they are all linked somehow. I try to keep a solid to-do list but I can never find it.
Where are the best places to dance in LA?
Oh the dance workshops that the squad hosts of course! The first Sunday of every month we open the space up and invite other women to throw on some knee pads and join us in a unique exploration of coming out of our shells with some unique warm ups, then learn some non-intimidating, out of the ordinary choreography. I like to say it’s not like a typical dance class it’s more like we are all best friend teenagers in our backyard and we are going to perform for our parents before dinner. The kind of routine our parents would say “that was…interesting” afterwards. The workshops are a place to go back to your childhood kind of, except now you have experienced a lot more pain and have a different reason to want to dance to Britney Spears.
Sometimes if we all wanna go out dancing one night, we usually will go to Zebulon or Short Stop and still wear our uniform knee pads so we can use all of the dancefloor in all the ways.
How would you describe your home style? How did you approach decorating your space?
I used to never care about investing time and money into making my home a home, it was just a disorganized private storage space in my mind. I almost found comfort in a nest pile of clothes everywhere, and lacking the pressure to know where everything is and why. Eventually the level of embarrassment I started feeling when a friend wanted to come over or “pop in to pee” when picking me up started forcing me to really check in with myself on how truly chill this home lifestyle was.
So I started by getting rid of 90% of my clothes and “things” and started fresh, checking in with my gut on what speaks to me right now. The color peach, Z-plants, vintage lace, tanker desks, deadstock vintage wallpaper, prism privacy window stickers (an exciting way to wake up in the morning: splattered in rainbow streaks across the wall and a great way to keep the Peeping Toms minding their own business), and anything I’d see at a thrift shop that winked at me (the same alarm clock I had as a teenager, weird light switch cover plates, a lavender boombox, a public school wall clock, etc.).
I guess I would say my home style is a gentle nod to my childhood with an eclectic in-the-moment blind reach outlook on the future.
What do you do to help you get into a creative space, whether you’re preparing for a role or writing? Do you have any rituals or inspiration points?
My car is a safe personal bubble, so I like to drive somewhere and park, select “Rain On A Tin Roof” on a White Noise app, throw my phone in the backseat, and just sit there and think. Whether it’s imagining up a backstory moment for a character I am working on, a decision I have to make in my personal life, or just a zen-out clear-head type of purpose. There’s something about not being able to do anything else but sit there with that sound that forces me to let my brain focus.
I also have a ritual when I feel stuck that I find galvanizing: I go to a private karaoke booth place (Max Karaoke in LA) during the day and spend 30 minutes singing alone, whatever songs I feel like singing, however I want to sing them. There is something freeing about doing karaoke alone, when there aren’t other people to impress with your classic Go-To winners. It truly only costs $2.71 (daytime is cheaper!) and I always leave feeling more motivated to to dive into the task at hand. 30 minutes, in and out.
My inspiration point at home right now is my office, which is nice since that’s the point of offices. I always had my desk up against a wall, but decided to spin it around to float into the room facing the door, so that it felt like the kind of place where I can say “Step into my office, have a seat.” It’s a game changer. There is more purpose. It’s also the same room that my new beloved pet bird Henry hangs out in, so I don’t ever truly feel like I’m all holed up alone. I had a very handsome carpenter build a whole plexiglass + birch play area for Henry to chill in and it’s against the wall directly across from the desk, so when I look up I see a very cute bird that I love climbing up a ladder or chewing on a shoelace and it feels very heartwarming to me, personally.
What artists / art are you into these days?
All books written by Miranda July (also in audiobook format!)
The incredible director who started @FreeTheBid (a one stop shop for over 400 woman director reels) Alma Harel
The emotional sharp storytelling choreography of Emma Portner.
The many faces/artistic dedication of Daniel Day-Lewis.
The director/writer/producer/mother/star of the autobiographical show Smilf, Frankie Shaw.
The colorful beaded handbags of Susan Alexandra.
The melting rainbows of Jen Stark.