“I’m in the business of making people smile, cause I didn’t know how to smile when I was younger and people helped me smile,” said Tommy
“Strangers came into my world and helped me to have a genuine smile and to pass that forward, it’s beautiful.”
Describing him is like describing the feeling of seeing the Mona Lisa (as you will see if you watch the above video), although in recent days a line came to me that I think best reflects what it is about him that inspires so many – simply, he is the freedom we all desire.
“I like to really express myself, which can be a foreign thing in society today,” he said.
“People like to put up their walls or have fears in letting people know how they feel or being vulnerable – I think that’s why people are drawn to me, because I just do what I want and I guess that probably inspires people.”
And inspired they are, from being asked to open two dance schools, to invitations to attend pubs and clubs across Australia, the man who is ‘in the business of making people smile’ is doing just that.
Spending two days hanging out in Byron Bay with Tommy and talking to people about him, there was one story a 23-year-old girl, Adele, told me that has stuck with me.
“I’d always loved dancing and often danced around the house in private, but I never had the confidence to do it in public or with any structure, like at a dance school,” said Adele.
“That was, until one day when we were at an MGMT concert and I noticed a lot of people had stopped watching the band on stage. I turned around and saw this guy (Tommy) dancing, with everyone around him.”
“I saw him at the pub that night and asked my friend if she knew who he was. She told me about him, and another friend gave me a newspaper clipping of an ad that was in the paper about a dance school he had just opened.”
Needless to say, Adele decided to head along to Tommy’s next class, where she said he quite literally transforms even the shyest of people.
“He has a saying, ‘leave your inhibitions at the door’, and he’s really created such a loving space to learn dance in a structured way that allows anyone to do it.”
“There’s a guy who started at the same time as me, who seemed incredibly shy, but he’s been doing it for three months now and you can just see the transformation he’s made.”
Adele is just one of many people I spoke to who are in awe of Tommy’s ideals (including myself), but as you can see from the video it hasn’t always been easy for this self-made dance teacher and youth mentor.
He has worked hard to get to where he is now, and is humble in his achievements, with one very simple wish.
“I hope people get what I get out of it, which in its simplest form is liberty, joy, happiness. When I dance I’m never happier, you know it’s like a therapy for me.”
He said that while some people might be at work imagining a beer at the pub, going for a surf or working out at a gym, he only has one thing on his mind.
“When I’m really frustrated or if I’ve had a really hard week I just can not wait to hit the dance floor.”
And hit the dance floor he will be at the Our World Today launch party this Friday 5 August. To come along just ‘like’ us on facebook and RSVP via our launch party event.