On February 23rd, Disney Fam Jam — a new family dance series — is premiering on Disney Channel. What started as The Parent Jam, dance classes for families, parents and their kids to let loose and have fun, has now inspired a dance competition show where one winning family will take home $10,000. The family competition series is the first of its kind on Disney and will be hosted by choreographer Phil Wright, the creator of The Parent Jam, and co-hosted by Ariel Martin “Baby Ariel” and Trevor Tordjman. WOD Magazine got a chance to catch up with Phil and ask him all about his Disney show and about his new endeavor as a TV host. Read more in our exclusive Q&A below.
What have you been up to lately?
Phil: We actually just wrapped our first batch of 20 episodes for my new Disney series called Disney Fam Jam.
What has life been like since announcing Disney Fam Jam on Ellen?
Absolutely amazing! Meeting new people and venturing off into the TV world really has been a pretty incredible experience.
How did The Parent Jam get the opportunity to inspire a competition show on Disney?
I was reached out to by Irene Dreayer; she produced Sister, Sister, The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, and she came across my video on Facebook — it was actually an article written up on The Parent Jam — and she forwarded it to me and then wanted to meet up with me. We met up, started talking, and negotiating, and she pitched the idea of turning my class into a TV show, and then from there, she connected me with associates within Disney, and we made our pitch and here we are.
Who was the first person you told once you got the green light for Disney Fam Jam?
My wife. She was excited for me. She was excited because she was there from the beginning and knew what the process was like and once we got the green light, she was the first person I told.
What was it like working with co-hosts Ariel Martin “Baby Ariel” and Trevor Tordjman?
They’re amazing! The professionalism is off the hook, and they have a good chemistry because they already worked on Zombies 2, which is a Disney movie, and they brought that chemistry to the Fam Jam set which was much-needed.
As someone who is a capable public speaker, did you harbor any nerves or worries coming in as a host?
Absolutely, I did. I was nervous just because it was a different realm. I am a teacher, but Disney and Matador, which is the production company, actually made it comfortable for me to co-host alongside Trevor and Ariel because they’re experienced with being on camera and stuff like that, I am too, but in a different fashion with dancing and now I’m critiquing and giving encouragement, and just being me in the best way possible so yea, I was nervous but you can see through the season that I get more comfortable as the season goes on.
Will we get to see any cool choreography from you on the show?
Absolutely. Yea, you will.
What has been your experience thus far working with everyone involved with the Disney Fam Jam series?
The experience has been great. I think we were actually lucky in a sense because we had a choice to pick from several production companies to run with it and I think we lucked up with Matador because they were experienced with doing competition shows and dance reality.
What is your long-term goal for The Parent Jam?
My only goal for The Parent Jam is to inspire people around the world and realize that family is first and that telling each other we love each other while we’re still here is really important. Dancing is just the tool for us to get together, but after that, it’s all about family, connecting and learning more about one another.
What is your long-term vision for the Disney Fam Jam series?
My vision is to tackle as many obstacles that we can encounter every day that relates to everyone’s life, and just encourage people that anything is possible despite the obstacles we encounter and obviously to keep the show running as long as we can.
Is there anything else you would like to tell readers?
I’m very happy with the process. Disney has been great with me. Matador’s content has been amazing and I couldn’t be happier than to have the people who I’m working with right now. My wife has been supportive throughout this entire process and my friends and family have been here from the beginning, so I’m just very happy to be in a position where I can share love and spread happiness around the world.
Be sure to tune into Disney’s Fam Jam Sunday, February 23 on Disney Channel. You can follow Phil Wright on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. For more content on choreography, dance lifestyle, and culture, check out WOD Magazine.