Commercial Standout Justine Lutz on Her Most Embarrassing Dance Moments and Her Dance Idols
Photo by Dave Brewer, courtesy Lutz
Commercial dancer Justine Lutz's raw, emotional contemporary performances have helped her take the L.A. scene by storm. Lutz started dancing at the age of 3 in her hometown of Plymouth, MN. Later, she attended Loyola Marymount University and worked as an assistant for The PULSE On Tour before moving to L.A. in 2013. Since then, she's performed on TV shows, including "Glee," "Liv & Maddie," and "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," and has worked with loads of music industry greats, including Taylor Swift, Kesha, Ariana Grande, Kelly Clarkson, and P!nk. Read on for The Dirt!
If you were a superhero, what would your special power be?
Teleportation! Go wherever, whenever!
If you could work with any choreographer, who would it be?
Rich + Tone. They are so raw and are masterminds.
Do you have any bad dance habits?
I forget a lot of times to roll out after a show. I skip to icing my knees.
What are your pet peeves?
Smacking when eating, moving to other lanes without blinking, and people on their phones while out to eat.
What performer would you drop everything to go see?
Banks. She's so rad as an artist.
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
I wanted to travel the world and buy/sell paintings.
What would you be if you weren't a dancer?
I would work in visual communications and design.
Do you have any hidden talents?
Jewelry making. I create rings and bracelets.
What's your favorite book?
The Four Agreements, by Miguel Ruiz
Who's your dance crush?
Wade Robson. Even when he's marking, it's magical!
Do you have any guilty pleasures?
When in new cities, I go to at least 2 to 3 coffee shops a day.
What dance item can you not live without?
What's the last thing you do before you go to bed?
Soak in a tub with lavender Epsom salt and candles.
What's your best advice for young dancers?
Trust yourself! Develop that inner strength and perseverance. Continue to learn, implement, and expand. Open ears, open heart, and open mind.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Bora Bora, in a villa above the water.
Who can always make you laugh?
My grandpa (Rampa). Every day it's something new.
What's one food you can't live without?
Do you have any nicknames?
My family calls me Bean, my friends call me J, and people that don't know me call me Justin, ha!
Who would play you in a movie?
Jennifer Lawrence. She's unconventional. She stands in her truth and goofiness off-camera.
Have you had any embarrassing moments onstage?
I wear clip-in extensions for performances, and this one time it completely came out! It caught on one of my fingers and it ripped the whole track out.
Who's your dance role model?
Brian Friedman <3 He does it all! He continues to stay open and evolves throughout the years. He sees every single detail and is efficient as a creator. 100 percent respect.
What's the most-played song on your playlist?
"Got It Good," by Kaytranada (ft. Craig David).
What's your most-watched TV show?
It's a tie. "How to Get Away with Murder" and "Black Mirror."
What's your favorite dance movie?
Where do you feel the happiest?
What's your go-to stress reliever?
What's your biggest fear?
Not living out my fullest potential as a human being.
What are you most nervous about?
Dance injuries—ice is my friend.
A version of this story appeared in the September 2018 issue of Dance Spirit with the title "The Dirt with Justine Lutz."
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
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Imagine attending American Ballet Theatre's prestigious NYC summer intensive, training among classical ballet legends. Imagine taking the stage at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, competing against some of the country's best contemporary dancers. Now, imagine doing both—at the same time.
Welcome to Madison Brown's world. This summer, she's in her third year as a National Training Scholar with ABT, while also competing for NYCDA's Teen Outstanding Dancer title. (She's already won Outstanding Dancer in the Mini and Junior categories.) The logistics are complicated—ABT's five-week intensive overlaps with the weeklong NYCDA Nationals, which translates to a lot of cabs back and forth across Manhattan—but Maddie is committed to making the most of each opportunity. "I love contemporary and ballet equally," she says. "While I'm able to do both, I want to do as much as I can."
Maddie has an expressive face, endless extensions, and a quiet command of the stage. She dances with remarkable maturity—a trait noted by none other than Jennifer Lopez, one of the judges on NBC's "World of Dance," on which Maddie competed in Season 2. Although Maddie didn't take home the show's top prize, she was proud to be the youngest remaining soloist when she was eliminated, and saw the whole experience as an opportunity to grow. After all, she's just getting started. Oh, that's right—did we mention Maddie's only 14?
Corbin Bleu in rehearsal for "Kiss Me, Kate" (Jenny Anderson, courtesy Roundabout Theatre Company)
If you're a hardcore Broadway baby, today is the worst Sunday of the year. Why, you ask? The Tony Awards were last Sunday, so basically there's nothing to look forward to in life anymore—no James Corden being James Corden, no teary acceptance speeches from newly minted stars, no thrilling excerpts from the hottest new shows. Oh yeah, and there are 50 more Sundays to go before our humdrum lives are once again blessed with the next annual iteration of Broadway's biggest night.