You’ve memorized the moves from Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” video—you’ve even mastered the iconic claw gesture. So who can you blame for your Gaga obsession? Laurieann Gibson, the star’s super-tough, super-talented choreographer.
Gibson has been dancing nearly her entire life, but she got her first on-camera speaking role when she choreographed for P. Diddy’s pop group Danity Kane on MTV’s “Making The Band” in 2005. She’s on faculty with The PULSE On Tour, has choreographed on “So You Think You Can Dance” and, of course, has spent the last whirlwind year by Lady Gaga’s side, acting as her creative director. Now, with a handful of awards under her belt, including an MTV Video Music Award for Best Choreography for the “Bad Romance” video, Gibson’s giving the world an inside look at her life. We caught up with her after she pulled an all-nighter directing and choreographing a video for Keri Hilson to get the scoop on her new show, debuting this month on E!
Dance Spirit: Tell us about “Just Dance: The Laurieann Gibson Show.”
Laurieann Gibson: After “Making The Band” I developed an interest in reality shows, but there was nothing out there that was specific enough for me. Then Ryan Seacrest approached me and said he wanted to create a documentary about me and the dance community—how much of a fight it is to make it and what happens after you get the trophy. This isn’t “So You Think You Can Dance.” This is the aftermath. The show will follow me hiring dancers, working with artists and taking on some big new ventures. The dancers will be the main characters on the show.
DS: What’s it like working with Lady Gaga?
LG: I remember when I first met her a few years ago. In walks this skinny girl with brown hair—she was just so pure-looking. I listened to “Beautiful Dirty Rich” and “Paparazzi.” I had been trying to get creative with other acts I was working with, but everyone was afraid to take chances. But with her, I got this creative urge and she was willing to do whatever I wanted. So I began working with her and raising her like a dancer. I had her doing pas de bourrées and balancés, and with her natural, quirky movement, it became Lady Gaga.
DS: What do you look for when you’re hiring dancers?
LG: It’s about a spirit. Yes, I want an amazing dancer who is trained and can do everything. But to be in my tribe, I want to know what you can do after I teach you the movement. You need to be OK with not fitting in, and have an energy and hunger for dance.“
Just Dance: The Laurieann Gibson Show” premieres January 23 on E!
(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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Isabella Boylston in "The Bright Stream" (Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy American Ballet Theatre)
Beloved by ballet fans for her lucid technique and onstage effervescence, by her Instagram followers for the deftly curated photos and videos she shares of her glamorous life, and by fangirl Jennifer Garner for all of the above, American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston is one of the rare ballet stars who's achieved mainstream fame. A native of Sun Valley, ID, Boylston trained at the Academy of Colorado Ballet and the Harid Conservatory before joining the ABT Studio Company in 2005. She entered the main company as an apprentice in 2006, and attained principal status in 2014. In addition to her successes with ABT, where she dances nearly every major ballerina role, Boylston has served as artistic director of the annual Ballet Sun Valley Festival, which brings high-level performances and classes to her hometown. And speaking of famous Jennifers: Boylston recently appeared as Jennifer Lawrence's dance double in the film Red Sparrow. Catch her onstage with ABT as Manon, Odette/Odile, and Princess Aurora during the company's Metropolitan Opera House season this summer in NYC. —Margaret Fuhrer