Stacey Tookey Takes Charge

by Michael J. Moore

If you truly felt for Billy Bell during the “Mad World” number on “So You Think You Can Dance” Season 7, or gasped aloud at Witney Carson and Chehon Wespi-Tschopp’s duet to “I Will Always Love You” on Season 9, you’re in for a treat: Stacey Tookey, who choreographed both those memorable routines, has formed her own company. Still Motion, her diverse troupe of dancers, will perform plenty of Tookey’s signature contemporary style. But the Emmy-nominated choreographer also has a whole lot more up her sleeve (including baton twirling!). Dance Spirit chatted with Tookey to get the scoop.

Dance Spirit: How did you make the decision to start your own company?

Stacey Tookey: After five years of seriously thinking about it, I finally decided, “This scares me, so I should definitely do it.” And why not now? There’s so much talent here in L.A., and there are so few venues for concert dance. If it weren’t for my experience in companies [including Mia Michaels’ company, R.A.W., and Parsons Dance Project], I don’t think I would be who I am today. Companies are where dancers learn dedication and hard work. It’s all about giving young performers opportunities.

DS: Will the choreography be similar to what we’ve seen from you on “SYTYCD”? 

ST: I obviously love contemporary dance, but my training and background are diverse. A lot of people don’t know that. I was in a tap company, danced on an NBA cheerleading team, twirled baton competitively, figure-skated, was a Scottish Highland dancer, did Chinese dance, was in a German dancing troupe and trained in jazz and modern. Of course, “SYTYCD” has to label you, so there I’m a contemporary choreographer. But in my company pieces, I want to express more sides of myself. I want my audiences to walk away feeling like they’ve been through an experience.

DS: What do you look for in dancers?

ST: I work with energies. It’s all about how dancers present themselves and how open they are to being vulnerable. As far as genres, I usually look for dancers who are versatile. But, I’ll also feature artists who only do one thing really well, like Anthony Morigerato, who recently set the Guinness World Record for most tap sounds in a minute. I mainly look for special artists who are ready to go on a journey with me.

SAVE THE DATE: Stacey Tookey's Still Motion will present its first performance November 9-10 in L.A.

(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)

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