All About Dance

LKY 5682 1200x1812Come and join Luckie in the coolest dance class you will ever take.....

EVERY WEDNESDAY in NoHo Arts District at Evolution Studios - grab a few friends for this fully interactive, high energy house party! Its all about letting loose and feeling the groove of the 90s deep down in your bones!

Class opens with a15 minute 'watch and repeat' style warm up aimed at improving flexibility, relieving stress through breathing techniques, and maximizing range of motion. We'll pick up the pace with a nonstop mix of Hip Hop movements that not only improves cardio stamina and calorie burn, but strategically targets and tones ALL major muscle groups. http://thatsluckie.com/

Some of his Industry credits....
Luckie was featured as a choreographer and onscreen dance partner for Oxygen’s hit show Dance Your A** Off where he landed a spot in the finale. His choreography/staging for the off -Broadway remake of the 1975 choreo-poem “For Colored Girls”, received two nominations from the NAACP Theatre Awards. He then had the pleasure of creative directing and choreographing promotional spot dates and television performances for Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday album including the Femme Fatale Tour, Rockin’ Dick Clark New Years Eve, and Good Morning America.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015 10:42

Dancer Wellness: Stay in Love with Dance

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I am writing this article for several different audiences out there: for those dancers who are burned out, lack luster, and “over it;” for people who danced “before” and haven’t put those shoes on for “a long time;” for those dance dreamers who wished they “could’ve” but “couldn’t.” Maybe you’re injured and can’t get out on the dance floor? Here’s the jist - you need inspiration. And just in case you’re reading this and you’ve got your inspiration meter turned way up, keep the following tips in your back pocket in case there’s a need for you or a person you know to reconnect in.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015 16:33

Dancer Health: Mind Your Spine

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The many different styles of dance have varying demands on the body. Having a more complete understanding of how to take care of your body is crucial no matter what types of dance you do. The function and alignment of the spine is at the top of this list.

Under the artistic leadership of Nancy Evans Doede, Nancy Evans Dance Theatre (NEDT) has been producing and guest performing since 2009. NEDT is the resident dance company at Porticos Art Space in Pasadena, happily sharing the space with the acclaimed Arroyo Repertory Theatre and Pacific Opera Project. In its fourth season, the partnership has lent to the creation and support of an exciting repertoire for the company of six dancers, and has offered performance and collaborative opportunities to other locally and nationally based dance artists. “Gotta Dance” interviews Nancy about how this collaboration unfolded and how this partnership has created a strong platform for her potent dance company from Pasadena.

Thursday, 20 November 2014 09:32

Dancer Health: Hyperextension of the Knees

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In my bodywork practice, I rarely approach a day’s worth of clients in the same way. Recently, my schedule was booked full with a visiting dance company and for a week straight I worked on virtually the same issue amongst them all. The main focus of my therapy protocol was to treat the muscle imbalances related to hyperextension of the knees.

Monday, 13 October 2014 08:05

Dancer Health: Facts from your Feet

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Self-care comes into play once we are aware that we need it! Usually this comes from an injury or pain, or maybe a great instructor or director gives you a heads up about how to become a better you. Being detective-like and curious about health and wellness can lead you to some great discoveries.

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My dear readers, it is my great pleasure to share with you the work of my colleague and treasured friend, Amanda Hart. She is diversified and successful in the dance community, from studio teacher to choreographer to artistic director and beyond, and her passion for dance makes Los Angeles a better place to be an artist for us all. I hope her story inspires your own, as we can always learn from and lean on one another.

Thursday, 31 July 2014 14:10

Dancer Wellness: Warm-up Inspiration

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How does your warm-up support your goals as an artist? Do you have a different warm-up to meet the variety of physical demands you encounter or just one that does the trick? Have you spent much time creating different warm-ups for classes versus rehearsals, auditions versus performances? The reality is, your own warm-up could benefit you far more if you customize it to match your various activities and projects.

Tuesday, 08 July 2014 10:57

Dancer Health - A World of Resources

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Dancer Health – A World of Resources Unfolds at the Performing Arts Medicine Association’s Annual Symposium 2014

It was my great pleasure to travel to Snowmass, Colorado this past week to attend the Performing Arts Medicine Association’s 32nd Annual Symposium at the Snowmass Westin Conference Center. As an Allied Healthcare Member of this organization and a first time attendee to this yearly event, the pristine backdrop and collegial environment were inviting and beyond compare.

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Have you ever considered that all that “puling up” and “holding your center” could be causing you neck, back, chest, jaw or rib pain? Do you run out of breath easily? This may be caused by tension in your diaphragm.

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Kristi Tornga is a friend and colleague of mine from CalArts. She is an exceptionally talented artist, and it has been incredible to watch her professional progression. She left LA for the Big Apple in 2010, and realized her dreams by dancing with the Paul Taylor Dance Company this season, including performances at the infamous Lincoln Center. Kristi shares her experience as a modern dancer in NYC with NoHoArtsDistrict.com, providing a behind-the-scenes look at the contemporary dance side of the coin and what’s helped her along the way.

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The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) held an inaugural Dance and Wellness Intensive on March 20 and 21 on its campus in Valencia. The intensive was curated by the School of Dance administrators and faculty to provide their students with exposure to performing arts health professionals and wellness experts to compliment and balance the high level of training offered in technique, performance, choreography, and production. When I got the request to teach for the intensive, I was so excited to hear that my alma mater was joining the wellness wave and providing students with access to dancer health resources that I knew I had to cover the event for NoHoArtsDistrict.com.

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Melinda Sullivan is Doing it Right – an exclusive interview for Gotta Dance

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Melinda Sullivan is an inspirational performing artist in our community. You’ll recognize her from SYTYCD season 7, with a comeback on season 11 to perform in a duet with fellow tap dancer Aaron Turner. She earned a place on Dance Magazine’s top 25 to watch for 2013, and won Capezio’s prestigious A.C.E. Award in 2012. That winning entry, entitled "Gone,” debuted in expanded form in New York in August 2013. She continues to develop her many talents and interests as a dancer, singer, and actress, which have given her a broad platform for her performance opportunities and artistic enterprises. I am grateful to Melinda who eloquently shares her experiences and latest projects with NoHoArtsDostrict.com.

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KC: For our professionals and aspiring professionals out there, what can you share about the experience of working in the different mediums of stage, TV, and film? What’s lending to your success and how has that shaped how you prepare for a versatile career path?

MS: As a dancer, I am lucky to have a strong ballet and jazz foundation coupled with a passion for tap, more of a "niche" dance style. That has allowed me to be versatile while at the same time being unique. Also, dancing takes an incredible amount of mental focus. I'm thankful that I had that focus at an early age. The only way to push through the discipline and sometimes monotony of your technical training is to stay inspired. Look to the masters of your art form to get you to your next level. Read books, watch footage, listen to musical scores written for dance, etc.

Once dancing and performing become your job, you must seek balance between being an athlete, an artist, and a working professional. It can be tricky. Cross train and take care of your body, feed your soul with good art, and meet people in your field who you respect.

Most importantly, if you want to work in both LA and NY as a dancer, you ABSOLUTELY need to start singing and acting ASAP.

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KC: You’ve had several roles portraying characters that emulate turn-of-the-century to mid-century styles and settings. Tell us about your influences and what you’re bringing forward from these eras in some of these roles.

MS: Campfire Vaudeville is a song and dance experience that one of my best friends Galen Hooks created. She brought me on as a performer and choreographer, and last year we had a few live appearances around LA coupled with some really incredible video content that Galen executive produced (directed by Charles Oliver). Campfire Vaudeville pulls from a few decades, but definitely turn of the century culture. The project was based on these songs that Galen had written that are influenced by early folk/spirituals, and we thought sand dancing/hoofing would go well with that music. Both art forms are at the root of American jazz music and the original American jazz dance, aka tap dance. You can watch the video here.

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Then, by chance, I was referred to director Gilly Barnes for a video project as a part of a series called The Decade Series. It was a centennial film project for Vanity Fair. Gilly asked me to play a woman during the suffrage movement who had been imprisoned for marching to fight for women's voting rights. Gilly had done a lot of research and encouraged me to do the same. I am thankful for directors like Gilly who use dance to tell stories. In this case, the story was based on historical events, which made it even more powerful for me as the artist interpreting Gilly's direction and my choreography. The day of the shoot, the wardrobe department even had a vintage prison outfit that a woman had worn. It was a really incredible project to be a part of and the final edit was very powerful, as Gilly had another actor recite a letter that a marcher had written as well as footage from that time. You can watch the video here.

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Shakin' The Blues Away is the second collaboration between myself and director Dante Russo. One of my career goals is to be involved in a movie musical, whether it be in front of the camera or on the creative side. This piece was an ode to MGM musicals, where were the golden age for this genre. I looked at a lot of the footage from that time of the female tap dancers, and I kept coming back to Ann Miller's piece. She was fiery, confident, showy, over-the-top—the epitome of a Hollywood diva. The movement is really specific as well, and was a great challenge for me as a performer and choreographer. I rehearsed for several months on the piece before filming it and had to work mostly on my upper body. Ann's style was very angular, and her body was able to create these incredible pictures. I had to work a lot on clarity of my body lines in front of the mirror, over and over. Also, she was able to change directions on a dime. That was a big part of my rehearsal process as well. And turns! Lots and lots of turns. All that ballet training came to use for the long turn sequence at the end of the piece. That particular shot for the film was shot with a crane, and I think we did it like 26 times in a row. It was quite an athletic piece, but it really inspired me to keep working in that direction with my performance quality. In general, that style of dancing takes a huge amount of core strength, so your legs and arms can go anywhere while you are still over your legs, and the ability to perform BIG, facially and energetically. No one will ever dance like Ann, though. She is truly one of the greatest! You can watch the video here.

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KC: This summer your evening length show, Gone: A Sound and Theater Project, debuted at New York's Ailey Citigroup Theater. The reviews for both the choreography and music were fantastic! Will there be a restaging here in Los Angeles? What’s next for that production?

MS: Producing/choreographing/performing/writing Gone was such an incredible learning process. I literally got a taste of EVERYTHING: running my first audition, collaborating with a composer and director, assembling a lighting and sound designer, budgeting, fundraising, the list goes on. The performance in NY was part of the Capezio ACE Award Grant I received in the summer of 2012. Now that I don't have any deadlines, I have been taking my time to review the material and see what I would like to develop and change. I want to present a concert of my work here in Los Angeles in the coming months, and I would like to include excerpts of Gone in the evening. Nikos Syropoulos (composer of Gone) and I are continuing our collaboration and we are very excited about what we have learned from the process as well as what we will create next. You can watch a video rendition here.

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KC: Tell us about the Melinda Sullivan Dance Project and what you’re working on now.
MS: The Melinda Sullivan Dance Project was created underneath the umbrella of the Pasadena Arts Council. PAC has a program called "Emerge Projects", which incubates individual projects and emerging organizations, offering them the ability to seek funding through fiscal sponsorship. In order to produce Gone in NYC, I needed to raise $15,000 in addition to the grant money I received in order to cover costs of production, travel, dancers, musicians, sets, etc. Establishing MSDP with PAC allowed me to receive donations through Kickstarter and use their resources, knowledge, and administrative expertise to act as a non-profit.

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KC: Tell us about your work with the community and dance advocacy.MS: Teaching has become a big part of my life. I am constantly inspired by the students in my classes. When students are fearless, they can do anything! It is also fun seeing it click for people that as a tap dancer, you are a dancer AND a musician. As a teacher, class is the perfect place to play as a choreographer, and there’s nothing like watching the students bring your movement and rhythms to life. I teach regularly at The Colburn School in downtown Los Angeles, and I tour with New York City Dance Alliance. I've also had the opportunity to travel and work with students from around the world, in places such as Bogota, Colombia, Tapei, Taiwan, and Stockholm, Sweden. Tap dance is an oral tradition. My teachers passed down not steps and music but stories and artistry. I feel that it is my duty, as an artist and a student of such a wonderful cultural art form like tap dance, is to continue to share what I learned with as many people as I can.

Thank you Melinda! Follow her here.

Dancin Program

Well…..Well…..Well…..Here we are again! In my last installment I took you on a trip from the beginning of my career until my unleashing in Hollywood. Let’s just get right to it….shall we????

Lacy with Broadway Dance Center Prez  Director

Hmmm……where do I begin? Well, honestly I never really considered myself a dancer! I was born with unbridled energy, rhythm and passion in Brooklyn, New York to a very loving Family in very close quarters and not much income. What we lacked in finances was filled with support, encouragement, hope, dreams and discipline.

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