She is a breath of fresh air within the world of dance and so passionate she puts the boom in kack! VMA Award and Emmy nominated creative director and celebrity choreographer Laurieann Gibson has broken boundaries and set the bar so high that there are very few that can reach her level.
She eats, breathes and sleeps dance and has recently taken time out of her consistently busy schedule to give back to communities by sharing her passion with young female dancers aspiring to make it. ‘Born to Dance’, is Laurie’s new reality TV show – if you enjoyed E! Entertainment’s Dance Scene you will adore BET’s ‘Born To Dance’, where she gives emerging dancers the opportunity to fulfil their dreams.
Originally from Toronto, Canada Laurie’s life tells the magical story of a young girl with big dreams, who embarked on a greyhound bus journey to The Big Apple at just 17 to share her talent with the US entertainment industry – and she has never looked back. Having studied at the prestigious Alvin Ailey Dance Company, Laurieann initially trained as a classical dancer and then made the transition from traditional theatre dance to Hip-hop.
Many will remember how she rose to public prominence and stardom, vigorously training MTV ‘Making the Band’ groups Danity Kane and Day 26 hired by Rap mogul P Diddy and becoming Director of Choreography at Bad Boy Records. Miss Gibson also famously appeared in and choreographed hit film ‘Honey’ starring Jessica Alba, a film which is infact based on her life.
She has worked with some of the biggest talents of our generation from Michael and Janet Jackson, Beyonce, Brandy, JoJo, Cassie, Keri Hilson, Mary J. Blige and Lady Gaga to name but a few. She’s a beast when it comes to her profession and leaves no room for half hearted dance instructing – with a persona and wisdom which inspires every person she collaborates with.
Tell us more about your BET Show Born to Dance, what are you most excited about?
It’s very different from the E! Show [Dance Scene] it’s very different from ANY OTHER dance show. It’s not scripted, it’s about aiming for your dream and providing hope. One girl, $50,000 dollars, putting her in the professional world.. it’s a completely different approach – a REAL approach. It’s really well produced and it’s an inspiration to anybody who’s fighting for a dream or going for something that’s challenging or difficult. It’s also good for anyone who needs to be reminded about how great they are – it’s a really powerful show…
Who are your favourite artists?
[Mimics British accent] Michael, Diana Ross, Janet Jackson, Rick James. I have all of those as favourites. Diana Ross, Prince… and I love my Chris Brown! I guess I should say Lady Gaga – we collaborated from the beginning. Amazing! My little angel! And Kelly Rowland, I love my baby!
How hard was it for you to make it in the industry?
Unfortunately it was very difficult and challenging and I had many doors closed. I was born and raised in Toronto Canada, so I had to come over to the United States on a greyhound bus. There were challenges growing up in Toronto, and coming to the United States I faced challenges culturally and legally. A lot of doors closed because I wasn’t a follower, I didn’t really play the political games, I wasn’t particularly popular cos I wasn’t running with the in crowd. I just really believed that inside of me there was something that was enough – where I didn’t have to do it the way people wanted me to do it. I was born to dance!
Who was the first dancer that made you say – ‘Wow, I gotta do that!’?
It was Diana Ross. There’s something in her that is in me. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough!
And when I saw the Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre I knew that I had to go there, that’s what I was feeling inside. Gregory Hines; he is the other side to my inspiration..
Flavour Mag loves a strong independent woman. What would you say your key to success is?
I honestly understand and know without that a shadow of doubt that my key to success is the fact that I am a believer and that I serve Almighty God. As a Christian I am really empowered to understand without any judgement that God is at the forefront of life, a lot of people don’t really understand what that means and there’s so much confusion when it comes to understanding. It’s simple, I’m humble and I’m blessed and it’s really about using my gift to ultimately help other people.
The best dancer of all time is..?
Me? [Laughs!] There are many amazing dancers of all time but the thing is – there’s something special about Baryshnikov, The Nicholas Brothers, Michael Jackson, there’s something amazing about Gregory Hines, Alvin Ailey. All of these people are incredible because we have the same gift. There is a level of execution where no one’s better than anyone its just understanding how to execute at the best of your ability and believing in your talent and THAT makes you the most amazing dancer of all time.
What’s on your iPod?
I’m listening to Machine Gun Kelly, Puff Daddy’s new artist, Ricky Ross, Marry the Night, [Lady Gaga] 123 and Marvin Winans latest album.
Do you have a strict diet regime, and on the flip side an occasional food weakness?
Yes every day I have a food craving weakness! It would be in the form of pizza, McDonalds, chocolate and hot dogs! I love food and it’s difficult on many levels! It’s difficult for women, I’m speaking on behalf of women with the figures and the dieting, and I join everyone in the fight – and just balance. Carbohydrates! Stay away from them and those white sugars..
Your tweets are so inspiring, what’s your advice for young dancers?
Just really keep fighting, and do not give up – really know that I came from great parents that allowed me to believe in my dream, I wasn’t financially secure, I didn’t have a famous last name, I took that greyhound bus, some like me, some people STILL don’t like me, they laugh at me.
The envious haters?
I know, but they need to know… A lot of people are afraid to tell the truth. Some artists get to that place and they’re like ‘I’m this, I’m that I’m a genius!’ They don’t make you believe in YOU. It’s not good enough. We are all capable.
Born To Dance: Laurieann Gibson airs Wednesdays at 10.00pm (BET Sky Channel 191 and Freesat 140)
Keep up with Laurieann Gibson at: www.twitter.com/BOOMKACK and www.boomkack.com
Interview by Kemi Giwa