Be Seen on the L.A. Scene

February 23, 2009



Where you’ve seen her work:
As long-time associate choreographer to Marguerite Derricks, you’ve seen Jennifer Hamilton’s footprint on movies like the Austin Powers trilogy, Little Miss Sunshine, Spider-Man 3, and the upcoming Fame remake. She’s also worked on Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity, music videos for Lenny Kravitz and Red Hot Chili Peppers, and commercials for Pepsi and Gap.

In her words:
“When I teach class, I’m always tuned in to dancers who exhibit good attitudes along with great technique. Choreographers want to work with those who dress appropriately, can listen and take direction, and aren’t late or lazy.”

On keeping it real:
“When you come to Los Angeles, you have to be real about who you are. For instance, I’m an athletic dancer, so there’s no way I’ll get a ballet job. Dancers need to understand the type of performer they are and know what they bring to the table.”




Where you’ve seen her work:
She has found big success choreographing for the big screen, most recently on films such as Four Christmases, Confessions of a Shopaholic, The Spirit, and Ang Lee’s upcoming Taking Woodstock. She’s also choreographed music videos for Wil.I.Am and Beirut, as well as commercials for McDonalds, Pepsi, and Target.

In her words:
“Observe the power in the room and how the choreographer interacts with the director and crew. Learn what aspects as a dancer make you most useful to a


On dancing gratis:
“Lots of dancers do The Carnival: Choreographer’s Ball, a monthly L.A. event, as a way to showcase their talent (see “Dance Matters,” March 2008). It’s about putting yourself in the fray; you get out there and let people see you.”  




Where you’ve seen her work:
Her choreography resumé reads like a rundown of Divas Live: Madonna, Gloria Estefan, Jennifer Lopez, and Cher—not to mention divas-in-training like Hilary Duff. Other credits include the Latin Grammys and American Music Awards, as well as the movie Spanglish. Imperio also runs the Los Angeles–based company Instincts Live Media Dance.

In her words:
“If you can find a choreographer who will take you under his or her wing, it’s the best way to learn the ropes as a dancer. It opens up so many doors because once a choreographer knows how you work, it’s not uncommon for them to recommend you to other choreographers.”

On getting noticed:
“Go to the hot spots and get yourself front and center. It doesn’t help if you take class in the back corner; you can’t be a sheep among a pack of wolves. There are a lot of people going after the same opportunities. At the end of the day, it goes to the one who wants it more.” 




Where you’ve seen his work:
As a featured choreographer on So You Think You Can Dance, Tyce Diorio has become a household name among the show’s rabid fans. He’s also well known in dance circles for his extensive work on Broadway, his music video choreography for Paula Abdul’s “Dance Like There’s No Tomorrow,” and his private lessons with celebrities like Katie Holmes and Tobey Maguire.

In his words:
“You need to have a plan of action: which agencies to target, what classes to take, what jobs and styles you’ll pursue. Dancers have to be in it for the long haul. I’m guessing that today’s generation of dancers want a quick path to success, but that’s not really logical.”

On rejection:
“Trying to figure out why you didn’t get a job is like trying to catch air—don’t look at the door that is shutting because you won’t see the door that is open!”



Photo: (top to bottom) Michael Higgins, Courtesy Jen Hamilton; Glen Campbell, Courtesy Jansen; Joe Toreno, Courtesy Dance Teacher; Toreno/DT