Cheryl Fox, courtesy W Publishing

Laurieann Gibson's New Book Is the Blueprint Dancers Need to Achieve Their Dreams

Emmy-nominated choreographer, director, producer and now author Laurieann Gibson proclaims she's an "unstoppable" force, and it shows. After taking a bus to New York City as a young dancer to train at The Ailey School, Gibson climbed her way to the top of the dance, film and television industries, choreographing and directing world tours for icons like Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj. Now, with the release of her first book, Dance Your Dance: 8 Steps to Unleash Your Passion and Live Your Dream, Gibson—a 2020 Dance Magazine Award honoree—uses her story to inspire dancers on their own journeys of harnessing their unique gifts.

To celebrate the release of Dance Your Dance, Gibson took to our Instagram for a live masterclass and Q&A with Dance Magazine editor in chief Jennifer Stahl.

Daring to Dream

The first of Dance Your Dance's eight steps is "Dare to dream." Gibson explains, "It's a risk, and a daring feeling to believe that small voice inside saying you can do something. But once you accept that voice and take that dare, I begin to help you understand how to be confident in it."

In her book, Gibson warns that other people are almost guaranteed to have different opinions about what your dreams should look like—she labels these people "dream killers." But when it comes to achieving your goals, Gibson says "you have to choose your passion over someone's opinion."

Finding Your Team

In the ultra-wise words of Gibson: "Don't stay where your eight counts aren't celebrated." In Dance Your Dance, Gibson candidly opens up about her experiences walking away from high-profile jobs where she felt disrespected, and the importance of dancers surrounding themselves with people they can trust.

"You're constantly being told how great others are, but this book is a road map to how great you are," she says. "You cannot force anyone to love you the way you know you love your gift and the vision you have for yourself. And if they don't see it, they're not meant to see it, but someone else is."

Moving on from Missteps

When it comes to failures, or times that the journey doesn't proceed as planned, Gibson encourages dancers to embrace their mistakes for revealing more about who they are, rather than what they're not. She puts it this way: "I used to développé at 45 degrees like no one's business. But if I constantly felt like I couldn't get my leg high enough, I wouldn't have become the visionary I am today." As Gibson details in Dance Your Dance, mistakes equal progress, and progress brings dancers closer to becoming who they're truly meant to be.

Missed us live? Check out the full Q&A on our Instagram, and order your copy of Dance Your Dance: 8 Steps to Unleash Your Passion and Live Your Dream.

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Friday Film Break: Kyle Abraham's "When We Fell" for New York City Ballet

For his third work on New York City Ballet, choreographer Kyle Abraham has created a quietly haunting new dance film called "When We Fell." Abraham told Roslyn Sulcas of The New York Times that a peaceful winter residency at Kaatsbaan Cultural Park deeply influenced the material, and it shows in the work's spare beauty and elegant sense of calm.

Available for free as part of NYCB's digital season until April 22, the film was co-directed by cinematographer Ryan Marie Helfant. The cast includes India Bradley, Jonathan Fahoury, Christopher Grant, Claire Kretzschmar, Lauren Lovette, Taylor Stanley, KJ Takahashi and Sebastian Villarini-Velez.

February 2021