Meet Jordan Laza, Rising Backup Dancer Taking the Commercial Scene by Storm

February 23, 2023

Few commercial dancers have had an impact as broad and sudden as Jordan Laza’s. In 2021, her profile skyrocketed after she performed Nicole Kirkland’s choreography to Chris Brown’s “Under the Influence” in a viral class video, moving with such authority as to make Brown, seated, appear a supporting act. By the following year, the song had become a hit, despite being three years old—a development many have credited to Laza. Since then, she has danced backup for Doja Cat, Chloe Bailey and the “Savage x Fenty Show Vol. 4,” to name a few. Laza melds her varied training, which spans ballet, contemporary, hip hop and jazz, into a flavor all her own, commanding space with effortless strength and electrifying presence.

Age: 22

Hometown: Houston, Texas

Training: TopFlight Dance Center, Step It Up Senior Intensive, Millennium Dance Complex

Early days: In middle school, Laza was inspired to dance by watching the local high school drill team perform at halftime shows. “My mom talked to their moms, and they recommended dance studios in the area,” she says.

Turning point: At 15, Laza decided to pursue a professional dance career after successfully competing with a contemporary solo called “Animal,” choreographed by an influential teacher, Lenorris Arnold. “He is one of the reasons I have such a love for dance,” she says. “The way I move, my musicality, my style—his influence is still a large part of my dancing.”

female with blonde braids wearing a black t shirt with the words "Afro-Latine"
Jordan Laza. Photo by Lee Gumbs, Courtesy Laza.

Staying the course: In her mid-teens, Laza suffered extensive knee damage while onstage at a convention. Though she was told she might never fully recover, she was safely back in action five months after surgery with the help of her doctor, physical therapy, massage and dry needling. She gradually regained her technique through private lessons. “I went back to the foundation,” Laza says. At 18, she moved to Los Angeles to pursue her dream.

Limitless potential: “She can do anything,” says choreographer Nicole Kirkland, who is Laza’s mentor. “She’ll deliver it every single time, and she’ll try something even if she’s not sure if she can. She also has such story-driven eyes, and she’s perfected getting her audience into her dancing through them.”

Stage magnetism: For Laza, who’s also performed with Addison Rae, Rihanna and Nicki Minaj, instinct is key. “Sometimes, I feel so deeply in how I move and hear the music that I end up hitting certain marks or tones, and I don’t even remember doing it,” she says. “I still struggle with getting out of my own head, but putting yourself forward 110 percent and unapologetically is the best. When you’re embodying what you’re feeling, it’s a language you can speak anywhere.”

Future plans: “I want to become a quadruple threat: dancer, model, singer and actress,” says Laza. She is well on her way after appearing in last year’s The Hip Hop Nutcracker on Disney+. “One day, you will either see me on the big screen or hear me on the radio.”