Courtesy of Fox

Laurieann Gibson Shares Her Tips for "So You Think You Can Dance" Contestants

Although she choreographed on early seasons of "So You Think You Can Dance," Laurieann Gibson hasn't watched the show all that much in the past decade. But when she got the call asking her to be a judge this season, she didn't hesitate to say yes.

"To be able to inspire a younger version of myself, I was like, Sign me up!" she says. (And then she promptly did her homework, catching up on all the episodes from the past couple of years.)


Gibson made her name choreographing on today's hottest pop stars like Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé. However, it's not celebrities, but fellow dancers who are her "tribe," as she puts it.

"I'm still a dancer, I'm still a working choreographer. I've danced not just hip hop, but trained in tap, ballet, modern and I've had my little share of ballroom," she says. "Obviously, 'So You Think You Can Dance' is of the dancers, for the dancers. I'm so excited to get to speak directly to my community."

Dominic "D-Trix" Sandoval and Laureiann Gibson high five on a So You Think You Can Dance set

Gibson and Dominic "D-Trix" Sandoval are both new judges this season.

Courtesy of Fox

So what is she looking for in contestants?

"Hunger, passion, humility, work ethic, a love for the art form," she says. "After you do the steps, hit the choreography, there's something about the ability to dance, regardless of the style or choreography, that I'm looking for."

So far, she says she's been shocked by not only how great the talent is, but how hungry the dancers are. "The most challenging thing for me is saying 'No.' But you never really say 'No.' You just say, 'This may not be the time, but keep fighting because there's a time for everyone to see their dreams fulfilled.' "

Her best advice for competitors? "Dance like it's your last day every time you hit that stage."

Latest Posts


TaraMarie Perri in tree pose at Storm King Art Center. Photo by Sophie Kuller, Courtesy Perri

5 Self-Soothing Exercises You Can Do to Calm Your Anxiety

Physical stillness can be one of the hardest things to master in dance. But stillness in the bigger sense—like when your career and life are on hold—goes against every dancers' natural instincts.

"Dancers are less comfortable with stillness and change than most," says TaraMarie Perri, founder and director of Perri Institute for Mind and Body and Mind Body Dancer. "Through daily discipline, we are trained to move through space and are attracted to forward momentum. Simply put, dancers are far more comfortable when they have a sense of control over the movements and when life is 'in action.' "

To regain that sense of control, and soothe some of the anxiety most of us are feeling right now, it helps to do what we know best: Get back into our bodies. Certain movements and shapes can help ground us, calm our nervous system and bring us into the present.

GO DEEPER SHOW LESS