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Competition

How to Assist at a Dance Convention

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I am in an airport heading to the first Hollywood Vibe in St. Louis. I am so excited to see everyone again and begin the tour as Dancer of the Year. My dad and I had a conversation in the United Club lounge in San Francisco about the differences between this year and the last time I won dancer of the year. It inspired me to write this post because there is no manual for assisting or the other things that you do as a company member or DOTY for a convention. In some small way, you may want to use this as a guide.

Icon of the yearFirst of all, when I won Icon of the Year for Hollywood Connection, I was not really going for it. It was my second year on the competition team and my first year doing solos. My solo, Whatcha Want placed first place in San Jose that year and I won regional Icon of the Year runner up. I really had no expectation to win Dancer of the Year. I just went to Nationals and worked my but off and did the best job I could. I nearly peed my pants at the awards banquet when they called my name. It was a total shock. I was 9 years old at the time, and I toured with Hollywood Connection the next year and assisted in the junior room on stage in about 5 or 6 cities

That same year, I won regional Dancer of the Year for Hollywood Vibe and was invited to join Team Hollywood Vibe. Team Hollywood vibe members assist teachers. It also qualified me for Dancer of the Year. Last year at Nationals, after touring 4 or 5 cities with team Hollywood Vibe, I was fortunate enough to be selected as Dancer of the Year. This was totally different than Hollywood Connection. I wanted it. I knew that I would need to work really hard at home and at convention to elevate my skills to be a contender. It was my goal. Competition was fierce and I fought my emotions and doubt with courage and dedication. In truth, becoming a finalist would have been good enough. I don’t really know how they pick a winner when it is down to a few dancers. I can tell you that the other girls definitely were as good if not better than me in so many ways. It was a toss-up and I am grateful that I got it.

Convention as Dancer of the Year is a totally different experience. I do not compete, but I run my solo in each city. I will also be in the team Hollywood Vibe company dances. All of the company members are sent a video of the dance a week in advance and we learn it on our own. This is a really important skill to pick up. As a professional dancer, I am often sent video footage of a dance to learn in advance of rehearsal. We need to have the skills to learn a dance so that rehearsal is more about cleaning than teaching.

My dad asked me about the pressure I feel as DOTY. He wanted to know if it is harder to dance on stage in front of everyone versus being on the floor learning. The answer is “it depends on the choreographer,” and “it depends on what you are doing.” When you are learning the 8 counts, it is important that you focus on the movement and the timing so the dancers on the floor have a clear understanding of the choreography, especially if the choreographer doesn’t dance it. You need to rely on your body for technique. I try to go more full out when the dance is being taught, and less full out when running groups. Here is the idea. When the dance is being taught, they should be looking at the teacher and assistant on stage going full out. That is how you learn. But when running groups, the class should be going full out and we are there to give them the queues when they need it. I go at about 70 or 80 percent during groups and focus on accenting the details of the dance.

If you are assisting for the first time, feel free to DM me on Instagram with questions. I wish I would had a guide my first time. I was scared and uncertain and it would have helped to learn from someone that has been there before.

Summer 5 – Summer Ends School Begins and Some Big News

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If you missed the other posts in this series, you may want to go back and start at the beginning.

Summer 1 – LA Sparks and Trip To New York

Summer 2-  Hollywood Vibe DOTY and Team Larkles

Summer 3 – Leaving Las Vegas

Summer 4 – Dancer Palooza and BuildaBEAST Experience

While all of this was going on, a few other things happened. My work on the Voice put me over the limit on being a non-Union dancer. So at the beginning of the year I was invited to join the Screen Actors Guild. It is a great organization that really does a lot to make sure that professional actors and dancers are paid a minimum living wage of at least $250 per day.

BTB Management GroupI was signed by BTB Management and am now blessed to be managed by Nelson Diaz. No more momager or dadager! Not that my parents did not do an excellent job….. BTB manages many of the top dancers and actors in America. I am a long way from their experience, talent, and fame – but I am working on it. Nelson and the entire team at BTB are great to work with. He is always looking out for all of us and guiding our growth while he develops opportunities. My parents need the break anyway. They have their own work to do. PS – I now call Nelson’s wife Aunt Mary – that’s what it’s like!

 

 

MSA AgencyA component of getting a manager was that I switched from Clear Talent to MSA. This had nothing to do with anything related to Clear Talent. They were instrumental to all of my success the past few years and I would highly recommend them as anyone’s agent. @ShaynaBrouillard was fantastic and I love her.

The dance department there is top notch and they represent many of my friends who are super successful. Switching agencies is not like getting a divorce, but it is certainly a change. Everyone at MSA has been great so far and I look forward to being with MSA for a long time.

Somewhere in here I missed that I did a job for Nickelodeon and was featured on the front page of the San Luis Obispo Tribune. Both of these were lifetime firsts for me. I tried to put a lot of stuff on my Youtube page and on Instagram. If you scroll through those, you will see more. I was also selected to be a Sadie Jane ambassador. Along with Divina, they have some of the best dancewear.

I hope I am not forgetting anything. I certainly did not mention everyone that I spent time with this summer. But, I have been writing this post for days and it seems like this series will never end. This is like a short novel.

Skrillex_Scary_Monsters_-_David_Moore_Choreography_Mix___Sparkles_Lund___Friends_-_YouTubeStay tuned for some cool releases on my YouTube channel. I was the host for the season the Behind the Scenes shooting of #immaBEAST year three video. We are also shot a new hip hop video for the amazing David Moore. I have been rehearsing with my super talented friends, Tahani Anderson and my semi-twin pal, Kaycee Rice for a VH1 live show choreographed by Janelle Ginestra. We were Barbie dancers! Check it out https://youtu.be/nFVzWHxnbT8

Brand_New_Sound___Barbie_Soundtrack___Janelle_Ginestra_Dance_Choreography_-_YouTube

On the home studio front, I have been taking ballet classes at a new studio called Movement Arts Center in San Luis Obispo.  Big News is that Dellos Performing Arts Center is moving to a brand new studio! Can’t wait for another great season with my #DPACfam.

If you missed the other posts in this series, you may want to go back and start at the beginning.

Summer 1 – LA Sparks and Trip To New York

Summer 2-  Hollywood Vibe DOTY and Team Larkles

Summer 3 – Leaving Las Vegas

Summer 4 – Dancer Palooza and BuildaBEAST Experience

This is my first 5 post series. I hope you liked it! Stay tuned for more.

Summer 2- Hollywood Vibe DOTY and Team Larkles

By | Competition, Convention, Dance | One Comment

If you missed the first posts in this series, go back to the beginning.

Summer 1 – LA Sparks and Trip To New York

If you read my blog regularly, I won Regional Dancer of the Year for Hollywood Vibe. It is a huge honor to be selected by the Hollywood Vibe faculty as the top dancer of the weekend, but moreover it qualified me to compete for the National Dancer of the Year during Hollywood Vibe’s Nationals Competition.

Hollywood Vibe held their week-long Nationals in LA and the talent and competition was fierce. It was not really a drama, but emotions ran high. I loved dancing with so many friends from around the Nation, like one of my besties, Leah Roga from Phoenix.  Just for fun, our parents had #teamlarkles#TeamLarkles shirts made for us since we plan to spend many weeks together, and #TeamLarkles was born!  I tried to work as hard as I could so that I could dance well and show the teachers at the convention that I was deserving of the title National Dancer of the Year. I woke up my mom at 5:30 each morning to help me get ready so I could be there way before our call time 7:00 am. Liz Imperio, creative director of Hollywood Vibe taught me a lesson that I try to live by. She said that if your call time is 7:00 then 6:45 is “on time”.  If you want to be early you need to be there at 6:30 am.  I do my best to follow this rule whenever I am headed to a rehearsal or audition.

At the end of the week, they called up the top 5 dancers to the stage.  Then they announced the top 2 dancers in my Intermediate category to do a dance off. I made the top 2 list and it was very nerve racking, but exciting at the same time.  The next morning the two of us got to dance for all of the judges at the event and a large audience.  They didn’t tell us who won the award until the awards show that evening.

At the end of the night, I was the last dancer standing and was awarded the Hollywood Vibe National Dancer of the Year! There were so many dancers deserving of the title that it was a shock to win!

This year I am planning to go to as many Hollywood Vibe conventions as possible. It is a great honor to represent them. #TeamLarkles almost doubled up. Leah Roga was a finalist in Teens and won top solo overall. Her competition was REALLY competitive.  The Teen Dancer of the Year went to one of my immaBEAST teammates – Trinity Inay. She is a super sweet girl and a great dancer.  We got to know each other earlier this year when we  worked together on Dancing With The Stars (see video https://youtu.be/xQkAPpxDQB0?list=PLYVO53t5xTKUnxykgAK8wq_Qz88ujzrH6

).

Hollywood Vibe is my second National Championship as a dancer. The first came three years ago at Hollywood Connection; they call their national prize ICON of the Year. Here’s a little known fact for you.  Hailee Paine, one of the top 4 finalists on So You Think You Can Dance also won the Senior title of Icon of the Year at the same competition.  I absolutely love her!  She’s an amazing dancer and one of the nicest people in the world!  I was sad that she did not win SYTYCD, but getting to the final two for Team Stage is a huge accomplishment. She really shined as a versatile dancer, often outperforming many of the Team Street dancers in Hip Hop pieces. Amazing, right?  I’m so excited to see where her career is going to go from here!

Pulse Las VegasAfter Hollywood Vibe the #TeamLarkles tour continued at The Pulse on Tour in Las Vegas. We literally left the awards at HV Nationals and drove ALL through the night to get to Vegas. The Stutts family followed with us (shout out to Hannah and Pate). We did not get to perform in the showcase because we missed Friday, but the rest of the weekend was amazing – lots of friends and great training. A bunch of my friends including Leah became Pulse Protégé, which is a huge honor, but not me. Maybe I will win next time. You just never know. I really appreciate winning scholarships that have allowed us to continue going to Pulse in the future. The faculty, staff, and dancers go full out. It is a great place to learn and train. I am always exhausted when I leave. FYI, Bally’s Las Vegas is a dumpy hotel ☹

Be sure to check out the first post in this series

Summer 1 – LA Sparks and Trip To New York

Subscribe to see the next post –  Summer 3 – Leaving Las Vegas

DOTY Hollywood Vibe Regional

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I am writing this from Hollywood Vibe in Phoenix. This is my last city on Team Hollywood Vibe. Since we are only allowed to dance in the competition in our home city, there is time to chill at night and do homework or get caught up on my blog. Before I get started – you may recall that I am on @willdaBEAST #immaBEAST team. They are holding the audition July 28th – August 1st. You train for a week then comes the Audition on the last day. Using the code lund5 you can get a discount. Sign up here http://www.immabeast.co/buildabeast

As you know if you are a kid, the last month was brutal with the end of the quarter in school. Gotta keep those grades up! It gets harder and harder to juggle school, comp, training, and work. I guess that I should put it in the order of work, school, comp, training. When you book a job or have an audition, the best laid plans for the day or week go right out the door. Know what I am talking about? Somewhere on that list is keeping up with my blog, which becomes harder and harder to do. Hard work pays off though – Grades came in great and I was awarded Regional Dancer of the Year in Northern California (San Francisco) for the second year running at Hollywood Vibe! A huge hug goes out to the Hollywood Vibe faculty, especially Liz Imperio for all of their training and encouragement. My DPAC family are my roots and I love each and everyone for how they have trained me for this. So blessed! #DPACStrong

Sparkels Lund for TargetLast month was a whirlwind. If you have been following me on Instagram, you know what I am talking about.

I did this industrial shoot for Target – It was super fun to work alongside my friend Charlize Glass.  She ran the shoot ahead of me so it was great to watch her do her magic and build my confidence. She is such a pro. #goals.

Industrials are pretty interesting. It is pretty much “backfill work” for dancers. There is no audition, they pick you from your head shots and the photos and videos are used for pitching marketing programs. Sometimes, if they love you – you can direct book a national commercial from these. Wouldn’t that be nice?

I really did not understand the crossover between dancers and models. I know from the work that I did last year for Macy’s and for Otis School of Design that dance adds magic to the runway, but I am surprised by the amount of work that dancers get in print just because they are fit and healthy looking. Shout out to my supporters including Divina Dancewear, D2I skullies, Sugar & Bruno, and Sadie Jane. Seriously, as much time as I spend dancing, this gear comes in handy. Happy for the merch love.

OpportunityEarlier this season I started out working with the amazing Jillian Clark on a piece called Diamonds – Musical Theatre – great results – love that. Secondly, I have been working with Keara Blake Bolland on a lyrical piece called Opportunity. It is to a song that I fell in love with through the whole Annie Movie/Dancing with the Stars bit from last year. The music and the choreography fell together perfectly for what I want to do as a dancer.  More great results! Love that too. I have been working really hard with my two favorite red heads –  Juliana Keller and Taylor Costa on our lyrical trio. Hollywood Vibe was a break our performance for that number. I can’t wait to perform it again. It is so close to being epic! What a journey we have had so far. Next, I am working to pull together a hip hop piece. It is getting close.

@vyraldancetour - #immaBEASTApril hit with a bang! I was able to work with @willdaBEAST, @janelleginestra, and @antionetroupe at @vyraldancetour. It was a special day hosted by Nor Cal Dance – I came out of it stronger with an unbelievable addiction to Janelle Ginestra’s choreography. It hits hard but is still girly. Here is the YouTube video – the first one from our dance studio built in the garage. Hope you like it.

 

 

LADM Michael Dameski and Sparkles Lund

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Taylor Costa, Juliana Keller, and MeLast weekend, I traveled to L.A. once again for LADM, or LA Dance Magic for those who have never heard of it. I went with some people from my studio who also won scholarships last year, and I also saw a lot of my friends from other conventions. I performed my musical theatre solo, Diamonds – but it was for exhibition only. Juliana Juju Keller, Taylor Costa, and I also performed our trio and were awarded a platinum. The judges give us great critiques of things we need to work on.

As always – @austindoodle on instagram stole the show. I think every person there took a turn at petting him!

Jackie Sleight with my mom and dadLADM is ran by Jackie Sleight, who choreographed the Otis Parson’s School of Design fashion show that I participated in last year, and will be participating in again this year. I loved the experience, and can’t wait to do it again! If you want to look at the story I wrote last year about it, here is the link http://sparkleslund.com/?p=333. Anyways, back to LADM.

The faculty includes amazing choreographers like DJ Guthrie, Christian Vincent, Albert Cattafi, Eddie Moody, Will Thomas, and Ayodele Casel. This LADM was especially amazing because Michael Dameski, winner of So You Think You Can Dance: Australia, was guest teaching with Will Thomas. Will was also on So You Think You Can Dance, so together, they taught a class called, “We Know You Can Dance” which I thought was pretty clever. I met Michael last summer at Dancer Palooza during Mandy Moore’s class and was amazed my his phenomenal dancing. Hence, I was so excited to find out I was going to get to take class from him instead of with him. He additionally performed a solo at the closing show that blew my mind.

The scholarship audition was on Sunday morning. I felt good about my performance, and apparently, the judges did too! I ended up winning a scholarship! Looking forward to attending a lot of LADMs next year.

Here is a video of Michael Dameski – I am a fan, for sure!

Try Try Again

By | Competition, School | One Comment

firstplace hollywood connectionWhen I was in 5th grade, I had a PE teacher who shall not be named. From 1st grade to 6th grade, my school did the Presidential Fitness test, and I always go the highest award. Dance strengthens your whole body which helped me accomplish this level of fitness. Funny story: one time I forgot my running shoes, so I ran the mile in my Uggs, and still managed to set the school record.

Have you ever had a teacher that just doesn’t understand you? I had one of those in 5th grade. If you know me, you understand that I’m a year ahead in school, and that I’m fun sized. Translation: short. I try to make up for my vertical struggles with a strong dose of what my grandma calls tenacity. As you can imagine, my physique is not well suited for volleyball. I tried my hardest, but I did not have enough strength to serve the volleyball over the net. Because of that, I got the only B+ in my entire life. Not to worry, I made up for it and finished the year with an A.

Although, I’ll never forgive that teacher for the way he treated me. I wonder if he treats handicapped people the same way? Clearly I am not handicapped in the traditional way, but certain sports that require certain physical attributes like height handicap me. I guess that I though that the teacher would take that into consideration. Oh well. Try, try again.

This year, I’ve been doing great in PE, but was really stressed out about the volleyball unit based upon my earlier experience. I dedicated myself to working as hard as I possibly could. I still cannot muster the strength to serve the ball over the net, but I made up for it in other ways and kept and A+ in the class.

I am most proud of this part. Our teacher gives an award called PE’s Best every unit. The award recognizes kids that are working really hard in PE. This year, I’m very proud to say that I was given that award during the volleyball unit! Now I get a new t-shirt to wear in PE. Yay! The moral of the story is if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. And, expect that from time to time, you will be judged unfairly. Just accept it , and move on.

This weekend, our DPAC dance team competed at Hollywood Connection. We did really well, but there were a few dances that did not score has high as I would have expected. I love my DPAC team, and I am sure that everyone will be dedicated to working hard to reach our potential. The important part is that we shake off the under-scored dances. There is always room for improvement.

I did muster a 1st Place Platinum in my solo, Diamonds – choreographed by Jill Clark. We had a bunch of first place scores in groups. Mama – our lyrical choreographed by Mrs. Tahirih Ellison. Shout out to Trevor Quesada who scored Titanium in his solo and the boys small group hip-hop that also scored Titanium. We can do this!

It was great to see my Hollywood Connection family again. The faculty is absolutely amazing. They gave me my break as a professional dancer and I will always be grateful for their continued support. I had to leave for a Meghan Trainor audition on Saturday morning and missed a few classes. They were really accommodating, #blessed.

Hollywood Vibe Pittsburgh

By | Competition, Convention, Travel | No Comments

Hollywood Vibe PittsburghThis weekend I will be attending Hollywood Vibe Pittsburgh. I am especially excited because it will be my fist city as a company member. I am so grateful for this opportunity, and would like to especially say thanks to Chris and Anne Smith, as well as creative director, Liz Imperio. I am looking forward to working with the entire Hollywood Vibe faculty, such as Caitlin Kinney, Kevin Maher, Allison Holker, Mark Kanemura, Kent Boyd, Kayla Kalbfleisch, Ryan Lohoff, David Moore, and Adrian Lee.

Being a Hollywood Vibe company member (full list of company members here) means taking on more responsibility, both as a dancer and as a person. If you know anything about Liz Imperio, creative director of Hollywood Vibe, you would know that Breaking Barriers is the most important thing in her life. Breaking Barriers is Liz’s new program that helps dancers accomplish greatness in their lives. Liz has helped me develop the confidence to push my self as a dancer. All of us on Hollywood Vibe Company have the responsibility to strive for our own success, but more importantly the success of the dancers attending the convention.

If you’ve known me for a while, you know that I toured with Hollywood Connection as their Dancer of the Year. It gave me a chance to dance all over the country and meet dancers from a bunch of cities. Many of those dancers are some of my best friends today at auditions, and I’m sure will be friends of mine forever. Also, many of the Hollywood Connection faculty that have helped me with my training, are those I met at Hollywood Connection. People like Bonnie Story, Laura King Lindsley Allen, Brooklyn Jai, Chonique Sneed, Gigi Torres and Robert Schultz continue to have an amazing impact and influence on my dance and my life. I look forward to creating these relationships with the Hollywood Vibe faculty, as well as my fellow company members.

I’m not sure which other Hollywood Vibe company members are going to Pittsburgh, other than one of my best friends, Juliana Keller. Juju and I attend school together, as well as train at Dellos Performing Arts Center. She is an inspiration to me as a dancer, a person and an actor. I hope to become just as close with all the rest of the Hollywood Vibe Company. See you there! Leave a comment below if you’re going to Pittsburgh or any other Hollywood Vibe city this year.

Willdabeast Solo Fun

By | Competition, Dance, Friends, Travel | No Comments

Solos are the second part of the new dances that I am learning for this year’s dance season. We already learned our group dances. I am doing fewer group dances than last year because of auditions, #lilBEAST rehearsals, and hopefully……jobs! I could not resist teen lyrical with choreography by Tahirih Ellison; teen large open with choreography by Katie Schofield; junior hip-hop with choreography by Re’Sean Pates (Glee); and teen large jazz, also by Re’Sean Pates. I am super excited about the trio I am doing with dancers Juliana Keller and Taylor Costa with choreography by Keara Blake.

On Wednesday, I learned a brand new solo with one of my favorite choreographers, Will “Willdabeast” Adams. Just so you understand how I manage school, dance and auditions, here is the story of my day.

First, I traveled to Harloe, a local elementary school to dance for a program called Red Ribbon Week. Red Ribbon Week is a drug and alcohol abuse prevention program. Our studio performs at many elementary schools to show how many great things you can do instead of drugs, like dance! Unfortunately, I only got to do the first school because I had to go to LA for an audition. On the way there, I did all of my homework during the three-hour drive.

Once we got to LA, I had an audition for a secret project that I can’t tell you about. I made it through the first round, but then got cut. I only book about one out of every ten auditions, so I don’t really get upset about not being picked. One of my friends Simone got picked, maybe some others too – so I am happy for them. Besides, I was so excited to work with WilldaBeast on a new solo!

Once the audition was over, my mom drove me to Nappytabs, which is a rentable studio as well as a very popular clothing store. When I entered the room, Will got started on my solo right away, with his assistant Deanna Jenkins. Deanna taught me the first section of it, which was really hype and fun, and I absolutely loved it! It took me a while to get the choreography though, because it was very fast. After I learned that section, Will taught me another section that was slower and calm, but still really challenging and fun to learn. We worked together for about an hour and a half and have most of it done. I need to go back next week to finish and clean it.

The sweet ending to my day was that my dad flew into LA from Chicago for a meeting and was staying in Beverly Hills at the amazing Montage hotel. This place is so nice that they bring a special bed for our dog Austin. Even food and water bowls. Not to be left out, they bring me chocolate and other fun kids stuff. My dad was traveling all week, so it was a great surprise to meet up with him. The only tough part was that we had to get up at 4 am to get home in time for me to get to school.

In other exciting news this week, I launched the trailer to my new YouTube channel. Take a look and subscribe http://youtu.be/POVkGPOWvbg! I will be publishing a new video every week or so. Next week (or sooner), I will be launching my new website – it is almost done! The new site will replace this one.

be Happy

Dance Craziness Pt. 2

By | Competition, Convention, Dance, Friends | One Comment

When I left off on my last post, I talked about how much fun Hollywood Vibe was. In this post, I will talk about how exciting The Pulse Las Vegas and my first performance with #lilBEASTS was!

Sparkles Lund and Will Adams Willdabeast

Willdabeast

Jordyn Jones and Sparkles Lund

Jordyn Jones

We left for Las Vegas on a hot summer’s Thursday and got there at about 3 ish. It was probably 103 degrees outside. I felt like I was going to pass out. Once we got into our room, we went straight to the pool to find some of my dance friends Jordyn Jones, her brother Skylar, and Sean Lew. We probably swam for about 2 hours and then Jordyn and I decided to go shopping. There was a very large mall across from our hotel, called Miracle Mile because it’s a mile long. We went there for roughly 2 or 3 hours and then had to go to rehearsal for #lilBEASTS.

The next day, I went to the pool again with Jordyn and we stayed for about 2 hours. At 2:00 p.m. that day I had my first day of classes at Camp Pulse. Those ended at 5:30 and then I had an acting class with the one and only Lane Napper. It was so much fun! We did a few improv exercises and practiced saying a little bit about ourselves on the spot.

The following day, I had classes starting at 9:00, and they ended at 2:00. At 3:00, I had another #lilBEASTS rehearsal before our first performance. After that rehearsal, we all felt very prepared to perform.

We were the 10th number so we all got to watch the dances before us. They were amazing! So amazing, that the time went by really fast because they were so good. The dancers at Pulse are some of the best of the industry. Many of them are professional dancers and they know how to perform for an audience. I enjoyed the show a lot.

I was really excited when it was our turn to perform because this was the first time we performed live as a team. The audience loved us. We even won an award to bring our crew to the Open Call competitions in 2015. Can’t wait to perform more with my fellow #lilbeasts and work more with Will, our director!

If you missed the first post in this series, go back and look at http://sparkleslund.com/2014/07/23/dance-craziness-pt-1/

 

Dance Craziness Pt. 1

By | Auditions, Competition, Convention, Dance, Friends | One Comment
Hollywood Vibe

Hollywood Vibe

I’m so sorry I haven’t written in a while, I’ve just been really busy with all of the events that I have been participating in for the past few weeks. There’s so many of things going on that I’ve decided to break this into two or maybe even three posts! I am just going with the flow depending on how much of this I get done today. The things I’ll be talking about in these two or three posts are Hollywood Vibe Nationals, The Pulse Las Vegas, #lilBEASTS video, and Macy’s Glamorama. That’s a lot right? I guess I’ll start with Hollywood Vibe Nationals, so that I go in time order.

This crazy week all started on Thursday, June 26, with my first scholarship dance rehearsal. We learned this dance over a video sent to us in an email. Unfortunately, my video wouldn’t play, so it was very stressful for me once I got to rehearsal. I had to learn every single piece of the choreography on the spot that day.

The next day was our first day of classes, taught by Hollywood Vibe’s superstar faculty. We learned all styles in these classes for four days. Also, during those three days I had competition. After the first day of classes, I performed my trio entitled Whipped Into Shape and my solo, Bees Knees, which was competing for Dancer of the Year. After the second day of classes, I had all of my small groups with the rest of the juniors. We were lucky enough to win 1st Place in the lyrical category and Best Costume with our gorgeous lyrical dance, Tears of an Angel. After the third day of classes, I had both of my large groups, Feels Good and MJ Tribute. Both got Platinum but didn’t place. After the fourth day of classes, it was finally time to for the Final Night Gala. This was where the National Dancer of the Year for each age group was announced and I got to perform the scholarship dance and the Dancer of the Year finalist piece that we had been working on for the past week choreographed by Liz Imperio. Both of the dances felt great and then it was time to announce Dancer of the Year, and Vibe Company, which means you get to assist the teachers and perform with the faculty. They started with Vibe Company, and I got it! So did my good friends Juju, Trevor, Tyler W., and Jordan. We were all super excited but we were eager to find out who won Dancer of the Year. They started announcing the juniors, it was no one I knew. Then they moved on to intermediate. Unfortunately, I did not win but that’s okay I’ll just keep trying and maybe I’ll get it next year! They moved onto the teens I did not know the female winner, but Trevor won for male! Everyone was so excited that they didn’t even pay attention to anything that happened after that.

I had a bunch of fun at Hollywood Vibe and can’t wait for next year!

In the middle of Hollywood Vibe, I had to drive to Los Angeles for #lilBEASTS rehearsal. Which leads to the next post…….The Pulse Las Vegas and #lilBEASTS Showcase Performance.

Here is Part 2 of the series http://sparkleslund.com/2014/07/28/dance-craziness-pt-2/

Video Interview with Mocha

By | Competition, Convention, Dance, Friends, Vlogs | No Comments

In this video I introduce one of my best friends, Mocha. We have known each other since preschool (like 3 years old) and our families are friends too.

It’s a girls’ world in this video – clothes (Outfits of the Day), nails (how to glitter your French Gels), and of course – a bit about dance. Mocha and I have also danced together forever. We are about to go to Nationals for dance – lots of rehearsals and lots of nervous excitement! Both of us are up for Dancer of the Year! Wish us luck.

Be sure to watch to end to get convention tips that you may not already know.

There is a cameo from Austin – dog extraordinaire. Follow him on Instagram at TheAustinBubbles_ – he only has 28 followers – so help a doggie out!

 

 

If you want to see my first ever vLog, check out this post

http://sparkleslund.com/2014/06/24/vlog-1/

Hollywood Vibe Feels Good

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In The Pocket

In any sport or activity, you hear people talk about being in the zone. When music and rhythm is involved: dancers, singers, or musicians are in the pocket rather than in the zone. Being in the pocket means staying on your rhythm and…. I’m sorry, it just doesn’t make sense if you have not had that feeling for yourself. Last weekend, at Hollywood Vibe Dance Convention I stayed in that pocket for the whole weekend.

During the Fall, you audition for your group dances. In a month’s time, normally, you will get a packet in the mail that says what dances you were placed in and if a solo is recommended or not. About a week after that, you learn your group dances. I think that is the funnest part of the process because the choreography is fresh in our minds and exciting because it’s new. Here is a list of the groups I am in.

In the beginning of Winter, we have our first regional competition. That is the studio’s chance to test our dances and see how they are judged. From these results and judges’ notes, we can make changes to our dances. This year, our first competition was LA Dance Magic (LADM for short). All of our dances got Platinum, the highest award you can get, but there was still room for improvement, because you can always become better. On a personal level, I won the Magic Performer award which means I was the top Junior dancer of that regional competition. All of our dances qualified for their national finals and I qualified to compete for Magic Performer of the Year.

After LADM, we came back to the studio to work on improving our dances. This was in preparation for Hollywood Vibe regionals. After months of hard work, we showed up at Hollywood Vibe with all of our dances in great shape. It was a special weekend for all of us. It was especially fun because we had our mini and junior rookie teams at the competition and they did fabulous! All of our dances were solid, highlighted by my junior lyrical piece, Tears of an Angel, choreographed by Keara Blake. It won 1st place Platinum as well as overall high score and it was awarded the Outstanding Choreography award. Go Ms. Keara! It was exciting to see the entire studio do so well, it felt like we won everything! I was honored with the Regional Dancer of the Year Award and I was very thankful because I worked very hard to achieve it. If you do not know dance, here is a reference – The current Junior Hollywood Vibe Dancer of the Year is Brooke Kosinski – principle dancer at Abby Lee Dance Company and one of the stars of the show Dance Moms.

Much in the same way that a dancer has to stay in the pocket to perform well, the team has to stay in the pocket for the entire year. That means lots of hard work in the studio, but it also means showing up at competition ready to dance. So far, our season has been great. We have a few more months of work to do in the studio to prepare for nationals. If we practice real hard, it will be more likely that we succeed.

I would just like to say thank you to all of my teachers, choreographers, my parents, the rest of my family, and of course, my wittle puppy dog, Austin.

SOL Dance Convention

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Last weekend, I went to SOL Dance Convention. It was very fun and very easy to get to because it was in Santa Maria which locals know is roughly 25 minutes away from where I live! The studio had a great weekend and I will tell you all about it below!

It all started on Friday, the 21st. Unlike most convention/competitions, all of the competition dances(that means solos, duo/trios, and group dances) were on the same day! And on top of that, the awards weren’t until 6:00 p. m. on Sunday! My first dance was my solo, Krazy n’ a Box. After that, it was my trio, and then all of my group dances which I don’t remember the order of. That night my best friend Camille a.k.a Mocha slept over at my house. We planned out our outfits for the next day as well as what we were going to do with our hair and what accessories we were going to put in it. On Saturday morning, we got up, showered, got dressed, ate breakfast, and then left for our first day of convention classes. Unfortunately, on our way there, the GPS on my dad’s phone wasn’t working so we got there a little bit late. My dad was extremely angry with Siri.

Our first class of the day was Bollywood with Jesus (pronounced hay seuss). For those who don’t know what that is, it is a dance style that originated from the movie Bollywood which was filmed in Mumbai, India. Our second class was Salsa with Jonathan, it was fun to have this because it is not a common convention class. After that was one of my favorite classes, Music Video. It was the kind of dance that you would usually see in a music video, so, it is not that hard but extremely fun! Those were all of our classes for the first day which was really unusual because at most convention/competitions there is an average of 6 classes per day.

On Sunday we started a little bit earlier than Saturday, but I’m not sure why. We had the same classes but instead of Music Video as our last class we had Character with Suzy. For those who know what musical theatre is, it’s like that. It is a dance that tells a story and the song is normally from a Broadway musical. The dance we did with her was from the musical West Side Story. After that class, we learned our audition dance. I liked most of the dance and the song, although the dance could have been a little less weird. There was a lot of strange hand movements and some weird floor work. We rolled around on the ground for most of the dance. Now that I think about it, I really only liked the song. We had roughly 20 minutes to practice the dance and then we started auditioning. I was in the first group, but I wasn’t my choice they just picked random people. We did the dance once, then switched lines and did it again. I didn’t feel very good about it because the judges were only watching one girl and it was not myself.

About an hour after that, it was time for the awards. They started with announcing the awards for the competition on Friday. All of the dances I was in got first place except for my solo. I was really proud of my team members but I was a little bit upset that my solo didn’t place. I got over it quickly though. Then it was time for the scholarships, they started with partial scholarships, then went on to full scholarships and finally they announced the STAR Performer of the Weekend, it was awarded to one of my dear friends, Carina Avila! I was so proud of her, and surprisingly didn’t feel bad at all! I felt great about the whole weekend and was also tired as heck by the end of it. Although, whenever I feel that way I know that I kicked some serious booty.

Hollywood Connection

Hollywood Connection 2014

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The night before going to Hollywood Connection I was very nervous and I had a hard time getting to sleep. In 2012 I was selected as their Icon Dancer of the Year and I assisted the teachers at a number of conventions last year. Hollywood Connection was my first competition in 2011, the first time I did a solo in 2012, and so many other firsts for me as a dancer. Bill Bohl also gave me my start as a professional dancer by representing me through Movement Talent Agency. Moreover, the teachers at Hollywood Connection have helped me grow as a dancer – Brooklyn Jai, Chonique Sneed, Jason Kalish, Lindsley Allen, Mitchel Federan, Robert Schultz, and Bonnie Story. I love them all and I feel so much support from them. They teach a lot more than dance.

This year I moved up in age groups to Guest Stars – Teens age 11 to 13. It is like starting all over again. In Irvine, CA you compete against many of the best dancers in the Los Angles area from the top studios and there are lots of professional dancers. INTIMIDATING! The 13 year olds are so good.

DPAC decided only to bring solos to this competition and convention. I have three solos this year – Jazz, Hip Hop, and Contemporary. I decided to perform Krazy n’ a Box, my Hip Hop solo choreographed by Brooklyn Jai, and Cosmic Love choreographed by Mitchel Federan. This is the first time they have seen me compete with their solos. I did my best. I am so thrilled to have scored Platinum for both dances and second overall in each category. Out of the 103 acts, there were about 10 platinums (DPAC got 4) and my friend Danielle Esposito got the only Titanium. Her choreographer is Jill Clark who also choreographed my jazz dance, Bees Knees (think Gatsby). At the wrap party, I was awarded Icon runner up for the event and qualified to compete for Icon of the Year – which is their version of National Champion for the 11 to 13 year old age group. I also was invited to participate in a music video directed by Bonnie Story( High School Musical). I was featured in last year’s video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_YDm_TpoW4

I am super happy for all of the DPAC dancers. We all faced super tough competition but we took the top dancer award in Open and Contemporary for my age group. That was pretty exciting. So happy for Allie Gilson who crushed the Open category and Trevor Quezada who won contemporary.

Last night I performed in a show with Jay Pugh of RUN DMC at the Celebrity Centre on the Church of Scientology campus in LA. They asked me to perform Krazy n’ a Box and a group piece called Tears of an Angel. DPAC brought the house down! It was fun.

So sad that my Grandma Stella and Aunt Shelia (yes, its spelled that way) had to go back home today. I miss them already. Looking forward to Pulse next weekend in Santa Clara! I am entering two solos into the preliminary showcase hoping to get selected to the Showcase. Wish me luck!

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LADM Was a Success

By | Competition, Convention, Dance, Friends, Travel | 3 Comments

As some of you may know, last weekend I went to DPAC’s first competition of the year, LADM! Our whole studio had so much fun and everyone did amazing! Speaking of amazing, how about I tell you the awards that the Junior Company and I received this weekend.

Numb(small group) – 1st Place Platinum

Proud Mary(small group) – 2nd Place Platinum

Tears of an Angel(small group) – 1st Place Platinum and 1st Overall High Score

Rags or Riches(small group) –  1st Place Platinum

Whipped Into Shape(trio) – 1st Place Platinum

Feels Good(production) – 2nd Place Platinum

Krazi n’ a Box(solo) – 2nd Place Platinum

Bee’s Knees(solo) – 1st Place Platinum

It was really exciting to get all of these awards, but my favorite part of it was the rush that it gave me. It’s like that for me at every convention/competition. In my opinion, it’s not about the award itself, its about how you earned the award, and how hard you worked to achieve the goal.

Another thing that at LADM is we were competing against another local studio that we have had a rivalry with for years. We tried to keep things friendly, and it stayed like that for the most part but there were still some people who shook things up a little. Ummm, that’s all I’m gonna say about that. Thanks for reading!!! <3images

2014 Dance Numbers

By | Competition, Convention, Dance, Friends | One Comment

Alexandra Sparkles Lund PrintThis year in dance I have been working on 4 small groups, 1 large group production, 1 trio and three solos. Our first competition of the year is coming up this weekend in Santa Clara. The title of the competition is LADM (LA Dance Magic). It is not only a competition but also a convention which means that we get to learn from their fabulous faculty and assistants.

Small Group #1: Numb,

choreographed by Katie Scofield, style: contemporary, dancers: Maya Spriggs, Larkin Paddock, Mariah Urbano, Taylor Costa, Camille Cattaneo, Claire Grzincic, Trinity Terassas, and me

Small Group #2: Proud Mary,

choreographed by Tahirih Ellison, style: jazz, dancers: Juliana Keller, Trinity Terassas, Camille Cattaneo, Taylor Costa, Larkin Paddock, and me

Small Group #3: Tears of an Angel,

choreographed by Keara Blake, style: lyrical, dancers: Ashlie Andrade, Anna Devereaux, Trinity Terassas, Camille Cattaneo, Juliana Keller, Taylor Costa, Maya Spriggs, and me

Small Group #4: Rags or Riches,

choreographed by Jillian Clark and Jordan Neil, style: hip-hop, dancers: Mariah Urbano, Sidney Domingues, Trinity Terassas, Levi Spriggs, Camille Cattaneo, and me

Large Group Production: Feels Good,

choreographed by Re’Sean Pates, Dylan Tarrant, Jillian Clark, style: hip-hop, dancers: too many to count

Trio: Whipped Into Shape,

choreographed by Keara Blake, style: musical theatre, dancers: Camille Cattaneo, Juliana Keller, and me

Solo #1: Krazi n’ a Box, choreographed by Brooklyn Jai, style: hip-hop

Solo #2: Bees’ Knees, choreographed by Jillian Clark, style: jazz

Solo #3: Cosmic Love, choreographed by Mitchel Federan, style: contemporary

All of these dances I love for different reasons. For example, Tears of an Angel I like because of the technique in it, and Numb I like because of its unique style. I hope you enjoyed me telling you about all of the dances that I am in this year!!!

If you want to see when and where DPAC will be performing – look on my calendar page here.

 

Pee Good News

By | Competition, Convention, Dance, Friends | 4 Comments

Have you ever heard such good news that you feel like you’re going to pee? Today I’m going to tell you about my encounter with those situations. Usually, this happens to me when I book an audition or win an award. It gives me a rush where I just feel like I could do anything. It also motivates me to keep trying my hardest. Another time when this happens a lot is when I eat lots of sugar. I get super excited and start jumping up and down (then I get the pee feeling). So, I guess for me the things that give me this emotion are things that make go, “Weeeeeeeee!!!” I was going to talk about the opposite of pee moments but I don’t want to ruin your guys’ day. I’ve never tried to hold on to a “weee” moment, but I think that if I were to attempt it, I would try to embrace the good news and take the best out of it.

What I’ve realized as a dancer, is that after a lot of “weee” moments, you start to get used to it. For example, after you keep winning competitions over and over again it doesn’t feel as special as it did when you won that first competition.

I really hope that I can stay as motivated as I am right now to keep dancing and pursuing my goals. As one of my dance teachers always says, “Dream a dream, set your plan, do the work.” I think these are very good words to live by.

I know this was sort of a short blog post but I think its meaningful and explains a lot about me. Thanks for reading!

p.s. Keep on having those “wee” moments. They don’t always last forever.

SOL Dance Convention Santa Maria

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The competition team at Dellos Performing Arts Center … DPAC danced at the first SOL Dance Convention last year. Our team travels to Los Angles, Las Vegas, and San Jose to compete, so it is super nice to think that we are going to a competition where we can go home and sleep in our own beds rather than hotel rooms!

Hope you can make it too. The Veterans Hall has a super nice stage. It was kinda sticky which was hard to get used to, but the room was really cool. It was really intimate for solos and small groups. Our Production piece had to be done down on the floor, which actually was amazing. It was fun to have all of the audience and the other dancers cheering so close.  This year is sure to be more of the same!

March is turning out to be a pretty busy month. I will be at Pulse in Santa Clara and SOL. Here is the calendar – http://sparkleslund.com/calendar/#action=calp_agenda&calp_item_id=37

 

The New Season

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I am very excited for the new season of dance competition! There are a bunch of new dancers coming in that have made the studio more lively and fun. I am very grateful for the five group dances that I have been chosen for.

Group Dances:

I really wanted to focus on more small group numbers this year to improve that area of my dancing. I think that I have everyone right in each dance, but I am going from memory and we have only rehearsed once, so I could have missed some people or included some people by accident….SORRY! Love ya!

  • Jr. Small Lyrical – Tears of an Angel
    • Choreography by Keara Blake
    • Dancers – JuJu, Ashley, Anna, Maya, Mocha, Taylor, and me.
  • Jr. Small Jazz – Proud Mary
    • Choreography by Tahirih Ellison
    • Dancers – Larkin, JuJu, Trinity, Mocha, me
  • Jr. Small Hip Hop – (no name yet)
    • Choreography by Jillian Clark and Jordan Neil
    • Dancers – Sidney, Mocha, Trinity, Mariah, Levi (Jr), and me
  • Jr. Small Open – Numb
    • Choreography by Katie Scofield
    • Dancers – Mariah, Mocha, Trinity, Anna, Clair, Larkin, Maya and me.
  • Hip Hop Production – (no name yet)
    • Choreography by Dylan Tarrant, Jillian Clark, and Re’Sean Pates
    • Dancers – Everyone.

My first year in competition, I only did group dances. My second year, I did one solo that qualified for national champion; so I had to have another solo for regular competition. Last year, I did the same thing. This year, I have three solos ready to go, and may add a fourth if I can get the three clean enough.

Solos

  • Jazz – The Bees Knees
    • Choreography by Jillian Clark
  • Hip Hop – Krazi ‘n a Box
    • Choreography by Brooklyn Jai
  • Lyrical – Titanium
    • Choreography by Mitchel Federan and Keara Blake (cleaner)
  • Surprise – TBD if I can master the three above

My parents and I tried to lay out the schedule through February to see what competitons we will be attending. Our studio does three required competitions, two optional competitions and one national finals. To be in the dance company, it is also required that you attend  competition rehearsals one weekend every month. As a result, there are only a few more open weekends that I have available for attending other conventions and competitions on my own. I also have the chaos of auditions and jobs to juggle along with school. I am not sure if these dates will all work out, but I have published the schedule that we have planned through February. Click on the Dance Calendar in the top menu bar to see where we will be. I hope to see you somewhere! Until Next time….

Toodaloooooooo!!!!

Sparkles.