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choreographer Archives - Sparkles Lund

Choreographers Alliance

Performing Artists Need to Leverage their Collective Voices to Support H.R. 3121 the Performing Artist Tax Parity Act

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Did you know that California Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA27) and Floridia Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL16) have authored a bill that will allow performing artists to deduct money spent on union dues, travel to auditions, headshots, agency fees, training classes, management fees and other miscellaneous expenses from our taxable income? There has been a law since 1986 (called the QPA – Qualified Performing Artist tax deduction) that gave these deductions to performers up to an income limit of $16,000. Before this year, I was able to reclaim nearly all of the State and Federal Income Tax I paid during the year.

Sadly, the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that went into effect in 2018 eliminated the ability to claim miscellaneous itemized deductions like our work expenses. As a result, performing artists (including me) we unable to reclaim hundreds or thousands of dollars of income tax deducted from our jobs. The Tax Cut and Jobs Act raised my taxes and the taxes of all Performing Artists. I was shocked when I paid my takes this year and received such a small State and Federal Income Tax return. That is the money I use to pay for travel to Hollywood Vibe Nationals, Buildabeast, and other summer intensives. This new law being proposed by Rep. Chu will correct the problem by updating the thresholds of the deduction allowing more low and middle-income artists to utilize it.

Life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you,” says Tony Robbins.

You never know the types of isolated events in your life that shape you, but three things have happened for me in the past year that have made me pay attention to something important for performing artists. I am sharing these experiences in hopes of awakening a spirt of positive change for dancers. If we work together, we can make a difference.

  • This winter, I worked with my father to address the school district, state education board , and federal lawmakers (aka politicians) to fight for my right to attend public school and work as a dancer. We were successful at getting my absences for work excused.
  • I am volunteering with the Choreographers Alliance to help them with marketing the mission to receive appropriate compensation and protection for their work. This will take time, but with your support Choreographers can get credit and residuals for their work in Advertising, Television and Film.
  • I attended Girls State, a weeklong camp where students from across the State of California operated an emulation of our State Government. We learned how government works and how to start movements for positive change in our Nation.

The take away from all of this is that we – you and me – need to use our voices to fight for positive change. If a dozen or more instafamous performing artists took action to support this legislation to fix the tax bill, or gave shout outs to the Choreographers Alliance – change would happen. Use your social media following to change the world, not just to promote yourself.

What I Learned

Create Coalitions. One person may be able to have some influence, but many people together in a coalition creates a community voice. Put a hashtag or a link in your bio on social media and post from time to time about positive social change.

Can you imagine the impact if performing artists across the dance industry started supporting the @choreo_alliance on Instagram? It does not matter if you are a choreographer in SAG today – we know these choreographers, and need to show our love for them. They are building and maintaining bridges to opportunities that you may cross in your future. If SAG sees tens of thousands or millions of supporters for the Choreographers Alliance, they will act.

Step up and follow the @choreo_alliance and support them. At the very least, you will be supporting an effort to change an injustice for people you love. Who knows, you may also be laying a foundation to see your future work on a film or television listed in the credits, and receive residual payments for your art. Dancers get this level of credit today, but choreographers do not.

Legislators have open doors. My father was able to attend public meetings and set meetings legislators at every level. You simply walk into a council meeting and find out when the public comment period is – normally it is at the beginning of the meeting. You have 3 minutes to speak out. But more importantly, it’s an opportunity to see and be seen. After my father’s talks on the issues related to Artists in public schools and the disparity of treatment from Athletes, legislators wanted to meet with him to discuss remedies that were underway and receive feedback. Change can happen if you show up.

Did you know that Rep Judy Chu only has 4710 followers on Instagram. Her district is north and east of Burbank, CA, so as you can imagine, lots of performing artists live there. These are communities that are more affordable for dancers, yet still not too far of a commute for auditions or class. She has not posted about this law yet – don’t you think that she will work harder if a few thousand people follow her, DM her, and support her?

If we support Rep. Judy Chu with this law, these deductions will be returned for performing artists allowing deductions for those earning up to $100,000 in income. Even those making over $100,000 would be allowed to deduct the first $30,000 in expenses from their income. The suggested law is only one page – go read it! https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/116/hr3121/text That will make a difference of hundreds or thousands of dollars to help you pay rent, eat, and train between jobs.

What You can Do Right Now to Make A Difference

Choreographers AllianceIf you want to be a professional at anything, you need to recognize that you are part of an industry and participate in industry related groups like the Choreographers Alliance. Moreover, you need to be aware of the laws that pertain to our industry and take action to support legislation that is designed to help you! This is what Breaking Barriers taught by Liz Imperio is all about. What would it hurt? Do you think that you will lose followers if you ask them to help you fight for your fair rights as a performer?

Post your support for the Performing Artist Tax Parity Act with #PerformingArtistTaxParityAct

Follow @choreo_alliance – like and repost when you can.

Follow Rep. Judy Chu – message her your support and give her legislation a shout out (you can post the link to this if you want).

Hollywood Connection Burbank

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Hollywood ConnectionHollywood Connection in Burbank was fantastic this year. It was the first time that Dellos Performing Arts Center (DPAC) has returned to HC since 2014. I am pretty sure that Hollywood Connection was the first competition that I ever went to. Hollywood Connection was the convention that awarded me my first National Dancer of the Year Award in 2012, an award they call Icon of the Year.

Hollywood Connection is also owned in part by my first talent agency, MTA. They were my first agents, and sent me out on my first auditions as a 10 year old, launching my professional dance career.

In so many ways, going back to Hollywood Connection was like a family reunion. As Icon of the Year, I spent a year touring with them as their DOTY. I can gratefully say that those many weekends of working with Executive Director Kimberly Rhinelander, Executive Director and Agent Bill Bohl, Jazz teacher Lindsley Allen, Lyrical Mitchel Federal, Jazz Funk Brooklyn Jai, Musical Theater Bonnie Story, Tap Jason Kalish, and Hip Hop Gigi Torres shaped by love of dance and introduced me to the industry as a professional dancer. This core group was teaching there back in 2012-2014 when our studio first introduced me to them. I am so thankful for the encouragement and opportunity to do what I love.

This year was an entirely new set of firsts for me. DPAC has allowed me teach 5 classes a week at the studio. This led to me choreographing a hip-hop solo for a 12 year old dancer, and assistant choreographer to our production hip-hop dance. Watching your choreography on stage for the first time is a completely different experience. I had no clue how the judges would react to the dancer I helped train do perform the choreography that I created. It worked out great! They loved it and she won!

On a personal level, I accomplished one of my goals for this year as a dancer. If you know my mom and dad or my mentor Liz Imperio, they are into strategic planning and goal setting. One of my goals for the year is to get a double platinum or Titanium score (perfect or nearly perfect score). It is the highest award that the judges give for dances. I am happy to say that five of my dances were given Titanium scores at Hollywood Connection. I was overwhelmed.

As a 15 year old dancer, I am now one of the youngest of the Producer (Senior) group – 14-19 year old dancers. I did not expect that I would be good enough to compete with older dancers who have had many more years of training. I went back and looked at a post I wrote in 2014 when I attended Hollywood Connection as an 11 year old. Like this year, I had just stepped up into a new age group then too (guest star, 11-13), as an 11 year old and was intimidated by the awesome dance of the 13 year olds. That year, my friend Danielle Esposito came in first and I got a second.

My contemporary solo, choreographed by Cat Cogliandro was the highest scoring senior solo of the weekend. My duo partner and long time friend Trevor Quezada was awarded the highest overall scoring solo. Trevor graduates this year, and has been accepted to some great dance programs for college. I am glad he won. This is our last season together, and I want him to go out on top!

Trevor and I choreographed our duo together. We put the piece on stage as an exhibition dance at Jackie Sleight’s LA Dance Magic. We were not scored at LADM, but were able to get the judges notes and make changes to the dance. As a result of great feedback and hard work, our duo was the highest scoring dance of the weekend at Hollywood Connection. Sharing that moment with Trevor was special. It is a celebration of 8 years dancing together. Our duo piece will live in my memory forever, and I am excited to tour with it this year.

Whenever I write something like this, it makes me think about how much so many people have supported me as a dancer, my parents, DPAC, countless teachers, mentors, choreographers, Capezio, my manager Nelson Diaz, and my agents at MSA and BBR. Love you all so much – and thank you again Hollywood Connection for a great weekend in Burbank.

Summer Has Started With a Roar

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The last day of school was Friday, June 9th. We celebrated the graduation of seniors from A.G. High School that I have danced with my whole life. It is astonishing to see them move on to the next chapter of their lives. As for me, it was a 6 a.m. departure to Los Angeles for a……long…..one day music video shoot for Dylan Diamond. We were on location for most of the day on location of “Pimp My Ride,” at West Coast Customs – will share when the video comes out. It was great to work with so many immaBEAST dancers. Our small group was Jordyn Jones, Natalie Bebko , Phoenix, and Jason Hancock. It was fun to meet celebrity YouTuber Logan Paul.

After driving home on Sunday, I returned to LA again on Monday for immaBEAST company class with Cat Cogliandro. It was transformative. I cried a lot. THANK YOU! After a busy school year, I needed that therapeutic release. I was so stoked by her combination of movement and message that I took her class again at Millennium on Wednesday – ahhhhhh – so good.

I am falling in love with Ventura Boulevard – the amazing restaurants and my favorite shops. Last night after immaBEAST class I was able to reconnect with my good friend Kennadi Boese and her mom for dinner at Granville. The angel hair pasta with chicken is soooooo good. It really hit the spot. Of course, YogurtLand near Laurel Canyon is the best way to finish a long day. I absolutely love where I live and all of my friends in AG, but it is especially wonderful to have more friends and my special places in Los Angeles.

For the first time, I will be presenting my original choreography at Hollywood Vibe Nationals competing for Teen Dancer of the Year. It’s the next step on my journey as a dancer to gain skills and confidence creating choreography and collaborating with so many amazing people who influence me. Through the process of finding your own style, you realize that you are a product of the great dancers and teachers that you work with. Dance is truly a craft that is passed from generation to generation. Thank you to all of my mentors, especially Brooke Lipton, Heidi Asefvaziri, and Janelle Ginestra. You are all goddesses and you shine a light on my path.

Sorry School of Rock. I would have been great to work with you today. Wish it would have worked out. Many thanks to MSA for the effort. But when one door closes, another opens –

Hat By Burton on MelroseThis month is Pride month in Los Angeles. Instagram worked with luxury designer Paul Smith to convert their famous pink wall into a rainbow to celebrate Pride. It made a perfect backdrop for my monthly Capezio photo shoot, and I found the most fantastic hat at the Burton store.

I will be on location at DancerPalooza this summer as a spokesperson for Capezio. I will be webcasting live interviews with the world’s greatest dancers – can’t wait! Be sure to follow Capezio’s channels on Instagram and Facebook if you want to see what that is all about. I will be around their booth whenever possible.

Shout Out To The New Times

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Fullscreen_1_8_16__1_52_PM…….That moment when you look at the newspaper and find an article about yourself it it….

A BIG SHOUT OUT TO Ryah Cooley, the Arts Editor for the New Times. Ryah and her photographer Dylan Honea-Baumann came out to the SparkLab studio between Christmas and New Years Day to watch me train and to interview me for an article that came out today.

A few years ago, being interviewed for a newspaper article was nerve racking. Now that I have gotten the hang of it, it is really fun. Part of the fun is never knowing what they choose to write about.

I am really happy with how the article turned out. I think that Ms. Cooley did a great job of telling the story that I am just like every other kid – going to school and practicing my sport.  In dance, you do not have friday night lights, you have performances that sometimes, if you are lucky, make it to television. Short of that, I love putting videos on YouTube and it is fulfilling to watch my art engage so many people. Last month my videos hit over 1500 hours of viewing! That is just crazy.

Thank you New Times and thank everyone who pays attention to what I am doing. It is great to have so much support.

Check out the article http://www.newtimesslo.com/art/13285/cyberfamous-teen-dancer-from-arroyo-grande-hits-1-million-views-on-youtube/

 

 

Sean Lew and the Best Boys Ever

By | Dance, Friends, Stuff I Like | 2 Comments

There was a time when I was 8 or 9 years old when DPAC when to visit our sister studio in LA, Dellos Performing Arts. I met Sean Lew on Instagram for the first time. He is a year older than me and one of the best male dancers in the world. Sean and I were also both privately trained by Mr. Marco Cruz for years. Over time, I ran into Sean a lot at The Pulse on Tour and other conventions. We also often got calls for the same auditions and worked together from time to time, including The Voice. He and I are also teammates on #immaBEAST with Will Adams.

Sean Lew with Big Will Simmons and  Josh PriceThe dance industry is mostly competitive and cutthroat. But, there are a few enlightened kids that understand that is wrong. Sean is one of those. When I would travel by myself to train at conventions, I was alone and surrounded by kids that were there with their studios. Very few kids would go out of their way to make friends. Everywhere I have ever seen Sean, he has always been my friend and looked after me. I don’t have an older brother, but I imagine that if I did, he would be a lot like Sean.

There was a time a few years ago when Sean started choreographing his own solos. People had their opinion about Sean, some believing that he was too big for his britches. They were so wrong. Sean was born to dance and born to be a choreographer. His work is so good that he gave up competition after winning everything. As you will see from the video – his work is epic.

Today, Sean dropped one of the most amazing videos. Sean choreographed this trio with Bill Will Simmons and Josh Price. The three of them are easily in the top 10 dancers in America today and all #immaBEAST team members. These boys are the greatest and this video is sooooo good.

Watch this video and remember, “sharing is caring!” Share it on your social media so the world can see how talented these guys are!

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 4 – Dancer Palooza and BuildaBEAST Experience

By | Convention, Dance, Friends | 2 Comments

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

Summer 1 – LA Sparks and Trip To New York

Summer 2-  Hollywood Vibe DOTY and Team Larkles

Summer 3 – Leaving Las Vegas

Dancer PaloozaThe next week, we moved from Burbank down to Long Beach for Dancer Palooza. That is a weeklong intensive that, in my opinion, has the best collection of contemporary teachers you can find anywhere. I took classes from Mandy Moore, Mia Michaels, Sonya Tayeh, Teddy Forance, Stacey Tookey, Travis Wall, Dee Caspary, Benoit-Swan Pouffer, Andrew Winghart, and others. http://www.dancerpalooza.com/thecollective

Girls – dance aside – if you have not been to the expo at Dancer Palooza, you have not lived. It is the most number of booths that I have ever seen – its huge!

I did a haul vide with my loot! Check it out

Our #immaBEAST team also was invited to dance in the Showcase. We were rehearsing during Mini Muse and during Dancer Palooza, so after taking classes every day for two weeks, I also had rehearsals at night. I have never been in better shape in my life – 12 pack abs!

Liz_ImperioLiz Imperio and her new Fiancé came to the showcase. I love her and the support she gives me as a dancer, a friend and a coach. If you do not know Liz, try your best to meet her. She has a program called Breaking Barriers (http://breakingbarriers.dance/) that has been super helpful at helping me set my goals in life and as a professional dancer. Her coaching, advice, and heartfelt support she gives to dancers makes her a very special person. I can’t wait to get on tour with Hollywood Vibe where she is the creative director. #secondMom

Just to keep the flow going, the next week was the #BuildaBEAST Experience. What a switch from a week of contemporary to a week of hip hop. As an #immaBEAST and #lilBEAST, we were able to help work the event and dance. The entire week was filled with the best hip hop training I have ever had. I was surrounded by the best dancers from all over the world (like 22 countries or something insane like that) and across America. #immaBEAST is so much more than a crew. It’s a dance family like no other. The BuildaBEAST experience finished up with the auditions for #immaBEAST. The competition was so fierce and everyone worked so hard. I have no idea how Willdabeast narrowed down the hundreds of auditions to the team we have now (about 70 strong). The good news is that I was able to dance hard enough keep my spot on the team. I learned that there are no free rides in life. Just because I danced on the team last year was no indicator that I would be on the team this year.

Here is my Solo from the event – it was epic

PS – AirBoard was a sponsor at BuildaBEAST and I got one! Hurray. Super fun #christmaslist for you.

If you are keeping track of the weeks, by this point I have not been home at all since school let out in June, amounting to six straight weeks of being on the road! I should pause here and thank my parents for making this all possible for me. With two weeks left before school started, I stopped dancing 12 hours a day and was limited to #sparkkids rehearsals, auditons, #LASparks games, and rehearsals for the #immaBeAST season three video. We still were driving back and forth to LA multiple times each week and staying a few nights in LA each week, but I did actually get to sleep a few nights in my own bed and see my friends at home.

BuildaBEAST Season 3 Video

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

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Summer 1 – LA Sparks and Trip To New York

Summer 2-  Hollywood Vibe DOTY and Team Larkles

Summer 3 – Leaving Las Vegas

Next up is the Summer Series Finale – Summer Ends, School Begins, and Big Announcement

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

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 https://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.

Happy Valentines Day

By | Dance, Vlogs, Work | No Comments

Sparkles Lund and Taylor HatalaA few weeks ago I had the opportunity to do this collaboration video with one of my friends, #lilBEAST team members, and favorite dancers, Ms. Taylor Hatala. Choreography for the video was none other than #immaBEAST team member Antoine Troupe. Of course, the video was produced and directed by my friend and life coach, @directorBrazil. The concept was focused around a Valentines Day release using the hit Meghan Trainor song, Dear Future Husband.

I hope you like it.

Press Release

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 13, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Valentine’s Day is not a romantic Hallmark card for 11-year-old Taylor Hatala and 12-year-old Sparkles Lund. Too young to date and too soon to have found love, these two young professional dancers worked with renowned freestyle and hip-hop choreographer Antoine Troupe to produce a Valentine’s Day video to Meghan Trainor’s song, “Dear Future Husband,” being released February 14 on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ER6O55iAPZk).

“When you are our age, boys are just friends,” says Edmonton-born Taylor Hatala. Hatala is commuting to Los Angeles and working part-time as her burgeoning career develops. As testament to Hatala’s talent, her YouTube videos to Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgfF_c6uPaU) and Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pfloxVMJGw), have been seen more than 30 million times, garnering appearances on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and RyanSeacrest.com, among others. Troupe, Hatala and Sparkles Lund became friends dancing on the immaBEAST hip-hop crew, under director Will ‘WilldaBeast’ Adams.

According to Troupe, the concept for the video was born during the filming of the immaBEAST routine for the Choreographers Carnival Anniversary show this past January.

“Although dance is my life,” says Troupe, “I am driven by the impact that dance has on developing healthy, active, and confident kids.” Troupe selected the piece that he claims was ready made for Sparkles and Taylor.

“Meghan Trainor’s work is perfectly kid-style,” says Sparkles Lund, who recently released a video last week to Trainor’s hit “Lips Are Movin” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hA5VLVq7dc). “What girl doesn’t want a future husband that brings flowers, open doors, and wants to be her one and only?” Lund asks.

Sparkles Lund began her professional career in dance at age 10. Her recent work includes a three-city tour for Macy’s Glamorama and an appearance on the finale of ABC-TV’s Dancing With The Stars, performing to “Hard Knock Life” from the new Annie movie.

“Working with superstars like Taylor Hatala and Antoine Troupe is a blessing,” confesses Lund. “It’s so exciting to see Taylor’s career skyrocket, and I am so happy that Antoine was able to work with Prince to choreograph his latest video ‘Breakfast Can Wait.'”

YouTube is fast becoming the path to rapid stardom for many of today’s young performers, circumventing the previous paths that were largely limited through New York and Los Angeles.

Lund, who lives in Arroyo Grande, locate on California’s Central Coast near San Luis Obispo, and Hatala, who lives in Edmonton, Canada, are adopting the strategy started by Willdabeast by creating their own YouTube channels to self-publish their work. Willdabeast is teaching young dancers that YouTube is a place where you can make a mark and punch up your career. His YouTube page has more than 735,000 subscribers and more than 100 million views. Hatala’s YouTube channel is at http://bit.ly/taylorhatala and Sparkles Lund YouTube channel is at https://www.youtube.com/user/sparkleslund.

About the Video
Dancers: Sparkles Lund & Taylor Hatala
Choreography – Antoine Troupe
Director – Brazil Siqueira
Music – Meghan Trainor, “Dear Future Husband”

ASH Dance Tour In Santa Clara

By | Convention, Dance | No Comments

I am dancing at Ash Dance Tour in Santa Clara, California this weekend. It is my first dance convention of the new season and I am thrilled to train with some great choreographers. After school I piled in the car with my mom and Austin (instagram: @theaustinbubbles_ ). My dad was in Cleveland and Denver this week, so he flew into San Jose to meet us.

Lisette Bustamante - Choreographer and amazing person

Lisette Bustamante – Choreographer and amazing person

Last night was a great start to the weekend. We learned a fun hip-hop piece with Lisette Bustamante. I fell in love with her choreography at Hollywood Connection  so now I find a way each year to take class from her. About Lisette: from her website http://www.lisettebustamante.com/bio/

She’s danced alongside superstars such as Madonna, Gwen Stefani, Justin Timberlake, Janet Jackson and Usher on stages all over the globe, and has choreographed for Pink, Prince, Britney Spears and Jennifer Lopez. She’s been featured in commercials for Gap, Pepsi, Pringles, iPod and Sprite, and has choreographed for film and television, with credits including supervising choreographer on America’s Best Dance Crew.

Four years ago, Lisette and her longtime creative partner, Chonique Sneed established Creating Opportunities, a mentoring company that offers classes, seminars and other programs for young dancers, singers and choreographers.

A few of my friends of mine at the studio have participated in the Creating Opps program and they said it was amazing. “I am confident.” If you know Creating Opps, you know what I mean by that.

Braham Logan Crane, Director of ASH

Braham Logan Crane, Director of ASH.

The second class last night was a first for me with Braham Logan Crane. We learned an intense contemporary piece with some amazing floor work that had us literally dancing on our heads! Braham is the director of ASH – which stands for Artists Simply Human. The weekend is not designed as a competition, but as a workshop. Each class is an hour to an hour and 15 minutes long. I love the longer classes. Some conventions are trying to cut the classes to 45 Minutes – BOOOOO! ASH also offers a performance showcase like Pulse. They do not have a competition. Braham taught at Broadway Dance in NYC.  I took a class there about a year ago.  So much fun.

I am running three dances tonight for the teachers. The core theme of ASH is expression in dance. My goal for tonight is to put a lot of emotion into each of my pieces.  You will be able to watch the acts live tonight thanks to Sugar and Bruno who are sponsoring a live feed on ustream – http://www.ustream.tv/channel/ashproductions

Here is a run down of the dances and the times.

I’m really excited for the Monday night finale of Dancing with the Stars too!  #DWTS and @dancingABC. Im going to be on it with a bunch of my friends in the opening number! It’s on ABC at 8:00 EST and Pacific. To read my post about it, click here https://sparkleslund.com/will-dancing-stars/

Here are my dance schedule for tonight

Here are my dance schedule for tonight

I Will Be On Dancing With The Stars

By | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

I booked the most exciting job ever last week, a group dance role on Dancing With The Stars! I auditioned last Thursday, and within a matter of days, I was on set at CBS. The audition combo was very short, but it was full of energy and I loved to do it. The audition was choreographed by the one and only, Mandy Moore! She is one of my favorite choreographers ever! I always love her pieces on SYTYCD and it was amazing when I found out I got the job because I had only danced with her once before. That time was in a class situation so this was the first professional job when I have worked with her. If you want to be super impressed, look at her page here. Mandy Moore is AWSOME. I have never had so much fun on a job.

To think last year at this time, my blog post was about a huge star (the sun) whose solar flares are its dances. Now I will be Dancing with the Stars! For most, being on the show will be a solar flare. But for me, it will be epic!

We rehearsed Wednesday and Thursday, and we will continue to rehearse Saturday and Sunday before the live show in front of the studio audience on Monday the 17th. Our piece airs during the two hour finale of the show on November 24th at 8 Eastern and Pacific, 7 Central.

We learned the dance in multiple sections, but that’s pretty much all I can tell you about the dance itself because I’m not supposed to give away any details. I apologize. But, I can tell you about all the people that are dancing with me. I knew most of the girls, but there were a few that I didn’t. The dancers included Aria Terango, Lucy Vallely, Soni Bringas, Jordyn Jones, Abigail Vargas, Ruby Turner, Simrin Player, Trinity Inay, Rachel Fee, and a few others (sorry that I do not know everyone’s name yet).

Jordyn’s Blog: http://jjjordynjones.com

Simrin Player’s Blog http://www.simrinplayer.com

Trinity Inay’s Blog: http://trinityinay.com

So that concludes this blog post. Everyone make sure to watch me on the season finale of Dancing with the Stars! Also if you haven’t already, subscribe to my blog and my YouTube channel for even more fun!

Many Thanks to Camille Catteano and her mom (my second mom) Maureen Catteano who took me to the audition while my parents were out of town on a job.

Special thanks to Johnna Clark and my team at DPAC who gave me a pass this weekend. I love you all and wish I was not missing choreography weekend. You are all so supportive of me. #faithnotfear

Huge thanks to my agent – Shayna Brouillard and the Dance Department at Clear Talent Agency in Los Angeles for putting together this great gig.

More Photos

Dancing With The Stars Stage

Dancing With The Stars Stage

Dancing With The Stars Camera

Dancing With The Stars Camera

Dancing With The Stars Red Carpet

Dancing With The Stars Red Carpet

 

 

 

 

A Blog Post About a Blog Post

By | Dance | One Comment

Hey guys! So yesterday, something very exciting happened. I had an audition for Sketchers – but that is not is not the most exciting thing. I have a secret. I bet you really want to know what it is, right? I’m sorry, but you can’t… yet! Although, I can’t tell you all the details, I can give you some hints. It includes one of my favorite choreographers being interviewed by yours truly, talking about a very exciting event that is coming very soon. It also will include some major celebrities that you may have heard of, *wink, wink * unless you live under a rock. In addition, you will see an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look of the next big thing in dance! Make sure to subscribe to my blog to hear all about this exciting event next week!

secret 1I am really excited about this because this is my first real celebrity interview. One of the best things about being in the entertainment industry is that I get to meet a lot of really neat people that are working on awesome projects. A lot of times it is overwhelming to think that I am actually hanging out with them. Pinch me!

Also, I am launching a video series called Sunday’s with Sparkles – it will be on YouTube – so if you like “watching” YouTube like me, be sure to “tune in” or click in to my YouTube page – Http://www.youtube.com/sparkleslund

Here is the channel trailer

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

Chonique Sneed Releases New Single LET IT GO

By | Dance, Friends, Stuff I Like | No Comments

Lisette Bustamante and Chonique SneedIf you are reading my blog, you are probably a dancer, and you probably know Chonique Sneed. She is one of my favorite teachers and choreographers. She was born in Hollywood and started dancing at the age of 8 – which is about the time that I started to take dancing seriously. She is an adult now, and tours the nation with Hollywood Connection on the faculty. She and choreographer, Lisette Bustamonte, also with Hollywood Connection, mentor a group of teen dancers each year to grow in character and confidence. The program is called Creating Opportunities or, Creating Opps for short. From them I have learned that there is a difference between dancing and being a dancer. Dancers are strong, powerful people who are caring and aspire to be the best they can be in everything they can do.

Chonique has choreographed for artists like Missy Elliot, Christina Milian, Britney Spears, Pink, Jennifer Lopez, V Factory, Diddy and more. She is also on the faculty of Monsters of Hip Hop (hopefully #lilBEASTS will go to that).

Join me in celebrating the release of her hit single – Let It Go! ***caution – there are a few words in the song that are not totally rated G **** but it is not that bad – you may want your parents to listen first.

I tried to embed the code from SoundCloud – but it does not seem to be working (someone please help that reads code). For now – just click this link to Chonique’s song on SoundCloud. Please share! Everyone needs friends giving them a little boost!

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/162289636″ params=”auto_play=true&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”300″ iframe=”true” /]

 

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 https://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 https://sparkleslund.com/2014/07/28/dance-craziness-pt-2/

#lilbeast AUDITION 2014

By | Auditions, Dance | 3 Comments

Two Sunday’s ago, I auditioned for the popular hip-hop crew owned by Willdabeast, lilBEAST. There is also another crew for ages 14 and over owned by the same person called immaBEAST. For those of you who don’t know what a hip-hop crew is, it is a type of dance team that specializes in hip-hop. These dance teams called crews perform at many events including World of Dance and Carnival, two very big dance shows. Today, I will be telling you all about my experience auditioning for lilBEAST.

At 1:00 on June 1st, I went to LA to audition for lilBEAST. The line was wrapped around the whole building so I was very worried that it was going to be very hard to be noticed, but once we got inside of the room it wasn’t too bad. We started learning the choreography and I understood it right away. I was pretty proud of myself because usually it takes me a while to pick up the choreography. After we learned a lot, we split up into groups and the judges chose who they wanted to move onto the next round. I, luckily, was one of those people! I was so excited!

After that round, I had to wait a while because they had the boys go first, and then I went. I killed the choreography, meaning I didn’t forget any of it and I went super full out. To make things even better, I made it through that round too! After that part, a bunch got to freestyle if they wanted too, and that was very fun because of all the different styles that people did. This was pretty much the end of the audition, except that we did the combination a few more times but it wasn’t judged.

Once it was really over, my mom and I thought we should thank Willdabeast for inviting me to audition and being so kind to me, so we did. We had a nice long chat and then he quietly told me that I made it but it’s still a secret. After that, I thought I was going to pass out I was so excited! At that moment, I knew that I have officially “made it” in the dance industry.

tumblr_n6xet9zQHd1sj4z5zo1_r1_1280

Otis Parson School of Design Fashion Show

By | Auditions, Friends, modeling, Work | One Comment

Otis Parsons Fashion ShowRecently, I had an audition at Otis parson school of design. It was for modeling, so the audition process was really fun and that is what I’ll be telling you about today.

When we got there, the audition was supposed to end at 3:00 and we got there at 2:59. Yikes, right! After we walked into the room, the guy said, “I remember you! I picked your headshot; adorable!” I was glad he said that because we weren’t even sure if I was going to be able to audition given our arrival time. After that, a woman walked in and said, “Have her try the one that no one fit into.” When she said that, the guy picked up an outfit and handed it to me. There was a small room guarded by curtains that he signaled me to go inside and change. The outfit fit perfectly! I think that that was a good thing because remember how earlier I told you what the woman said about how it was the outfit that know else fit into. Well, it fit me!

Pre Show Party DanceAfter that part of the audition, I put my own clothes back on, and I had to freestyle to Happy, by Pharell. It seems like every audition I’ve gone to lately has always been to that song. It’s super weird! I felt really good about it and the casting director seemed happy.

A few days later my mom got a call from my agent saying that I got the job! I was sort of expecting it because the casting director seemed really pleased with my audition. I was excited that I did get the job, but if I didn’t I would still be happy because I knew that I did the best I could. This is one of those occasions when I feel really lucky being fun sized.

After about two weeks I had the fitting for the job. It was a little bit weird because they just gave me the outfit and I had to undress in front of everyone in the room! After I put it on, they had me improv to Happy, by Pharell, again. As you can see, I’m getting a little sick of that song. I hear it basically every single day, but anyway back to the point. I improvd and then they made a few modifications to my outfit like put a pin here, tuck this in there, stuff like that. That was actually one of my favorite parts because I felt like a real life runway model! Then, once they made the modifications, I had to improv again. That was pretty much it! The whole fitting really only lasted roughly 10 minutes! But the whole thing was super fun and a great experience.

Two Thursdays later, I had my first rehearsal. I found out that the choreographer was Jackie Sleight, one of my favorite teachers at, as well as the owner of L.A. Dance Magic, a popular convention/competition I went to earlier in the year. The rehearsal was 5 hours long! We started at 1:00 in the afternoon and went until 6:00 p. m. First, we learned a big piece of the choreography and then had a break. Next, once the break was over, we learned another large chunk of it which was the part where we model the clothes for Under Armour, the sponsored brand. After that, we were pretty much done with all of the choreography and we just got to run it and get it in our minds better. The next day, we had another rehearsal but on the actual stage that we would be performing on. We did basically the same thing as the previous day, except it was on stage and the rehearsal was shorter. We also got to have some delicious food provided by the hotel the event was at.

Finally, the next day, we had the show! There were two shows, one in the afternoon and one at night. The night one was for some very important people like famous designers and photographers. In our preparation for the show, we had a few of the students that designed our outfits in the room with us, helping us get dressed and keeping us in order. They were really nice. I was so excited before we went on stage but I was also a little nervous. Once we went on, I felt this big boost of adrenaline and the show was great. The second show was just as great, except better! After both shows, I went swimming with two of my friends that also did the show, Hannah and Hayden. We had a bunch of fun in the pool, and then we had a delicious dinner.

The whole experience was super fun because of all the friends I made, the amazing designers, and of course, my loving parents.

Here is the video from the fashion show. I am at about the 22 second mark.

Hollywood Vibe Feels Good

By | Competition, Convention, Dance | No Comments

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.

Mr. Marco is Back! Pt 2

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We left off where from my first post – Mr. Marco is Back Pt 1 Mr. Marco picked me to be in the opening number for a Michael Jackson tribute show. Remember that? Well, that same night, Ms. J informed us that our first rehearsals would start on April 1st and April 2nd. I was super pumped and hungry for learning new material.

At our first rehearsal, we mainly focused on learning all of the sections and blocking. For non-performers, that means putting everyone in spots. I really liked all the different part because not one was similar to the one before. We got really close to being finished in that rehearsal, so we didn’t have much to do the next day but run it and clean. By the end of the day, I felt that it was definitely a time well spent working on it and making it as close to flawless as possible. You know what they say, practice makes perfect!

If you enjoyed reading this, please subscribe to my blog if you aren’t already and if you already are thanks for being great fans!

Mr. Marco is Back! Pt 1

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Those of you who know who Marco Cruz is (mostly my dance friends) know that he has been gone from DPAC for a while teaching at KAR, a popular convention/competition. I have missed him a lot because he was one of my favorite teachers at DPAC! Fortunately though, he recently visited us twice and that is what I will be telling you about today.

Mr. Marco choreographed my first ever solo, Whatcha Want. I won every competition with that solo so you could see why I love him. I also enjoy his amazing teaching styles and challenging combos.

Last week, Ms J. told us that there was going to be an audition for the opening number that we are performing at a Michael Jackson Tribute show in LA. Afterward, she told us that Mr. Marco was choreographing it. I was upper excited but I also knew that I needed to bring my A Game because he’s very tough. The audition started on Thursday during the two hours when it’s usually Hip Hop 2-3 and Hip Hop 4-5. Marco walked in with his trusty assistant, Taylor and they started the combo right away. I had visited Marco a few weeks before that so I already knew the beginning of the piece but he also added many other things so I don’t think I had much of an advantage at all. After we did the dance he split us up into four groups. We ran the combo a few times in those groups and then he started putting us into different groups based on what he thought would look good together. He did this for a while, taking people out and putting people in. Finally, after he did this for about 20 minutes, he started picking the people that were going to be in the actual piece. He started with choosing the older girls. Then he got to the younger ones like me. He called out about five people and then he paused. I was a little bit upset because I thought he was done and I didn’t get picked, but right after that he turned to me and said, “You’re in.” I was super excited because it was very unexpected!

Click here to see the second post in this sears – Mr. Marco is Back Part 2

 

 

To be continued…

 

 

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.

Auditions!

By | Auditions, Dance, Friends | 6 Comments

Last week I had an audition for the girl group Fifth Harmony, but I’m not allowed to say what project it was for. I didn’t feel the best about it, but yesterday I found out that I made it t0 the callback!I went to that today and that’s the story I am about to tell.

This morning, we left at exactly 11:40 A. M. for Hollywood. It was a very stressful and long drive due to traffic. I hate traffic. We got there right on time for sign in. After that, they told us what group we were in. I was in group 4. It took about 30 minutes for my group which was a long time in my opinion. But after I went I felt great! I didn’t mess up once and the judges were looking at me a lot. I made it through that round, but then they put us in different groups and I got cut. They said that they would have kept me but they wanted taller girls. It was not a very good day to be short.

Even if I didn’t get picked, it was still a fun experience and I got to see a lot of my friends.

2 Celebs in one Week

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If you are one of my many active Instagram followers, then you already know that in the past week I have met Zendaya and Vanessa Hudgens! But I thought I would reiterate for those who aren’t.  Both of these people are inspirations for me because they both are triple threats and that’s what I aspire to be.

Zendaya

I met Zendaya at Camp Pulse (which I won two scholarships at but that’s for another time). The emcee announced that, “Camp Pulse has a special surprise for all of us!” and she walked in with Rosero, a part of the Camp Pulse faculty. I was extremely thrilled to meet her because I am a big fan of the show Shake it Up  that she starred in and she is an amazing dancer!

I met Vanessa Hudgens at a nail salon in North Hollywood called Modern Pamper. I had just finished a long day of auditions with my friend Juju and we wanted to do something relaxing and fun so we went to get our nails done! We spent most of the car ride deciding what design to get because we heard that you could get any nail art you wanted. That being so, we had to choose something exciting. We decided on a blue color with zig-zags.

Vanessa Hudgens

Anyway, back to the point. We were starting to get our nails done and Vanessa Hudgens just walked in and started hanging out in the nail salon! It sounded like she came to meet her sister because she was with another girl that looked almost exactly like her. After we were done, we asked her if we could have a picture with her. She was very friendly and kindly said yes. It was a great experience meeting her because I have always been a huge High School Musical fan for what feels like forever. Thanks for reading:)

 

 

Vanessa Hudgens with Sparkles LundZendaya and Sparkles Lund

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

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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.

 

Camp Pulse Dallas

By | Convention, Dance, Friends, Travel | 7 Comments

This weekend I will be traveling to Dallas, Texas for a dance convention called Camp Pulse. I will be spending the weekend with amazing choreographers like Lane Napper, Rosero McCoy, and many more. One of them that I mentioned: Lane, actually starred on the Nickelodeon hit show Victorious playing the role of the school’s guidance counselor. Rosero does all the choreography for the Disney show, Shake It Up!

I will arrive in Dallas today, but the convention starts Friday, October 25(a.k.a. tomorrow) and I will be performing my Jazz solo, Gatsby. After that, I have an acting class with Lane Napper! Sounds cool, right? Then, I have a master class with the amazing Wildabeast. He is one of the leading Hip Hop choreographers in LA. He also has his junior crew called Lil’ Beasts. I would probably be a part of it if I lived in Hollywood.

The following day, I will start the convention classes. Those start at 9:30 and end at nighttime because we have something called the Pajama Jam. It is where we get to dance and play games in our favorite PJ’s. I am wearing furry pajama pants with colorful smiley faces on them and a teal colored shirt.

On Sunday, I do basically the same thing except there is a wrap party at 3:00 where they hand out scholarships to the dancers that they think worked the hardest and deserve it the most (fingers crossed). The truth is, all the dancers are excellent, there are just some that stand out more than others.

I am really looking forward to seeing my dear friends Charlize Glass and Sean Lew. I first met Sean when he danced at my dance studio’s sister studio, Dellos Walnut. I met Charlize at another Pulse and we became fast friends. Well, that’s a preview of my weekend. The captain just announced that we are descending into the Dallas Ft. Worth airport and need to shut down all electronic equipment for landing. Wish me luck. If you want updates throughout the weekend, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter – my handle is sparkleslund on all of them.

Aladdin Audition

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On Saturday, I had an audition for a production of Disney’s Aladdin at the Pasadena Playhouse. The audition started at 10:00 a.m. and I was done at 5 p.m. It was very tiring. The strange part is that it was part audition, part reality TV. The producer was Lythgoe Family Productions, so I guess I should not be that surprised that it felt like a So You Think You Can Dance audition. The choreography was done by Mario Mosley. It was the first time I auditioned with a choreographer that I knew. He teaches at Sol Innovations.

First, we learned a short routine to the Lady Gaga song, Applause. It was a really fun dance with a lot of personality(right up my alley). Next, they broke us up into groups based on the Disney character that was on our name tags(I was a Tinker Bell). After that, the judging began. I went into my group and we did the routine. After we finished, they asked us to switch lines and perform it again. I was really nervous because I had no idea what the judges thought about my dancing and my personality. Then, they told us to form a straight line and surprisingly everyone went through in my group, but it kind of upset me because some of the people in it were not very talented. After we were judged, they put an orange sticker on our name tags and told us to come back at 2:00. Soon after, I went to Red Robin with my dear friends Valentina and Alexis. I had a grilled cheese with a chocolate milkshake.

When we went back to where the audition was being held, we saw that a TON more people had come to audition and we found out that those were the people that they booked last year and about 20 others. While they were auditioning, the rest of us got more time to go over the dance and make new friends. Then it was our turn,

 

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.

The Big Trip for Sparkles Lund

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Ok, so my big trip started at a green screen studio in Burbank. I was there getting ready to film Just Dance Kids 3 which is just what it sounds like: a dance video game for kids! But sadly, later I got sick on my way to La Quinta Resort & Club for Easter Vacation. After a night of vomiting for twelve hours, I luckily felt a lot better in the morning. It was even enough that my mom and I decided to go to breakfast, and then go swimming.

A few hours later, our whole family went shopping. I didn’t have a very fun experience because there weren’t many children’s’ stores. The next day was pretty much the same except we went to a different mall. Next on our trip, we headed back to LA because my agency set up audition class with award-winning choreographer, Marguerite Derricks! After the class, we headed home and thought about everything we did. It really was a great trip.

Third Place Is Still Winning

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I spent last weekend in Burbank, CA attending the iHollywood Dance competition and convention. Obviously when you go to compete, you always want to do your best. What you learn as an athlete in an individual sport is that you can only do your best, and you will not win every time. Think about the worlds best race car drivers, golfers, gymnasts, and tennis players. Even at the highest level in their sport, it is hard to be the best every time.

We went to LA thinking about Mr. D, who was in an awful car accident. He broke his neck and they were doing emergency surgery to save his life. We had no idea what was going to happen. Just before we started competing, we learned that he was fine and the doctors were successful. Our prayers were answered.

With lifted spirits, I hit the stage for Sparkly Money, then half way through – the music stopped and the lights went out. I did my best to stay in character. After I got off stage, they put me back on, and I had to wait more than a minute before my music started….. very stressful. I did my best once again, and the music and lights went out once again. I received the “Girl on Fire” award and came in first in the category for my age group.

Watcha Need was great. The number placed first in the Jazz category. The score was good enough to place Third Overall for the competition. Here is a video that I put together to share the story of Hollywood Connection in Santa Clara, and iHollywood Dance in Burbank. Hope you enjoy it. Share with friends.

Hollywood Connection Icon of the Year

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Hollywood ConnectionA few weeks ago at Hollywood Connection Nationals I won……. ICON OF THE YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hollywood Connection gives out the award based on classes, sportsmanship, passion and your solo. I wasn’t sure but, when Robert Schultz gave me the rainbow afro in the ICON group dance, I thought it was a hint that I was at least getting close to being the winner.

It felt so good when we were at the HC (Hollywood Connection) banquet when they were announcing the winners of ICON and they called my name. Not to mention it really inspired me when I was taking pictures with all the teachers from HC such as; Brandon HenschelChonique SneedBrooklyn JaiBrooke LiptonLisette BustamanteJason KalishKatie MillerLindsley Allen, last but not least the owners Bill Bohl and Kimberly Lyon.

It was a great experience to win ICON OF THE YEAR… I hope I will do as well next year…
Thank you for reading my blog. ~Sparkles.