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DPAC Archives - Sparkles Lund

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.

Buildabeast Re-Cap 2017

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Buildabeast was a huge success this year! For those who are new here, Buildabeast is an animal convention……lol…..annual convention put on by the owners and co-founders of ImmaBeast: Willdabeast Adams and Janelle Ginestra, aka: Mama and Papa Beast. I have been training under this newly engaged couple for going-on 4 years and I have learned so much. They ask us to bring improvement to every class. One thing for sure, they brought enormous improvement. Will and Janelle have probably improved more in the past year than any dancer or choreographer that I know. It’s a blessing to witness and completely inspiring to work with immaBeast.

With that being said, let’s get into the recap.

with Mallory Jul

Our whole team began rehearsals weeks ago, to ensure a phenomenal show. On the Friday before the event started, our crew arrived at the venue in Pomona to block the show and smooth out traditions. We rehearsed from Friday until Monday, and then on Tuesday, the event that we had all been looking forward to finally began! The first class was taught by Laura Edwards, followed by Noelle Marsh, etc.  That night, we had show rehearsal once again.

The next day, class, etc. After a long day of classes, we had rehearsal for a very special concert that I will get to later…. The next day, same schedule, except now it is the night of the concert for none other than Jordan Fisher! I met Jordan the first time I auditioned for immaBEAST back in 2014, and we’ve kept in touch ever since. He is killing the music game right now so make sure you check him out. The next day, we had a super early rehearsal before class even started and after that rehearsal I took a real good nap. I mean a girl’s gotta rest right? After my “recharge” I assisted Allison Holker which was so life changing! We ended the day with the spectacular Sean Lew’s class. Then it was finally the night of our much-anticipated immaBeast showcase!

Our show opened with the world renowned Chapkis Dance Company. Their set was absolutely insane and set the bar very high for the rest of us. Seeing their greatness just motivated the rest of us to dance our best, which we sure did! The show went great and we finished off the night with a fun after party DJ’d by the one and only DJ Marv.

The final day consisted of the heart and soul of Buildabeast: AUDITIONS FOR 2018 IMMABEAST! We had to audition Will’s combo from earlier in the week so everyone had a chance to practice before-hand, but the extra time also raised the standard because everyone rehearsed the combo to perfection. The audition was stressful, but overall a great experience. The last part of the day were the immaBeast awards, where I received “On the Rise” which means I show “constant improvement and really on the way to greatness” – once I got a “Girl On Fire” award – feels the same.

with Jordan Fisher

This week was so very inspiring and I can’t wait for next year. – To see the faculty members – click to check out this post

Next Up……..

DPAC has their annual summer show at the Clark Center called Eat, Sleep, Dance, Repeat. That is a must see event for locals! Tickets at the door – 6 PM Curtain Up.

I am looking forward to working with #teamcapezio at DancerPalooza! Watch @capezio on instagram for the live streaming all weekend during Beat Street. I will be interviewing Tate McRae, Melinda Sullivan, Emma HellenKamp, Kalani Hilliker, and photographer Jordan Matter. You will also be able to watch behind the scenes of my photoshoot with Jordan! Of course, I will also be doing spot interviews with my other favorite dancers and choreographers – some special guests guaranteed!

 

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 2- Hollywood Vibe DOTY and Team Larkles

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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.

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/

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.

Mr. Marco is Back! Pt 2

By | Auditions, Dance, Friends | 2 Comments

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

By | Auditions, Dance, Friends, Uncategorized | One Comment

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

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

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.

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

Hollywood Connection

Hollywood Connection 2014

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

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!

I hope you don’t mind the ads. They help me earn money to pay for dance. My dad says I get paid more when you click them. Anything that you can do to get more people to the site would be much appreciated. If you like one of these posts, please share it on Facebook and Twitter to your friends. It helps.

JuJu Plays Applejack In New Commercial

By | Friends, Work | 2 Comments

Juliana KellerOne of the great things about Dellos Performing Arts Center (DPAC) is the opportunity to be friends and dance with so many amazingly talented kids. One of my besties is Juliana Keller (aka Juju). She works really hard and is one of the top dancers at our studio. I learn so much from watching her. She is awesome.

Juju and her family have also been working on developing a career in the entertainment industry. Doing commercials, acting, dancing, singing, and that sort of stuff helps us offset the costs of our dance training. Auditions are always better when you get hired! I am so happy for Juju who is the absolute STAR of this video for My Little Pony. She plays the role of Applejack – sporting the hat and rocking out on the guitar.

I have known Juju ever since I started dancing at DPAC. She has always been really nice to me and we have learned so much from each other. I’m really proud of her booking this commercial. She always looks like she’s having so much fun when she’s dancing, and I’m pretty sure that she actually is! I love you Juju!

Please watch this video and share it with your friends.

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.

 

SOL Dance Convention Santa Maria

By | Competition, Dance | 2 Comments

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 – https://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.

12013-2014 DPAC Trio Crew

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Mocha, Juju and I were selected by DPAC to work with a company choreographer for a trio this year! Not sure what style the number is going to be, but I am totally psyched to dance with my girls.

We had a break dancing session together with Joey, he is on the Cal Poly B-Boys team. Afterwards we worked on tumbling – front hand springs, back hand springs, aerials, and some other crazy cray stuff we just goofed around and made up. Mocha’s brother Bear was fierce with his summersaults. We were so sore we spent over an hour in the hot tub.

We are having a three family BBQ tonight with a fire and an outdoor movie. Not sure what we are watching yet. Watch www.instagram.com/sparkleslund or follow www.instagram.com/jjjjjuju

 

 

Hollywood Connection 2013

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Hollywood ConnectionOMG, This weekend I am going to my first dance competition of 2013! DPAC is going to Hollywood Connection in Santa Clara (as always) to start off the season. It’s going to be super fun!

Because I am ICON OF THE YEAR, I get to be in the faculty dance with all of the teachers and one of my good friends, Trevor Quezada!

My group dances this year are entitled:

Breakin’ Dishes – Small Group Jazz

Push the Limits –Large Group Contemporary

Parental Warning – Production Hip Hop

Rockin’ Queen – Production Tap

Go Girl – Small Group Hip Hop

My solo is called Whatcha Need.

In Push the Limits, I do some really cool partner work with another one of my friends named Jordan Clark. That beautiful dance was put together by the one and only choreographer, Tahirih Ellison. Rockin’ Queen is a tribute to the classic rock band, Queen. It was choreographed by some of my favorite teachers, Jill and Johnna Clark. I hope I do the best I can this weekend and the many to come. Wish me luck!

Backstage at Central Coast Follies

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Central Coast Follies is an Arroyo Grande Tradition. Ladies who love to dance and raise money for charity put on a great show every year. I see them practicing at DPAC (Dellos Performing Arts Center) every Sunday like clockwork. It is great to have them around. Practicing your solo in the studio alone can be pretty creepy.

DPAC is fortunate to be invited to add to their show. It was an honor to dance with them. We had a blast. Here are some of the backstage antics with DPAC studio owner Johnna Clark.

 

Some Of My Sparkley Friends

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DPAC Family

I just wanted you guys to meet some of some of my friends from dance. They are super cool I think you’ll like them…Well here they are.

The first is Camille, we have been best friends since we were three. Whenever I feel sad or lonely she has my back. We are always in the same competition dances so we get to hang out and see each other all the time. When we were little, Camille played this joke on me by telling me that we were “Home Sisters.” She said it meant we were biological sisters that live in different homes and have never met. I don’t know why but I believed her because both of our moms were allergic to cats and we both have blond hair. Anyways I love Camille and I know we will be best friends for life.

Mariah is my bestie too, but I haven’t known her as long. I met her when I joined the competition team, two years ago. There is only one word to explain her A.W.E.S.O.M.E. She is a great hip hopper especially in Marco’s class. She sleeps over at my house all the time so I’ve gotten to know her REALLY well [Did you know she sleep talks?] If you know her at all you know she absolutely loves One Direction, Liam Payne especially. If your reading this I love you Mariah.

Last but not least, this is Estelle. I miss her so much because she just moved to the bay area but she is one of my favorite people on the planet. I admire her a lot. She is an extraordinary dancer, she is so flexible and dances with so much emotion. I luv u.

I have tons of other friends that I care about very much – Peyton, Grace, Tyler, Paige, Nyah, Julianna, Anna D, Kiki, Jenae, Trevor, Jordan, Sidney, Lily, Alyssa, Jayci, Alexa, Alexis, Sara (blondie), Zoe, Miabella, and so many others. I am already embarrassed because I know that I missed someone. It kinda freaks me out that I cannot list everyone I know. Have you ever tried?

Hollywood Connection Icon of the Year

By | Dance | One Comment

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.

New Years Day Sickness

By | Stuff I Like | No Comments

6467155_orig2012 brought the Flu

This year I had to start off the new year with the flu. I threw up about 8 times between 5:30 and 9:30.

I had planned to go to the Clark’s home for new years. We had to call and cancel at the last minute. It made me feel bad because I was really looking forward to it. Jenae and Jordan are really fun to hang out with. We were planning to make Ginger Bread Men and stay up late to watch the ball drop in Times Square.

I have been to Times Square before, but I do not remember when. My parents have taken me a few times. I remember riding on the ferris wheel inside of the big Toys-R-Us store with my dad. The big light up bill boards are cool.

I am going to New York City again on January 10th. I will be going with my parents, my third grade teacher, and her daughter. We plan to go to the museums, and see a Broadway play. We have not decided which one yet. We are thinking about Chicago, Memphis, or Lion King. (leave a comment if you have a vote and tell me why you like it).

I am a little worried about being sick because I have a dance competition coming up next weekend (I am a DPAC Dancer). I hope I have my strength back to dance. This will be my first competition where I perform a solo.

The name of my solo is Watcha Want. I will let you know how it goes.