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LADM 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.

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!

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

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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.

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.