Ali Wilmshurst is a professional dancer from the Gold Coast who has been living in LA for the last 17months. She is back home for a quick visit and to teach workshops at Dance Force on the Gold Coast and Mad Dance House Brisbane. We managed to catch up with her to hear her story so far ….
Tell me about what you have been doing in LA:
When I first moved out here I was doing allot of extra work on movies and TV shows until I got to know the In’s and outs of the city. I just finished doing a show with Ed Alonzo and Neil Patrick Harris and I have been working at Universal Studios Hollywood in between gig’s and music videos.
What was your motivation to move to the USA?
I did a cruise ship contract about 3 years ago. After only 1 contract the company started flying me to LA to workshop their new shows. I began working with LA choreographers and in my spare time from rehearsals I would take class. When I was here February last year I knew that this is where I needed to be and by June I had made the move.
What steps did you take to get your visa?
Before I left for the states I did allot of research on the 01 visa. I needed evidence from everything that I had ever done as a dancer and i made sure I took as much information to the states with me as possible. I was signed with MSA (Dance agent) before I moved to LA and they petitioned my visa for 3 years. When I got to LA i met with 5 different lawyers until i found the one that really believed in my case. The hardest part was getting sponsorship. I was fortunate to have moved in with a guy who was apart of a music group called Nuthin Under a million and they were signed with 50cents label. They took me on as a dancer and choreographer and I have been choreographing for the labels artist’s based in Europe and will be touring with them next year.
Who have you worked with, and what are they like?
I love Nappytab’s. There aren’t allot of technically trained teachers/choreographers now days and the way they explain and teach their choreography is so old school. I got to work with them on their TV show ‘Mobbed’ and made a great connection with them. They occasionally invite me over to do work out sessions in their garage! I also really enjoyed working with Chris Brown, he is great, but not so great at doing the aussie accent haha.
It has been a roller coaster. The first few months were overwhelming, but once you start getting to know the scene and your competition you start getting into a routine. There is always something going on here and you just gotta be around the right people and have the right attitude all the time.
Any advice for young dancers wanting to follow in your footsteps?
If you want it bad enough, you wont care how you get there, you just will. Great things are never easy and if you believe in something great, you’ll achieve something great. Don’t take No for an answer and just work hard.