People Are Going Crazy Over… LUAM

Luam graduated with a degree in Neuroscience from University of Pennsylvania and began working in media and technology at Time Inc in New York. She explored both her creative and technical background in the Advanced Technology Group while taking advantage of the NY scene to pursue her love of dance. Eventually her passion and success as a dancer and choreographer grew and she left Time to follow it to shows, stages, and TV around the globe as one of the premier breakout choreographers in dance & entertainment. Having worked with the top performers in the industry, she maintains an extensive international following and is requested all over the world. Her fashion-forward concepts and connections with top stylists and artists in the music industry were part of the motivation to start Wildchild Nation with her friend Traci several years ago. After further developing her interests in fashion and connecting with the right partner and motivator to forming the company, Marc David, she and Traci finally made their Wildchild dreams a reality.
Clint caught up with LUAM during her busy schedule and spoke with her about teaching, performing and her fashion label. Enjoy PART ONE of our interview with the amazing LUAM.
You graduated with a degree in Neuroscience and have managed to become one of the most sought after choreographers throughout the world. Do you think it is important for dancers/choreographers to have a back up like a degree when they decide to be in the entertainment industry?
Sure, education is VERY important! If you are deciding whether or not to finish school, ALWAYS finish. Dance will be there before, during, and after. Also don’t feel pressured to major in dance or anything similar, pursue your interests always. I had a degree in Neuroscience because (oddly) it’s what I loved. I wanted to do medicine, I loved it. Eventually I fell in love with something else and had to make a choice… 😉
I am thankful EVERY DAY for my education, it allows me to pursue my career and the business of dance with more organization and preparation. I feel better equipped. On the flipside, formal education is not always for everyone, but don’t ever let dance be the determinant of whether you go or not. Education is a precious opportunity that we don’t take enough advantage of.
I know your family found it difficult at first to except the fact that you were going to leave your profession in Media and Technology at Time Inc. Can you explain how you dealt with the fact that your family did not support your decision to dance as much as you would like them to have?
Well my family found it hard for me to not pursue my grad education, or even pursue dance at all. And I understand why, coming from such preciously, traditional roots (and being conflicted myself even). But I dealt with it as I dealt with all of the hardships that came with dance. By dancing. Dance is not an easy industry, it is the hardest I’ve come across (and I’ve been in a lot of industries) and the only reason I did it, was because I loved it. It’s like when you have that man or woman that you just can’t leave because you were meant to be together. I couldn’t leave it, and it wouldn’t let me go. It was tough, really tough. And no matter how broke, how criticized, how attacked or ignored I felt, I was happier at the core of me because I was doing what I loved. Everything else could be dealt with in time. And it was.
The dance community in Australia is quite small compared to America. You have mentioned in a interview that it’s all about networking and not about your agent. Can you explain why you think this is and do you have any networking tips for DanceLife Members?
It is about networking though agencies are very important too, I would not say that they aren’t. Networking is combination of many things working together. At the end of the day you need to stay visible and attuned to what is going on in the dance industry, and also to make important choreographers, directors, and agencies aware of who you are. If they can’t remember you, they can’t hire you. So #1: BE VISIBLE. And #2: BE YOURSELF. Just like any job interview, people want to hire people who they will enjoy working with. With talent a given, everyone likes to work with people who are comfortable with themselves and are easy to work with. Love who you are and be open to the energy of the people around you, and people will continue to hire you because they enjoy having you on their team.
Many fantastic dancers never get the chance to shine as they get very nervous at auditions due to the amount of people, or put themselves down thinking they will fail. How do you get over nerves before an audition?
Shoot even I have nerves at auditions lol. The idea is to tune out the politics and drama around you and focus on the music. People on the other side of the audition table want to be drawn into your story. Draw them in, don’t try and overwhelm them with overperforming or trying to hard. Pull them in to feel the groove that you are feeling. It’s a mental journey (as is everything in dance), letting go isn’t easy and takes a lot of practice. Use every audition as an opportunity to practice.
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