7 Brilliant Choreographers You Should Fly To L.A. For

These are some of the biggest names in dance social media too!

Facebook Matt Steffanina choreographer

Traveling, to me, is about breaking down barriers between different places. And dance is no different.

I have seen many people fly from different parts of the world to L.A. for classes despite they barely understand English. While it may be useful to understand English when the teacher explains eery move in class, it’s not a requirement. Just watch the teachers’ body, follow along, and no language other than the language of music is needed.

Additionally, it has opened so many more experiences for me. When I was living in Hong Kong, I flew to L.A. to take dance classes after YouTubing and hearing about classes from my dance friends, and ultimately decided that I wanted to move here. I flew to New York a couple of times for classes from a certain teacher,  and walked into a dance studio in Taipei without knowing anyone. With broken Mandarin skills, I still wanted to experience local dance classes.  No matter where I lived in the world, I would always carve out time for dance, in turn, it gave me a fresh perspective on how the dance industry and dance styles vary from city to city.  Each cities’ dance styles have their own characteristics built in, depending on different cultures.

To determine which classes are right for your style, students often go on YouTube to see which choreographers they’d like to take classes from. For myself, these are a handful of my favorite choreographers (which, coincidentally, are some of the most famous dancers on social media):

Tricia Miranda, hip hop:

Hard-hitting ‘grungy’ hip hop from a female choreographer perspective, I immediately jump on any class Tricia Miranda teaches (even if one of them that I attended started at 10 p.m. on a weekday.) Her videos always go viral for a good reason – the moves are not only intricate, but her routines have a lot of areas where you can add your own feelings to. I love how I can let loose and act crazy in her classes.

 

Brian Friedman, jazz funk:

Brian Friedman’s name has been well-known in the industry as a highly respectable teacher for a long time now. He’s the judge of The X Factor UK, as well as choreographing for Britney Spears, Cher, and Mariah Carey. His classes are always very inspirational – he starts off with good old-fashioned stretching and across the floor jazz techniques before diving into teaching his choreography. A lot of feminine elements to his style, which is something I always love about jazz funk.

 

Matt Steffanina, hip hop:

Before going to Matt’s classes, I actually tended to shy away from most hip hop classes. I’d started off dancing in jazz funk, and was not used to the power and angles that hip hop requires. Matt is a great teacher and explains each step very clearly, down to where your focus should go while doing the step. Additionally, I love how he teaches when to use our power, when to pause, and when to let it go softly so we can dance the routine more dynamically. On a somewhat unrelated note, Matt and his fiancee Dana Alexa won the Amazing Race this year!

 

Will ‘Dabeast’ Adams, hip hop:

Although Will teaches ‘hip hop’ as a genre, his styles can vary greatly between womanly/sassy and grungy hard-hitting hip hop.  Regardless of which hip hop style he’s teaching in a particular class, he always reminds dancers to try different things, and learn and dance for themselves, not for the camera or the audience.

 

Sheryl Murakami, jazz funk:

Old-school 80’s/early 90’s jazz funk. Sheryl’s style is more showgirl/sexy, which allows dancers to embrace their femininity. Since I’m not a professional dancer and don’t have the opportunity to perform on a stage in L.A., Sheryl’s classes are one of the only times I can feel like I’m on stage doing a cabaret or equivalent. Side note: there are A LOT of on-the-floor choreography that Sheryl does, so bring knee pads to her classes!

 

David Moore, hip hop:

One thing I haven’t been able to find in L.A. because it is so commercial is a lyrical hip hop class (slower music and angled moves,) which is personally one of my favorite styles. It is more about expression rather than impressing the audience with intricate dance moves to a fast song.

 

Parris Goebel, hip hop/jazz funk:

Feminine, commercial, street, hard-hitting…all in one choreography.  It is still on my bucket list to take Parris Goebel’s class, as she is literally one of the hottest choreographers in the world right now. She not only choreographs for American artists such as Justin Bieber, but Asian artists seek her out too (Jolin Tsai, 2NE1, etc). She makes appearances to teach classes in L.A. regularly, but doesn’t make much fanfare about it so it’s hard to catch her!

Tracy Cheng

Contributor, JST SHOP Vendor

Tracy loves photography and documenting her travels. She has lived in Hong Kong, London, Toronto and Los Angeles, and has a piece of her heart in each city.

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