What are you currently working on?
I have currently been teaching classes for summer programs and conventions in the New England area. I come home (to Boston) towards the end of the summer to see family and friends as well as teach at programs that are dear to my heart such as the Dance Studio of Braintree, Berkshire Dance Theatre and Boston University’s REACH program. I also spend time teaching at many other studios of fellow dance teacher friends of mine as well. I enjoy this time of the year so very much to see how the kids have grown and show them what I’ve been learning. I am heading back to LA in a couple weeks to get back to work.
Where are you based out of?
When did you start your training & want to be a dancer?
I started dancing when I was 2 years old but started taking dancing seriously when I was at Dean College.
What was your first professional job as a dancer?
Dancing in a W.B. Mason Commercial
Who were your mentors and what roles did they play in your growth as an artist?
I have a few mentors who I’ve had in my life through dance who have affected and changed me for the better. First, Jeffrey Louizia who taught me more than I can put into words. One day he threw me into a class that I was just pretty much assisting and about 5 minute before the class started he said to me. Okay your teaching today. I freaked out! I started crying and almost [had] an anxiety attack because I was scared. There was no way of me getting out of it so with the fear in me I just went for it. It was probably the best thing that ever happened. When you get thrown into something your body and mind go into survival mode, obviously not on a life or death situation level but on a level of I’m already standing in front of all these people I have to do this. I can do this. I hated him for it at the time but I look back and I am so thankful for that push. I would have never done it if I wasn’t pushed to the edge like that. Jeffrey and I taught, choreographed and performed together for many years. Through those years I learned so much about myself as a person and myself as a dancer.
Then there’s Melissa Kelley Clark, a woman of the dance Gods. I met her at the Greater Brockton Dance Teachers Association Convention that I was teaching at with Jeffrey. It was like love at first sight. We instantly connected on so many levels and to this day she remains one of my closest friends. She owns a studio of over 20 years in Braintree, MA. Every summer she would have me teach some classes at her summer dance classes and then let me take her classes and anyone else she had guest teaching. She would watch my classes and take pictures and always be so involved with whatever it was that was going on in the studio at the time. Always a positive energy that just made me feel like I wanted to stay there all day long and teach her kids and be in this wonderful environment. We have this bond now that has transformed from employer to friend, mentor and almost mother figure where she watches out for me and tells me like it is no matter what. 🙂 I call her Mama Mel because she is just that. She is so passionate about the technique and art of dance not because she should but because she has to. She was born to do this and she impacts and inspires my life every time I am in her presence. I feel so honored to know her and still to this day make sure I am there at her studio and with her because she has changed me and made me a better teacher and dancer in so many ways.
I do have one more. I have been living in Los Angeles for about 3 years now. I started taking classes all over the place at different studios like Millenium, Debbie Reynolds and Edge. All so very different and wonderful in so many different ways. But one day a friend of mine said we need to take this jazz class at Edge. So of course I say lets do it. Head to class and it’s packed and the teacher is this small curly haired blonde woman who is yelling and screaming at us, we’re doing more push ups and ab work than I’ve ever done in my entire life. Then we get to choreo and I was in love. We did my favorite song from RENT, “Take me or Leave Me” …ever since then I’ve been taking her class consistently for over a year and a half. My dancing and body has transformed because of her. She was one of the Solid Gold dancers. After going to class all the time my friend and I started listening to her speak to the scholarship students about what they needed to fix and how to be better in class and she started noticing. Now every time I take class I stay after and talk to her she critiques me and helps me, asks me how I felt and tells me what I need to work on. I never thought I would find someone out there who truly cares about me the way people back home did. She has since helped me with headshots, auditions and pretty much helps me with anything I ever ask her. She has lived the commercial dancer’s dream and has so much to offer. She has transformed me into the dancer I am today. I am so thankful for all of theses people who have come into my life and helped me grow. I do not know what I would have done with out them. Everything happens for a reason.
What is your favorite place you have ever performed?
My first Choreographer’s Carnival in LA doing Clarys Biagi’s choreography. Carnival was one of those things that I always watched and always wanted to be up there performing in front of all these industry people. I finally got the chance and it was the best feeling in the world. The stage was at Avalon in Hollywood formally The Palace back in the day. That stage itself has so much amazing history of legends who have performed on it. People like Fred Astaire, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Betty Davis, Cyd Charisse, Ginger Rogers, and The Beatles. So many more. The building itself is just filled with so much. It felt so great to be on that stage that night knowing how many stars had once been there as well. I will never forget that performance.
What has been your greatest triumph to date?
My greatest triumph to date would be when I finally realized that you can do anything you set your mind to. I always felt like I wasn’t good enough for so long. Once you realize that when you have hard work, drive and dedication and you are happy while doing these things. It doesn’t even matter what gigs you get and what you are doing as long as you are living the life you want…and most importantly ….you are happy doing it! It was almost like striving for things all the time and not being happy in what you were working on in that present moment and letting these things just pass you by. Life is a journey most defiantly and if you are not happy with your journey then the destination won’t feel the way it should. It really is about what you do to get to your goal and how you feel while pushing and striving for it. Once you get what you want, you want something else…so enjoy this journey. I know I am.
Do you have a pre-show ritual or superstition?
I do this wiggle thing and shake out everything to relax and de-stress myself. It looks pretty funny but it’s like a last letting go before I can let go. I do pray to myself as well asking God to let me do my best and give whatever it is I can give.
What inspires you to keep going?
Knowing that there is nothing else in this world I’d rather be doing than performing. It’s like this invigorating feeling knowing that you can let everything you are be seen and shown through movement and performance. Sometimes I think to myself when I hear my friends talk about their work and their normal 9-5 jobs…I can never do that. I would never want to do that. At least right now all I know is dancing makes me happy
Where do you see yourself in 15 years? Will you still be dancing?
I don’t see myself ever leaving this field. I hope that I will be possibly doing more with teaching or possibly going into agent work. I always loved helping others succeed so I can definatly see myself doing that. I see myself healthy and happy and of course still dancing (in some sort of way) Whether it be teaching or taking class for myself. There is no way I can live with out dance being a huge part of it. I have too much passion to let it go.
What are your goals outside of dance?
I don’t have many goals outside of dance. I know what I was put on this earth to do and be a part of so my goals are all in my passion. Other than that I would like someday to be married with a family of my own and just be happy and know that I am living right.
Do you have any advice to give to other dancers whether they are just starting or in the thick of it?
My advice is to stick with it. NO matter how hard it gets and how you might feel like giving up. Don’t. You worked too hard to let go of your own happiness. If it makes you happy, then do it. The dancers life is like no others. You do have to sacrifice and struggle at times but it is all worth it in the end. Find a mentor or a friend who understands this life we live. It will all be worth it. You are the only you to ever be in this world. If you let go of that then it will be gone forever. When I was in college a teacher of mine gave us a quote and to this day I have not let go of it. I continue to use it and teach with it to show others how much it truly means, no matter what field you are in.
Here it is:
“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action & because there is only one of you in all time this expression is unique. And if you block it it will never exist thgouth any other medium & it will be lost. The world will never have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares to other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours, clearly & directly. To keep the channel open” – Martha Graham
some inspirations of mine…
everyday LIFE the struggles, the happiness, everything we do!!!
Fellow dancers and teachers
an amazing piece of music
Watching others be affected by what they see in a performance
Stephanie Imbornone was born in Boston where she started dancing at a very young age with The Dance Company under Don Bigger. She attended Dean College where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Dance. There she was a member of the Dean Dance Company and C.E.O./Choreographer of the Dance Team. She has been in many companies including Bryce Dance Company, The Gray Area Dance Project, Unyted Stylz Entertainment under Ricardo Foster Jr., Bassline in Motion under Adrienne Hawkins, and Arc en Ciel Dance Troupe Inc., a Haitian Folkloric dance company. Stephanie has also had her own company JsXtention with partner Jeffrey Louizia. Stephanie has taught dance at many establishments including Dance Studio of Braintree, Berkshire Dance Theatre, Dance New England, and Spotlight Dance Studio. She has been a College Intern as well as Professional Dancer for Boston University’s summer outreach dance program REACH.
Stephanie moved to Los Angeles in 2009 where she has performing and choreographing many projects. She has danced in many music videos such as Storm Deisel’s “New Son of R&B”, Reason feat. Sarah Winters “Bright Lights” and Reason “Celebrate”, as well as a dancer in Director Dave Bluefield’s “The Perfect Pitch” musical. She has performed at the Legacy Awards honoring Adam Shankman at the Directors Guild of America, Choreographers Carnival with Choreographer Clarys Biagi at the Avalon in Hollywood as well as a featured dancer in European artist Kuba-KA’s “Party in the Streets” music video. She recently filmed her first movie, “Hollaback”, a Lions Gate Film, directed by H.M. Coakley. She is a part of the Alto Nido Arts Collective in Hollywood and a company member of Brockus Dance Project Company, a contemporary/modern company under the direction of Deborah Brockus. She is also an active member of Answers4Dancers as well as supportive member of Dancers Alliance.
THE S AGENCY, LA