Abby Lee’s Dance Company has been around for a number of years and most of us are aware of it due to the television show Dance Moms. Maddie Ziegler won the Teen Choice Award for ‘Choice Dancer’ in July 2016. ‘Who is she?’ you may ask. Maddie is the famous Sia dancer. THE Sia dancer. Although based in America, Teenzone had the opportunity to speak to Gianna Martello about how it is like being the choreographer for Maddie:
What is the most challenging thing about being a choreographer?
The most challenging thing would be trying to get a good balance of telling a story all the way through while still being able to show off the dancer or dancers’ strengths to the fullest. Also, giving the audience, who usually aren’t dancers or know much about dance, the entertainment that they came to watch.
How was your experience with working with talented individuals for ‘Dance Moms’?
The girls of ‘Dance Moms’ are a joy to work with. They are always open minded and come into my rehearsals ready for anything I throw at them. It’s difficult working in the circumstances we have with all the drama around us but we keep the dancing as their main focus.
At what stage in your life did you know that this was the destined career path for you?
I realized that dance was my entire life in high school. I started training more days a week and started attending and traveling to more dance competitions and conventions. When I began to meet others that were successful and had a similar love for dance and choreography, I knew that it was possible to make it my career.
You have a BA in Advertising and Public Relations. How has that helped you in your dancing career? Would you ever going into advertising or public relations full-time?
My degree actually helps me with some of the dance studio business outside of my choreography. I design a lot of the social media flyers and website ads for the ALDC.
Your choreography has been featured in music videos for Todrick Hall, Kendall Vertes, Alexx Calise and MackZ. What were those experiences like?
They were all so different but so exciting! Todrick is such a fun, inspiring guy who is probably one of the most creative people I’ve ever met. Alexx is so passionate about her singing and incorporating dancing into her videos. I loved working with Kendall and Mackenzie on videos because it was something different for them — something more commercial. They are so used to learning competition dance routines, so it was fun to let everyone see a different side of them and show that they are talented in other ways than just dancing.
What advice would you give to all the teenagers who would like to pursue a career in the performing arts?
It’s not an easy career by any means but it’s rewarding. There is no better feeling than being on stage in front of an audience or watching a piece you created be brought to life by the dancers on stage. If you absolutely love being on stage, don’t give it up for anything. If you want to create and choreograph then keep workshopping your combinations and phrases. Someone is going to want you and your work.
What motivates and inspires you to never give up?
When I see the finished dances and they come out better than I ever imagined, that’s when I am reminded that this is what I was supposed to do. When I see students master a trick or a combination for the first time, it’s like I know I did something right.
Were your parents supportive when you told them about which career you wanted to explore and pursue?
Yes, absolutely! They knew that dancing was my passion and there was nothing else I wanted to do more.
Why do you think it’s important for an artist/dancer to be social media savvy?
I think social media is such a big part of the dance industry these days. Dancers and choreographers are posting their work and showcasing their talents everywhere. If the right person comes across you or your work, you just might get a job out of it.
How would you describe your relationship with Abby Lee Miller?
Abby and I have a great relationship. We just get each other. I trained with her my entire life so I know how she teaches and what she wants. If I choreograph something she doesn’t like, I’ll change it. There’s no need to fight or start some drama — we already have enough of that surrounding us!
By: Kriszti Bottyan