Dance Mogul: What inspired you to start dancing?
Liz LeGrande: My parents introduced me to dance at the age of 4 hoping I would burn off some energy. Little did they know dance would become my first true love. What has kept me inspired for 23 years is the feeling of losing myself and finding myself at the same time. Kind of like meditation! I believe music is what feelings sound like. I’m constantly inspired by finding new ways to express how I’m interpreting the music.
Dance Mogul: How did you develop a work ethic to train?
Liz LeGrande: I grew up training at a dance studio (West Cobb Dance Explosion) that competed in national dance competitions. The first time I stepped on stage, I came in 2nd place, which resulted in my vow to never let anyone out-work me. I guess one might say that I was rather competitive. Lol. I wasn’t always the best dancer or most talented, but I knew I could out-work anyone. It’s a concept that has stood the test of time and that has proven successful for me.
Dance Mogul: When was your big break?
Liz LeGrande: I’d have to say my big break was Usher’s OMG World Tour in 2010. Once you book your first world tour as a dancer jobs seem to fall into place a little easier.
Dance Mogul: What have been some of your memorable moments on stage?
Liz LeGrande: The first time I stepped on stage to do a solo I was 8 years old and terribly shy. Before the music started I started crying and ran off. 5 minutes later I built up the courage to try again. That time I finished.
– When I was on tour with Katy Perry and we traveled to 3 different countries in only 3 days while performing all-new routines on various award shows. I never imagined that’s what the life of a dancer would sometimes look like!
– Americas Best Dance Crew was the first time I was on national TV. I’ll never forget how nervous I was before stepping on stage. It was the first time I realized being brave and afraid went hand in hand.
– Another great memory was on my first world tour with Usher, I had the pleasure of performing in my hometown on my birthday!!! The feeling of having my parents in the audience will always be indescribable! It was also the first time I realized that all my hardships prepared me for that very moment and without them, I might have never made it there.
Dance Mogul: Based on your experience now what would you tell your younger self?
Liz LeGrande: I would encourage my younger self to live a life DEFINED BY COURAGE. In my years as a professional dancer, I’ve learned that no great success comes without struggle. I’d also encourage myself to see a different perspective on the word failure and to recognize in advance that courage would-and could- be crafted from those difficult and yet incredibly defining moments.
Dance Mogul: What are you currently working on?
Liz LeGrande: I’m currently doing a promo tour with my girl, Iggy Azalea and soon to be MAC Cosmetics Campaign.
Dance Mogul: What advice do you have for the younger generation of dancers?
Liz LeGrande: Be open to the momentum of tough experiences because it’ll lead to a deep, groundbreaking, no turning back, transformation.
– Grace can always be crafted from disappointment, and courage from failure.
– It’s important to study where dance originated from. Having a strong foundation in all styles of dance will increase your chance of success.
– Having thick skin is everything. I’ve heard twice the amount of no’s than yes’s.
– Persevere even when it seems more logical to quit and make sure you enjoy the journey!
– Carry yourself like a business first, Artist second.
Dance Mogul: Is there anyone you would like to thank?
Liz LeGrande: There are so many people I’d like to thank! First, I’d like to give thanks to God. To my friends and family, you’re the most loving and supportive bunch I could ever ask for. I love you all. Also, a special thanks to those who taught me how to rise and fall. Your courage is contagious. Christine Shipley for being the reason I fell in love with dance. Andre Fuentes for taking me under his wing and breathing beauty into my spirit. Thank you to Ed Moore, Anthony Thomas, Kennis Marquise and Sho Tyme for teaching me the true foundation of hip hop. Also, last but certainly not least, a special thanks to all the greats who paved the way for dancers like me to be able to make a living doing what we love.