In every sense of the word, Laurie Johnson is truly a “Renaissance” woman.
Not only is she an accomplished dancer, having worked with such artists as Gregory Hines and Savion Glover, but she is also a teacher, choreographer, drummer, painter, author, life coach, toastmaster, and motivational speaker. At this rate, Laurie can clearly accomplish more in one week than most of us can even think about doing in six months!
We couldn’t wait to interview Laurie Johnson in hopes that some of her inspiration, energy, and all-around amazingness might just rub off!!
DanseTrack – Who first inspired you in dance or otherwise?
Laurie – My mom owned a dance studio, Adele Johnson’s School of Performing Arts on Long Island, NY. I got my first inspiration there, and since then, I can’t stop dancing. I’ve done it from the beginning, I’ll do it ’til the end.
DanseTrack – If you had to pick a favorite dance number (or dance numbers) that you could either perform or watch someone do again and again, what would they be and why?
Laurie – I would split screen all my favorites. That’s because every dancer brings something unique to the art form. Each dancer makes us (the audience) feel better about ourselves and what we are capable of accomplishing.
1) On days when I’m feeling carefree, I watch Jimmy Slyde… glide.
(Jimmy Slyde performs here in the Broadway musical “Black & Blue” for which he received a Tony nomination.)
2) On days when my posture is lacking, I’ll watch perfectly poised Fred Astaire.
(Practically every feature on tap dancers here at DanseTrack either mentions and/or includes a video of Fred Astaire. He was a dancer who inspired tap dancers and non-tap dancers, alike.)
3) When I need motivation to go to the gym, I’m inspired by the athleticism of the Nicholas Brothers or Gene Kelly.
(Here’s and incredible scene with the Nicholas Brothers and Gene Kelly from the 1948 film “The Pirate”. This film was directed by Vincente Minnelli and also stars Judy Garland.)
4) I watch the fast feet of Steve Condos when I want to see someone who dances while hunched over like I do.
(Check out the lightning-fast feet of Steve Condos in the video: here)
5) When I’m regretful for not continuing by ballet training, then Sam Weber’s my man.
(Click here to see our exclusive interview with Sam Weber.)
6) If it’s been five minutes since I last smiled, I’ll check out Gregory Hines kissing the tap shoes of Sammy Davis, Jr. immediately after the two of them completed their tap dance challenge.
(Check out this video of the Sammy Davis, Jr. and Gregory Hines tap dance challenge: link.)
“I could go on with this list, but it would expand into the hundreds. I appreciate so many dancers, young and old, technically adept and whatever the opposite of that is. I value dancers, corny but true.”
DanseTrack – You have been very successful in many ways and have inspired dancers and non-dancers alike. What is your secret for success?
Laurie – The secret to success is to help others get what they want. There are a few other notables like being a decent person, maintaining good health and downloading a metronome on your smartphone.
DanseTrack – In addition to serving on the faculty for the Tremaine Dance Conventions and hosting your own talk radio show, what are some of your upcoming projects?
Laurie – My dream is to continue to host my show. However, the dream is to host not only from home but while cruising in the Bahamas, sailing in Barcelona and/or climbing the mountains of Belize. This is all completely possible, after all, we are only limited by our imaginations.
As for what the show is about: Listeners call in seeking 8 minutes of conversation with me. We talk about anything and everything: love, life or tap dancing. We chat and sometimes we agree. It’s a clean and simple format – exactly how we should keep our bodies, our homes and our lives.
(A link to to Laurie’s radio show can be found here: http://lauriejohnson.com/category/radio-show/)
DanseTrack – So many dancers and fans love tap dancing, but aside from a handful of touring groups and the occasional revival of such musicals as “42nd Street”, many dancers feel that there are too few opportunities to perform this dance style. Have you found this to be true, and if so, do you foresee any changes in the future?
Laurie – I’ve never been a consumer of information that doesn’t serve me. Why listen to conventional thought that says you have to tap dance on someone else’s stage, schedule or vision? We can create what we want. There are no limits and the barriers to entry are low. Persistence in any endeavor has its benefits. Sometimes we’re learning what doesn’t work. Other times, we’re making progress and happily tapping along. Dancers are creative people. CREATE.
Speaking of being creative,…
If only we could have gotten our hands on a pair of the those awesome tap shoes from Laurie Johnson’s former shoe line: Art n Sole™. Ideally, it would have been just in time for San Francisco Ballet’s recent post-performance “Cinderella Ball“.
After all, who needs glass slippers to wear to the ball when you can wear a pair of THESE?!
DanseTrack – On your website you have a list of the “6 crazy things you’ve always wanted to do”. Have you had a chance to do any of them yet? Have you added any new “crazy things” to your list? (The complete list can be found: here.)
Laurie – I’m sure by now I’ve got 6 more crazy things to do. One of which is to switch car insurance companies. It’s been on my list of things-to-do for about a year. On a more serious note, item number 5 on my list which reads…
“Help people who suffer, fight and struggle in their daily lives to realize that it doesn’t have to always be that way.”
…Is something I practice daily. I accomplish this through my page on. https://www.facebook.com/LaurieJohnsonFanPage.
DanseTrack – Thank you, Laurie, for sharing your time, wisdom and inspiration with us! Before you go, however, we’d like to share this video of you doing just what come natural.
Laurie Johnson Performing in A Tribute to Gregory Hines
For more information and to contact Laurie Johnson see:
- Official website: http://lauriejohnson.com
- On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LaurieJohnsonFanPage
- Laurie on Twitter: https://twitter.com/laurietalks
- A more complete version of Laurie Johnson’s biography can be found: here
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