The Lady Gaga phenomenon has been going on for a few years. Now her choreographer and creative director, Laurieann Gibson, is having a phenomenal time of her own. Gibson is an Emmy nominee for directing the HBO special “Lady Gaga Presents the Monster Ball Tour: At Madison Square Garden.” She’s up for Teen Choice Awards as Choice Female Reality/Variety Star for her E! show, “The Dance Scene.” Her choreography is nominated for an MTV Music Video Award for her work on Lady Gaga’s “Judas.” And that’s just her awards calendar.
Tonight (8/2), her second reality show premieres: BET’s “Born to Dance” — a competition series in which Laurieann will guide and develop up and coming dancers as they vie to stay on the show. “I wanted to give my artists not just a trophy, but the information they’ll need to traverse the politics in the industry, to inject what I have found out along the way. It’s not about me making money as a producer or jumping onto the idea dance is hot,” she says. “It’s a real look at what really takes to make it as a dancer, and it’s a real opportunity.”
Indeed, the former “Making the Band” personality has already hired some of her “Born to Dance” contestants for other jobs.
Despite her myriad other creative enterprises, Gibson says her work with Lady Gaga continues to be at the forefront. “I just finished directing her ‘You and I’ video; I’m editing that now,” she says. (We knew that. Their fellow collaborator, fashion director and editor Nicola Formichetti’s Twitter photos of paparazzi literally parachuting down trying to snap shots of Lady Gaga on the video location have been all over the internet). “We have the VMAs coming up, a new tour….”
Those who saw the avant garde pop star on “So You Think You Can Dance” last week also saw Gibson’s choreography for her.
Gibson observes, “My schedule is kind of unbeliveable to a regular person and I think most people woudn’t believe all that I’m doing.”
She attributes her drive to hard years coming up. She arrived in New York City by bus at age 17 intent on a career in dance — and subsequently waitressed on an overnight shift and studied at Alvin Ailey by day. “It comes from a really grateful heart, to be at that place where you don’t have to go back,” she says. Hardscrabble years are something she says she has in common with her collaborators. “All three of us come from nothing. Five years ago, [Lady Gaga] had two failed attempts at different labels and was not understood.”
She and Lady Gaga and Formichetti and his assistant got together the other day to discuss what Laurieann will wear to the awards. Do not expect a meat dress.
“They all have their different interpretations of who they think I am that they were playing around with. She wants to tell the world what she’s experienced as a result of me, in terms of what I wear. It was very interesting to see because I’ve done it for her for so long,” says Gibson. She also says, “I looked at some of the ideas and said, ‘In no way will I be wearing that, that, and that.'” She adds, “My approach is completely different from hers, but equally effective.'”