Choreographer-to-the-stars Luam Keflezgy dished to Niteside on her recent trip to D.C. about working with Rihanna and Kanye, among others, and what it's like to be the mind behind the moves of celebrities with megawatt starpower.
When did you first fall in love with dancing? I didn’t pursue dance until after college. I always loved dance and it was always a part of me that I didn’t recognize until later in life when I had the freedom to do anything with it. My first time doing anything was my senior year in college. I joined an African Dance Troupe, and I loved it. I took ballet for a couple of months when I was seven, but there was a mean girl in the class, so I told my mom I wanted to leave.
Now that you’re a professional dancer and choreographer could you imagine another career path? No. I definitely couldn’t imagine being in another career. I was actually pre-med as an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania, but I fell in love with dance. I couldn’t imagine this ever in a million years. I was raised to have a stable career, but I never imagined I could be this happy.
Who’s been the easiest person to work with and the hardest? In my experience, it’s always been the situation that makes it great or difficult when working with someone. The best time I’ve had so far was with Rihanna. I’ve choreographed for a few of her albums. She was the first major choreography gig that I had. It was wonderful to see my work on stage in front of thousands of people. The most difficult time was working with Amei, who’s like the Chinese Madonna. I flew all the way to China got there and they were like, “You have 14 dancers not four, all the music is in Mandarin/Chinese and rehearsal starts tomorrow."
What’s a day like in the life of a celebrity choreographer? No day is ever the same. It’s never a routine. It’s a constant creative and organizational process. I could be flying across the country, meeting with a major client or choreographing on a whim, you can never really tell.
Washington D.C. has a unique dance scene that intertwines go-go music and beating your feet. Has the style here ever influenced you? Of course! Everything can inspire you as a dancer. There have been times where I’ll watch a routine, and I’ll say, "Hey that looks just like something I’ve seen in D.C., New York, California, or even Israel." I love D.C.’s dance style. It’s inspiring because it’s unique.
Are you a fan of all the popular dance shows on TV? Yes, I love the shows. I think the recent dance shows that have come out the past few years have been very influential for television and the dance industry in general.
Who would you like to work with? Alicia Keys, Usher and Shakira.
Have you reached your ultimate goal as a choreographer? I’m just getting started. There’s so much I want to do. I’m ready to evolve, and connect with dancers all around the world.