'Dance Your Dance': Laurieann Gibson shares how seeing representation in Alvin Ailey made her feel legitimate as a dancer

Emmy-nominated choreographer Laurieann Gibson has spent over 2 decades directing and cultivating music artists with her gift of dance. Now, in her debut book, Dance Your Dance: 8 Steps to Unleash Your Passion and Live Your Dream, Gibson is ready to share what she's learned in hopes of inspiring others.

"I honestly believe I was born to dance because dance was always my moment," Gibson tells ABC Audio.

"But when I saw Alvin Ailey [American Dance Theater], I saw women that looked like me on point," she continues. "I saw a Black woman dancing with such a passion and such an excellence and a soulfulness that I saw what I felt inside of me. And then I knew that there was legitimacy to my dream, to what I was feeling."

In her book, Gibson gets candid about her tumultuous journey in becoming a sought after choreographer. Working with the likes of Biggie, Lil Kim, BrandyNicki Minaj, Lady Gaga and even Michael Jackson, Gibson says her success and staying power in the industry always revolved around her not giving up.

"I faced a ballet teacher who told me that I would never be a ballerina because my feet were too flat. My back was too arched." Gibson says, recalling one of her earliest rejections. "So when I saw Ailey, I saw everything that he said I couldn't be. I saw everything that I could be.

While Gibson believes being self-motivated has been the biggest asset in accomplishing her goals, she does credit important catalysts like Alvin Ailey who inspired her along the way.

"And that moment confirmed my dream. It helped me to keep going," she adds.

Dance Your Dance: 8 Steps to Unleash Your Passion and Live Your Dream is now available for purchase.

By Candice Williams
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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