Laurieann Gibson is a Canadian choreographer, director, television personality, singer, actress and dancer. She has choreographed dance numbers for musical artists such as Michael Jackson, Alicia Keys, Lady Gaga and Beyoncé. Her music video directing credits include "Judas", "You and I" and "Love to My Cobain".In 2005, Gibson rose to prominence on the MTV reality series, Making the Band, and later worked as a judge on Little Talent Show, Skating with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance. Gibson also had a brief musical career, in which she released two albumsView the profile
About the talk
Empower the dreamer in you: the artist, the writer, the athlete, the entrepreneur, the mover and shaker. World-renowned creative visionary, choreographer and author Laurieann Gibson shares the principles that have shaped and guided her artistic work developing some of the world’s biggest pop stars. In conversation with creative director, celebrity stylist and costume designer June Ambrose, Gibson will speak to the inspirational jewels she’s garnered over her 20-year career in entertainment in order to ignite your creative passions, encourage you to create a unique roadmap to success, and to "dance your dance."
SXSW dedicates itself to helping creative people achieve their goals. Founded in 1987 in Austin, Texas, SXSW is best known for its conference and festivals that celebrate the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries. An essential destination for global professionals, this year’s online event features sessions, showcases, screenings, exhibitions, professional development and a variety of networking opportunities. For more information, please visit sxsw.com.
Connect with SXSW:
Laurie Anderson. I am beyond excited. I'm obviously your biggest fan. So, so, you know how I feel about you, but thank you so much for taking time out. You're super busy schedule. And I'm just so happy that you have allowed yourself to share this moment with me. So thank you, greatness. I couldn't imagine being anywhere else because I have so many questions to ask you and I know the audience will be thrilled to hear some of your betting on yourself. Can you talk a bit about how you develop inner confidence? Betting on yourself in the book,
dancer dance. Actually, the first chapter is titled the first step because it's eight steps to Unleash Your Passion and Live, Your Dream, the first step. It's titled dare to dream. So betting on yourself is betting on that dream spending on that place where you most feel like your authentic self, you know, I bet on my dream. I knew that I didn't want to do anything else, but dance. So I kept betting on that feeling that my dream would produce. And, you know, you get to the point where you're like, I literally cannot exist if
I'm not doing that. What I love. And so that's really what I bet on. you you have this natural fire in and burning you like, you know, when you come to that you would have such Vigor and enthusiasm You know, I think the first step is obviously understanding your passion. What you love, what? You can't live without what you cease to exist, if you can't do it or have some part of it? Very early. I realized that I wanted to move that. I wanted to create joy for people that I had the ability to see what wasn't there. You know, a lot of times in
the business people want you to make another Beyonce, make another do, you know, I see what's not there and that's what fuels the ability to have vision and Imagination. I wrote dance, your dad. So that today these young kids June could understand how to empower their imagination. Not just Googled something and copy it, or look at Instagram and reproduce it, but really understand how to stretch that muscle at imagination. And I think that's a big part of understanding yourself creatively
is giving way to that imagination. Yeah, I love that. And you know, you're also quite the Wordsmith. You are filled with mantras and motivational fall and you Goodness. There are many that obviously dance. Your dance, which is super important for me. Not only because it's the title of my book but it's me really strongly trying to shift the narrative in the culture in the music business in people who do have a dream and a vision, it is imperative that now more than ever. We encourage each person to be their unique.
South, you know, everyone is wired a certain way and today they are trying to sell you to become just like everyone else or do it this way or look this way or talk this way or you're not successful. If you drop a record and it doesn't hit overnight. And that is just not the case that now more than ever you must dance your dance and no one else's. And in this book, I take you through eight steps that. Not only will Unleash Your Passion but it will help. You identify your dance and you can continue to go back to the book and
understand exactly what that what does that mean. Lori is my dad. You talk about I know you talk about this in the book as well. And people look at you and think that you are an overnight success in a long road. He talked about some of the struggles that you say, something, creative and how you overcame those. Yes, struggles, and an oppressive mentalities. And as a young black woman and as a Visionary that was always trying to do something that hasn't been done. It was very tough. I think the idea that I overcame
a lot of insecurities based on being unique was a big thing for me. You know, it's not always popular to follow the non-popular Road or to not do what's politically correct? So, naturally, I am a warrior and a fighter and as a creative Visionary, you have a tendency to do what's not being done or you don't want to copy. So sometimes when you don't want to sit in that comes at a cost and yes, I faced many people. Who said I couldn't? I wouldn't, I'm not good enough. I'm not black enough, I'm not, skinny enough, I'm not tall enough. I'm too loud. I'm
too passionate, I won't conform. So all of these negativities come your way, very early on, in your career and it is imperative that you fight through them. That you continue to press pass them because those are the moments that will help you define the greatness that you're capable of being and carrying. Right now, you know, this industry can shrink you if you're not if you don't come in like a lion that and even though you started, the Cub, he still not
affect the ability to grow into something greater and you recognize that, at least I saw that. And you continuously, I could really use some of what you if you know, your experiences. Are there any particular I think so nnnn, obviously encouraging you to buy the book dance, your Dad's because there are eight steps, but there are also is supported by a lot of life lessons and experiences that I've been through. So you will get a lot of insight from what I went through, but a big lesson, a big
life lesson is, look, it's not going to be easy. It may not happen overnight, but the ability to persevere to allow those nose to become your yes. I talked about staying in your yes, in the book and that is when everything looks like it's not working in your favor, you've got to choose your yes you've got to choose the dream. You've got to choose your belief in that dream in that vision. And the one lesson I always like to share is not, everyone is going to see it your way and you have to hold on to the vision stronger than anyone around you.
Stay in your yes. I love that. I mean the book is Bible you know it you know it doesn't over-consume you it's just enough that you can refer back to it. I can already highlighted have you know how many times have you had to stay in your yes in your June Ambrose has like Friday that its place is one of those. Yeah, I know for sure. We can we start feel like we are who are some of the people that you learn from. You know, all is Debbie Allen is an and she wrote an incredible testimony
in my book for which I almost died. But Debbie Allen is obviously one of my superheroes and what an incredible woman. What an incredible Visionary. I mean, there's just so much to say, June, you inspire me, you know, there's just so much my mother sisters, you know, there's just so many women are, Katherine Dunham. Martha, Graham Twyla Thorp, you know, That little girl. I mean loriann when I think about Her. She inspires me when I think about how much
that she refused to Give up, she refused to let them, you know, let the challenges change her. She inspires me every day that she kept fighting and she keeps biting I love that. You said that because I always people always asking the question, what would you sell your young self? And I would tell my young self, don't stop reminding me as an adult male great and courageous I was now so that I can do that. So I I totally relate to that. You know how do you use
how do you use that passion to elevate other aspects of your life? You know, if you're not passionate about it, you I believe that you shouldn't be doing it, you know, even when it comes to making money or building businesses or, you know, stretching out, you know, I just told the scripted show, obviously, as a director of filmmakers to their other areas in the business that I'm transitioning to even like I said, in building my wealth, I'm passionate about it because of the purpose
behind it. And I think people should be more inspired about the purpose and the process rather than the immediate gratification or the number of cars or homes or, you know, chips, you can do whatever it is that you want to do, you know about the purpose behind the records, the purpose behind the business, the purpose, the intention that drives my passion, you know, when I walk in the room, I want to Fire, I want to transfer trans transition, you know, people from what they thought they could do
to what they can do. So that really fuels by a purpose. And a lot of what drives me is about a positive shift about the inspiration about hope. You know, about changing the narrative from you might not be that to. Yes, you can be that to enough, right? Where we are to. Oh my God. You're beautiful. Not because, you know, the world told us that skinny white girls filled all the magazines and we couldn't find our images, you know, on a cover. So we were pretty no real really continuing to ship the narrative.
Not just because it's the cool thing to do, but because we literally lived that we had to shift the narrative to Summer Dreams and to survive. Also, you know, one of the stories that you talked about in the book Oh my God. Babe that there's a lot of us that I I talked about. One night, I got a gig for Malcolm X movie, Malcolm X Spike, Lee had hired, me, and Otis to lead, was quite a graphing. And I talked about being friends with an a very famous person at the time, they weren't
that same as butt and went out the night before my first day of rehearsal to the China Club. I don't know if you ever remember the China cop in New York. So I was like 70 try to get the China club or something. I got the job and it paid real money and I decide and end my cruise like you got to go out tonight before. I'm like no I got like a 6 a.m. wake-up call. What are you talkin about the pressure and not let anyone down or just to hide that. I was the first one to get a real job of the crew. Or I didn't want anyone to feel like I was blowing up or getting
something that they couldn't achieve. And I went to the China Club to people please to make everybody else feel comfortable by the fact that I am booked my first real job. And of course, the next day, I was late. Miss every train known to mankind, pulled up to the set. And Otis Elite was like don't even come in these doors, you're fired. I gagged, I guess. Girl, I guess. In that one, little story that you shared your answers, another question in that was, you know what lessons? Can you know, young? You sure, you know, the answers learn from the right.
You know, don't play yourself. Don't, don't try to lessen your greatness or your road. That's why I say dance, your dance at that point in time. I should have understood that. I had to dance my dance. And that I had to go home and get some sleep because I could not risk missing that call time and in the dead, sometimes we feel bad when we Cherry greatness, when we Cherry a vision when we Cherry Clarity, we want to apologize for it. We want to make everybody feel comfortable because They
don't at that moment. Know what they want to do know, you have two very early understand that you have to dance your dance and no one else's and sometimes that means saying bye to friends or putting yourself in a situation where you have to really look out for your yourself and your roadmap and stick to it. If I have two questions for you to eat your answering them, so rich, and I had before, we have to wrap it up and I think he started to go into creative yourself.
You're not just one thing. So how would you know, really good advice from Keenen Ivory Wayans who obviously is a genius do one thing really well first loriann. And then you can expand. You can really create a strong base and efforts are like, and I understood that and I understood that do you want to protect your strongest angle, you want to protect your biggest gift. You know, for me the dance is synonymous not only with the dance Community but understanding how How to
create Superstars Real Superstars design stage now, writing scripted shows. So the idea that I was really committed to the discipline of dance and I gave it my all to become the very best. I could be definitely has sustained me and I talked about that in the book train and sustain. It's a step that is very important for today's young kids cuz sometimes they don't understand the power of training in order to sustain a very long career. Well, what do you want me to take away from from this music? I want readers to truly understand that they are capable of
living their dreams and that The Narrative of being like somebody else. Dancing someone else's dance, following someone else's timeline is not it. I want readers to understand that there is nothing. That is not available to them, once they understand their dream. And once they dare to dream, I want meters to be inspired. That from a really powerful place, not just from the idea of inspiration, but truly powerful place where it will create transformation. And you will not
be afraid to own your dream and dance your dance. There's no fear attached to what you want to do and these steps help you understand. I call it your roadmap. Would you consider this supposed to be taking your break? You know what you and I think that's exactly right. It is a bath and read it said everything read. It's easy to get through. Like I said, his eight steps that it's supported by stories that very quickly out. You relate to the situation in your life
where you can apply the step and you learn a lot about my journey and the industry while understanding exactly how to slay every giant that standing in your way. And that's created. This is the perfect to me. You go to Perfect. I'll let you go. No, I think you're absolutely right this night, I appreciate you more than anything coming out of covid and trying to understand how to restart, or understand how cuz it has changed. It is change for the best and you're right is Brooke is definitely a personal touch
in Journey for me to not only empower. The superstars that I feel about to empower everybody, to take advantage of where we are and and dream again. You tell me about the first actual hard copy. I'm still a mess. I got to tell you about you. I got it but you know, I'm still a mess but it is as it is powerful because I didn't know that I had a book in me and God knew it and its purpose. And it's it's it's it's a really special thing because I I didn't understand the power of what we go through and when we share
it, how it can impact other people and how they can connect with a very wheel process and identify with your pain and with your perseverance and it can Inspire someone to get it better be stronger and be faster. So it's alive, I can send my hands but it's dancing. But I'm just like anybody that feels like they can't. Listen, you know, boomkack has, she will continue to and it is a point of contact for you. So I'm excited to watch. It be effective in the way that it was
fire. People to dance their dance. No longer feel like they have to be like anybody else or no longer feel like they have to themselves or deny themselves, the love and the freedom to dance their dance. Thank you, Laurie, and thank you for taking this journey with you to graduation.
Buy this talk
Buy this video
With ConferenceCast.tv, you get access to our library of the world's best conference talks.