Bonnie Story Wins Big!!!
Bonnie Story just won a World Choreography Award for her work on a Marriott Commercial! She’s an in-demand choreographer and the type of jobs she works on is very diverse. Since our National Finals this past July, she has worked on a feature film called Saturday’s Warrior, choreographed for a Japanese boy band called The News, choreographed a Nuskin Industrial which was performed in front of an audience of 18,000 people, worked with artist Alex Boye on his new music video and his upcoming Christmas show, and will soon be working on a Pearl Harbor Celebration in Hawaii. Whew! She’s busy.
What you may not know about Bonnie Story is she was a classically trained ballerina prior to moving to Los Angeles. She studied at Julliard, The School of American Ballet and was a principal dancer for Ballet West. When she moved to Los Angeles, she worked with the biggest names in entertainment and can be seen as a featured dancer in Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal Music Video. In addition, she is an Emmy Award winning choreographer for Disney’s High School Musical films with Kenny Ortega and Chucky Klapow, and has choreographed on So You Think You Can Dance. With such an amazing resume and high profile work, we asked Bonnie to shed some light on the dance industry to educate our dancers.
What do you look for when you are casting dancers for a job?
The number one thing I look for, whether is a commercial or a movie, it’s being NATURAL! Directors are always looking for REAL people on camera who happen to be amazing movers. The emotion cannot be forced. Work from the inside out. All things being equal in technique, the dancers I will hire will be the ones that are real and honest with their emotion and natural on camera.
What are the qualities in which you would rehire a dancer?
Problem solvers!!! Dancers who think quick, and are not phased by anything. Things change frequently on a set. If something happens, they need to be able to take direction, fix the problem and not fall apart. Also, dancers that bring a great energy to the work environment is very important. I like dancers that get along with everyone. I want dancers that come to rehearsal ready to work, bring their best and are happy to be there. It’s important that dancers are responsible workers and take the job seriously. We have fun but at the same time we are all business.
What are the qualities in which you would not rehire dancer?
Someone with a bad attitude! I don’t care if you are the best dancer in the room! If you cop an attitude, it makes everyone miserable. I made that mistake once and I will never do it again. I hired an incredible technical dancer that ended up having a really bad attitude on a job. It was awful and they ruined the job for everyone. Some time went by, and this person auditioned for me again. I gave this person the benefit of the doubt and hired them hoping they had matured. Boy was a wrong! This person coped the same bad attitude and I will NEVER hire that person again.
When you cast a job, you want people to be good. You want the best people. They make you look good, they make the project look good, the director is happy and everybody wins. You want to give dancers the benefit of the doubt. You want them to get their act together. But wanting it for them isn’t enough. They have to pull it together or it will hurt their reputation.
Do you think a dancer with bad habits can change?
Yes, we have a reasonability as teachers and choreographers to call out of those dancers when they have a bad attitude. We have to address it early or it will perpetuate and become a habit. They learn this behavior is ok, so they keep doing it. Students will take those bad habits into the work force. We have to call them out and correct it so they can learn from it and hopefully make better decisions.
It seems like your professional work keeps you very busy. Why do you make it a priority to teach on convention?
It’s the one place where I can give back. It’s a place where I can pass on what I have learned from the best in the business. Whether it’s the ballet masters I have worked with, to directors Kenny Ortega and Vincent Paterson that I have assisted over the years, I feel I owe it to dancers to teach. I’ve been a part of a lineage in the dance industry that I feel I must pass on to dancers. It’s information that they can use in the real world. I love the students and teachers that Hollywood Connection attracts. It’s a special community. It’s unlike anything else I have worked on. I love pushing people. I love pushing myself. I love making dancers think. I love seeing the light bulb go off. It feeds my soul and it pushes me to be a better teacher, communicator and choreographer. Honestly, I think I learn more from the kids then they learn from me. It’s definitely a give and take. In the classroom, we go through the experience together. I am with them every step of the way. We need each to grow dance as an art form.
Work with Bonnie Story this season!
Three years ago, Bonnie developed a Music Video Workshop in which she works directly with dancers on camera both in choreographer and scene work. This program has gown in size tremendously and is one of the highlights of our Nationals Finals! All students will have the opportunity to audition for Bonnie at each regional city and qualify to be part of her Music Video Program. We are so excited to have Bonnie Story on Hollywood Connection. Visit our events page for more information!
For booking information, contact Jim Keith at The Movement Talent Agency.