Brooke Lipton

Music for lyrical 

For many dancers, conventions are places to see and be seen. Aspiring pros press to the front of the crowd in hotel ballrooms, hoping to get noticed, or even hired, by their favorite choreographer. That’s not how Brooke Lipton’s class works. Though she’s an in-demand instructor with The Pulse, the statuesque redhead scoffs at the perception that convention classes are “only for the front 20 rows” of dancers. She has little tolerance for fashion statements or ego. “I don’t let kids get away with thinking, ‘I have a really cute outfit and you should see me,’” she says. “I’m like, that’s great, but you can’t bend your knees. Take off the pants so we can dance.”

She considers her style lyrical because she creates movement to the words of songs. And she uses this approach to make beginners look fantastic. In fact, she hates to hear students say they aren’t good enough to take her classes. “I enforce technique, but I also gear my class to the male hip-hop dancers at The Pulse. They aren’t trained, and they don’t have the flexibility or facility other dancers do. But I want to show them that lyrical and contemporary can be performed through emotion and storytelling.”

That mission statement is what makes her such a success on the hit TV show “Glee.” She’s worked as assistant choreographer since its premiere and has been the sole choreographer since the fifth season. She likes working with actors, because they are expert storytellers through movement, even when they lack dance training. “They’re all about the emotion and story because there is nothing else to draw from,” she says. Having a scripted story line to express helps, too. “It’s rare that we’re dancing for no reason. There’s always something to get across.” DT

 

Artist: Ani DiFranco

Album: Living in Clip

“Ani DiFranco has to be my all-time favorite artist. She has an original folk sound that combines passion, strength and storytelling, all elements that let me express how I feel. Some artists have a few hits, but she has albums and albums to dig through.”

 

Artist: Vitamin String Quartet

Album: Vitamin String Quartet Goes to the Movies

Classical renditions of famous movie tracks, like “Take My Breath Away” from Top Gun and “Where Is My Mind?” from Fight Club. “They take every amazing song and turn it into a classical piece. You can get lost in the music with no lyrics and create your own story to songs you already know.”

 

Artist: Florence and the Machine

Album: Lungs

“I couldn’t get enough of this album when it came out. The same songs can make me dance so openly with a smile one day and cry like I need a release the next.”

 

Artist: Birdy

Album: Fire Within

“She is a newer artist and still a teenager, but every time I hear her voice, I stop and listen. Just like when a dance performance starts and the whole audience stops talking and is drawn into the art, she has the same effect.”

 

Artist: Beyoncé

Album: Beyoncé

“When I want to dance around in my kitchen and whip my hair, Beyoncé. I don’t think there is much more to say.”

 

 

 

Photo (top) by Lee Cherry, courtesy of The PULSE On Tour

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