Category Archives: Interviews

Choreographer / Dancer: Lauren Hoskins

Hey dancers! I’m super excited to share this lovely choreographer’s interview. Lauren Hoskins has a very special place in my dance heart. I’m proud to say she has danced with me on my team, Elemental Remix, and has been killing it ever since. She is one of the most fierce performers I know. I find myself breathless when I watch her dance. She’s an inspiring choreographer and instructor and all-around creative person with the biggest heart ever. Hair, makeup, photography, philanthropy, she does it all. Her most recent endeavor involves her company Montage Dance Productions. They are organizing and presenting a dance fundraiser where 100% of the proceeds will support the kids at the Ronald McDonald House at Stanford. Read on. Get inspired and do something amazing in the name of dance. Lauren is! XOXO, Brandie

What’s your name/ Nickname/ Dancer name?
Lauren Hoskins. I don’t really have a nickname… I guess I should work on that!

Where are you from?
Santa Clara, Ca… Bay Area!!!

Dancer by day. Dancer Teacher by night. Choreographer, Photographer, makeup artist, and hair stylist on the weekends.

What type of dance do you teach?
Mostly Hip Hop, but Jazz, tap, and I can’t forget about my baby classes.

Have you danced for any artists on tour, done commercial work, or been a part of any dance crews?
I started off with Elemental Remix 😀 Joined Funkanometry SF before moving to LA. While I was there I taught celebrity children like Aoki, Kimora Sim’s daughter, and disabled adults that have been on many different tv shows like Saving Grace, Secret Life of an American Teenager, ER, and Legit, to name a few. Had my own dance company, backup danced for several independent artists, and trained with world famous dancers. I currently choreograph and dance for an artist named Amber Lily. We’ve been on a few tours, done a lot of traveling for radio disney shows, and made a few music videos. I’m lucky enough to have the skill of makeup and hair because I’ve been apart of almost every part of her career. More recently her and I went to Miami where she was apart of the TV show X-factor. I did her hair and makeup and of course helped her choreography. I also, put on dance productions and more recently competitions and fundraisers with my company Montage Dance Productions.


5 words to describe your style.
Evolving, Smooth, Gangster, Emo, Versatile

What made you put on your dancing shoes?
When I was younger I was super shy. I would never be willing to even ask my parents to take classes. My stepmom asked me if I would like to take a dance class and that was that. I was hooked and it’s been my life since.

What was it like taking your first dance class?
I just remember wanting to do my best. Class is no different for me now. I’m very competitive and if there’s someone better then me it makes me try harder.

What inspires you to choreograph?
At this point I have to find inspiration in everything. I can be choreographing upwards of 20 new dances a week, sometimes more. Not everything I choreograph is good or up to par of my standards. Luckily at least half of those dances are for young children and I can get away with simple movements.

I find that I’m most inspired when I’m either very happy or sad. Any type of emotion can spark a new move. Also, watching other choreographers really make me excited to choreograph. You can spend an afternoon on youtube watching some of the best choreographers in the world for free. It amazing! You no longer have to spend tons of money to go see a great show.. Although it is always more impressive live.

Share one memorable moment in dance.
Hmmmmm…. there are so many. I guess when I was backup dancing for Amber Lily. We did this show in front of thousands of crazy and amazing Girl Scouts. They loved her so much that at one point they all ran towards the stage like Amber was Justin Bieber. They were screaming, jumping on the stage and trying to touch her hand. It was nuts. It was a great feeling that everyone was enjoying the show.


What do you enjoy most about being an instructor?
I’ve been teaching for 10 years now and I’m always impressed, always surprised, and every class is different. Students can still move me to tears. Even a couple days a ago, I have a group of 4-6 year old boys doing hip hop. They aren’t doing an emotional dance… they are getting down and being tuff. I decided to watch them do their first run through of their recital dance since the previous week and it is not an easy dance. Not only did a few boys remember the entire thing, including the new choreography, but they did it with passion and technique. They had  obviously practiced and it made me nearly cry right there in front of them. I was so happy, and affected. Teaching is such a gift and I love doing it!

Who is your favorite dancer or choreographer? What do you love about them?
Oh man, thats a tuffy. There are so many. I really admire Mariel Martin. She’s not only an incredible dancer and choreographer, but a very humble and sweet person. I was lucky enough to be apart of funkanometry when she was there. I learned so much from her.

I also look up to my friend Mykell Wilson, who I just met this past year. He was a big part of Montage Dance Competition and Showcase.  He was a judge, he showcased, and also taught at the workshop we had. Not only is he a beautiful choreographer and dancer, but he’s just an inspiring person. He’s always writing these amazing quotes on his facebook wall, and in his classes he makes you want to be your best. I definitely feel like a better teacher after only taking two of his classes. Thank you Mykell! I think for me you have to have the whole package to really impress me. Ability and talent is everywhere, but if your also a great person.. that’s what really moves me.


What dance style do you want to try, but never have?
I’ve tried a lot of things, but I really would like to work more on lyrical. I LOVE choreographing lyrical dances even if I’m not the most technical, flexible lyrical dancer. Also, I’d like to try wacking. Looks like a ton of fun!

What would you like to say to dancers just starting out?
Always be humble, always work hard. Don’t base your natural ability or lack of ability on what you or your peers can achieve. Because one day the person struggling in class will be the best since they worked hard, or you could be that person struggling that transforms into a terrific dancer.

Where can we find you and your sweet moves?
You can check me and some of my beautiful students out at
Some of my work with Amber Lily
As well as all my up coming dance productions at

Tell us about your upcoming event.
I’m very excited about the next Montage Event on May 18. It’s a fundraiser where 100% of all the proceeds are going to Ronald McDonald House at Stanford. Ronald McDonald House at Stanford which makes it possible for young patients and their families to stay together during a time when they need one another the most. Please visit the House website,, and see why Montage Dance Productions is devoting our time, talent, and heart to an event featuring more than 200 dancers to benefit this wonderful organization. Montage produces Bay Area Dance Showcase and Competition events to give dance students and professional dance troupes an opportunity to perform and share their love of dance. To see some of the performers at our 2012 Dance Competition and Showcase, please visit our website at Ronald McDonald House at Stanford relies on compassionate individuals and organizations like us to ensure they have the resources to continue to serve those in need.

To Purchase tickets, or see how you can help please go to


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Choreographer: Jenny Baran

It’s here! The first of my choreographer, dancer, all-around interesting people interviews. Enjoy and get inspired, because these peeps LOVE what they do. Thanks Jenny for being Galactic Romance’s first interview– hugs and shuffles!

What’s your name/ Nickname/ Dancer name?
Tiny Shuffles (but now that I’m married it is Mrs. Tiny Shuffles.)

Where are you from?
South San Francisco, California! 
(It’s just like Hollywood, except our mountain says “The Industrial City” on it.)

Counselor @ San José State University by day. And tap dancing comedian by night.

Where do you teach?
Ariel Dance Productions in Campbell, California.

What type of dance do you focus in?
Tap dance, jazz and musical theater. I also love fusing different dance genres together like traditional jazz and hip-hop.

Have you danced for any artists on tour, done commercial work, or been a part of any 
dance crews?
My first participation in a professional “dance crew” was with Cheer San Francisco as a flyer/dancer! They are a cheer, dance and stunt team dedicated to raising monies for HIV/AIDS organization. Thanks to being on the team, I’ve been able to perform at Gay Games VII (the official Olympics for the LGTB community), America’s Best Cheerleading competitions and various pride parades throughout the U.S.

5 words to describe your style.
Entertaining, storytelling, heartwarming, syncopated and unconventional.

What made you put on your dancing shoes?
My Grandma Mary! My Grandma Mary and Grandpa Joe were KOFY TV20 Dance Party regulars and would dance up a storm! In addition to partner dancing with my Grandpa Joe, my Grandma Mary was also a fabulous tap dancer. Whenever she would babysit me she would teach me time steps, buffalos and other tap moves on her kitchen floor.

What was it like taking your first dance class?
Awful! I was a about 5 years old inside a ballet class at Schumaker’s Dance Studio (now called Tiffany’s Dance Academy) in my hometown. I held it together pretty well during the class but after class I cried, telling my Mom that the music was too slow and I did not like having to plie. Ballet just didn’t speak to me at that time.

Fortunately, my Mom had me try a tap dance class (at the same studio) right after the ballet class – it was a done deal! As soon as I heard those metal taps hit the wooden floor and realized I controlled the sound, I was hooked.

What inspires you to choreograph?
This never ending urge to tell the audience a story about my life…and have them be entertained in the process! I take things I love, admire, struggle with and/or am frustrated by and weave these things together into a choreographed story. It becomes dance therapy and heals me.

In my upcoming piece “Tightrope Tappers” I was really angry and struggling with my self-esteem. Too often I would compare my skills to others. I would get stuck in the “I’m not good enough” mentality. In my heart I know, none of those comparisons matter and being negative is not who I am.

Thus “Tightrope Tappers” became a more entertaining and heightened exploration of my struggle, portrayed through a group of circus tightrope walkers. They discover that walking the traditional tightrope line is not how they want be and all that really matters is doing what you love, with the people you love – not stupid comparisons.

Share one memorable moment in dance.
The first tech rehearsal of “Dance Wars,” a tap routine inspired by my love of Star Wars movies and the song “Fancy Footwork” by Chromeo. Our director, Oanh Tretter asked me to go to the lighting booth to confirm cues as my class did the routine on stage. I was so nervous because there were a bunch of newer dancers who had never tapped danced on stage before.

As I watched the choreography unfold from the lighting booth, I  cried, laughed and danced! The dancers had performed the entire 4 ½ minute routine perfectly; exactly how I envisioned! The whole time watching them from the lighting booth, I felt humbled, deeply satisfied and blessed to have such passionate and talented people to work with:

Stu Shepherd (Stu Shepherd Art) designed the background, Michelle Plato, my friend/costume designer made the costumes and opening scrolling text, Kento Vo (Soulidified Dance Project) cut our music, 14 dancers gave their all, and audience screamed and applauded with excitement! These people believed in my crazy, tap dancing, Stormtroopers vision because I believed in them.

Stepping away from the stage, allowed me to fully experience my vision in a way I’ve never been able to savor before on stage. In that moment, “Dance Wars” became everyone’s dance.

What do you enjoy most about being an instructor?
Being able to bring out the best in people. When a new dancer walks into my class it’s like an adrenaline shot for me. I don’t care what their dance background is because potential is all I see. “YES! I can’t wait to see what I’m going to be able to do with this person! I can’t wait to see them give me their best,” is my first thought.

In the dance world, it’s the technical dancer that gets featured. As an instructor I turn that concept on its head. I decide who gets the solo and for me it’s not necessarily the most technically trained dancer. It’s the dedicated dancer who gives me 100% energy, effort and focus, all the time. It’s the struggling dancer who practices at home and never misses a class. It’s the confused dancer who asks questions. It’s the dancer who walked into my class, shy and walks out proud of who they are, not afraid to be a goofball.

Who is your favorite dancer or choreographer? What do you love about them?
Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. I absolutely adore his soul. Every rhythm he does, every smile, every movement is full of life, joy and entertainment. Is he the most fantastically technically trained dancer in the entire world? No – that’s what I love about him. He’s real, he’s smooth, he’s raw.  He genuinely loves what he’s doing whether it be soft shoe routine on top of sand or tap dancing on a staircase with Shirley Temple. When you add Bojangle’s historical context of dealing with extreme racism from other people, it’s mind blowing how much positivity can shine amidst dismal times.

What dance style do you want to try, but never have?
Krump fo sho! I respect krump because there is a place for both aggressive moves and the more comedic form of krump known as “clowning”. The historical roots of krump reminds me of tap dance because both dance forms were created by impoverished people in the streets wanting to express themselves in a way not available in traditional dance forms. Tap dance was born thanks to the African and Irish immigrant communities in the U.S.; for me krump is in the same spirit.

What would you like to say to dancers just starting out?
Be yourself and don’t give up! If the thought of dancing has ever crossed your mind, GO FOR IT! Shut off the negative part of your mind that says “you can’t” and get your ass into a dance studio, workshop, class, etc., It might take you some time to find the right place, but keep going.

If I gave up on dance after that first ballet class, I would not have discovered my passion for tap dance. It’s because of this experience that I am so adamant about getting people to just try dance! You just don’t know what you are capable of if you don’t try. You deserve the opportunity to shine, whether on Broadway or in your backyard.

Where can we find you and your sweet moves?
Tiny Shuffles YouTube Channel:
Mrs. Tiny Shuffles YouTube Channel:
Ariel Dance Productions YouTube Channel – Jenny’s Beginning Jazz & Tap Classes playlist:

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