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Meet Nancy Paradis of LA Dance Moves in Woodland Hills

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nancy Paradis.

Nancy, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I began my ballet training at six and knew with all certainty of my heart that this is what I wanted to do not only as a career but for life! At six! I trained this entire time and at 15 had the opportunity to train and perform with the Washington Ballet in DC. I made continual growth performing with them and worked with exceptional choreographers and legendary artistic director.  I then had my first professional opportunity by accepting a contract with Richmond Ballet. Here is where I grew from an apprentice to principal position in four years. I know this was due to my hard work, but also the loving environment,  and having my talent nurtured and groomed into the artist I needed to be. After four years I somehow felt the need to keep moving, and auditioned for The Louisville Ballet. I moved to Louisville and was surprised by a very different company culture than prior, and realized as an artist my talents were just not being utilized. That summer I had an opportunity to drive with a friend cross country to visit Los Angeles, and made a huge game changer decision to relocate here.

I retrained and refined my skills to work in the commercial dance world of film, television, video and commercials. I also began teaching, became a dance professor, choreographed and directed concerts and have been doing so for over 30 years. My career starting at six, has spanned over 49 years.

My Father has a huge impact on me as he was a composer, arranger and conductor of the Marine Corps wind ensemble in Quantico, VA. I played flute during middle and high school and have wonderful memories playing in our community ensemble, while my father conducted. He was a quiet man and an introvert,  but during this time I felt close to him, the music connected us. My father passed away in 2009 from Alzheimer’s, and it was a difficult time for all my family. I was honored when my mother handed me his conductor’s score and said to me ”If anyone can do something with this, you can.”

I worked for five years to find some way to have my Dad’s music restored and performed in an honorary concert for him.   Making a wonderful connection with the Moorpark College wind ensemble conductor and professor, we collaborated to recreate the music, have my dancers perform on the stage with the musicians, and also have Marines present with Toys for Tots. It was a truly wonderful evening to honor my Father, and it was in this process that  LA Dance Moves was formed. Slowly building, I started creating works and giving artist opportunities to perform on a digital media platform in film and video. So many dance companies are theater and live performance-based and that is wonderful, but I wanted my company to be different, and I wasn’t quite sure how.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Ballet is in a sense an unobtainable art form, meaning you will never get there if perfection is what you are seeking. There are strict rules of appearance, aesthetics, weight, body shape, and early training that shape the rest of your career. I had none of these things naturally that it takes to become a ballerina except passion and drive.  But people believed in my gifts, and I worked harder than I ever knew because I knew I was going for my life, and I did it.  I overcame these obstacles by having a vision that was my life!

In addition to the challenges of trying to build a company, I have the insane challenge of Los Angeles being absolutely shut down due to Covid. I remember being in a ballet class on a Saturday before the shutdown on March 13, 2020, and it was eerie and scary. All the studios shut down the week after. This meant all performances were canceled. Dancers income was shut off. Dancer’s way of staying in shape was not available, Dancers’ communities and source of well being were no longer.

At first, I began making fun, collaborative videos of dancers I knew working out, staying in shape and being positive by having them send in their own videos of themselves. After creating five videos during quarantine, I felt inspired to push forward and find a way to get dancers back to dancing, to create and inspire for our viewers in a way we have never done before. This was mostly due to finding kind, like-minded creative people who wanted to help and be part of something wonderful during a difficult time.

LA Dance Moves  – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?On September 19th, LA Dance Moves launched its first online digital concert titled “Beyond Limits, the LA Dance Moves Experience”. We are now “without walls” and can reach our audiences anywhere in the world, which is my true true vision.   I believe in the power of the performing arts, it’s impacts on us and the power it has to heal us. This dedication unites us as dancers as we  collaborate with composers and other artists to make an experience that warms the heart and illuminates the soul.

Our Vision is to create a new form of performance art that leaves our audience inspired and touched. We collaborate with composers and artists to bring special performance through digital media. Our Mission is to create beautiful, touching works of the human spirit through dance and excellence.

LA Dance Moves has hired six professional dancers from and around Los Angeles to create new world premiers, despite challenges and roadblocks of the pandemic. In addition, one company member is being sponsored in his choreographic journey to create new work on the company dancers. Lastly, LA Dance Moves invites original works of composers to expose their music to new audiences in a new and exciting platform.

Since Covid, We are especially determined to get dancers back to doing what they have trained all their life to do and now asking for donations and sponsors to make this possible. We have a 501C Fiscal Sponsor to accept donations and provide a tax deductible receipt, and a Sponsorship Package available by request.  Through fundraising and sponsorship, we wish to expand to reach more audiences to enjoy our unique experience, and will keep LA Dance moves On-the-Move!

What I am most proud of is honoring a composers’ work, as their creation fuels our story and allows us to create… and it’s a wonderful relationship! I’m proud of bringing beautiful dancers together who would not have had the opportunity. I’m proud of creating a kind environment for the artist because so many have stories of unfair, unkind and abusive situations within the ballet world. I’m proud that creating a concert in honor of my father has led me to this moment to create and give joy to my audiences.

What were you like growing up?
I grew up in a crazy, Italian, Catholic, Military family with five older brothers. I was a happy girl and laughed at my older brothers a lot! My father was a composer, arranger, multi-instrumentalist of jazz, big band and wind ensemble works in the Marine Corps. My mother is a lover of the arts and listened to both Opera and John Denver. My five brothers loved classic rock, so our home was filled with music of all genres.

I knew at a young age, I was either going to be a ballerina or be in the Marines because I loved the discipline it took to achieve the goal. I chose ballet, which I began at six. I also remember thinking how crazy it was to have such a crystal clear goal at such a young age, and knew there was something special going on.

Living in the country of Fredericksburg, VA, I didn’t have the opportunity for good professional training in my area. So my mother and I traveled 1 1/2 hours so I could receive that training. I made use of every class I could take, but it was only once a week due to the distance.

However, I was determined to keep moving forward and did home workouts every day on my own, conditioning, ballet at home, stretching and strengthening. At 15, I auditioned for The Washing Ballet in DC and was invited to become a trainee to the company. This meant I had to finalize my schooling and move away from home, and my career had begun.

Pricing:

  • Online Digital Concerts ranges from $5 – 15K in budget depending on length
  • Commision Choreography available upon request
  • Guest Inspirational speaker for conference, seminar, convention  available upon request
  • Guest Instructor available upon request

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Deborah Hanock Photography

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