The choreographer Laurieann Gibson, left, with Lady Gaga and Jesse Giddings at last year's MuchMusic Video Awards in Toronto. Mike Cassese / Reuters
The choreographer Laurieann Gibson, left, with Lady Gaga and Jesse Giddings at last year's MuchMusic Video Awards in Toronto. Mike Cassese / Reuters

World-class choreographers to show their skills in Dubai



Some have worked alongside the legendary Michael Jackson. Others have created moves for Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé, Janet Jackson, Tina Turner and Madonna. For the first time in the Middle East, the world's top choreographers will be teaching young hopefuls what they know during the Dance2LAX event, this Friday at The Venue in Downtown Dubai.

The event

Organised by the entertainment company The Mogue Collective, Dance2LAX offers workshops and performances in contemporary and hip-hop fusion taught by a variety of big-name choreographers, including the former Lady Gaga instructor and the star of the reality show The DanceScene, Laurieann Gibson; Janet Jackson's choreographer Gil Duldulao; and Kenny Wormald, star of the remake of Footloose. The workshops will be followed by Dance2LAX Live - a performance by the Dubai-based Sharmila Dance and the R&B singer Shontelle, who has collaborated with Bruno Mars and Akon.

The evening's host is Carmit Bachar, an original Pussycat Doll, who has also appeared in music videos for Michael Jackson, Beyoncé, Ricky Martin and Aaliyah.

The concept

The Dubai event is only the second Dance2LAX, which was based on a model that is popular in the US. The first drew 400 dancers when it was held last month in London. Possible future destinations include Sao Paulo, Tokyo, India and Birmingham, UK.

"Everybody realises Dubai is becoming an entertainment hub," says Diana D'Alo, the Italy-based managing director of The Mogue Collective. "Dance2LAX will open up for a whole different market and it will be interesting to see the response."

Sean Renio and Devon Summerhayes, directors at The Mogue Collective, hatched Dance2LAX last year. "We saw that there was a niche and a demand through dance so we immediately put the idea to paper," says Summerhayes from London.

"Our message is 'bettering the planet through entertainment', bringing the cultures of the world together. Dance is not about imitating, it is a way of expressing yourself."

The talent will also interact with attendees through question and answer sessions.

"It is also about education," says Renio from Los Angeles. "The dancers will be giving motivational talks."

The talent

Blake McGrath, who appeared in the reality show So You Think You Can Dance in 2005 and has worked with Michael Jackson and Madonna, will teach a jazz funk class he describes as packing personality, technique and fast, intricate choreography.

"LAX is significant in Dubai because it gives local talent a chance to work with the biggest choreographers in the world," says the Canadian native. "Not only are they inspired, but it starts a relationship which might offer work in the future."

The flamboyant Gibson, who is from the US and has worked extensively with Lady Gaga, says "dance is an expression of the soul". She was speaking after finishing work as the creative director and choreographer on two world tours, by the Korean K-pop band Big Bang and Nicki Minaj, with Duldulao.

"My experience with young dancers who come to these types of conventions is that their enthusiasm and energy helps as they are hungry to learn."

Duldulao, who will be teaching hip-hop fusion, says Dance2Lax provides a unique opportunity for local hopefuls.

"There has never been an event where you have top choreographers all teaching in one place such as Dubai," he says.

Bachar, the creative director for American Idol season eight runner-up Adam Lambert, says the field is more competitive than ever.

"It's not just the desire to dance any more," she says. "There are a lot of talented dancers these days so you have to be more than that. Keep growing and exploring your art because you never know what opportunity may open up for you."

A workshop pass to Dance2LAX is Dh799, with access to Dance2LAX in the evening, for ages 13 and above. Registration begins 8am Friday at The Venue in Downtown Dubai. Tickets to Dance2LAX Live, which begins at 6:30pm, cost Dh139, and are available at Time Out Tickets, Platinum List, Ticketing Co and Box Office ME. For more details, go to www.dance2lax.com/dubai

Three tips from La Perle's performers

1 The kind of water athletes drink is important. Gwilym Hooson, a 28-year-old British performer who is currently recovering from knee surgery, found that out when the company was still in Studio City, training for 12 hours a day. “The physio team was like: ‘Why is everyone getting cramps?’ And then they realised we had to add salt and sugar to the water,” he says.

2 A little chocolate is a good thing. “It’s emergency energy,” says Craig Paul Smith, La Perle’s head coach and former Cirque du Soleil performer, gesturing to an almost-empty open box of mini chocolate bars on his desk backstage.

3 Take chances, says Young, who has worked all over the world, including most recently at Dragone’s show in China. “Every time we go out of our comfort zone, we learn a lot about ourselves,” she says.

Profile of Udrive

Date started: March 2016

Founder: Hasib Khan

Based: Dubai

Employees: 40

Amount raised (to date): $3.25m – $750,000 seed funding in 2017 and a Seed+ round of $2.5m last year. Raised $1.3m from Eureeca investors in January 2021 as part of a Series A round with a $5m target.

The pillars of the Dubai Metaverse Strategy

Encourage innovation in the metaverse field and boost economic contribution

Develop outstanding talents through education and training

Develop applications and the way they are used in Dubai's government institutions

Adopt, expand and promote secure platforms globally

Develop the infrastructure and regulations

RECORD BREAKER

Youngest debutant for Barcelona: 15 years and 290 days v Real Betis
Youngest La Liga starter in the 21st century: 16 years and 38 days v Cadiz
Youngest player to register an assist in La Liga in the 21st century: 16 years and 45 days v Villarreal
Youngest debutant for Spain: 16 years and 57 days v Georgia
Youngest goalscorer for Spain: 16 years and 57 days
Youngest player to score in a Euro qualifier: 16 years and 57 days

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

The biog

Born: Kuwait in 1986
Family: She is the youngest of seven siblings
Time in the UAE: 10 years
Hobbies: audiobooks and fitness: she works out every day, enjoying kickboxing and basketball

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

ENGLAND SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope 
Defenders: John Stones, Harry Maguire, Phil Jones, Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier, Gary Cahill, Ashley Young, Danny Rose, Trent Alexander-Arnold 
Midfielders: Eric Dier, Jordan Henderson, Dele Alli, Jesse Lingard, Raheem Sterling, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Fabian Delph 
Forwards: Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Marcus Rashford, Danny Welbeck

65

Directors: Scott Beck, Bryan Woods

Stars: Adam Driver, Ariana Greenblatt, Chloe Coleman

Rating: 2/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

Indika

Developer: 11 Bit Studios
Publisher: Odd Meter
Console: PlayStation 5, PC and Xbox series X/S
Rating: 4/5

SPECS

Engine: 4-litre V8 twin-turbo
Power: 630hp
Torque: 850Nm
Transmission: 8-speed Tiptronic automatic
Price: From Dh599,000
On sale: Now

The specs

Engine: four-litre V6 and 3.5-litre V6 twin-turbo

Transmission: six-speed and 10-speed

Power: 271 and 409 horsepower

Torque: 385 and 650Nm

Price: from Dh229,900 to Dh355,000


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