Bunless Ballerina Discovers the Pop Life

One of the amazing things about the Dance Center is that you never know who’s in class with you.


GabrielleZucker3A case in point is Gabrielle Zucker. Some of you might recognize her from our weekday morning classes. She’s the young woman at one of the wall barres dressed in black and with the stylishly cropped hair. But Gabi is also an in-demand freelance dancer who’s performed soloist and principal dance roles with the San Francisco Opera, Santa Fe Opera, San Diego Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Arizona Opera, and Baltimore Opera. And now, she can add pop diva to her dance résumé.

This past week Gabi was one of the hip, young ballerinas who danced behind Aussie rapper Iggy Azalea and UK pop artist Rita Ora on the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards show. This internationally broadcast show is where pop stars pull out all the stops to make themselves the most talked about act of the evening. Whether it’s Britney Spears, Madonna and Christina Aguilera performing together for the one and only time, or Miley Cyrus’ infamous twerking, the VMAs are where statements are made. Iggy Azalea and Rita Ora shouted loud and clear that classical ballet is far from a dead art form, but rather a thing of dangerous, sensual beauty that means as much now as it did 150 years ago. That’s why they chose to nod at the ballet world by integrating it into their most important presentation of the year. According to Gabi, it wasn’t just a token interest on their part.

Gabi Zucker“The rehearsal process was about a week long, with some days going more than eight
hours. Iggy was there for most of it. She had a very strong idea of what she wanted. Even though the dance was choreographed by Haley Schwan from Stattsballet Berlin and Victor Jackson, Azalea’s personal choreographer, Iggy really drove the process. This kind of project is why I am a freelance dancer.”

LINES Dance Center is a perfect base and launch point for dancers of all levels and interests. “I’m open to all kinds of people and experiences. That’s also why I take class at LINES Dance Center,” Gabi explained. “I love the diversity of the adult students and I came to San Francisco and to LINES Dance Center specifically to enjoy the open-minded philosophy promoted by Alonzo King and embodied in the Dance Center.”

This welcoming atmosphere is how the Dance Center has been moving the community for 25 years.

Photos courtesy of Gabrielle Zucker