St. Joseph’s Academy students in Jade Prejean’s dance classes enjoyed learning under guest instructor Keri LaGrand on December 9. LaGrand is the national performance program director for Tremaine Dance in North Hollywood, California.
LaGrand specializes in jazz and contemporary lyrical dance styles as well as Tremaine’s new Strength & Stretch class. She has been dancing since the age of 3. She has danced on the MTV Awards with Jennifer Lopez and the American Music Awards with Cher and Toni Braxton. She was featured in the film I’ll Do Anything and has appeared in commercials for 7-Up, Sony and the MGM Grand Hotel.
LaGrand travels the world as a master teacher and choreographer.
“If it’s frustrating, you’re learning,” LaGrand said of teaching. “You’ve found a place that makes you better.”
Prejean has known LaGrand for a number of years. “She has been a mentor of mine for as long as I can remember,” Prejean said. “To have her here at SJA spreading her love and education of dance to these girls was truly a blessing. In class, Ms. LaGrand worked on technique as well as intention behind movement. I hope that the students left class feeling as inspired as I did.”
Senior Hannah Williams said LaGrand was an inspirational teacher. “I learned how to step out of my comfort zone as a dancer and expand my gift of dance,” she said. “I enjoyed the newness of the class and how instructive it was.”
Sophomore Madison Pittman said she thoroughly enjoyed the experience. “It was such a great dance class, and I learned so much from her,” she said. “I’m so glad Ms. Prejean brought her in. It was such a great experience.”
Senior Anne Marie Herring has enjoyed learning with LaGrand through her dance studio. She said she especially enjoyed the opportunity to experience LaGrand’s style of dance with her SJA classmates. “I love that Miss Jade was able to bring a guest teacher like her to school, and I hope she is able to bring more guest teachers to our classes,” she said. “Guest teachers allow students to experience something different in class.”
Sophomore Addison Bruce expressed similar sentiments. “I thought it was a great way to experience diversity and change up our typical dance class,” she said. “Keri had great advice that not only applied to our dance training, but also our lives. I enjoyed working to push myself outside of my comfort zone.”
Mindy Brodhead Averitt
Photos by Jennifer M. Fontaine
Date posted: December 12, 2016