The PULSE on Tour shakes up the dance world
By Chelsea Thomas of Dance Informa
Since beginning its 9th season in November 2012, The PULSE on Tour has hosted 14 weekend dance events in locations all around the nation and the world, including cities like Orlando, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Chicago, Seattle, Boston and even London. Founded in 2004, The PULSE on Tour has quickly become one of the country’s most popular dance conventions, claiming some of the hottest names in dance to lead classes and workshops.
PULSE Directors Pam Chancey and Mary Andreasen believe that one of the reasons dancers love their events is the world-class faculty they provide. Featuring top choreographers and instructors in the industry, PULSE faculty can be seen on reality television shows (such as So You Think You Can Dance, X Factor, America’s Got Talent and American Idol), performing and directing in some of the hottest music videos (often for artists like Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez) and producing and choreographing movies, commercials, Broadway productions and for distinguished dance companies.
Frequent faculty members include Tyce Diorio, an EMMY Award Winner who has danced with Janet Jackson, Paula Abdul, Jennifer Lopez and Ricky Martin; Laurieann Gibson, a choreographer who works with top names like Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Nikki Minaj; Cris Judd, who is known for his recent performances on Dancing With the Stars and for choreographing on America’s Got Talent; and Gil Duldulao, Director of Janet Jackson, who has danced with Madonna, Britney Spears and Prince, to name but a few. Industry icons like Desmond Richardson, co-Artistic Director of Complexions Contemporary Ballet; and Brian Friedman, Creative Director of The PULSE, who has been nominated for 5 American Choreography Awards, 4 MTV Video Music Awards and 2 Music Video Production Awards, teach alongside the likes of Ian Eastwood, Brooke Lipton from Glee, Tessandra Chavez and Carmit Bachar, the original Pussycat Doll.
“We first started The PULSE because we wanted to offer a workshop of what was ‘in the now,’” explains Director Pam Chancey. “There were other conventions out there with great teachers however, we wanted current, working professionals. So we started bringing professionals like Brian Friedman on board. Then Cris Judd and Laurieann Gibson, and we started adding faculty from there!”
Now, the PULSE is about to celebrate 10 successful years and has an average of 800-900 participants at each event, with some conventions reaching up to 2,500 dancers in attendance. But with all the conventions, competitions and dance events out there, one might wonder, what makes the PULSE unique? The answer is a decision Chancey made early on.
“We decided we wanted the PULSE to be non-competitive. Instead, we really dive into more extensive, thorough classes and then conclude everything with a showcase that anybody is welcome to be in - and it’s all supportive,” she says.
Intended for dancers ages 11 and older, the PULSE allows attendees to select the appropriate level of their dance ability (intermediate, advanced, advanced/pro) when registering. Every weekend event includes non-stop dance classes all day Saturday and Sunday, a photo with faculty and a PULSE Performance Showcase with opportunities for groups and individuals to present choreography to be viewed by the faculty, but not judged. The faculty gives advice and makes comments on the pieces presented, but doesn’t hand out awards or make it competitive in any way.
Each weekend dance event also features perks for the dancers’ chaperones, including a welcome reception, an informative seminar for teachers, and a parents’ chat with PULSE directors.
One of the biggest motivators for attending dancers is the chance to win scholarships. The PULSE gives away $30,000 per city and in total, $1.3 million in scholarships every season! All registered event participants are eligible for scholarships and are evaluated by PULSE faculty throughout the weekend’s classes. At the end of every weekend, PULSE faculty gather together and choose top dancers who caught their eye. These talented individuals are then granted one of many scholarships, including a convention scholarship (for free tuition at a future weekend event), a full or partial summer scholarship (going toward tuition at a summer workshop), or, perhaps the most coveted award - a Protégé scholarship.
The Protégé scholarship is a prestigious recognition: “We wanted our scholarship program to have a top award for the scholarship students who are so amazing. The very, very best of the weekend are named a Protégé and they get the lime green, exclusive Protégé t-shirt. They are so proud because that means they were in the top four dancers in that event. But, even better, being named a Protégé means they get free tuition to all PULSE conventions that year,” explains Chancey.
Yet, the perks of being a Protégé don’t end there. Chancey says their experience climaxes “when they come together with all the other Protégés in New York.” In addition to hosting a summer program in Las Vegas, PULSE offers PULSE Summer New York, an extended, inspiring dance convention featuring four days of non-stop dancing and a final performance gala.
“During PULSE Summer the Protégés are attending sessions with everyone else and then at night, are learning a routine just for them for the gala. They are also interviewed one on one by PULSE faculty during this time so we can get to know their personalities. Then they audition for us. Finally, at the end of the gala event, the top 12 Protégés are recognized and named ‘Elite Protégés’.”
To be an Elite Protégé means receiving all-inclusive travel, hotel and food expenses to the next season’s 14 dance weekends. Elite Protégés assist the faculty with sessions. “Talk about life changing!” Chancey exclaims. “They get to travel for a whole year working and assisting these renowned choreographers.”
Many PULSE Protégés and convention participants go on to become successful working professionals. Countless PULSE dancers have been discovered, signed and are now represented by top agencies like Clear Talent Group and MSA. This year alone, dancers have booked major gigs with Justin Bieber, Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, Madonna, America's Got Talent, American Idol, The Voice, The 2012 Billboard Awards, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Kids’ Choice Awards, Taylor Swift, P!NK and more.
The PULSE couldn’t support these dancers and offer as many events without the support of sponsors like Capezio. “In my opinion, the name ‘Capezio’ is the universal word for dance. To me it resembles a worldwide unity with the community of dancers. To align ourselves at PULSE with them is definitely an honor,” Chancey says.
The PULSE on Tour is thrilled to be offering dancers a platform to learn, engage, network and perform for and with industry professionals. The organization looks forward to celebrating their 10thseason starting this fall.
“We will have our 9th season gala in July,” Chancey said. “Afterward we will sit down and begin planning our 10th anniversary season and gala. We hope to add new locations and continue traveling internationally. We have added Canada and London this year and have plans for Mexico and much more around the globe!”
For more information on The PULSE on Tour, visit www.thepulseontour.com.