Friday, July 25, 2008

ProDance Featured Choreographer - Tweetie

Born Lenaya Straker in the Bronx, N.Y., this hip-hop dancer joined an after-school dance program when she was 12, and that's when the nickname "Tweetie" was born. "It all started when someone said I looked like a bird and, since so many people were having problems pronouncing my real name, I kept Tweetie," she chuckles. At Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music, Art and Performing Arts, she majored in ballet, modern dance and jazz. She also showcased her hip-hop dance moves at various local talent shows.

Aside from appearing on "Dances From Tha Hood," Tweetie is also a featured dancer in commercials for Stride gum, Nike and the iPod (alongside Wynton Marsalis). Tweetie's dedication and determination has also enabled her to work with the likes of Jay-Z, Destiny's Child, *NSync, Mya and Angie Martinez, among others. In 2004, Tweetie danced with the Latin duo Nina Sky, performing on MTV's TRL, BET's 106 & Park and Live With Regis and Kelly. Just recently, Tweetie was featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show as Oprah and Gayle's personal dance instructor!

Tweetie's passion for dance is endless, and her concern about the image of women in hip-hop fuels her passion to be the best in her field and continuously improve her skills. She teaches weekly classes at The Ailey Extension and the Peridance Center. She has had the privilege of being a guest instructor at some of today's most notable dance schools, including Rennie Harris' Illadelph Legends of Hip-Hop Festival; Central Park Dance Studio in Scarsdale, N.Y.; and Jacob's Pillow, just to name a few. Not bad for a little girl from the Bronx! This Tweetie bird has definitely landed!