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This article was published 30/8/2011 (2180 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A Winnipeg choreographer has shown her appetite for success by taking a large bite out of the Big Apple.
Tuxedo resident Lindsay Nelko, 25, recently returned from New York City after her contemporary dance piece — titled Perfectly Lonely and performed by dancers from the Shelley Shearer School of Dance — won the coveted Choreographer’s Pick Award at the Pulse Dance Summer Finale.
Nelko — who works at the Whyte Ridge-based school and is also Shearer’s daughter — said the piece was inspired by "how people can seem perfect on the outside but deep down they are very lonely."
"My inspiration came from this image of a picture perfect family. They are taking a family portrait and on the exterior they exemplified the epitome of perfection," Nelko said.
"But in actual fact they were nothing close to that. So many people can relate to the concept. What they truly are isn’t what they appear to be."
Conversely, the Winnipegger’s talent and potential to succeed in the industry certainly seem in no doubt, as Shearer said this the second year in a row Nelko has won the award.
"The performance received a standing ovation from the entire judging faculty and the audience of more than 1,500. It was an overwhelming response and each of the judges ran up to us to express how blown away they were with the performance," Shearer said, noting her school includes students from Linden Woods, Tuxedo, St. James, and St. Vital.
"The fact we are from Canada made it all the more difficult for them to select us over their American talent, which is substantial. This just does not happen to anyone, let alone a small group from Winnipeg."
The former Royal Winnipeg Ballet dancer said the annual event is unique because "it’s the only event of its kind that gives dancers from junior to advanced professional levels unprecedented first-hand access to the dance industry’s big guns at one event."
These industry professionals included Brian Friedman, creative director of the convention who has choreographed Britney Spears videos, Emmy-award winning choreographer Wade Robson from TV’s So You Think You Can Dance and Laurie Gibson, who won an Emmy for Lady Gaga’s Monster Ball Tour.
Nelko — who has been approached by industry professionals to pursue opportunities in New York City and Los Angeles — said she wants to take her future career path in her stride.
"While doors have opened and it is very exciting to potentially continue to teach dance and choreograph in N.Y. and L.A., it is still a long road ahead. Never in a million years did I imagine this happening," Nelko said.
And how does being a choreographer differ from dancing?
"I love choreographing. It’s truly a passion and an amazing creative outlet. I love coming up with concepts and creating and creating a story through music and movement," she said.
"Dancing gives me a wonderful feeling, but I love the creative process which choreography allows me."
To view Nelko’s winning piece on The Pulse on Tour’s YouTube site, visit http://www.youtube.com/pulsetour#p/u/0/VOvr7uVbZPU.