Rising star in the commercial dance realm, Lauren Drago plans to jet set off to Los Angeles on a one-way ticket after gathering many glamorous credits on her CV in both Australia and Asia.
After being exposed to all that Los Angeles had to offer on her first visit, Lauren is determined to uproot her life to the West Coast in hopes of achieving an international dancing career.
The 28-year-old professional dancer Lauren Drago is well versed in the business of performance. She has danced alongside many world famous music artists such as Flo Rida and Brian Macfadden, and toured Asia with the TFBoys, Chris Wu, Wei Chen and Joker Xue. Lauren was also one of the few chosen out of hundreds to represent Australia performing at the Dubai Rugby Sevens World tournament. Lauren has performed at the TV Week Logie Awards, Grand Final Footy Show, Big Day Out, Australia’s Got Talent and Hey Hey it’s Saturday to name a few and starred in TVC’s for companies like BMW, American Tourister and Garnier.
Lauren dabbled in gymnastics and dancing during high school but never considered studying dance full time until Melbourne dance entrepreneur Trish Squire-Rogers recommended Lauren to audition for her new establishment, Spectrum Dance. Upon her successful audition as a foundation student, Lauren rapidly became obsessed with dancing and was soon completely devoted to it.
“I’d get to full time early in the morning to prepare for the day, I wrote down pretty much every critic given to me from each teacher, I’d stay back late for extra technique classes, travel to The Space for more extra classes, then eventually joined a hip hop crew (DVP) and would have rehearsals for that too. It very quickly became dance all day and night, and I just never got sick of it.”
Lauren has always had a love for street styles, in particular hip hop, but the most recent addition to her life has been waacking. Andy Kuramoto and Marnie Newton welcomed Lauren into the Melbourne waacking community (Burn City Waack) and taught her about the style and culture. Earlier this year, Lauren travelled to Montreal with BCW and auditioned to take part in ‘Hot Mess’ an international waacking battle. Her and her dance partner Maggie Mad ‘Madfox’ were successful in the audition and made top 16.
Waacking is a dance that originated in the gay club scene during the 1970s in Los Angeles. Lauren brings her unique waacking style as a point of difference to her technical craft. It is a style that focuses on individuality- a term that Lauren feels is something not always celebrated in the commercial world here in Australia.
Body image is an issue Lauren has faced during auditions, workshops and classes, she deeply felt that her competition were taller, thinner and more beautiful, and perhaps that was what was stood in the way of her becoming an ‘it girl’ in the commercial industry.
“You can’t change your height, so how do I change my body? I thought that would maybe help get me the jobs. I swapped out a lot of my dance training for strengthening and conditioning programs in hopes of lengthening my muscles,” Lauren said.
Since working hard to lengthen her body, she grew to love Pilates and became a qualified Pilates teacher.
“I prioritised trying to get this ‘perfect body’ and believe that impacted my progress in dance significantly. Pilates taught me to appreciate all the amazing things that my body can do and reminded me that our bodies are so much more than what they like.”
When she’s not performing, Lauren continues to teach dance and pilates and is passionate about spreading awareness when it comes to self love and feeling empowered as an individual.
“I don’t have bad feelings towards the Australian dance industry. I’m realistic and understand why tall women are used frequently, and most of these women are also very talented. I’d just like the people who don’t fit into this category to not feel like they’re second best. We all have something to offer, and I hope that through my teaching I can help spread some awareness and be a positive influence to upcoming dancers. I’d like them to embrace what makes them unique and find their essence, because no matter how much rejection we face as artists, that’s something that no one can take away from us.”
Lauren is convinced dance will be a part of her life forever and hopes America will embrace her style and individuality.