Friday, August 24, 2012

Pure Inspiration's Amazing Artist Feature 1

Art comes in so many forms.  And as artists we look to seek creative inspiration from everywhere.  We hope to feature numerous artists from various genres to show you the passion that they have for what they do, and also give you a look inside their process as a creators.  Hope these people inspire you like they have done us.

Pure Inspirations Amazing Artist - Feature #1

Tawnya Ahlgren - Choreographer/Dancer

We just had the chance to work with Tawnya on Pure's up and coming video LA Global.  She is an incredible choreographer, and did such a wonderful job on his video.  I can't wait to share it with you all.  I asked Tawnya some questions to understand who she is as an artist and what inspires her to create.  She really shared herself with us and all of you.  We feel so grateful for having got a chance to work with not only a wonderful choreographer, but such a true creative.  Hope you get inspired below by her work and determination.

Where are you from originally?  How did you end up in LA?

I am originally from the Bay Area. I ended up in LA in 2004 with my car, clothes in my trunk, $200 and dreams....... I could write a book on what I have been through. But I guess we all have a story.....Don't we?

What inspired you to become a dancer, and how long have you been dancing?

Since the age of 4, I was dressing up in dance clothes, bouncing, singing and dancing around the house and mimicking dancers on t.v and videos, boy would I stay glued for hours just studying and learning. It may sound cliche, but I was honestly born with the passion to create and dance! I did not step into my first class until I was 9. But from 6 and up I was bossing my brother and sisters around, giving them choreography, dressing them up and putting on dance plays and shows for my family. I would sell them tickets and make them pay, sit down, dim the lights and put on the best dance show a 6 year old could! Looking back, it was PURE, (no pun intended) lol. It was not for fame or money or recognition in the industry.....It truly was just raw, honest passion and who I really am. I could not picture my life without dancing, creating and just living!

When you're choreographing what is your process?  How do you get inspired to create?

My choreographing process starts with a song. Sometimes the song moves me right away and choreo just spills out of me, other times I need to listen to the song over and over and really hear, listen (yes those are two different things) and interpret the words that the artist may be trying to say or may be feeling and do my best to express that through movement. Also, you must consider the gig, are you doing choreo for a pop artist, stage, class or video. All of those scenarios require a different vibe and feel. I consider it all. But without emotion to your piece I don't feel there will be that connect with your students. You need that connection. Most importantly, I push myself with each piece I do. I discover new ways to move my body or express myself. I believe to be great you must continue to dig deep, self reflect, grow, change and simply be fearless and vulnerable. I am always and forever a work in progress. I will never say, "Yep, I've reached my limits..I am the best".. I can always be better.
  So many things inspire me.. music, other people, other dancers, other creators, pain and love. But the one thing that I pull from the most is my life experiences. I have faced and dealt with a great deal of pain, more than anyone in this business even knows. I suffered and am a survivor of childhood sexual and verbal abuse. My family had split up at a young age and I lost my stepfather. What I learned from dealing with all the trauma one goes through when dealing with all these experiences is that I am a SURVIVOR and I'm stronger than I could ever imagine and that I WILL NEVER GIVE UP, and that all those experiences that I got through shaped me on my path, humbled me beyond belief and has defined my character in the most amazing ways. I would like to say that I am simply a hard working, humbled, honest outgoing woman who strives to live each day doing what I know I was born to do. Nothing more nothing less.

How did you feel when you first heard LA Global?  Did the choreography come easy to you?

Just put it this way.... I had a grin on my face and sighed.. It was like a breathe of fresh air. Being in LA I feel that this music can been watered down and every other song is done by a 12 year old. Please do get me wrong. If it wasn't for them I would not be working as much and I respect and love all aspects of music. But Pure's music is RAW! It's real, true RAW hip hop. His vocabulary and lyrics are not watered down and his beats hit so hard. I'm in love with real Hip-Hop music. Pure puts out just that. I was so happy to work on this project as choreographer and share my love for hip hop with him. Not to mention he and Stephanie are just genuine, happy and down to earth people.

What have been some of your favorite moments in your career?

I have so many great moments. But my most rewarding job that I have after all theses years is L.Y.T.E Dance studio. A place where I see others life change for the better on a daily basis. I opened a professional based dance studio for the kids/teens of Santa Clarita. My goal and motive was to change the way studios teach. I wanted to take all my mistakes and successes and guide these kids to have a dream and chase with the right mind set and information and to just work hard and be who you are. These kids/students have changed my world and life. I do not just teach them dance, I teach them LIFE.. They push me to be a better person and dancer and I get to watch students grow and push themselves to be their best.. What a gift!! It really does not get any better than that. L.Y.T.E stands for Live your Truth Evolution and our mission statement is "Dance is your own L.Y.T.E." So many of us, if not all at one point, have thought that they need to change who they are to "make it". NO. The end result is not the success. It's who you are on the journey to your destinations that defines your success and if you have remained true to who you are and  lived it without fear...then you have already succeeded. There is so much to this question and I can go on and on  but to read more about me and all the amazing things going on with my career and L.Y.T.E, just visit Hip Hop Webs and my Facebook Page.

What would be your words of advice to an aspiring dancer?

I have been on this journey with dance for 15 years. My greatest advice is BE YOURSELF.. let me say that again because I know half the readers just skimmed over that. lol BE YOURSELF!!! Stay true to who you are. You are going to grow and change and you have to be honest with you are in each moment, each day  and be confident in expressing yourself especially in front of others.. Always make great impressions, stay humbled, say no when you want to say no and yes when you want to say yes, train..train...train. Get to classes and more important practice even when no one is watching. That is where true artists/dancers are born when you are working on your craft relentlessly outside of class. Keep a positive attitude, keep a smile on your face, stay strong, be patient and BUCKLE UP. It is a long, hard road filled with so many twists and turns, falls and hurdles but I must admit after everything I have been through and where I am at now in my career and life I would not trade it for anything.


  1. You should be so very very proud of have worked very hard for this honor. You are a inspiration to many many people. I can not wait to meet you. Your positivity is infectious....I am sure your attitude will continue to be an inspiration for everyone to follow their dreams and never ever give up on their dreams...can't wait to show your uncle Andy expecting a comment from him ya. Patty


  3. Tawnya, You are a true artist, dancer, and teacher in every sense! Huge ups to you!!

    1. Amanda thank you so much for taking the time to read my story and allow me to share!!! Your support is soooo humbling! !!