Lisette Bustamante has danced her way to the top: working as the artistic director for the Latin Grammy Awards, dancing alongside Gwen Stefani, Usher, Madonna and most recently, working with Britney Spears for a TWISTER DANCE remix video and game. Read on for a look into Lisette's life and projects!
Can you tell me a bit about your background?
"I grew up in a vibrant household in Los Angeles. My mother is Puerto-Rican from a large family and my father is Venezuelan. He had a salsa band while I was growing up and rehearsals were always at our house. Food, music and lots of people were around all the time!"
What drew you to dance and choreography?
"I recall being around 4 or 5 years old and asking my mother to take me to the record store and buy me my first record. I performed the song on repeat for the whole family all day! Dance and music was always around me so I think it was natural and it felt natural. I was a creative kid with a lot of energy so dance was a perfect outlet for me."
How has being Latina led you to this career?
"I think the Latin culture is generally full of passion. I grew up in a family that worked really hard to earn a living, and live in the US, it’s in my ancestry. I believe that there’s an inner fire that comes with being Latin and it goes a long way in the arts. For that I’m truly blessed."
What was your first big “break”? What did it feel like?
"My first big 'break' was when I auditioned for Madonna herself. We had to go into a room with her and two other people and a camera. We were instructed to use the room and freestyle. I ended up booking the job and performed on stage with her two weeks after. For me, she was an idol growing up, so that moment held a lot of weight in my career."
How was working with Britney Spears? How did that opportunity arise?
"Working with Britney on her Till the World Ends TWISTER Remix was great! My choreography partner, Chonique Sneed and I had worked with her previously on a few of her tours. This time around TWISTER was looking for a choreographer who would be able to work well with her side by side as well as be able to create movement that is current, cutting edge and cool for TWISTER DANCE. Britney shines in this spot and worked so hard on the choreography, we’re really excited."
What’s so fun and/or interesting about this TWISTER DANCE? Can non-dancers do it?
"Absolutely!! The great thing about TWISTER DANCE is anyone can do it. It’s a throwback to the original TWISTER game which any age can appreciate, with an updated twist that allows the player to follow color and sound patterns through the console. It also gives you the ability to plug in your own Mp3 player and create your own moves! You’ll be sweating, energized and addicted after your first play!"
Do you feel like your honoring your culture in some way through your artistic endeavors?
"Yes I do. I come from a culture rich in music, community and celebration. It’s in my blood to be an artist and I’m so proud to be a Latina that can break barriers in dance and inspire the future generations of my culture to be bold and reach for their dreams."
What was your most interesting or challenging assignment or job? Why?
"All of them! Every job is so different, and you go in thinking you know what to do. In the end, you always come out with a tremendous growth spurt! I welcome the unknown because I know that I’ll be challenged in my thinking and in my process, that’s how you keep thriving as an artist."
What’s the best part of your job? Where does your inspiration come from?
"There are two things that I treasure most about what I do, travel and people. I’ve been around the world and have visited so many different countries and learned about those cultures and it’s really made a difference in my life. The fact that I am constantly surrounded by all types of people, makes it truly rewarding. I’m all about engaging and community; it’s where my inspiration comes from. I like to know about the food, the fashion, the celebration of cultures, it all amazes me. I draw inspiration from people, and what I learn."
Anything else you think is important for Latina.com readers to know?
"Yes! I’ve created a new website called 'Life Like A Local' which will be a resource for all things travel, food, celebration, and fashion based on every city I go to. So far, in a year, it’s been the Bahamas, Italy, Mexico, New Orleans, LA and New York City. The website will be a guide and personal journal of my work experience through dance and all the adventures that go along with it. It’s great for people who want to learn about a culture and laugh out loud at the same time."
Find out more about the TWISTER DANCE Remix: