LA-based choreographer, dancer, and movement artist Stacy Walker is a renowned and influential contributor to the modern evolution of dance arts across multiple media, including stage, film & television, advertising & branding, and the music industry. Her credits – which include international icons from Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga to Target, Disney, and Universal Pictures – are a dynamic body of work underscoring her unique contribution and dedication to forging real connections through the language of dance.
A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, Walker’s formal dance training began with tap at the age of 5. In perhaps the first pivotal moment of her dance career, her tap teacher recognized the budding of a natural gift in her young charge and convinced Walker’s mother to continue her lessons in spite of young Stacy’s objections. By age 8, Walker’s love of and talent for dance had blossomed, and she segued into dedicated training in the highly technical worlds of ballet and jazz. This early foundation in exacting precision and discipline paved the way for Walker’s fluent incorporation of a myriad of dance styles – including hip hop, ballroom, contemporary, and swing – into her repertoire as her career progressed.
Walker’s unique ability to simultaneously embrace the ethereal spirit of creative intuition and the structured clarity of linear objectives was honed during her college years. While she continued to refine her talents as a gifted dancer, she also applied her natural capacity for discipline to academia, earning a dual degree in Communications and Psychology at Florida State University. After graduation, Walker landed a traditional 9-to-5 in her field of study…and within 24 hours knew that life was not for her. She realized the art form she loved was her true professional calling, resigned from her 9-to-5 after the first day, and redirected her career focus toward the world of dance.
Walker’s major break as a dancer came shortly after, when she was offered a position by Emmy-nominated choreographer Travis Payne as a dancer in Michael Jackson’s “Ghost” video. She moved to Los Angeles to accept the gig, went on to become a dancer in Jackson’s HIStory World Tour, and remained in LA once the tour was complete. Walker’s subsequent work in LA was initially as a dancer for music videos and commercials, steadily expanding to include film, television, and more live stage shows. She developed a strong reputation as a technically brilliant dancer with exceptional creative instincts and a professional ethic rooted in efficiency, punctuality, and an unwavering focus on the big-picture. When her transition to choreography occurred – as Assistant Choreographer to Travis Payne for Hole’s “Celebrity Skin” video – it was a very natural progression that maximized Walker’s unique duality of skill as an artist and professional.
Walker’s creative growth eventually led to a substantial body of work as principal choreographer, including the films State of Play (Universal Pictures), Meet The Spartans and Epic Movie (New Regency), and Disaster Movie (Lionsgate); commercial spots for Kia, American Idol (Ford sponsor spots), HP “Hands”, Dr. Pepper’s “Halftime”, and Chrysler “Nightlife”; and music videos/stage shows including “King of Pop: Michael Jackson Tribute”, Dido’s “Hunter”, and Jordin Sparks’ “Tattoo”.
Arguably the most influential element of her work as a choreographer is Walker’s extensive past (and ongoing) work with iconic dance innovator Travis Payne, as his Associate Choreographer-of-choice. After Hole’s “Celebrity Skin”, the pairing moved on to amass dozens of groundbreaking credits. Though most renowned for their work together on Michael Jackson’s unparalleled This Is It (both the tour rehearsals and subsequent film), the full scope of the projects Payne and Walker (as both Assistant and Associate Choreographer) have teamed on range from Lady Gaga (American Music Awards, Jay Leno, Ellen), Dancing With The Stars (multiple productions including the Michael Jackson tribute), and Everybody Loves Raymond to Target “Radium” spots, Bacardi “Sundance”, World Tours for Usher and Brian McKnight, Date Movie (New Regency), Coyote Ugly (Bruckheimer Films), and stage shows for Asian megastars Andy Lau and SMAP.
Walker’s consistent ability to meet the precise demands of client projects as structured and hyper-focused as a 15-second branding spot and as free-form as an improvisational touring show has resulted in her being one of dance’s true go-to professionals. She absolutely adores her work, from staging and choreography to performing live, in the way of one who has not a single doubt that she is living her true calling. Her understanding of artistic economy – every movement, every moment should have meaning – and awareness of the power of creative instinct refined with clarity-of-design gives her work a singular richness. As she continues to expand both her artistry and her body of work, Stacy Walker also continues to expand our perception of what dance is, who it touches, and where it can take us.