Members of New Lisbon’s Generations Dance Academy received quite a thrill when they learned some new moves from a Los Angeles Lakers dancer.
Makayla Aspeslet, 22, visited GDA July 28 and 29, teaching a hip hop style during three sessions. Aspeslet, who will begin her second season with the Lakers this fall, brought plenty of spirit and energy as she introduced the girls to a different style of dance.
“It was definitely a cool experience and pretty intense,” said GDA member Amanda DeGuire, an incoming senior at Necedah High School.
Emily Reigard, who will be a senior at Mauston High School, said being exposed to a new style that’s more free-flowing was a lot of fun.
“I never thought we could learn hip hop from someone so professional,” Reigard said. “And we learned a lot because we never really had it before. Learning it from her was pretty great.”
Melissa Boudreau, GDA’s owner and director, grew up dancing with Aspeslet’s mother, Julie, in La Crosse. After graduating high school, the two dancers were roommates for a year and became close friends. Julie Aspeslet relocated to Florida for a job as a dancer at Disney World, started a family and her daughter Makayla arrived soon after.
“Julie started a very successful dance studio in Florida and one of her dancers was on ‘So You Think You Can Dance,’” Boudreau said. “Makayla moved to L.A. to pursue a dance and modeling career, auditioned for the Lakers and was accepted.”
Due to contract stipulations with the Lakers, Aspeslet is not allowed to speak with the media without consent from the organization. Boudreau said Aspeslet was offered a contract from another NBA team, but believed the Lakers were a better fit. For decades, the Lakers have featured some of the most popular dance groups in the NBA.
GDA was very proud to bring a Laker girl to New Lisbon.
“I was telling someone earlier today that she was coming and they were like, ‘An L.A. Laker girl in New Lisbon?’” Boudreau said. “That’s right.”
During her late session July 28, Aspeslet had the dancers work on various moves and practiced a routine to Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.” After the routine, the Laker girl had all the dancers form a circle and each one busted loose with some free-style dance moves, much to the delight of their fellow dancers.
“Hip hop is very new to them, they didn’t grow up learning hip hop so they did very well today,” Boudreau said. “I’m very proud of them.”
Boudreau added hip hop sessions to her classes last year and she said its helped increase the academy’s membership. GDA draws young dancers from across Juneau County and neighboring communities such as Adams and Tomah.
“The girls are really trained in ballet, so hip hop is completely opposite,” Boudreau said. “She was able to really get the girls out of their comfort level and try something new.”
DeGuire said Aspeslet taught a loose, free-flowing routine that highlights movement from all parts of the body.
“She specifically pointed me out and said I needed to use my hips more, which was really helpful,” DeGuire said.
“She said learning to free style is really beneficial, especially for the older girls just to be free and move,” Reigard said. “It’s definitely a way you can improve in dancing.”
Both Reigard and DeGuire have danced since they were toddlers and are thinking about continuing their dance careers after high school.
For more information on Generations Dance Academy, go to www.generationsdanceacademy.com or call 608-548-2974.