Tupelo Talent — Devin Moore

Devin Moore leads a hip hop workshop at Tupelo Dance Centre.

Devon Moore is an adventurer. And he’s a dancer. The two traits combined when he decided to move to Los Angeles nearly three years ago. After all, his native Saltillo just didn’t offer many dance opportunities. This week, the 22-year-old Moore is back in town to teach a dance workshop at the North Mississippi Dance Centre in Tupelo. On Tuesday afternoon he literally put more than a dozen dancers through their paces. They worked frenetically on a dance to Rihanna’s “Where Have You Been All My Life.” Moore exhibited talent, skill, humor and an attitude that made the moves seem easy to the mainly teenage girls following his instructions. Most all of them, Moore said, are students at the dance center so they exhibited a knowledge of the basic dance moves involved with the effort: “This workshop is a taste of the choreography they would see in LA,” said Moore. He explained that dancers in Los Angeles are primarily focused on performing commercial gigs such as show choreography and literal commercials while dancers in New York, the other major U.S. dance center, are mainly aiming for parts in Broadway shows. Think “A Chorus Line.” “In LA, there are a lot more opportunities for dancers,” Moore said. It was not so long ago that Moore was in his Tupelo workshop students’ shoes. With no formal training in the art form, he developed an interest in dance from watching “movies and music videos.” That was at the age of 16 in his junior year at Saltillo High School where he graduated in 2014. He joined up with the NMDC program after deciding dance was where he wanted to be. Since moving to Los Angeles, Moore has managed to score some impressive gigs. Among them are jobs at Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park, traveling as main artist and choreographer with singer Ashley Brinton to Palm Springs, Miami and around the LA area, making an Old Navy commercial with entertainer Kristen Bell and performing in a Disney music video for Asher Angel. Those are impressive considering the competition in the West Coast city; Moore estimates there are around 2,000 dancers seeking gigs in and around the sprawling metropolis. “At auditions,” he said, “you can expect to see 500-600 dancers show up.” Moore actually lives in North Hollywood, sharing a four-bedroom apartment with three roommates. He considers the rent a bargain for the area, especially since the Los Angeles suburb seems to be a center for dancers. While he socializes with some dancers, Moore said he mainly “hangs out at different clubs” in his leisure time. Has his career been successful so far? Moore thinks so: “I spent my first year there basically finding out how to be an adult,” he said. “I feel my career is still new. When I moved there I figured I wouldn’t consider myself successful until I was making a living as a dancer.” That magic moment came a year ago when he was able to quit his restaurant job – how’s that for a cliché – and work full-time at dance. Moore has no illusions about the longevity of a dance career; older dancers are eventually replaced with younger ones. His plans for the future include moving more into the choreographing, the creating end of productions. Meanwhile, he has secured an agent with the Movement Talent Agency, which has “sent me on a lot of auditions.” “I’m starting to connect more with people in the industry,” he said. Of the local workshop, Moore said, “It’s my way of sharing knowledge since I’ve been there. I want to shed some light on dancing.” Readers who would like to learn more about North Mississippi Dance Centre in Tupelo, can call (662) 680-9041.

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