There are always the people behind “the people” that keep the ball rolling, the production tight and the crowding energized.
Meet LaShaun Prescott. Maybe you’ve never heard the name before but if you are a Soca enthusiast, then you have probably seen her face!
She possesses an amiable personality that makes it easy to befriend her, a toned – fat free petite physique I’d die for, graceful movements that seem so effortless and a natural gift of choreographed executions that makes her, undoubtedly, one of the Caribbean’s elite dancers!
Think Julliard Dance Academy meets Afro-dance with a hefty dose of Zumba!
LaShaun affectionately called Elle, is the Founder and Director of the fairly new yet most popular and most successful dance company in Trinidad, Elle NYTT. Most recently, her group performed with Machel Montano at MSG and was also seen airborne on stage with him and getting on “wotless” with Kes the Band, for their respective Soca Monarch 2011 wins.
In this highly driven entrepreneurial climate, she is yet another perfect example of tapping into your God-given talents and turning it into a lucrative career; a lifestyle brand!
Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with the former Ministry of Trade and Industry employee turned Mogul who is dancing her way to the bank!
Jay Blessed: When did you realize you had such a passion for dance?
LaShaun “Elle” Prescott: I think it would have been while I was working at the Ministry of Trade and Industry. Dance was always an extra curricular activity for me but at that time, I realized that I enjoyed spending my time dancing much more than being in the office and I took the decision to leave my job and dance full time.
JB: You are the Principal of your own dance school, Elle TT? How did that come about?
Elle: Oh the name of the company is actually Elle NYTT for New York and Trinidad and Tobago. Its incorporated in both places. To be honest that happened quite randomly. I woke up at 2:00 a.m. one morning and called my friend and told her I was going to open a dance company. The next morning I was in Companies Registry starting the process. lol
JB: WOW! The best ideas come in the wee hours of the morning. There must have been obstacles when you started your school, what are some of them?
Elle: Oh wow, there are always obstacles. I remember the first class we had, there were only 2 people – one of which was my friend who I called at 2:00 a.m. The classes took a while to build. I was sooo discouraged, I wanted to close the school and just forget about it. But I didn’t and I’m glad that I stuck with it.
JB: Despite those challenges you stayed focus, why?
Elle: Why did I stay focus? Interesting question.. I don’t know really – maybe its cause I’m stubborn and I hate failing. Lol No but seriously, I really believe that we can make such a strong international statement that I have to push on regardless of the challenges that may arise.
JB: True! You’ve stuck through it and now you have an envious career, who are some of the artistes that you’ve had the honor of working with?
Elle:I’ve worked with so many artistes. Bunji Garlin, Gail Ann, Destra, Iwer, Lil Bitts, Umi Marcano, and of course the HD Family – Machel Montano, Patrice Roberts, Farmer Nappy and Zan. Last year we were on tour with international artiste Pitbull. 22 states in the US. That was one of my most memorable experiences.
JB: Give props, who are some of the upcoming Caribbean dancers that you see are destined to be as great as you?
Elle: Well I think the team of dancers who work with me are all amazing and some are more well known like Delton Frank, Candice Ho Wong, Adrian Daniel and Andy Josiah. But there are some of the dancers that are not so well known that I feel can be truly great if they maintain a positive attitude. Because there are things that really make you question whether you want to do this – but Kriston Trim and Shaakir Griffith are two names that come to mind.
JB: Back to Machel, you’ve been linked romantically to Machel…curious minds want to know, how true is that?
Elle: Wow. Lol Its amazing the things people will say when you’re in the entertainment industry. That was something that I took a while to get used to – all the rumors. But no I am not romantically linked to Machel.
JB: LOL…Ok then, so how’s the dating life?
Elle: Hahaha – what dating life?
JB: So fellas, she’s single! What are the qualities you desire in a mate?
LP: Oooo aren’t we getting personal. Lol Umm Because of the nature of my work, the person would have to be very understanding. My work hours are some ridiculous hours in the night – most guys aren’t willing to date someone who has to put in the kinda hours that I do. The other thing is that we travel so much you know. It would almost be like a long distance relationship, and very few of those things last. lol
JB: Alright then…sounds good! Without doubt, there are big things on the horizon for your company, so what‘s next on the agenda for Elle NYTT?
Elle: Well….. (and she starts smiling widely) lol We’re working towards our second dance production. Its called Elle 7. We’re doing it in the National Academy for Performing Arts (NAPA) on April 30th and May 1st I cannot tell you how excited I am. And while that is going on, we’re really trying to push promotion of our classes in Cascade and Curepe. Sigh – the million and one classes that I decided to open. I don’t know who send meh!! Haha Is ballet, modern, folk, hip hop, dancehall, latin and soca for … yuh thought was only adults, umm umm. Kids too.
And thennnnnn…. IMMEDIATELY after Elle 7, we’re coming up to New York to start operations there – classes and performances. Lol We did the incorporation of the company there in December last year – same name – Elle NYTT. And since then people have been asking me, when we’re going to actually start. So yea – by June – we’re there.
JB: Just for fun: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
Elle: Whais de scene Elle!! Yuh performing up here too right?
Check out the teaser for Elle 7
Make sure to support ElleTTNY and their upcoming Elle 7 Show at NAPA, Trinidad on April 30th and May 1st. For ticket information or to enroll into the Trinidad or NY schools, contact La Shaun of Elle NYTT (868) 788-ELLE (3553) or ElleNYTT@gmail.com, follow her on twitter @ElleNYTT and visit the site www.ElleNYTT.com
La Shaun and her sister Halcyon – Halcyon Prescott-Alexander is the second Director of Elle NYTT Photo credit: Maurice Alexander
La Shaun – Adrian Daniel is the Hip Hop Choreographer and Teacher at Elle NYTT – Photo credit: Maurice Alexander