Q&A with Choreographer – KATRINA AMATO Whose Resume Includes: TIESTO, INCUBUS, BRANDON BOYD and ZAC EFRON Feature Film, “We Are Your Friends”.
Posted On 11 Aug 2015
Tag: Absolution Calling, Alaskan Malamute, All Access, All Access Music, All Access Music Group, allaccessmusicnicole, Amy Winehouse, Ani Difranco, Billie Black, Brandon Boyd, ColdPlay, D' Angelo, Ed Sheeran, Emily Ratajkowski, Eyrka Badu, Grammy, Immersion, Incubus, James Blake, Janet Jackson, Joelle Martinec, Jonny Weston, Kyla Joy, Last Night A Passenger, Laurie Johnson, Liz Imperio, Los Angeles, Lyves, Madison, Maria, Max Joseph, Mia Michaels, Michael Jackson, Mos Def, ODESZA, Pepe Aguilar, Radiohead, Sam Smith, SG Lewis, Sorrow, The Edison, The Roots, Thriller, Tiesto, We Are Your Friends, Wolfie, WSPA, Zach Efron
Katrina Amato was born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin. She began dancing at age 4, and competing at age 12. As well as training in ballet, modern, tap, jazz, hip-hop, and contemporary dance; she also participated in athletics such as basketball, volleyball, tennis, swimming, synchronize swimming, diving, gymnastics, and snowboarding. She has always been active and is constantly learning new ways to move her body.
After graduating college with her BFA in Dance at California State University, Long Beach, Katrina signed with various agencies and began working in the entertainment industry. Her list of credits include Aflac, Bloomingdale’s, Clinque, Yahoo!, Citibank, Apple Watch, Target, Glee, Old Navy, Athleta, Lucy Activewear, Kohl’s, Chevrolet, GMC, Dodge, Heineken, Campari Soda and Absolut Vodka.
In 2007, Katrina became a power yoga instructor. She helped students and athletes of all backgrounds and ages, stretch and strengthen their minds & bodies in ways they never imagined.
In addition to her love of yoga and dance, Katrina’s true passion has always been choreography. In 2011, she created her very own water entertainment company called The Hollywood Bathing Beauties; a dazzling collection of dancers, synchronized swimmers and aerialists. As the artistic director and choreographer, she created works for French artist Thomas Marfisi and opened for Rod Stewart in Las Vegas. This led her to create a human piano for a TOMS Shoe commercial and an underwater video for music artist Brandon Boyd. Her current choreography credits include Tiesto‘s live performance visuals, the Zac Efron film, “We Are Your Friends“, and Incubus’s new music video, “Absolution Calling“.
Katrina loves teaching people how to move, and to feel comfortable in their own skin. She teaches every Wednesday night from 6-7pm at The Sweat Spot in Silverlake. Her classes are truly inspiring, fun and upbeat!
All Access Music writer, Nicole DeRosa had a chance to catch up with Katrina between gigs and just before the release of the feature film “We Are Your Friends” opening on August 28th. Read more in Nicole and Katrina’s interview below!
Hi Katrina! How are you today? What’s on the agenda today besides our interview?
Hello! I am doing well, thank you. Today I am on the hunt for new music before I begin choreographing for a few different projects.
So first things, first…how did you get into the world of choreography and dance? Who or what was the catalyst for you?
I began dancing at age 4 back in Madison, WI. My dance studio, WSPA, was my second home. As a kid, I remember always wanting to suggest moves to my dance teachers. I have a faint memory of one saying, “Katrina, you are not the teacher.” In some way, I feel that was the moment when I new I wanted to be a Choreographer. Choreography was something I always just did. I would constantly visualize movement in my head, creating my own music videos throughout the day.
Like most dancers, Michael Jackson’s Thriller was a big catalyst for both my dance and choreography career. In addition, I grew up competing on a dance competition team that took me all over the country. This allowed me to train with some of the top choreographers throughout my teenage years. The more choreographers I took from, the more I felt the pull to want to be one myself.
What was your first music video shoot that you choreographed?
I never stopped to think about this until now. Believe it or not, the first music video I choreographed was for Brandon Boyd’s “Last Night A Passenger” music video in 2010.
You just worked on the choreography for Tiesto’s “Immersion” video. How was that video shoot?
So much fun! I got to hire a group of extremely sexy and talented women to dance around with me at The Edison in downtown Los Angeles. The level of talent each person brought to set made my job a breeze. We literally played around the entire day. Good people, good vibes.
You have worked with so many talented artists or bands including Brandon Boyd (“Last Night A Passenger”), Tiesto (“Immersion”), Incubus (“Absolution Calling”) and the soon to be released Zac Efron DJ movie, “We Are Your Friends” to name a few. Who would you love to collaborate with next?
I would be thrilled to work with Sam Smith, Eyrka Badu, Coldplay, Lyves, Ed Sheeran… there are so many! Besides musical artists, I would really love to collaborate with a well established clothing brand to create a new twist on a visual look book that involves fashion, beauty, and of course movement
Speaking of, the movie “We Are Your Friends”, how was that experience?
It was an incredible experience. The director, Max Joseph, called me a few months prior to shooting and asked if I would be interested in being a part of it, I was thrilled. I worked one on one with Jonny Weston, Emily Ratajkowski, and Zach Efron. Everyone was super sweet and very professional. I also got to hire fifteen dancers for a big pool party scene, which was pretty magical to be a part of. Fingers crossed they will all be memorable moments in the movie. See it for yourself when WAYF is released in theaters worldwide August 28th!
Who have been your dance and music inspirations growing up that also inspire you today?
Mia Michaels, Liz Imperio, Joelle Martinec, and Laurie Johnson are four incredibly strong women and outstanding choreographers that have inspired me throughout the years.
As for music, it ranges any where from Michael & Janet Jackson, to Ani Difranco, to Radiohead.
Dance and choreography seems to be an art form that is always evolving and ever changing. Do you have a favorite style?
I appreciate any dancer who can get out of their head and into their body. For me, its not necessarily about the style. If a dancer is able to let go and freely move the way in which their body wants to move, without judgement, true passion shines through. To me, that is everything.
Who is in your current playlist? What artists or bands are in current rotation for you?
Amy Winehouse, D’ Angelo, Mos Def, Sorrow, SG Lewis, James Blake, Odesza, Billie Black, The Roots…
Can you tell me about your latest project?
Well, I just choreographed and perform for my dear friend Pepe Aguilar for his upcoming video “Maria” which I am really excited about. It was an amazing opportunity. He’s a 9 time Grammy around winner! The video will be out very soon.
What’s on tap next for you, Katrina? What are you most excited about for year?
Besides choreography, I recently became the creative director of an amazing new women’s line called Kyla Joy. I’ve taken over their Instagram account, which you should follow (www.Instagram.com/LoveKylaJoy). On top of that, I just adopted a 6yr old Alaskan Malamute named Wolfie. I am really looking forward to connecting with him and being open to what he has to teach me
To learn more about KATRINA AMATO, visit her HERE .