As an aspiring performer, Jermaine Browne’s exceptional talents were quickly recognized and soon he started working as a dancer in film, TV and theater. His career took off when he was discovered in the Blockbuster/Visa commercial with Cindy Crawford. He has since appeared in numerous commercials for Gap, Nike and Toyota.
Jermaine discovered his true passion, choreography, while teaching at Broadway Dance Center in New York City. His unique combination of strength and sensuality captured the attention of the music industry while working as an assistant choreographer for a Britney Spears music video.
This has led him to create a break-through video “Genie In a Bottle” for Christina Aguilera, and Asst. Choreograph the “Love Don’t Cost a Thing” music video for Jennifer Lopez. As well as music videos, Jermaine has created and choreographed stage shows for artists such as Thalia, Deborah Cox, Tamia, and Melissa Jimenez. He has also choreographed stage performance at the European MTV Music Awards 2005 in Lisbon, which, among others, included the holographic performance by the Gorillaz and Boret. He Co-Choreographed the Victoria Secret fashion show 2006, which included the opening for Justin Timberlake.
In 2008 Jermaine choreographed the Leona Lewis performance of 40 dancers for the British Music Awards, Nike’s fashion show in Manchester, England; worked with World Champion Ice Skater Daisuke, staged and choreographed performance for Melissa Jimenez promo tour, The Angel Ball Fund Raiser, The Box Cabaret show; he has just returned from Russia where Absolute Vodka asked him to put his foot prints on their NEW disco Bottle showing a little dance. Jermaine has already launched an amazing 2008/2009 year by being the In-House Staff Choreographer for Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in Miami 2008…its most successful ever! Choreographing for Louis Vuitton Shoe show, he also created a signature dance for The Heineken “Green Synergy” South American Market. This commercial showed 8 steps that can be translated into 3 different styles of dance (Hip Hop, Soca, and Dancehall). With this success Jermaine has grown from choreographer to director. His directorial debut was a commercial for “Easy Glove”. However, Jermaine will always be devoted to his first love of choreography. He continues to work with artists all over the world…Europe’s famous pop group “Infernal” has worked with Jermaine on their most recent music video and now Greece’s sensational female artist Anna Vissi has called upon Jermaine for her upcoming tour!
What makes Jermaine most unique is his choreographic style. “My choreography is fluid, hard-hitting, sensuous and edgy, yet technical and precise. I bring jazz, ballet and hip-hop together and by pairing this with Caribbean influenced movements I strive to create a contemporary and provocative style”. ~Jermaine Browne
Jermaine Browne performance reel
Jermaine Browne performs at the Victoria’s Secret Choreographer Fashion Show
Leona Lewis performs “Bleeding Love”; Choreography by Jermaine Browne
JSD: Where are you from?
I was born in Georgetown, Guyanna.
JSD: How did you discover dance?
My mother used to put me on her feet and teach me how to waltz. When I came to America a friend told me that I should take classes, so he took me to a place called Horizon Dance Studio in Brooklyn, where I started training with a teacher name Rachel. After that I knew I needed to train more, because i started dancing late, so i went to Broadway dance center to train with teacher like Frank Hatchet, Cecilia Marta, Darrin Henson, I also went to Alvin alley to take some classes.
JSD: How did you get your big break?
I got my big break when Darrin Henson, saw my choreography for a class , I was teaching. He was working with a singer name Deborah Cox and though she had a song she needed choreographer for and I was perfect for it. I was really young and a bit nervous, but they love the end results. Darrin became my first agent people saw my work and like what I was doing and what I was about and things took off.
JSD: If you were not a choreographer, what else might you be doing?
If you asked me this question, sometime before, I would have said a preacher or sociologist, a long story… but now I think acting or directing.
JSD: Who are some of your clients?
Kate Hudson, Christina Aguilera, Leona Lewis, Jennifer Lopez, Nike, Victoria’s Secret, Louis Vuitton, Toyota, Heineken, European Music awards, Borat, and more.
JSD: If given the opportunity, who would you like to work with?
I would like to Choreograph for Beyonce, Pink, Lenny Kravitz, The Gap commercial, iPod, Directors Jamie King, Sophie Mullar, Jack Neva, the work they produce is different. I like working with people that want to do something different.
JSD: How do you find your dancers?
Mostly I find my dancers through call agencies and holding auditions, sometimes I might see someone in a class I’m teaching or just being out in a club. You never know where you might spot talent.
JSD: What do you look for in them?
It depends on the project I’m working on, for example for The Victoria’s Secret fashion show I was looking for tall pretty girls that had a jazz back ground, a bit of street flavor and really feminine. For Nike I wanted street/hip hop guys and girls, they had to be able to free style. Leona Lewis, strong male and female dancer that had a hip hop and or jazz background. The most important thing
for me is having a dancer, that dance from the inside out. Showing us their soul!!
JSD: What is the role of the choreographer, to inspire, to teach or to lead? Why?
I think the role of a choreographer is a bit of all the above. For me it’s about using dance to inspiring the artist, brand, dancers and people who love dance. The true choreographer or artist (singer, painter, musician, etc) doesn’t follow. They are strong in what they want to put out their knowing it will be judge. It’s easy to follow, that safe. At the same time you have to know who your work is for, make it for them, but still have your own voice in it.
JSD: Walk us through the process of choreographing a piece.
If I working for a artist or Brand, I will start by listening to the music they want me to use. I will listen to their ideas and then give them my thoughts about how I can it come to life. Sometimes I tell them how it can work and sometimes what will not work. I go into a studio and start playing around with steps. Asking questions like does this step work for what I’m try to create for this person or brand. You then get the dancers that can make your work look it’s best. The same way a model can ruin a designer show, the wrong dance can kill your work.
JSD: What kind of music do you find more appealing for you to dance?
Anything with a driving beat and or amazing vocal. I love when you are choreographing and the song you are working with has amazing vocals.
JSD: What are your upcoming projects?
I will be working on the Nike fashion in London, then I’m heading to Greece for a Month to choreograph the summer tour for their
Number 1 artist (their Madonna) Anna Vissi, I will also be dancing a solo performance With Anna for the Mad Awards Greece version of MTV awards. I will be traveling to Spain, Rome, Ireland, and Vienna to teach Master classes to professional and non professional dancers, and dance teach. I’m also starting to writing a dance show, mixing different style’s of dance. It’s urban, yet classical, sexy, and athletic. It’s gonna be HOT!! Investors are welcome 🙂
JSD: Describe your personal style and your dance style?
My personal style is urban, yet classic with a strong European influence. My Dance style is Street with a jazz edge, (the technique is there, but it not straight in you face) it’s hard hitting at times and fluid at other time.
JSD: How does your choreography differ from other dancers?
It comes for me.
JSD: What advice would you give to someone with “two left feet”?
Everyone can dance!! Just be patient with yourself, and your style is your style done compare. Look at videos, go to clubs and watch people. Stay open and don’t think people are looking at you. The next person is like you they are worried about how good they look.
JSD: Is their a dance that will never go out of style?
It’s funny because, as I travel, I see some dance style are not popular in some countries and are more popular in other countries. I don’t think these styles will disappear.
JSD: Tell us about your most difficult performance/choreography. Why was it hard and how did you get through it?
I was choreographing for Leona Lewis for the Brit awards. They wanted 40 dancer. The director for the show, Leona, and everyone from the label loved the choreography and the theme. They want dancers crossing in front of her at times and running, kind of like being in Time Square during rush hour. When we got to the venue the stage was way smaller than what I was told. The dancers could not fit and all the walking, passes and running looked too heavy for camera. I knew it would be too much, but at times you do what’s asked of you. Me and my assistant went to work. I would watch the rehearsal through the camera and tell the director what to cut, which dancers I wanted off, etc. At the end everyone was happy, the dancer got to perform, the director got the shoots he wanted and Leona performed stress free. She sent a bottle of Dom Perignon to my hotel 🙂
JSD: What are your thoughts on dancing making a comeback with ABDC and So You Think You Can Dance?
I like So You Think You Can Dance for showing different style of dance. As, a choreographer I’m happy to see different styles of dance on TV. I think it’s great that these show highlight dance, and show how hard it is for dancer to do what they do. I still think dancers are on the bottom of the pole as far as getting their shine in entertainment, but at least these show are a start of many things to come.
JSD: Was there any person that had great impact on your decision to become a choreographer?
I would say Darren Henson
JSD: Can you choreograph a dance without music?
Yes you can, you can also use elements from nature, streets, human breath, the rhythm of rain falling on a tin roof, sound foot steps. Sometimes it can be more interesting to watch, when done well.
JSD: Can you choreograph any type of dance or does it have to be something you like?
I can only choreograph the things I know about, the different style I’ve studies, but at the same time I can hire a flamenco dancer and tell him or her what I want.
JSD: Where do you go to dance and let loose?
My home, clubs or take a favorite class.
JSD: Where do you draw your inspiration?
From everything around me, but mostly the music tells me what to do.
JSD: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Choreographing, acting, directing and being a dance personality.
JSD: Are you planning to do other things besides dance?
Well, I’m writing now, I would like to act and direct as a choreographer you directing any way, so it’s good training for video or musicals.
JSD: What advice would you give someone who wants to be a dancer?
Work hard, try to learn at least 3 different styles. And always bring your passion and who you are to your work. No one can have what you got and you can’t have what they got, so just keep making yourself stronger and don’t take rejection personally. It’s just a no, and it’s just for today, tomorrow you might hear a yes.
Bio via Jermainebrowne.com