Brian Friedman is an internationally acclaimed dancer, choreographer and creative director. He has worked with an impressive string of artists and celebrities to date which includes Michael Jackson, Justin Bieber, Britney Spears, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Celine Dion, Janet Jackson, Prince, Mariah Carey, Usher, P!nK, Nicole Scherzinger, Christina Aguilera, One Direction, Olly Murs and many more.
As a creative, his talents extend to the film industry, Charlie’s Angels: “Full Throttle”, “You Got Served”, “She’s all That”, “Austin Powers Gold Member” to name a few. But most of us will have heard from the influential American star from his involvement judging, choreographing and producing “The X Factor” UK, “The X Factor” USA and “America’s Got Talent”.
I am thrilled and honored to be taking on the role of Patron at The Urdang Academy. Passing on knowledge to the next generation of dancers is not only my duty but it also warms my heart. Over the years I have watched alumni from the Academy audition for me and have cast them in many projects. They are truly receiving the best training around!
Sean Cheesman is an internationally renowned Creative Director, Choreographer and Producer. He has worked with some of the world’s top entertainers including Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, TLC, Vanessa Williams, Carmen Electra, Tina Turner, Queen Latifah, Cher and Britney Spears. Sean also appeared and choreographed in the Warner Brothers film ‘The Bodyguard’ starring Whitney Houston.
Sean was one of the Producers and the Creative Choreographer for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s search for Dorothy on the TV show ‘Over the Rainbow’, airing in Canada. He is well known for his role as a Choreographer and judge on various television dance competitions such as ‘Dirty Dancing: Time of your Life’, the popular T4 show ‘Musicool’ and ‘So You Think You Can Dance’.
I’m proud to be part of such a forward thinking college that prides themselves on technical excellence and success in the industry.
His award winning choreography credits include:
MTV Music Video Award – Best Choreography (Michael & Janet Jackson’s ‘Scream’) . Bob Fosse Award Nomination – Best Choreography (Michael & Janet Jackson’s ‘Scream’). MTV Music Video Award – Best Dance (Prince’s ‘Cream’) . VH1 Video Award Nomination – Best Choreography (Prince’s ‘Get Off’) . NAACP Image Award Nomination – Best Choreography (Whitney Houston’s ‘I’m Every Woman’).
Arlene Phillips CBE
Arlene Phillips CBE is an English choreographer, theatre director, talent scout and former dancer, who has worked in many fields of entertainment. She is most notable for being the choreographer of numerous West End and Broadway musicals, films and television shows, but is perhaps most famous for being a judge on the popular BBC1 television series Strictly Come Dancing from the show’s inception in 2004 until 2008. Arlene is currently a judge on ‘So You Think You Can Dance UK’.
Dr Wayne Sleep OBE
Wayne Sleep has been a patron to the Urdang Academy for many years. He won a Leverhulme Scholarship to the Royal Ballet School in 1961 and joined the Royal Ballet Company in 1966. Later he became a Principal Dancer and had numerous roles created for him. He was appointed OBE in 1998.
Anthony Van Laast MBE
Anthony trained at the London School of Contemporary Dance, later joining the Company as both performer and choreographer.
Theatre includes: Sister Act, Bombay Dreams (London and Broadway – Tony award nomination); Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (worldwide – Laurence Olivier award nomination, Dramalogue award); Jesus Christ Superstar (UK and Broadway); Song & Dance (worldwide – Green Room award, Australia); Hair (Old Vic . Olivier Nomination). He has made shows for many people including Mika, Kate Bush, Sarah Brightman and Barry Humphries (Dame Edna) and in Las Vegas, Michael Crawford and Siegfried and Roy.
Films: Never Say Never Again, Excalibur, Hope and Glory, MAMMA MIA! and the Harry Potter film The Half-Blood Prince.
In 1999 Anthony was awarded the MBE by Her Majesty The Queen for services to dance and choreography.
I am thrilled to become a patron of the Academy, and hope to be able to use my knowledge, experience and expertise to give something back to the students just starting out.