In 2010, La Shaun Prescott traded her work suits and pumps in a prestigious position as an economist in pursuit of her passion for dance to become the Founder and Artistic Director of the Elle InfiniTT dance company in New York and two locations in Trinidad & Tobago.
She hails from East Trinidad—Arima to be exact—is ambitious, elegant, charismatic and boasts 150-plus members in the Elle InfiniTT family ranging from ages 3 ½ onwards.
Her dance programme includes a number of highly qualified dance instructors, a plethora of styles including dancehall, contemporary, afro, ballet, modern and the aptly titled ‘pelt’—rhythmic movements that facilitate full body conditioning.
She started performing at age 13 with the Carol La Chappelle Dance Company in modern dance, and then pursued ballet at the Caribbean School of Dance. Today La Shaun is an Assistant Professor of Modern and Contemporary Dance at The University of Trinidad and Tobago.
Set the scene for us, how did this passion for dance come into being?
I began my career in modern dance with Carol La Chappelle at age 13, initially to refine my grace with gymnastics, and fell in love.
Who has influenced your career the most?
A number of persons namely, Carol La Chappelle, Allan Balfour, and my dance family at the Repertoire Dance Theatre
When did you get your big break?
In 2007, I auditioned for one of Machel Montano’s music videos and that led to an opportunity to tour 21 states in the US with American rapper Armando Christian Pérez—known as ‘Pitbull’.
How would you describe your most successful moment?
Success for me is ongoing. I watch in amazement the number of members, and families that we have (150–200) kids, teens, adults who participated in our last show at NAPA and how we have grown over the years.
What has been your most embarrassing moment?
Definitely tripping on stage at my first performance at Madison Square Garden at a Machel concert. I recovered with grace (laughs).
Describe your vision for your dance company in the next three years?
We would like to continue our commitment to promoting Trinidad and Tobago culture (dance) as a viable export model. We’ve partnered with the directors of the SOKAFIT brand, conducted Soca Dance workshops internationally and licensed 18 SOKAFIT coaches in Canada, South Africa, Australia, and Guadeloupe.
When not dancing, running your business, choreographing, what do you enjoy?
Spending quality time with friends.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Be patient, sometimes things don’t happen in the time frame expected. Also, maintain physical fitness to mitigate injuries as you get older.
Finish these sentences…
I feel most alive when….? I am on stage.
What I care the most about is….? My nuclear family, and my Elle InfiniTT family.
What the world needs is….? More persons to recognise that dance is a viable profession.
The person/s I always want to be proud of me is….? My nuclear family.
For info on classes or performances contact 788–3553 (ELLE), 391 – 3553 (ELLE) email@example.com social media: elleinfinitt/lashaunprescott
Jamila Cross is a triathlete, former professional footballer for Sevilla FC women’s Club Spain, and mother of three boys Tishad, Akim and Santiago. She is the founder of the Mariama Foundation, a registered non-profit organisation raising the storytelling bar for the Caribbean’s female athletes.