Charissa Kroeger is a multifaceted dancer and choreographer whose credits span TV, film, music videos, dance companies, opera and commercials. She dabbles between commercial and concert dance- performing for notable brands and artists such as Dua Lipa, Netflix, Amazon, Ford Motors, Solange Knowles’ Saint Heron, The Colbert Show and The Ellen Show. Charissa is a Southern California native, who received her B.A. in dance from Loyola Marymount University and furthered her training at the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance under Summer Lee Rhatigan and former Batsheva star Bobbi Jene Smith. She has been a part of numerous creative teams as an assistant choreographer, working alongside prolific artists in the field such as Ryan Heffington and Tony Testa. Internationally she has toured with the Grammy winning artist Lorde and in Daniel Ezralow’s company, Ezralow Dance. Most recently, Serena Williams selected Charissa to be a dance brand ambassador for Ms. Williams’ apparel line, “Serena: Be Seen, Be Heard.”
Currently, Charissa is involved in many creative projects, including dancing in Ryan Murphy's new film "The Prom," choreographing a newly released film "AVIVA" (which also features our very own Roz LeBlanc Loo), and assisting Ryan Heffington for Sia's film entitled "MUSIC," which is set to release later this year.
We are so proud of Charissa and our alumni!
Charissa Kroeger, '15
RILEY BREWER, Class of 2021
What have you been working on since graduation?
Since graduation, I have been working as a commercial dancer in LA. I have been training and assisting, as well as keeping busy with rehearsals for Carnival and other shows. I just wrapped a music video as well! On top of that I have a job doing styling and marketing for a sneaker company in West Hollywood. It has been a great balance of fulfilling work!
How has LMU Dance prepared you for what you are doing right now?
LMU dance broadened my horizons exponentially in regards to the dance world. I gained so much knowledge and exposure to the concert world that I had never experienced before. The dynamics of the program challenged me daily in a way that broadened my horizons. Though I do primarily commercial work now, I use the concert fundamentals I learned in the program every single day and I find that very special.
How was the transition from online dance your senior year to what you are doing now?
The transition between online dance to what I’m doing now was not without its hurdles. So long not being in a physical space was so hard but reminded me of the love I have for dance. It solidified my passion and encouraged a fire in me to come back stronger than ever. The difficult part was the lack of physical auditions coming out of the pandemic, but as my confidence has built, the industry has began to open back up. It is all in the universe’s timing!
Why did you choose LMU over other schools for dance?
I chose LMU over other schools due to two reasons: location and staff. For one, I always knew LA was the place I was meant to be. The opportunity and training that comes with this city is like no other. However, it was the teachers involved in the program that affirmed everything for me. The staff of the dance program care about each student so much, and push you in ways that are so unique and special. They truly take the time to get to know you. I have so much respect and love for all of my teachers, and I am forever grateful to have their connection and support.
What is something that you have learned through dancing at LMU that you use everyday?
Something I learned through dance at LMU that I use every day is to trust the process. I struggled at the beginning of the program having less modern experience than a lot of my peers. I felt discouraged and frustrated that I was behind. As dancers we are taught to be perfectionists but LMU taught me to let go of that completely in such a healthy way. The classes that challenge you strengthen you so much. Every time I am in a class or rehearsal today where I struggle, I think back to how the classes I struggled in at school shaped me into the dancer I am today. Furthermore, its just good life advice… trust the process!
Do you have any advice for the current LMU Dance majors?
My advice for current LMU dance majors is to be as present in every moment as possible. Those late nights, tears of exhaustions, and sore muscles are in hindsight some of my favorite memories. It is so tiring but you will miss it so much. Try not to rush into the next step, the industry will always be there. Connect with your classmates, talk to your professors, and stay present in every moment you can. I know saying it goes fast is cheesy but it is so true. Work hard, be kind, and soak it all in.