NINA FLAGG

she/her/hers

 

Born in Los Angeles to Valdez Flagg and Karen McDonald, Nina began studying gymnastics and dance at age three.  She would continue to train at Los Angeles School of Gymnastics (LASG) for 9 years.  Her dance training began with her mother and continued with other notable teachers such as Stefan Wenta, Yuri Grigoriev, Claude Thompson, Paul and Arlene Kennedy, Ron Brown, Otis Sallid, and Nzingha Camara.  At age twelve, Nina was introduced to director/choreographer Debbie Allen when she was hired as a dancer and gymnast for the 63rd Annual Academy Awards.  This experience would later lead to an extended professional relationship with Ms. Allen.

 

Nina went on to attend the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA) for three years.  It was during this period that she refined her dance techniques and enriched her artistic persona.  She excelled under the tutelage of Don Hewitt, Mary Bender, Rudy Perez, Don Bondi, KaRon Brown Lehman, and Hae-Kyung Lee.  After graduating high school in 1997, Nina began honing her skills in Hip-Hop dance while obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology with a Specialization in Communications from UCLA.  

During her senior year at UCLA, Nina was invited to teach on the staff of the Debbie Allen Dance Academy (DADA) in Culver City, CA.  

The following year after graduating form UCLA, Nina began training with Rennie Harris, Hip-Hop choreographer and artistic director of the Philadelphia-based company Rennie Harris Puremovement.   She went on to tour with the company for five years as a principal dancer.  In 2004, Nina also assisted Harris in setting a premier work on the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre entitled "Love Stories.”

 

In 2007, Nina began working with renowned dancer and choreographer Toni Basil.  She was hired by Basil as an assistant choreographer for Bette Midler's Las Vegas show at The Colosseum, The Showgirl Must Go On.  In 2008 Nina continued on as a part of Basil's collaborative team for the Tina Turner 50th Anniversary Tour.  

In 2011, Nina was once again given the opportunity to work with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. She was invited by Rennie Harris to collaborate on a full-length original work entitled “Home”, which is currently a part of the company's touring repertoire program.

Nina has been on faculty and served as a guest choreographer for the dance departments of UCLA, Cal Arts, Connecticut College, Loyola Marymount University (LMU), and Bennington College (Vermont). She has worked with such artists as Prince, Tina Turner, Bette Midler,  Stevie Wonder, Will Smith, Chris Brown, and J Balvin.  Her choreography has been featured on the 54th Annual Grammy Awards, the TV Land Awards, the 2015 Special Olympics Opening Ceremonies (ABC/ESPN) and Redcat Theatre (Downtown LA). Her television appearances include the Academy Awards, The Today Show, and Goodmorning America. 

In 2015, Nina re-joined Bette Midler’s creative team for the Divine Intervention Tour as Assistant Choreographer and Private Dance Coach to Ms. Midler, followed by a return to Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre as Rehearsal Director for Rennie Harris’ ballet, “Exodus.” In 2016, Nina joined the Connecticut College Dance Department as a visiting Professor of Hip Hop Dance for the Spring Semester followed by a return to LA where she joined Cal Arts Lund School of Dance as Special faculty.  

In Summer of 2018, Nina returned to the Ailey company as Rehearsal Director for Rennie Harris' "Lazarus", the first hour long evening-length work in the company's history.  In the Fall, she transitioned to full-time faculty in the Cal Arts School of Dance where she began teaching courses in Hip Hop Dance Technique, Hip Hop Composition and Hip Hop Lab in addition to creating original repertory work for the school's partnership with Redcat Theatre.  In 2019, Nina had the pleasure of traveling to India on behalf of the Cal Arts School of Dance to expand the school's international presence and develop artistic exchange opportunities with dance artists in Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangaluru and Kolkata. 

 

In summer of 2021, Nina appeared in the documentary film “AILEY” which was released in theaters nationwide after its premier at Sundance Film Festival. Currently, Nina is continuing her practice as a dancer, choreographer, pedagogue, and most recently an online guest artist for organizations such as CLI Studios, Los Angeles Dance Project, and the Alvin Ailey Company. In May 2021, she completed her fifth and final year as CalArts dance faculty teaching Technique, Composition and Repertory courses in Hip-Hop and Contemporary Dance.  She’s since returned to her work as a freelance choreographer in both television and concert dance.

 

 

As a Hip-Hop practitioner and BIPOC Artist/Educator, Nina remains passionate about creating curricular strategies for equitable opportunities in dance education and performance.