Amanda LaCount took up dancing after her mother noticed her passion from a young age. She has several older brothers and sisters with two of her older siblings also being performers.

“She put me in some dance classes, and I never stopped,” she told DOPEISM with a smile in her voice during an over-the-phone interview. While she’s been dancing since she was very young, LaCount, 18, realized her gifts roughly 10 years ago.

“When I would dance in my recital at my studio, other kids’ parents would come up to me– and my mom would be there too– and they’d say ‘oh my gosh, I could not stop watching your daughter, she has so much fun on stage, even if she was in the back row, I couldn’t take my eyes off of her,’” she says with contagious enthusiasm. “I didn’t really think anything of it, I was like ‘oh whatever, they’re just being nice.’”

Around the age of 12, the Colorado native started devoting her weekends to dance, traveling to L.A. to rehearse with the now-defunct dance crew, Latin Flavah.

“My mom and I, we sat down and talked, and we just knew that if I wanted to do dancing professionally, that I should move to L.A.,” she explains of making the transition. She officially moved to California at 14. “A lot of people move here when they’re 18 after they’ve graduated and then start trying to build their careers,” she continues. “We knew that if I tried to come out when all the other 18-year-olds came out, it would be really hard to make a name for myself, because now I’m competing with all of these other people who just moved out here. I figured that it would be smarter to come out here earlier, because then I could have a bit of a head start.”

Since beginning her professional dance career, the dance prodigy has shown no signs of slowing down. She’s been a featured dancer for performers such as Ryan Blyth, Meghan Trainor and En Vogue. You may have also seen her in Katy Perry’s music video for “Swish Swish” featuring rapper Nicki Minaj, and on television shows such as Ellen and Dancing With The Stars. She also starred in her own national dance tour, “Amanda LaCount Live.” She reveals that her ultimate dance goal is to work with music superstar (and one of her newest Instagram followers), Rihanna.

However, what is gaining notoriety in addition to her enviable dance moves and rhythm is her commitment to social awareness. Amanda is the founder of the social media movement, #BreakingTheStereotype, which aims to inspire individuals of all different backgrounds, skin colors and abilities to live their dreams. In a word, she calls the response to her movement “amazing.”

“When I started that, I had no idea that it would change my whole career pretty much,” she laughs, “or that it would be as big of a deal as it is. I was in the car, and we were driving to dance class, and I scrolled past someone’s Instagram, and I saw that there was a hashtag that they always use. I thought to myself, ‘oh, maybe I should try to make one that summarizes my brand, what I wanna achieve in my career, what I stand for.’”

She chose #BreakingTheStereotype because the hashtag was “self-explanatory,” especially when you observe the trajectory and momentum of her career up until this point. “No one thinks I’ll be able to dance, and then I show them that you shouldn’t judge people by anything, you should just give them the chance,” she explains. “People loved [#BreakingTheStereotype], they just fell in love with it.”

No one thinks I’ll be able to dance, and then I show them that you shouldn’t judge people by anything, you should just give them the chance

Amanda LaCount, DOPEISM 2019

Her dedication to letting her power shine through also inspired Dove to include her in their latest #ShowUs campaign. Through a partnership with Getty Images and Girlgaze Photographers, Dove created “the world’s largest stock photo library powered by women to shatter beauty stereotypes around the world.” She continues to inspire everywhere she goes, and everyone who encounters her, even if it’s not in-person.

“One time, maybe a year or two ago. This girl, she messaged me,” she explained. “She said ‘Hey, I’m in the hospital right now, I just tried to commit suicide, and I saw your videos pop up on my phone, and they make me so happy, and I haven’t been having those thoughts in my head. I absolutely love your dancing and I love what you’re doing.’”

“Obviously, when I’m dancing or posting videos, I don’t think it has that much of an effect on people. I think that people just watch it and enjoy it hopefully,” she continues. “I don’t realize how it can inspire them or help them through something.” What helps her when she has tough moments in dance– such as unsuccessful auditions or rehearsals– she uses her strength, power and personal influence to push through.

“I really don’t care what people say most of the time, and I don’t try to be something I’m not, I just do what I love, and if you don’t like it, you don’t like it, but that doesn’t mean I’m gonna stop or I’m gonna change myself or society’s opinions,” she concludes. “I think that’s what makes me dope– I’m authentically myself.”

Follow Amanda’s dance journey on Instagram and YouTube.

You can also check out her performance in Katy Perry’s “Swish Swish” video here:

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