Good Luck Charm La'Donna: How The Choreographer & Creative Director Finds Purpose Through Dance
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Photographed by Rolexx
Acclaimed choreographer. Creative director. Artist. Charm La’Donna does it all.
Charm La’Donna is focused on creating a legacy of her own. And her roots are as strong as the Compton streets she was raised on. The visionary’s résumé features some of the most accomplished entertainers in the music industry, from Kendrick Lamar, Dua Lipa and The Weeknd to Pharrell, Rosalía and Britney Spears.
Growing up, Charm La’Donna, whose birth name is Charmaine Jordan, developed her love for performing through the five major influences in dance. “I can remember distinct parts of my life where their choreography just spoke to me — Alvin Ailey really impacted and influenced me when I was in high school. I danced with Jasmine Guy when I was younger and she was one of my early influences," she reveals. "Rich + Tone inspired me when I was on tour with Madonna at 17, with their creativity and innovation. And Debbie Allen for her many transitions from choreographer to directing to acting." It’s the creativity, innovation, and artistic transitions of influences such as Rich + Tone and Debbie Allen that have led La’Donna to become one of the biggest artists in popular music’s closest creative collaborators.
Charm La’Donna Photographed by Rolexx
Following her role as the sole female performer during Lamar’s 2017 DAMN. Tour, the working relationship between her and the fellow Compton native formally developed after the 2018 Grammys. La’Donna’s contribution led her to become a part of his five elements team, now an extension of his musical efforts manifesting in physical abstract form. You can see her work in 2022’s Emmy Award-winning Super Bowl halftime performance to Lamar’s captivating Mr. Morale And The Big Steppers tour (whose fourth leg wraps in August).
La’Donna’s fusion of storytelling and embodying music through movement is as pure as her love of her hometown. “I mean, who doesn’t know Compton?” she says through laughter. “Compton is forever a part of who I am. How and where I grew up will always be a part of how I create. It is in every piece I create, down to the nuances that are sometimes subtle, and it plays a substantial part in how I represent L.A. culture.” But it’s not only the city: Her family is also an extension of who she is. “My brother always pushes me to be better and constantly reminds me of my purpose, which is to create and spread light.”
Below, La’Donna discusses the mentorship of Fatima Robinson, the power of discernment, her artistic plans for this year, and why she’s creating a space for young Black girls to shine.
Photographed by Rolexx
“HOW AND WHERE I GREW UP WILL ALWAYS BE A PART OF HOW I CREATE. ” –CHARM LA’DONNA
Can you speak on the mentorship of Fatima Robinson?
Fatima has been in my life since I was about 10 years old when we met at an audition she was having. She took me with her a lot to learn and see different scenarios. People often don’t understand how powerful mentorship is. Her belief in my talent and watching her taught me several lessons about how to grow, evolve and build my brand, and helped me establish my place in this industry.
What are the signature elements of a Charm La’Donna performance?
Movement of course, and you see a lot of distinctly curated content. Every movement has a purpose. Each moment is purposefully developed to cultivate a feeling.
Photographed by Rolexx
When you go through those moments of not being inspired, how do you find that light to continue creating?
I stop and try to take time for myself and return to the elements that rejuvenate me. I don’t try to power through it; that is not how it works for me.
Have you taken the time to embrace your success fully or would you rather focus on just getting the work done?
That is a work in progress. I am always working on this. I’m learning to take time to embrace my accomplishments, take in the moment and not be hyper-critical of myself. Just take in the magnitude of what is happening.
When the world gets loud, where do you go to retreat?
I go home (laughs), I know it’s super simple but it's where my peace is. It’s my sanctuary. I put my phone on “do not disturb” and just embrace the quiet. If I can, I take a quick getaway to Mexico, which I love, I do that. But ultimately, I go home.
What’s the one thing you want to offer young Black girls with your nonprofit?
My foundation is currently a work in progress. My goal is to create a program and space to help Black girls or really any creative—especially those who are multifaceted—flourish in all of their desires and nurture all aspects of the arts.
What goals do you have for yourself for the rest of the year and beyond?
I want to direct more TV shows and film, expand my skill set to other industries [because I really love fashion. Invest in myseld, my health, and my happiness overall. It is the biggest and best investment I can make because it opens up everything else for me.