I had a chance to visit with lovely and gifted Paula Abdul, at the Professional Dancers Society Awards Luncheon, (try saying that fast!), where she was this year’s award recipient.
The Gypsy Award luncheon is always a show you never want to see end, and this year was exceptional. Many stories were shared about Paula’s early years, and I enjoyed them all, but found one especially inspirational. The story about how she earned a spot cheerleading for the LA Lakers NBA basketball team—the famed Lakers Girls. Just 18 years old, a few girlfriends and Paula heard about auditions for the team and decided to try out. Paula luckily had the foresight to pack three changes of clothes.
Eliminated from the initial round, she quickly swapped her outfit for another, put her hair in a pony tail, registered under her middle name, and undertook another attempt. Once again, she wasn’t selected, but still motivated, she once more put on another change of clothes, put down her sisters name, changed her hair style, and gave it her all. When all was said and done, Paula had secured one of the coveted spots on the team from an original pool of 700 candidates. A year later she was the head choreographer. Just six months after that, she was hired by the Jackson 5, as the assistant dance director for their Victory Tour.
Paula has enjoyed numerous awards, achievements and accolades but I get great pleasure in learning about her determination and perseverance. That’s what makes her a special star!
I can’t sign off without mentioning that the astonishing Dick Van Dyke was also in attendance, and bestowed with The Professional Dancers Society Lifetime Achievement Award. It’s hard to believe this vibrant hoofer is 90 years old!