At 17 years old, a Greyhound Bus dropped Laurieann Gibson off at the Port Authority Bus Terminal on 42nd Street in New York City. The 12-hour journey from Toronto, her hometown, made Gibson feel like a character in the movie "Fame."
She had no backup plan if she didn't make it as a dancer. In her heart she knew she was put on this Earth to dance.
Today, she works side by side with her friend Lady Gaga. Just last week, Gibson choreographed Lady Gaga's music video "Judas," the second single from her album "Born This Way" to be released in May. She also directed the singer's upcoming HBO "Monster Ball Tour" special to air on May 7.
Working with Lady Gaga isn't new to Gibson's resume; even before Lady Gaga signed her record deal in 2007 they were collaborating. However, Gibson won't take credit for creating the "Fame Monster's" image. She will admit she took something so unique and put it into pop star format.
In return, she said, Lady Gaga rescued her.
"I was broken and she was broken," Gibson said in her delicate, girlish voice. "We were fighting to find our success, to find our dream, and then we met. She allowed me to be all that I could be, and then I allowed her to feel no bit of insecurity in whatever she brought to the process."
Working with Lady Gaga, as well as Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, Alicia Keys and others has made Gibson the most sought out choreographer and creative director in the business. It's not surprising that Ryan Seacrest took notice and offered to produce a show for her.
On April 10, "The Dance Scene," a reality show about her life and work, as well as the search to find out if any of her proteges have what it takes to be the next big choreographer, will premiere on E!
At first, Gibson was apprehensive. She didn't want to be on TV just for the sake of being on TV, she said. She told Seacrest if she was going to star in a show, she wanted something that could reach the masses and give those who dreamed like her the hope to keep going.
With all the reality shows on TV today that aim to find the next star, Gibson said her show will be different.
"This is real life. This is for the dancer who was born and got on the Greyhound bus and got off at 42nd street," says Gibson. "We take away the gloss and we show you the real survival and the everyday disappointment."
Gibson knows a thing or two about disappointments. Some of them inspired the film "Honey," starring Jessica Alba.
Then there was MTV's "Making the Band" with P. Diddy. While working on show as its on-air choreographer in 2007, he fired her. After that embarrassing public experience, it was difficult for Gibson to get work.
Eventually Diddy brought her back to the show after, she said, he realized his ratings dipped and he needed her. Today, they are friends, but he has never apologized, she said.
Before going head-to-head with Diddy, it was "In Living Color" that gave Gibson her first taste of fame in 1992. She joined the show in its last two seasons as a "Fly Girl," the same role that helped launch Jennifer Lopez's career.
By the time Gibson joined the cast, Lopez was on to other projects, but their paths have crossed. Gibson met Lopez even before she was Jenny "From the Block," and when she was fresh to New York, Lopez took her under her wing, Gibson said.