100 Creatives: Marilu Harman

Marilu Harman in action at Houston Press's National Dance Day.
Marilu Harman in action at Houston Press's National Dance Day.
Photo by Mandy Oaklander

What she does: Marilu Harman makes a living by getting Houston to dance, whether in the Houston Press parking lot on National Dance Day or out on the sidelines. Harman is the coach of the Dynamo Girls, where she choreographs and drills routines.

How she got here: Harman began her dance career at Texas A&M, where she founded a dance team that performed at Aggie basketball games. She had a stint with the Dallas Mavericks and then moved to Houston, intending to go to grad school. But happy feet called, and she was recruited by the Houston Rockets to revamp their dance team. "They wanted to change it from being more than a cheering squad," Harman says. "They wanted to raise it to the bar of LA and New York." Harman refueled the Rockets for ten years, and then the WNBA was incorporated. She was hired to create a dance team for the brand-new Houston Comets, so she formed a hip hop-based co-ed squad. "It was an America's Best Dance Crew before its time," she says. And then in 2006, the Dynamo rang. "They called me up and said, 'What do you think? Do you think a dance team would go over well with soccer?' I said, 'In Texas, you could have a dance team for golf. As long as they have cute outfits and can really dance!'"

What inspires her: Harman is like a heat-seeking missile for wannabe dancers. "I get my joy from inspiring other people that they can do this," she says. "Getting out there and encouraging other people to dance feeds my soul." It's what led her to audition for MTV's MADE as the dance teacher for Leighann, a tomboy who wanted to join her school's drill team. Harman landed the gig -- and although Leighann didn't make the team, she's still dancing. Harman keeps in touch with her via text. "She never imagined she could ever be a dancer," Harman said.

Her proudest moment: Harman holds auditions on a regular basis, where she meets a lot of aspiring dancers. Sometimes out of nowhere, one will stop her on the street and tell Harman she inspired her to dance. "They're people you meet for one day," Harman says. "The results of that one day and one connection was that they pursued their passion. It almost makes everything worth it."

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What's next: Whatever project the dance world throws at her next, Harman's ready for it with a high kick and a smile. But secretly, she misses performing. "The girls keep bugging me to jump out there and dance with them," she says, laughing. "One day I might do it. Camouflaged, no one will know."

More Creatives (In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).

Van G. Garrett, poet Dominic Walsh, dancer and choreographer Ibis Fernandez, animator Alex "PR!MO" Luster, filmmaker Chris Nguyen, designer Sophia Vassilakidis, animator Sandra Lord, tour guide Scarlett St. Vitus, model Wayne Stevens, actor Bill Davenport, sculpture and found art Julie Zarate, painter Margo Toombs, actor and writer Shelby Hohl, graphic designer Timothy Dorsey, writer and illustrator Lucas Gorham, musician Tracy Manford Carlson, photographer Lauren Rottet, architect and designer John Robertson, visual artist John Adelman, visual artist Chandos Dodson, interior designer Cliff Franks, painter Kim Hartz, photographer Katy Heinlein, visual artist Robert Shimko, dramaturg Galina Kurlat, photographer Wayne Slaten, filmmaker Jane Weiner, dancer and choreographer El Franco Lee II, visual artist Chris McKay, photographer Jason Ransom, visual artist Mr. SINched, fashion desiger "Uncle" Charlie Hardwick, poster designer Avital Stolar, playwright and educator Katherine Houston, visual artist Christopher Olivier, visual artist Dennis Lee Harper, sculptor David A. Brown, photographer Rachel Harmeyer, visual artist Kia Neill, installation artist Stacy Davidson, filmmaker Jennifer Wood, choreographer GONZO247 Kevin DeVil, filmmaker Kerry Beyer, photographer and filmmaker Robert Ellis, musician Davie Graves, musician and visual artist Robert Hodge, multimedia Mary Magsamen, photo and video artist John Harvey, theater Bret Harmeyer, visual artist Joel Orr, puppet master Rodney Waters, photographer and pianist Jeremy Choate, lighting designer Chuck Ivy, visual artist Tra'Slaughter, visual artist Jen Chen - visual art, designer Howard Sherman - Painter Nancy Hendrick - Founder of Dance Salad Misha Penton - Opera Singer and Theater Artist Ben Tecumseh DeSoto - Photojournalist Tracy Robertson aka Batty - Goth Fashion Designer Tierney Malone - Creative Type Dolan Smith - Painter Jenny Schlief - Mixed-Media Artist David Eagleman - Writer Anna Sprage - Painter Philip Lehl - Actor Andy Noble - Choreographer David McGee - Painter

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