Bayou City Theatrics resident choreographer Luke Hamilton showed signs of being a performer early in his life. "When I was five years old, I was on a soccer team. I scored a goal, turned to my Grandma and took a bow. She said she knew right then and there that I was supposed to be a performer."
Soon after that, Hamilton traded soccer teams for chorus lines. Dancing, singing and acting lessons followed, all of which convinced him a career onstage was the right thing for him.
"I discovered my love for theater at an early age. When I figured out I could make a career out of playing dress-up, something I did often...as a kid, I was sold on the idea."
Somewhere along the line, Hamilton started choreographing as well as performing. His work in the Houston Family Arts Center's Fiddler on the Roof won Best Choreography for a Musical at the Houston Theater Awards in 2013. That was an especially difficult task since the show included 64 performers and there were several scenes with the entire cast singing and dancing onstage. Hamilton was only 20 years old at the time, making him the youngest Houston Theater Awards winner ever.
What He Does: "I'm an actor, a trained dancer and a singer," Hamilton tells us. "I began choreographing at an early age and I am now the Resident choreographer for Bayou City Theatrics, one of Houston's newest downtown theaters."
Hamilton also performs in many of the company's musical theater productions. (We last saw him dancing and singing in Bayou City Theatrics' production of Les Misérables.)
Why He Likes It: "I often dance in my head. I hear a piece of music, and suddenly my head is flooded with a million different ways that I could translate it onto a stage. I love getting to sit down with a cup of coffee -- or seven -- and a notebook and then fill the pages in front of me with all the different ways I could approach a single number. The planning and deliberating process of creating choreography is the most daunting, but also the most exciting."
What Inspires Him: "I pull inspiration from a variety of sources. Occasionally, I wake from a dream with a lingering image in my head that I know I have to use someday. I'm inspired by other artists, by people who love what they do.
"My main inspiration for creating a piece is the music. When I hear a dance break and I listen to the drum hits and imagine what could happen onstage in sync with those drum hits, I get ecstatic. I probably listen to the music I'm creating choreography for 20 times before I start jotting down my ideas."
If Not This, Then What: "When I was really young, I wanted to be a writer, to write fantasy novels. I wrote many stories as a kid and forced friends, family and anyone else I could to read them. It's the one other passion I...still hope to some day."
Hamilton is clear that whatever else he might do, it would have to involve creativity and the opportunity to express himself. "If I wasn't writing, performing or choreographing as part of my career, I can't imagine feeling fulfilled and happy with my life."
If Not Here, Then Where: "I was born and raised in Houston. I love it here, and I love how quickly it's growing and developing as a major theater city. I've never been to New York City, but someday I would like to. I've been told by people who know me well that if I visited there. I would never want to leave. I feel like it would suit my personality, and as it is the home of the Broadway musical, there would certainly be many opportunities for me to pursue."
What's Next: "At Bayou City Theatrics, I'm currently in Charlie Brown Christmas as Linus, and also rehearsing for Mary Zimmerman's play Metamorphoses.
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"I'm also choreographing and dancing in a Christmas concert called The 12 Divas of Christmas. Beyond that, I'm planning choreography for some exciting future projects that [I hope to] announce soon."
For information on Luke Hamilton, including his upcoming performances at Bayou City Theatrics, see his Facebook page.
More Creatives for 2014 (In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).
Jera Rose Petal Lodge, metalsmith and jewelrymaker Lauren Burke, dancer and choreographer Ben Fritzsching, comic book show promoter and character actor Will Ottinger, novelist Greg Starbird, theater lighting designer Dominique Royem, symphony orchestra conductor Marc Boone, Sneaker Gang founder and designer Andy McWilliams, sound designer and composer Maria-Elisa Heg, zine queen Allan Rodewald, artist Anne-Joelle Galley, artist Michelle Ellen Jones, ballroom dancer and actress Morris Malakoff, photographer and filmmaker Terrill Mitchell, dancer Deji Osinulu, photographer Mason Sweeney, artist K.J. Russell, sci-fi author and writing teacher Emily Robison, choreographer and filmmaker John Cramer, violinist and concertmaster Shipra Mehrotra, Odissi dancer and choreographer Winston Williams, comics artist Octavio Moreno, opera singer Dylan Godwin, actor, storyteller and teacher McKenna Jordan, independent bookstore owner Steven Trimble, mixed media artist Sandria Hu, visual artist and professor of art Robert Gouner AKA Goon73, photographer Shawna Forney and Erma Tijerina (aka SHER), culture gurus Mark Bradley, photographer James Ferry, comics artist Keith Parsons, author and philosophy professor Alonzo Williams Jr., photographer Rudy Zanzibar Campos, painter Paige Kiliany, director Betirri Bengtson, visual artist Melissa Maygrove, romance novelist Natalie Harris, bridal gown designer Larry McKee, cinematographer Tiffany Heath, filmmaker Jonathan Pidcock, Jewelry Maker Mallory Bechtel, actor, singer, dancer Janine Hughes, visual artist Nyssa Juneau, artist John Merritt, artist Leslie Scates, choreographer and dance educator Denise O'Neal, producer, director, playwright Jason Poland, cartoonist Courtney Sandifer, filmmaker, actor, writer Lloyd Gite, gallery owner Henry Yau, The Children's Museum of Houston's publicity and promotions guru Angeli Pidcock, fantasy writer and mentor Jennifer Mathieu, author Scott Chitwood, writer Anat Ronen, urban artist Amber Galloway Gallego, rockstar and sign language interpreter Michael Weems, playwright Lane Montoya, artist Jordan Simpson, SLAM poet Joey & Jaime, designers Suzi Taylor, photographer Ashton Miyako, dressmaker T. Smith, artistLindsay Finnen, photographer Kaitlyn Stanley, tattoo artist Eleazar Galindo Navarro, video game maker Kate de Para, textile and clothing designer Shawn Swanner, video game painter Andy Gonzales, painter Chris Foreman, comic book sketcher Theresa DiMenno, photographer Jessica E. Jones, opera singer Atseko Factor, actor John Pluecker, writer, poet and language justice worker Ricky Ortiz, painter, tattoo artist Rabēa Ballin, artist David Wald, actor Lisa E. Harris, performing and visual artist Stephanie Todd Wong, executive director of Dance Source Houston Pamela Fagan Hutchins, novelist Heather Gordy, artist Mark Nasso, comic artist Shelbi-Nicole, artist Marian Szczepanski, novelist Jonathan Blake, fashion designer Doni Langlois, interior designer Kat Denson, dancer Blame the Comic, comedian Margaret Menchaca Alvarez, artist Jacquelyne Jay Boe, dancer Rene Fernandez, painter Teresa Chapman, choreographer and dancer