Maria Akpan: How This Liverpool Girl Turned Her Dance Dreams Into a Hollywood Success Story
Moving to LA to find success in show business is a story that has been romanticized since Hollywood began. In the modern world of internet connectivity and remote auditions, you would think this would fade, but there are still some things you cannot do online. Professional dancer Maria Akpan knows the classic struggle to succeed as an artist in LA is as demanding as ever, and she knows what it takes to turn dreams into opportunities.
In the tone of a classic American success story, Maria arrived in LA in 2018 on an artist visa. Prior to her move, she wasn’t getting casting calls or private auditions in London. But before she got her visa, Maria managed to get signed by a Los Angeles agency, which led to more opportunities with open auditions, private auditions, and casting calls, which led to more dance opportunities. Maria’s move to LA taught her that the competition and talent are top-tier and that you have to keep yourself at your best at all times to be in for a chance.
Eventually, Maria crashed the auditions for the ThrillerLive musical, which became her big break: a lead dancer role and a two-year contract. To get to this point, Maria quickly realized that she needed to be at her best at all times. She sought one opportunity after another, dream upon dream. She stayed in the right mindset, so when the door finally opened with ThrillerLive, she was ready. “The dance industry has taught me resilience pays off,” Maria says. “You have to adapt and transform, do the hard work, find yourself a good mentor, and continually put yourself out there.”
Maria recently starred in two major music videos. She was the lead dancer in videos like Paris Gatlin’s Double Tap and Goya Menor featuring Fredy Muks’s Turn Up. Each of these has seen Maria dancing for over half a million views on YouTube. She has also worked with artists like Samantha Mumba and performed at the Choreographer’s Carnival, a dance show by top professionals across the entertainment industry.
Maria found great mentors, underwent many transformations, and put herself in various dancing spaces. She sought professional training in both LA and New York, as well as the UK. Her career spans many dancing styles, from ballet and jazz to Afrobeat, hip-hop, and heel dancing. She is a creative, dedicated dancer who brings life to whatever set or stage she works on, qualities that have elevated her career.
There is much more dancing in Maria’s future as she sees herself dancing and choreographing for TV, live stage events, and even music tours. Eventually, she wants to open her own dance and holistic complex. But, for now, Maria Akpan is at her best, bringing her energy to productions throughout LA and beyond.