Known for her unique and sometimes even freaky style, Gaga surely isn’t afraid to go the extra mile for her performances. So, who are the backup dancers for Lady Gaga’s viral and acclaimed stages?
From the dawn of her career in 2008 to the newest updates, let’s take a look at these talents and see how much they have dedicated to the Mother Monster!
Table of Contents
- List of Backup Dancers for Lady Gaga
- Amanda Balen
- Anthony Lofendo
- China Taylor
- David Lei Brandt
- Graham Breitenstein
- Ian Jacques McKenzie
- Jeremy Hudson
- Katie Berenson
- Katie Orr
- Kevin Frey
- Knicole Breahn Haggins
- Lindsay Taylor
- Mark Kanemura
- Montana Efaw
- Mecca Vazie Andrews
- Melissa Emrico
- Michael Silas
- Molly d’Amour-Goslin
- Richard Jackson
- Sheryl Murakami
- Victor Rojas
- Vincent Asiel Hardison
- Sloan-Taylor Rabinor
- Final Words
List of Backup Dancers for Lady Gaga
Coming from Canada, Amanda Balen had gone through rigorous training under Tiffany’s Dance Elite before her name rose to fame.
Her first gig was the sitcom “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody”, and it was a launch for her to audition for top stars in the music industry.
Balen worked with Lady Gaga since the early “The Fame Monster” era and became part of Haus of Gaga. She continued to appear throughout the “Born This Way” and “ARTPOP” eras. However, she left the Haus before ARTPOP ended.
After her departure, she still performed for Gaga in limited and selected shows such as the 58th Grammy Award Ceremony, Super Bowl LI 2017, Saturday Night Live 2017, and Coachella 2017.
Check more: List of Backup Dancers for Justin Bieber
The Chicago-born dancer was one of the first members of the Haus of Gaga during “The Fame” era – the first phase of her career.
For live performances in October 2018, Anthony Lofendo was playfully introduced as Tonny Ferris, one of the fashion designers Gaga loves the most, along with three other male dancers.
Unfortunately, Lofendo was the only one of the four to not join Gaga’s world tour again for reasons unknown to us. But he still got credit for the “Alejandro” MV.
Compared to other backup dancers for Lady Gaga, China Taylor was quite young when she was selected for the “artRAVE: The ARTPOP Ball” tour along with five new dancers alongside the returning talents.
Her collaboration with Gaga extended through the “Joanne” (2016 – 2018) and “Chromatic” (2020 – present) eras. She is currently a member of Haus of Gaga, known for her flair for Jazz and Ballet.
David Lei Brandt
The multi-talented David Lei Brandt reached the peak of fame with the boyband Varsity Fanclub under the Capitol Records.
In 2012, Brandt joined Lady Gaga’s lineup during the famed “Born This Way” (2011 – 2013) era, though their first project together was the MV “Marry The Night” in 2011.
After the Roseland Ballroom show, Brandt left the Haus and returned to the Super Bowl LI stage. Afterward, he bid his backup career goodbye to focus on his musical ambitions.
Breitenstein had quite a magical journey because he had little experience of dancing when he first moved to Los Angeles. However, the 6-month private class with Kennis Marquis completely changed him.
In December 2008, Breitenstein worked with Gaga for The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
He was officially hired for the backup dancer team in “The Monster Ball” tour (2009), and the collaboration proceeded until 2020 when he stopped being part of the Haus.
Ian Jacques McKenzie
Joining the Haus of Gaga in September 2008, Ian McKenzie is still an active member and thus becomes the dancer who has been with Lady Gaga for the longest time.
He is one of the four dancers introduced using a famous designer’s name, hence the nickname Ian “Louis Lagerfeld” McKenzie.
McKenzie has been in the lineup since the first day he joined. After the Richard Jackson controversy, only three dancers returned for Gaga’s next show, including him.
Hudson could be considered lucky with the credits he had at the beginning of his career: “Hannah Montana The Movie”, “Step Up 3D”, American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing with the Stars, and many more.
He was one of the new dancers hired for “The Monster Ball” tour. Although he didn’t appear on other tours with Gaga, his stage, and MV appearances alongside the unique star were quite rich.
Katie Berenson was one of the few dancers Gaga hired as her career started with the “Just Dance” MV. Based on the definition of Haus of Gaga, she was the first member alongside Sheryl Murakami.
During those first few months of “The Fame” era, she performed on almost every stage Lady Gaga had.
Unfortunately, she also became the first ex-member of the Haus half a year after “Just Dance”.
Katie Orr was among the second batch of female dancers to accompany Gaga. She and Melissa “Dina” were the dancers posing in the background during Gaga’s interview.
Only one month after her recruitment, Orr was replaced by Sheryl Murakami for not agreeing to do a pride show. But she performed with Gaga on all the stages and appearances the star made within that short month.
Kevin Frey was one of the new dancers added to the “Born This Way Ball” tour when the previous performers refused to continue their contracts.
In the next 8 years of the collaboration, he worked with Lady Gaga on all important stages and projects she had.
Despite the rather long tenure, Kevin was never a Haus member. The MTV Video Music Awards 2020 was the last time he stood on the stage with Haus of Gaga.
Knicole Breahn Haggins
Along with Kevin Frey, Knicole Haggins was a reinforcement for the “Born This Way Ball” tour. She stayed through the “ARTPOP” promotion and joined major performances with Gaga.
After the American Music Awards 2013, her contract ended without renewal. Her name was never included in the list of Haus’ former members, either.
Gaga needed a big, strong dance team for the Super Bowl, so she hired 40 dancers, some returning and some new. Lindsay Taylor was one of the new performers to join.
However, she didn’t appear alongside Gaga much at the Super Bowl and only returned when the “Chromatic Ball” tour began.
Since then, she was officially seen as a Haus member, and the title remained till the present day.
Before joining the Haus, Kanemura already had some significant credits under his belt: Finalist in So You Think You Can Dance, American Idol, and Dancing with the Stars.
The milestone marking his cooperation with Gaga was the “Paparazzi” MV, followed by the “Monster Ball” and “Born This Way Ball” tours along with many TV appearances.
He was in a relationship with Jeremy Hudson and left the Haus at the same time with his partner.
Since she was 10 years old, Montana Efaw has been dancing while parallelly completing her education in Oregon.
As soon as she graduated from high school and started seeking opportunities, she scored a gig for the “Monster Ball” at the age of nineteen.
She was an active member of the Haus from 2009 to 2020. After the MV “Stupid Love”, she left and only returned as an independent dancer for the Dom Perignon Campaign.
Mecca Vazie Andrews
When Celine Thubert was absent in June 2008, a replacement immediately showed up, and her name was Mecca Vazie Andrews.
She only worked with Gaga for a month, though she contributed to every performance during her short time.
Being a talented artist, Andrews’ career as a dancer, choreographer, and teacher is still rather successful after she no longer associated with the Haus of Gaga.
If we don’t count the first MV Gaga filmed, Melissa “Dina” Emrico was one of the first dancers Gaga worked with in her early career.
She was part of the Haus from May to September 2008 and partook in all of Gaga’s performances during this time.
After leaving the Haus, she returned for the “Marry The Night” project, but only for the shoot, no promotion or performance.
Michael “Mickey Mugler” Silas is among the four dancers Gaga gave a nickname after her favorite designers. For the next three years, Silas represented the Haus of Gaga and only left after the “Born This Way Ball”.
For the “Joanne” era, he returned as one of the 40 dancers Gaga recruited, though not under the name of the Haus anymore.
Silas is a scholar at a dance center and a diligent learner with various school names in his education journey. As a result, he is skilled in various dance styles such as hip-hop, ballet, jazz, salsa, modern, and more.
Molly is one of the additional members of “The Fame Monster” lineup. She remained a Haus member for two years, participating in “The Monster Ball” tour, and left after “Born This Way”.
It was such a shame that Molly wasn’t active in the industry anymore. After independent performances in 2016, she has become almost completely quiet.
Jackson started working for Lady Gaga in 2008 as an assistant for choreographer Laurieann Gibson.
In 2011, he stepped up as the lead choreographer. During the “Born This Way” era, he still contributed as a performer too.
From the “ARTPOP Ball”, he leaned to the choreographing side completely and stood behind the success of the Super Bowl LI performance, the “Joanne” tour, and a lot of music videos.
Rather than one of Lady Gaga’s backup dancers, he is more known as the choreographer and creative director of the Haus.
Along with Katie Berenson, Murakami was the second piece of the duo for “Just Dance” MV and also one of the first dancers Gaga worked with. When Katie Orr was fired, she returned and filled the position.
Despite her short stay with the Haus, Murakami is still very well known and respected for her explosive performances with other big artists such as Beyonce and Avril Lavigne.
When Hudson and Kanemura left together in 2010, Victor Rojas (and Cassidy Noblett) was the chosen one to take up the position.
He got the chance to perform live with Gaga before, though he officially joined Haus of Gaga for “The Monster Ball” tour.
From then onwards, he wasn’t absent from any of Gaga’s tours as well as TV appearances and major campaigns. If you dig into Rojas’ background and career, you will find a whole lot more interesting details!
Vincent Asiel Hardison
The fourth puzzle piece of the designer team is Asiel Hardison, introduced as “Duke Jones”. He worked for Gaga on numerous projects and tours in the 2008 – 2018 era.
After the “Joanne” tour, Hardison’s name was included in the lineup for “Enigma”. However, he was occupied with Shania Twain’s schedule and unable to accept the offer.
Rabinor was one of the new dancers recruited for “The Monster Ball” tour, though her first project with Lady Gaga was the MV of “Paparazzi” as well as its live stage at the MTV Video Music Awards 2009.
She didn’t miss out on any tour of Gaga from then until “Enigma”, and she was one of the few dancers to participate in the cinematic project “A Star is Born”.
After MTV 2020, she was no longer in Haus of Gaga.
Those were the most outstanding names of backup dancers for Lady Gaga, an indispensable part of her successful performances.
Did you find any notable names missing from the list? Let me know if there are other names I should add!
As Lady Gaga certainly still has more plans for the future, Citydance will keep our eyes on her new projects and regularly update this list, so stay tuned!