iLuminate lights up the Straz

Bright lights, big performance.

click to enlarge iLuminate performance - Straz Center
Straz Center
iLuminate performance

This weekend the Straz shone a little brighter. Well, a lot brighter. Literally. iLuminate took to the Ferguson Hall stage, mixing technology with dance.

Dancer and software engineer Miral Kotb created and patented iLuminate in 2009. By 2011, it was a top act on America’s Got Talent and since has toured the world. Now, it's in the middle of its US tour. Two members of the company, Simon Mendoza and Lisa (L-Boogie) Bauford, are natives of the bay area and answered a few questions about the show and their lives in dance.

“The group choreography is amazing. There’s high energy from the beginning to the end. It’s really a different experience when you see it with your own eyes,” Bauford says. She joined the company in 2012 and currently plays the role of Starlight Jones in the company’s show, Artists of Light. Bauford gained the nickname “L-boogie” in high school when she was a successful basketball player. Even on the court, she never stopped dancing and became a professional only six years ago.

“I play the cop, who is basically the narrator of the show,” says b-boy Simon Mendoza. Mendoza has been breaking professionally since 2007 and knew he had to be a part of iLuminate after he saw the company on America’s Got Talent. He auditioned and became a member in 2013. His other accomplishments include his six year performance at Busch Gardens in Tampa, a tour with the Harlem Globetrotters, a role in the sixth season ofGlee, a featured role in the Netflix original High Strung and parts in Paula Abdul and Avicii’s music videos.

click to enlarge iLuminate dancers in motion -
iLuminate dancers in motion

This past weekend marked Bauford and Mendoza first professional performance in front of many of their family and friends.