9 Aug 2020

Young Kiwi lives her teen dream dancing for Lady Gaga

From Sunday Morning, 11:45 am on 9 August 2020

When Emma-Kate Putnam saw Lady Gaga performing at Auckland's Vector Arena, she had an epiphany. From that point on she knew she wanted to be on stage with the megastar.

"I went to the concert in 2010 with one of my friends and I remember standing in the audience and I just knew in that moment: 'I want to be up there doing that exactly'."

Emma-Kate Putnam

Emma-Kate Putnam Photo: Instagram / @emmakatepunam

After heading to New York with zero connections, the young dancer worked towards living her dream and eventually got the chance to feature in the video for 'Rain On Me', a collab between Gaga and Ariana Grande.

Putnam has also worked with Meghan Trainor, Paula Abdul and Ricky Martin.

It all began when she finished university in New Zealand, and qualified for a one-year J-1 visa to the United States.

"So I graduated uni and jumped on a plane. My mum's gift to me was two weeks in a hostel in New York. I didn't know anybody and I'd never been there. I just followed by nose and figured it out."

Putnam then took a dance workshop with choreographer Jessica Castro. "From that workshop, I got signed with Bloc [Los Angeles]."

Bloc is a talent agency that represents choreographers and dancers.

She was living in New York and found out that Lady Gaga's choreographer was doing a one-month workshop in Los Angeles.

"And I just thought 'this is what I want to do'. So I quit my job, ditched my apartment and moved to Los Angeles. There was definitely risk-taking as well."

While the Covid-19 pandemic has put plans on hold, she is back in New Zealand spending time with family.

"I love dancing with pop artists. I love adding to the message of their music ... I think so many of the great pop songs are relevant to what all of us are going through. I love being part of sharing that message and doing what I love."