One Islander got to take in the glitz and the glam of one of the biggest nights in music.
Alise Haigazian, who was born and raised on the Island, and is the founder of Island Hip Hop — was able to snag a ticket to the 66th Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. The tickets were from her employer, Sean O’Keefe Enterprises, where she is the vice president. The organization does event work for nonprofits, including the Recording Academy, the organization running the Grammys. “Probably the best work perk I’ve gotten to date,” she said.
From her vantage point, Haigazian was able to see some big names in entertainment — like Taylor Swift, Oprah Winfrey, and Billy Joel, among others — which she described as “surreal.”
“It was amazing. It was really a grand experience,” Haigazian said. “To be around such talent and such legends was just incredible.” Her favorite was a performance by Stevie Wonder, who sang in tribute to the late Tony Bennett.
“I’ve always wanted to see him live,” Haigazian said. “I never, ever thought that I would … that was a crazy moment.”
As a big hip-hop fan, seeing acts like Burna Boy and SZA was also great for Haigazian.
Music is a big part of Haigazian’s own life, as well. She learned to dance from Island dancer Kelly Peters, beginning when she was 11, and would also spend time as a professional backup dancer after college.
She would return to the Island and teach at Spindrift Studios in Edgartown, and later founded Island Hip Hop, which operates out of Kaleidoscope Dance in Vineyard Haven. Haigazian got the chance to run a studio in Atlanta; she recently reached her two-year mark in Georgia.
“I still teach my kids on the Vineyard via Zoom twice a week,” Haigazian told The Times, adding she has been teaching the same set of students for 10 years. She tries to fly to the Vineyard to see their annual show in person.
Reflecting on her life so far, from being a backup dancer to bartending on the Vineyard, to leading dance groups, Haigazian said it was funny to think where she was 10 years ago. Now she can say she’s been to the Grammys in a sparkly gown. “I worked really hard, but I was lucky,” she said.
As for being at the Grammys, Haigazian said, it was a “total dream.”