The Image Guru Montgomery Frazier in rehearsal for Les Ballet Guru
Image Guru saves under-served through dance, from the articles of dot429.

WRITTEN BY:  Anna Peirano

Montgomery Frazier, dot429 member and image guru extraordinaire, has dominated the fashion and lifestyle scene for decades and continues to contribute his expertise of cultivating new talent in unexpected places. His latest venture: creative director of famed choreographer Edward Morgan's new ballet company, and as a principal dancer in the production of Les Ballets Guru, alongside girls, age 12-18, from under-served communities from the Bronx.

Frazier began his career in the trendy Soho District of New York as the creative director for fashion boutique Parachute. There, he had the opportunity to dress the then up and coming pop icon Madonna, followed by superstars such as Cher, Peter Gabriel, and Duran Duran. He, and those he worked with, discovered his capacity for working with new talent. He gained the attention of the upstart MTV productions and became the new network's fashion director.

His most notable gig during this time was with Club MTV, where he worked with many stars, including Downtown Julie Brown. His eye for fashion and the "new" landed him a job as an on-air fashion commentator on the show, where he was among the first to introduce brands like Dolce & Gabbana and Emporio Armani. His career took off full swing from there, and it's been a dolce vita ever since.

His most recent project with Edward Morgan and the ballet came about when Morgan, a friend of Frazier's who worked with him as a choreographer on Club MTV, reached out to the image guru six months ago for advice on how to expand his Edward Morgan Ballet brand. Frazier was not prepared for where exactly this solicited advice would lead him.

The Manhattan Project, of which Frazier is the creative producer, offers free dance classes to children from under-served communities.

An anonymous donor to the project said, "I was astounded at the level of expression, technique, and pure love of dancing that the children exhibited. It's obvious that Mr. Morgan indeed has a rare gift."

Honing the gifts of the children and giving them a place to express themselves is the key to the project.

"Our goal is to fortify emotional, physical, psychosocial, and artistic growth and development through dance. We are committed to helping each program participant come into confident possession of their innate talent, and establish values that will allow them to grow into responsible adults, and act with compassion and humanity," the Manhattan Project Web site says.  

The company is putting on a Supporters Showcase with Les Ballets Guru, and Frazier is one of its dancing stars. "Edward thought I was a natural born performer" Frazier said during an interview with dot429. He had never danced before, outside of his stints at the Boom Boom Room, but Frazier admits he's loving the role.

"Edward basically convinced me that my calling was missed when I was younger, and I'm quite enjoying it, it's like a dream come true for me, and it's a dream for these girls," says Frazier. "Edward is grooming them to do anything they want to do in life. It's more than dance — it's posture, it's self confidence, it's elocution — it's a lot of things. It's like a crash course in grooming and manners and education.

"I look at them as blossoming flowers with the potential to captivate and seize life. We're giving them this opportunity to blossom," he continues. And his motivation for pouring so much passion into the project is one which will surely resonate with many members of the LGBT community. "Everyone in life needs support, they need to be nurtured and if you don't have that, it's easy to fall by the wayside. The girls are beautiful, they're very talented, and with Edward's mentorship, they'll know how to dance with feeling."

As the self-styled original image guru, Frazier has been nurturing talent from the start. He is still a highly sought after tastemaker and influencer in various industries, from fashion and music, to politics and literature. This next step, as an actual performer, is a fulfillment of a life long quest for some kind of satisfaction. "I think it's a natural evolution for me because I'm a frustrated performer. What I've been doing for other people, perhaps I should have been doing for myself."

His goal is to network the Edward Morgan Ballet and their initiative into the future, and take their ballet on the road. The supporter's showcase, the premier of the production, is meant as a preview to show potential investors and interested parties in the great potential of combining an incredible service (providing these dance lessons to underprivileged children, who wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity) with an incredible dance performance. As a prominent member of the LGBT community in his own right, Frazier says, "It's very important to me to reach out to the LGBT community, because if it weren't for them, there would be no arts." He hopes this performance will inspire others as much as he himself has been inspired by the process and people involved.

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