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L. A. Knockers

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LA Knockers: Marilyn, Jennifer, Yana

June 22, 2010

Miracles of the Internet age!

Yesterday, I searched Google for LA Knockers and found 4 wonderful videos on You Tube, of this amazing dance group, lovingly edited by Marilyn Corwin, the curly hair blond bombshell I fondly remember.

I logged on to Facebook and found her email, I wrote her a message and she CALLED ME!

Not only that, but she put me in touch with LA Knockers creator and choreographer, my old friend Jennifer Stace.  She is now living in Baja California, close to the other stunning dancer, Yana Nirvana!

I used to photograph these wonderful girls in all kinds of fantastic attires and dance poses, when I was a photo-journalist living in Hollywood, starting from 1976 until 1984.

I will now edit all these images, select my favorites and post them on this blog.

I hope lots of old and new fans will find this and leave their comments.


Elisa Leonelli, photographer (see About LA Knockers page for more info)

And now enjoy the first LA Knockers video (more to come as  you scroll down)

Written by laknockers

July 4, 2010 at 7:34 pm

L.A. Knockers fashion

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In those years, 1979-1980, I had been shooting some fashion in my studio and on location, so I decided to print a promotional card to advertise this kind of photographic work.

A photo of the L.A. Knockers was included.

Written by laknockers

June 28, 2010 at 8:24 am

LA Knockers headshots

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July 27, 2010

After becoming friends with Jennifer Stace, Marilyn Corwin and Yana Nirvana, during our first photos session in 1976, they asked me if I could take B&W headshots of them, because they were needed to print 8x10s for their work as dancers and actresses.

I readily complied and we shot 2 rolls of negative film.

Here are some of the results, my favorite frames.


Written by laknockers

June 24, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Marilyn Corwin

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July 28, 2010

Marilyn sent us these thoughts

I always felt like was a little too funky to  fit in with my blonde hair blue-eyed California girl image… it wasn’t until I experienced Jennifer teaching her creative, outrageously funky dance moves and fun combinations to James Brown, Rufus and soul tunes that I found my calling. Her students resembled a mix of sorority girls, from Chicago to Beverly Hills.   I noticed a blonde blue-eyed ice skater, Natalie, doing these robot and locking moves alongside a girl I thought I had watched  on Soul Train, Lissa. Yana was a tall athletic blonde, striking and  unusual.  Adding to the eclectic mix of beauties was Denice, a curly-haired dancer from UCLA, perhaps a princess type but certainly not in attitude.  It was so exciting watching these white Girls get down and funky in their striped knee socks, knickers pants, sport tops and hats.  I thought “I want to do that.” Jennifer’s class was a blast!  Her work always left room for individual self expression. What a great fit!  After class Jennifer approached me and asked if I was interested in joining her company.
From Tokyo to Las Vegas, with Dick Clark and Frank Zappa, the L A Knockers have been turning heads  and raising eyebrows, in films, commercials, on stage  and television, since the mid seventies, with their unmistakable trend-setting rule-breaking fashion styles.

Were we chicks and babes?  Never!  Strong women and individuals?  Always! We ARE the L A Knockers!

Read about Marilyn’s credits as an actress, dancer and choreographer in her IMDB biography.

Written by laknockers

June 24, 2010 at 6:00 pm

Kimberlee Carlson

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August 3, 2010

Kimberlee Carlson wrote these comments.

In 1976 I was 18 years old when I met Jennifer and the LA Knockers. I had barely managed to graduate from Palmdale High and that summer found myself at a dance class in Hollywood with no plans for the future other than that I love to dance and dance hard. I had had ballet training as a child and in high school was that embarrassing white girl who was always the only one rocking out whenever there was some sort of a rock band or music assembly. Then I find this class and there was Jennifer Stace and the Knockers. All attitude in torn Betsy Johnson tee shirts, giant yellow leg warmers, hot pants, Biba maroon lipstick, saucy smirks and Parliament Funkadelic. I had found a home.


Diligently I worked my way into the group by first becoming a Knockerette.  This required attending and assisting Jennifer’s classes and keeping her Lucky Strikes lit. Her class was where she created an environment for the wacky and rhythmic. She was audacious and confident.  She created a hybrid style combining street dancing (Locking, Pop Locking, Waacking, etc)  with her ballroom training, which may seem contrary but really worked. The ballroom gave the moves a certain amount of discipline and composure and the street dancing gave it the sex appeal and the attitude. The late 70’s was the beginning of the era of the comedy clubs.  At the Improvisation and the Comedy Store we became the house showgirls with our live band. It was a family affair for Jennifer.  Her son Michael Cavanaugh, a successful funk keyboard player played with us and wrote several originals songs for us. I would say we were the original Pussycat Dolls but with a sense of humor. We didn’t dance like ladies. The style was seriously funky and seriously fun to do and perform. This was the beginning of the era of when street dancing crossed over and became legit and professional (now it’s ubiquitous and is called Hip Hop).

I never had so much fun and I am forever grateful for that experience. Jennifer’s standards and her exacting rhythmic style helped train me to become the dancer and mover that I am today (after several incarnations I am now in Western Montana teaching movement, Feldenkrais, Salsa).  She was my dance mother.

Becky Jordan

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August 3, 2010

Becky wrote (July 21)

Hi Elisa,
I have been working extra hours last few weeks.  I got together with Marilyn Saturday, it was great.  She showed me the blog (I am a little computer challanged!) it’s FABULOUS.  I will get something to you this weekend.
Bless you for doing all this, I have wonderful memories of our shoots with you!  Becky

Becky called me (Aug 16) and said:

I was taking dance classes at Dupree, decided to take a rock class, met Jennifer and fell in love with her style.  From then on, every moment that I could get away, I came to take her class and learn that style!

Written by laknockers

June 24, 2010 at 4:57 pm

Patti Nelson

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August 3, 2010

Patti Nelson now goes by the name of Trish.  She lives in Colorado Springs  Lisa Durazo (now Rebik) is in touch with her, she writes:
(July 29) Hi Elisa,
I just spoke to Patti (Trish), she doesn’t “do” e-mail so I’m forwarding all the LA Knocker stuff to her sister. She’ll visit her sister and read everything. I’ll stay in touch with her, so that she can send a little memory blurb to you.

Jennifer Stace remembers:

Patti, Eileen, Lisa

(July 31) Patti created a spot for herself because she was a gymnist and could do acrobatics, which was a plus for my choreography; acrobatics were becoming fashionable at that time.

Those two girls, Lisa and Patti/Trish were two peas in a pod, adorable! Both were fine dancers and improvisers. Patti brought in Lisa (Durazo) and Lisa brought in Eileen (Molloy) after Patti left.  Patti and Lisa were roommates and Eileen was their best friend; they were both beautiful dancers. Eileen was a classic beauty and dancer. She displayed a first class standard of excellence and was one of my favorite dancers.   Lisa tapped like a fiend and could spin like a top.  She had a magnetic personality on stage.

They joined the company late, and traveled with us to Japan. All three were excellent performers and were a major and bright addition to the LA Knockers!

Written by laknockers

June 24, 2010 at 1:26 pm