Check out What Angela had to say in this weeks shout out….
Nikki: Do you remember the first time you started dancing?
Angela: It’s hard for me to remember a time in my life when I WASN’T dancing. I started really young, gathering my friends to organize performances for family members in my living room. I remember taping a music awards show when Brandy performed “Baby”. I watched it over and over, learned the entire routine, and knew all I wanted to do was dance. My father took me to a studio in my hometown, and I haven’t stopped since.
Nikki: Do you remember the first song you choreographed to? (Or your earliest memory)
Angela: My first “live performance” (and by that I mean aside from the shows I put on in my living room) was a duet I choreographed in grade 1 for my school talent show. The song was Paula Abdul’s “Opposites Attract” and at the time I thought it was the greatest thing.
Nikki: Your personal advice for dancers when it comes to free styling?
Angela: I think free styling is something that intimidates a lot of dancers, myself included. I think we’ve all had those moments when we’re in an audition and something happens… a move, a hit, a kick… something that makes us think ‘did I really just do that??’. It can be a very humbling experience! I think a good freestyle is the result of confidence, musicality and personal style. It’s important to understand the music as well as what feels good when it comes to moving your own body, and I think the only way to do that is to overcome your nerves and fears and just go for it. If krump is your thing, do it. If girly is your thing, do it. Just be yourself. It’ll come eventually.
Nikki: Getting in the zone to choreograph, what does it take for you?
Angela: For me to get in the zone to choreograph, the biggest thing to me is the right song. I love when I’m listening to a song that inspires me to create and the steps just flow naturally.
Nikki: Who are some of your biggest influences in the Dance industry?
Angela: I respect and admire choreographers that embrace elements of old school and real hip hop. Choreographers such as Luther Brown, Sho-Tyme, Jaquel Knight, Luam Keflezgy, the DoDat family, and more, are all an inspiration to me. For me personally, as a female dancer, I love when girls can hit as hard as male dancers, but still be sexy and feminine at the same time. I admire the women in this industry that can do that.
Nikki: Name a Toronto Choreographer you enjoy working with and why?
Angela: Luther Brown, definitely; I think he is a hip hop genius. I had the opportunity to work with him on Keshia Chante’s new video for her song “Shooting Star” and it was such a privilege to work for someone I look up to so much. I also love working with Danny Davalos. He is someone who took me under his wing when I first started focusing on hip hop, trained me and helped shape me as a dancer. I’ve had the opportunity to work with him on many different projects and I am constantly learning from him so for that I’m very thankful.
Nikki: Name one of your favorite artists to work with and why?
Angela: I loved working with Shawn Desman. He is one of the most down-to-earth people I know. It’s really refreshing to work with an artist who has been around for so long, with such a successful career, who is so humble. It’s a great vibe and always a ton of laughs working with him.
Nikki: Are you currently working on any projects?
Angela: I’m currently choreographing a piece for this year’s Women In Dance showcase. It means a lot to me to be a part of something like this that celebrates the hard work and talent of female dancers in the city. The piece celebrates strength & femininity and I am thrilled with the dancers that are working hard for me for this show.
Nikki: Qualities you think Toronto Dancers possess?
Angela: For the most part I think Toronto dancers are pretty fearless. Day in and day out I see people going for what they want, doing everything they can to get it!
Nikki: Any advice for emerging dancers and choreographers working/training in Toronto?
Angela: I am only still in that emerging stage myself, but what I’ve learned over the last couple of years is that to be successful in this industry you need to take risks. There will be ups and downs, great experiences and not-so-great-experiences. But it’s important to learn something from all of it. Respect the ones who help you achieve your goals as well as everyone you work with. It takes more than skills to make it, and attitude and professionalism will go a long way. Lastly, have fun! We are so fortunate to be able to do what we love. Always remember that!