This weeks Dancer/Choreographer shout out goes to Danny Davalos Born in Puerto Rico Raised in Mexico City, Toronto resident for 11 years and counting. Danny found his passion for dance at a very early age mimicking the movements of the late great Michael Jackson. His mother took note and brought him to audition for the National Ballet of Mexico. After intense auditions he was accepted into the program at young age. Ballet was not Danny’s main focus he wanted to Dance like Michael Jackson and continued keeping himself up to date with the latest moves. In the year 2000 Danny made the move to Toronto and continued training in Dance. He soon began working and training with Choreographer Luther Brown and Do Dat Entertainment. With hard work and dedication he’s had the opportunity to perform at many events and Dance for artists worldwide; touring Europe with Shawn Desman whom he still performs with today along side his Do Dat Family Mark, Tuch and Jungle. Believing that “Everyone has Rhythm! You just have to discover it,” he founded O.I.P. Dance Centre (O.I.P. ->>> One Immigrant Productions) in Oct 2005. O.I.P. Dance Centre provides Toronto Dancers with weekly Drop In classes and guest workshops taught by leading industry professionals as well as providing beginner classes for those less experienced. Danny is consistently immersed in Dance running a studio and Dance Company as well as continuing to be a working Dancer, Choreographer, Artistic Director and Instructor. Always on the Go, See What Danny had to say in this weeks shout out 🙂
Bio written by Nikki
Nikki: Do you remember the first time you started Dancing?
Danny: I was 7years old, I was watching Michael Jackson on TV and I was trying to imitate his moves…..my mom saw me doing this and took me to the National Ballet school in Mexico and a few days later I was dancing doing Ballet!! lol, at the time I hated it. All I wanted to do was dance like Michael.
Nikki: Do you remember the first song you Choreographed to? (Or your earliest
Danny: It was around 1996 or 97′ it’s called “Baila Baila” by a Puerto Rican Artist named Chayanne, I didn’t know what the heck I was doing. I think it was a horrible choreography but at the time it was like I was doing the Grammy opening or something like that. I was just exited I was given the opportunity. But I learned a huge lesson “I learned that I need to say no when I’m not ready to do a gig…….and I wasn’t ready for that gig for sure”
Nikki: Your personal advice for Dancers when it comes to free styling?
Danny: Just to let go, to listen to the music you are dancing to and enjoy every moment of that ride. If you can free style you can dance. A good teacher and a good choreographer design their routines by a personal style. The counts and the technique come after you feel the song and understand when to hit when to pause when to live in the music. Free style is the key to a lot of things in dance!!!!
Nikki: Getting in the zone to choreograph, what does it take for you?
Danny: A good song!!!! That makes me want to Dance and create. Making steps just to teach or to show I can choreograph a song just because I have to is lying to my peers and my students. It needs to come from your heart and soul and from what inspires you. In my case listening to a song I like and that makes me want to bust a move would get me in that zone; and when that doesn’t work I do what Luther Brown told me once “close your eyes and picture your self dancing on stage with MJ” (it works every single time)
Nikki: Who are some of your biggest influences in the Dance industry?
Danny: With out a DOUBT Luther Brown. He showed me how to believe in me, he taught me some of the best choreography in my life and he became an unconditional friend to me. He is more than the biggest influence to me he is one of my best friends and my mentor. I still learn so much from him and he still fixes my FACE when it needs to be fixed. I love the guy!!
Nikki: Name a Toronto Choreographer you enjoy working with and why?
Danny: I would have to mention 3, Tuch, Mark and Jungle, those were the first people I danced with when I came to Canada and over the years we’ve learned so much from each other. So now when I work with them its a great experience not just because we understand so well at a professional level but we do listen to music the same way and we share the same passion for the art of dance and performance. Its not just a working experience it becomes a learning experience with your best friends.
Nikki: Name one of your favorite artists to work with and why?
Danny: Shawn Desman, hands down. He is one of the friendliest funniest and most humble artist I’ve work with. He was a dancer before he became a recording artist, he was actually a dancer with Do Dat and Luther Brown so he understands dancing and dancers; the friendship we had developed over the years can’t compare to anything else. He treats us with respect and he values what we bring to the performances and more than
Nikki: What Benefits and Challenges do you find owning 1 of the Top
Studio’s offering training from Industry professionals in Toronto?
Danny: Well I am not sure if Its one the the top dance studios in Toronto, thanks for putting it UP that high. The real benefit to me is being able to provide quality training to dancers. I am a dancer before a choreographer and before a business owner, so as a dancer I do appreciate having a good class a good teacher and great training to be able to achieve my dreams as a Professional working Dancer. Its a benefit to me when I know 20, 30, 50 or a 100 dancers leave OIP Dance Centre every day feeling like they benefit them self’s by coming that day.
The challenge is keeping the quality of those classes up to the expectations of the dancers that come and spend their money for a good class and good training. We do appreciate everybody that comes in day and night to dance and train and my obligation is to give them the best Teachers and the best classes I can provide but It could be very challenging to get all those talented teachers under the same roof.
Keeping the quality of classes and training to a high level every day week and month is the REAL CHALLENGE.
Nikki: Are you currently working on any projects?
Danny: I’m always working on something LOL, it seams like I can’t ever stay still. I have a bunch of projects with OIP developing right now but I don’t want to get in to many details until they are close to being a reality. But I can tell you I’m also working in Developing an artist named Christian TY, great singer great performer with a lot of potential. Wait to see what he can do. I think he is going to be a BIG
Nikki: Qualities you think Toronto Dancers possess that dancers from other
parts of the Country and States may not?
Danny: Toronto dancers don’t take things for granted. Over the last 11 years I’ve learn that Toronto dancers are very passionate and in love with what they do. I’ve travelled and worked in many countries a lot of places take gigs for granted because they have a million other ones lined up for them; This is great but I think a Dancer loses its edge when they lose their hunger. In the case of Toronto, we do not have as many gigs lined up so when we do get a job were not just doing our best but we cherish it and never take one second of that gig for granted because the next one might be far away.
Nikki: Any advice for emerging Dancers and Choreographers working/training
Danny: PATIENCE!!!!! Patience for everything. Without it, Dancers/Choreographers get frustrated because they don’t get a gig they’ll stop dancing, if they get rejected a million times they will stop Dancing. PATIENCE for the ones TEACHING and CHOREOGRAPHING after one or two years of drop in classes. A doctor doesn’t perform heart surgery after 2 years of med school. The more we learn the better we get, the more we train the better we get, the more we understand we need to learn before we can dance or teach the more we are going to understand our responsibility to this amazing art and industry. We have to be patient before quitting dance because we are rejected at a 100 auditions, we have to be Patient before we teach or choreograph without being prepared to do so, we are only bringing the Toronto Dance level lower and lower. If we are patient everything will work out at the end and we will have our chance to shine! Sky is the limit, just be PATIENT!!!
THANK YOU DANNY FOR BEING A PART OF T.D.O.T. XO
Check Out some of Danny’s Work……
CHOREOGRAPHY 2010 BAZAAR HEROES EDITION
Do Dat Entertainment Fam Jam From Left to Right Tuch, Jungle, Shawn Desman, Danny and Mark