This weeks Dancer/Choreographer shout out goes to Stephanie Rutherford. Stephanie is known for her innovative, sincere and genuine movement quality. She has a huge passion for creating outside the box and coming up with concepts for choreography that remain true to her heart. Hailing originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba she has been a dancer since the age of three. For the last year and a half she has lived in Toronto, where she professionally dances, performs, teaches and choreographs in and throughout the industry. Recently she’s choreographed for such events as The Toronto’s Choreographers Ball, Women In Dance Showcase, City Dance Corps Showcase, The Bazaar “Movies Edition”, The Toronto Fringe Festival, Unrefined Company Show and has worked with various companies around the city. She’s started a new project of professionally filming and directing contemporary duets starring some incredible talent and is looking forward to getting profiled on MTV Canada for her choreography in mid May. She always eager to learn and evolve with no limitations. Check Out what Stephanie had to say in this weeks Shout out……
Bio provided by Stephanie
Nikki:Do you remember the first time you started dancing?
Stephanie:Yes! I was three years old and my sister taught me her tap routine from her recital. I think everyone was really surprised how quickly I picked it up.
Nikki:Do you remember the first song you choreographed to? (Or your earliest memory)
Stephanie:Hmm… I believe I was 15 years old and choreographed an all boys jazz funk routine. (They were seven years old) I did a mash up from the album Justified by JT. I thought it was really cool at the time…. That is one video I will never post.
Nikki:Your personal advice for dancers when it comes to free styling?
Stephanie:Follow your impulse and trust it!! You have to get out of your head when free styling, especially in contemporary. The beauty of contemporary freestyle is the human quality that is brought to it, not the tricks.
Nikki:Getting in the zone to choreograph, what does it take for you?
Stephanie:A beautiful song I can relate to in my personal life… and a dance studio with the lights off.
Nikki:Who are some of your biggest influences in the Dance industry?
Stephanie:That’s hard to choose! I love watching the work of Wade Robson, Erica Sobol, Tessandra Chavez and so many more.
Nikki: What made you move from Winnipeg, Manitoba to Toronto, Ontario?
Stephanie: I spent a summer living and training in LA when I was 19 years old. From there, I was planning on moving to Toronto to pursue a career in dance and acting. Unfortunately my grandparents suddenly passed away when I returned from LA so I decided to spend the year with my family. It was a tough choice but a blessing in disguise because I started to focus on my choreography and that same year my 1st creation entitled “UNREFINED” was born. It was a show that raised awareness and funds for the Heart and Stroke foundation of Canada through the fusion of contemporary and jazz movement. With a cast of ten wonderful people, and two sold out performances I was able to create and direct emotional pieces that were inspired by my past of coping and dealing with family and friends who have been affected by heart and stroke disease. After a year of workshops, choreographing and school I finally made the move out east and it was the best choice I’ve ever made.
Nikki:Name a Toronto Choreographer you enjoy working with and why?
Stephanie:There are so many Toronto Choreographers who have been amazing to work with. Faye Rauw has stuck out to me as being a mentor and incredible choreographer. She has this mature and beautiful movement quality about her and I’ve been lucky to work with her a lot. Putting all of her crazy talent aside, she has a beautiful soul and has a hilarious personality!
Nikki:Name one of your favorite artists to work with and why?
Stephanie:Recently I choreographed a duet with Amanda Cleghorn and Kevin Howe. The artistry they brought to the rehearsal and final product was so inspiring.
Nikki:Are you currently working on any projects?
Stephanie:I just finished a show and am auditioning for whatever comes my way! In terms of choreographing, I’ve been doing lots of freelance choreography for companies and individuals. I am shooting something with MTV Canada next week and I’m looking forward to it and getting excited!
Nikki:Qualities you think Toronto Dancers possess that dancers from other parts of the Country and States may not?
Stephanie:Crazy technique. I believe Toronto has the most incredibly trained dancers. It can sometimes be intimidating!
Nikki:Any advice for emerging dancers and choreographers working/training in Toronto?
Stephanie:Since I’m still emerging as a choreographer too, I must constantly remind myself that I have every right to be here. There will always be haters and judgments on your work, but that is the beauty of art. Don’t let anyone get in your head and please trust and believe in yourself with confidence. Make your mark and evolve with no limitations!!