This weeks Dancer/Choreographer shout out goes to Blake McGrath. Growing up in the same city I met this feisty young man when we attended the cities High School for the Regional Arts Dance program. Being blessed with the talent, drive and energy having exceptional technique and training it is no surprise he’s done great things with his Dance career. Moving to L.A pretty much out of high school, by the age of 21 he performed with Pop Legends like Madonna, Beyonce, Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez, and many more. Blake gained national recognition for appearing as a contestant on the premiere season of So You Think You Can Dance (USA) and MTV’s “Dance Life” produced by Jennifer Lopez. He continues to teach and inspire through his current endeavours having co-ownership of the company Coastal Dance Rage, one of the world’s leading dance conventions featuring world renowned Choreographers. In Oct 2007 CTV announced the Canadian version of SYTYCD Blake joined the cast as an alternating judge and choreographer. His skills and direct knowledge of the competition adds a great flare to the panel of judges as well as creating some memorable pieces for the Top 20 Dancers and their audiences. Growing up constantly being involved in music he took it 1 step further signing a record deal in 2010 with Universal Music Canada, debuting his first album “Time to Move” in Nov of last year. The video’s for his first 3 singles The Night , Relax and Stage Fright feature visually stunning choreography paired with amazing Dancers some of which hail from Toronto. You can catch Blake at this years 2011 MMVA’s his video Relax, which was Artistically directed and choreographed by Mia Michaels was nominated for video of the year. Gearing up to kick off the 4th season of So You Think You Can Dance Canada find out what Blake had to say in this weeks shout out…..
Bio written by Nikki
Nikki: Do you remember the first time you started dancing?
Blake: Yes, I started dancing at the age of 5- My mother put me in acrobatics class because she said I had so much energy.
Nikki: Do you remember the first song you choreographed to? (Or your earliest memory)
Blake: No, but I was young – I remember always making up dances and have the family watch while I performed for them.
Nikki: What is your personal advice to Dancers when it comes to freestyling?
Blake: Just let everything go and dance from your spirit, let the music guide you.
Nikki: Getting in the zone to choreograph, what does it take for you?
Blake: I let the music inspire me- I go to a really deep place, That’s where the magic lies.
Nikki: Who are some of your biggest influences in the Dance industry?
Blake: Brian friedman, Mia.
Nikki: Name a Toronto Choreographer you enjoy working with and why?
Blake: Luther Brown, He is so talented and I love his style, so funky and swaggeriffic .
Nikki: Name one of your favorite artists to work with and why?
Blake: Janet, she’s the sweetest woman and very humble. Janet taught me a lot about how to be an artist.
Nikki: Can you share some of your thoughts and experiences being a judge on So You Think You Can Dance Canada?
Blake: It has been an amazing experience. It’s unreal to see all the talent Canada has year after year. The talent definitely gets stronger year after year.
Nikki: Are you currently working on any projects?
Blake: Yes! My new album, coming out worldwide in the winter, I’m extremely excited to show the world what I’ve created.
Nikki: Qualities you think Toronto Dancers possess that dancers from other part of the Country and States may not?
Blake: Toronto dancers are very versatile and classically trained.
Nikki: Any advice for emerging dancers and choreographers working/training in Toronto?
Blake: My advice would be to work very hard- It takes your whole life to be a successful dancer, not just a few hours a day.
CHECK OUT HIS 2011 MMVA NOMINATED VIDEO”RELAX”