Nikki: Do you remember the first time you started dancing?
Jennifer: I know I started taking lessons when I was 4, but lessons and dancing are different. I think I started dancing for myself and out of necessity around the age of 14. There was a lot of craziness in my life, and it was my only constant and means of expressing myself. It has stayed that way ever since.
Nikki: Do you remember the first song you choreographed to? (Or your earliest memory)
Jennifer: Must have been Michael Jackson. If not – Paula Abdul’s Cold-Hearted Snake (secretly wishing to be her back-up dancer at age 8).
Nikki: Your personal advice for dancers when it comes to free styling?
Jennifer: Exactly what the name says – Do What You Feel. That’s the only way you’ll develop your OWN style, there’s a lot to be said for authenticity.
Nikki: Getting in the zone to choreograph, what does it take for you?
Jennifer: Instead of trying to get into a mind state to choreograph, I let it come to me. I work really late at night; I think it helps to be able focus on your own creative energy without the distraction of the outside. There’s something very sacred and intuitive about artistic expression, and I find this is heightened when the rest of the world is quiet.
Nikki: Who are some of your biggest influences in the Dance industry?
Jennifer: If I had to think of dance icons – Madonna, Louise Lecavalier, Michael Jackson, Bob Fosse. But at this point in my career, I’d have to say my Larchaud co-choreographer Jase Cozmic. He is one of the most versatile and strongest performers I’ve ever worked with or watched. He is creative, unique, and passionate. Both our similarities and differences are what enable me to push past previous work, and to keep everything new all the time.
Nikki: Name a Toronto Choreographer you enjoy working with and why?
Jennifer: Brandy Leary – the Artistic Director of Anandam Dance Theatre. She’s the only person I’ve worked for who is crazier than I am, with ideas by the minute. Brandy will constantly push her performers theatrically; while we are dancing, spinning on straps, doing acrobatics, hanging off ropes 40 ft in the air, doing extreme lifts on staircases…you know…everyday stuff…
Nikki: Name one of your favorite artists to work with and why?
Jennifer: Amon Tobin, Venetian Snares, MRK1 are all artists that I’ve used for Larchaud Dance Project. But I tend to switch it up for each show.
Nikki: Are you currently working on any projects?
Jennifer: On Sunday June 12, 2011 Larchaud Dance Project will be showcasing a small excerpt of choreography, “Etched” from our upcoming production Elegant Beast. The showcase is called Night of Essence and Kay-Ann Ward produces it. The first Night of Essence Dance and Entertainment Showcase is dedicated to the amazing and talented ladies we have in and around our city. This night is called Night of Essence “She Rocks”
Nikki: Qualities you think Toronto Dancers possess?
Jennifer: They are extremely diverse, as we live in a city that is constantly being influenced by the music, fashion, art, and history of many cultures.
Nikki: Any advice for emerging dancers and choreographers working/training in Toronto?
Jennifer: Work together and respect other artists. Everyone wants to compete for his or her moment in the spotlight, but after your moment being “the next big thing” they will be the only ones who will continue to support you. And to work on personal artistry and style, because an amazing performer is amazing because of their energy and passion, not their tricks. While tricks and technique can get boring, style and presence are timeless.