Innovative Powerful and UniqueArtists in Motion is a multidisciplinary dance group with some of the best dancers and choreographers in North America. They bridge the gap by bringing together different styles of dance such as Hip Hop, African, Dancehall, Contemporary, Ballroom and a fusion of different genres. As a collective they have performed in numerous award shows, movies, stage shows, and music videos. Some of Artists In Motion members appeared in Cobu 3D, Walt Disney’s Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam with the Jonas Brothers and Hairspray. A.I.M are the winners of Muchmusic’s New.Music.Live Best Dance Crew and is featured in Xbox’s Dance Central commercial. Further more they have worked with international artists such as Lady Gaga, Snoop Dogg, Divine Brown, Deborah Cox, Hilary Duff, Nelly Furtado, Flo Rida, Jully Black and Hedley. They have participated in the Much Music Video Awards, Taste of the Danforth Festival, World Partnership Walk, The Toronto International Film Festival and North America’s largest Pride Festival. Artists In Motion prides itself on educating and teaching individuals to strive for their best. They are professionals who are passionate about the art of dance and committed to the exponential growth of the industry here in Canada. “From an early age, I knew Dance would play a significant role in my life.” – Shameka Blake
This weeks Dancer/Choreographer shout out goes to Shameka Blake. Shameka started dancing at the early age of three. Shortly thereafter, her family migrated from Jamaica to Canada where over the years she further developed her dancing. Shameka has performed in numerous concerts, tours, productions and live shows. She has shared the stage with artists such as Ne-yo and Mobb Deep and has opened tours for Kayne West, Lil Jon, and Ciara. Shameka has worked with SYTYCDC hip hop judge and choreographer Luther Brown as a principal dancer in his productions “On My Way Home” and “The Red City.” She can be seen on MTV’s MADE and the latest XboxDance Central commercial. In 2008, after graduating from the George Brown College’s Commercial Dance Program, she started her dance company Artists In Motion (AIM), a multidisciplinary dance group that brings together different styles of dance under the same roof. In 3 short years AIM has attained a great deal of success, such as: winning the NML Best Dance Crew; starring in commercials for Xbox and Much Music; dancing for artists such as Lady Gaga, Snoop Dog, Divine Brown, and Flo Rida. With her unique style of dance and choreography, Shameka has taken the Toronto dance scene by storm…and she’s only getting started!
Shameka Blake- Director/Founder/Choreographer
Find out what Shameka had to say in this weeks shout out.
Bio provided by Shameka
Facebook: AIM Group Page
Nikki: Do you remember the first time you started dancing?
Shameka: I was still living in Jamaica and was in Grade one. It was at a school concert and my class performed an Afro Caribbean song and dance to The Banana Boat Song.
Nikki: Do you remember the first song you choreographed to? (Or your earliest memory)
Shameka: My earliest memory of making up choreography was my early years in Jamaica choreographing Dancehall routines to Shaggy’s “Oh Carolina” and Chaka Demus and Plyas “Murda She Wrote”
Nikki: Your personal advice for dancers when it comes to free styling?
Shameka: Let go! Free your mind and feel the music. Once your mind is free your body will naturally become in tune with the music. You will be able to communicate between your body and soul and express what is too deep for words.
Nikki: Getting in the zone to choreograph, what does it take for you?
Shameka: What I do is probably referred to as “sleep dancing.” I actually wake up between 2 and 3am (every night) and start choreographing to music I hear in my head or a song that has inspired me. I usually never remember in full what I make up so I’ve started recording myself. Haha
Nikki: Who are some of your biggest influences in the Dance industry?
Shameka:I have a plethora of influences from all different walks of life and the following individuals I feel defines dance for me as a whole. Alvin Alley is the beginning, a legend. I can only hope that one day my choreography and abilities will reach the depth and clarity of his works. Then there is Miss Debbie Allen; I admire her passion, intensity and longevity in this industry. Luam for her raw energy and positivity. Luther Brown. He has placed the Toronto Urban dance scene on the map, “Nuff Respect” Mr. Brown. And last but certainly not least, Tuch! If I was a male dancer, I would like to be Tuch! The way he moves is unreal and his choreography is thought provoking, motivating and powerful.
Nikki: Name a Toronto Choreographer you enjoy working with and why?
Shameka: My fellow Artists in Motion company member Esie Mensah is my favorite choreographer to work with. She understands who I am. We have been working together for the past 4 years, which has allowed us to know each other on all levels. As a result we are able to be open and honest, critique each other’s work without egos and emotions getting in the way. We tell each other the truth and that’s a rear quality to find in this industry. My success is her success and vise versa.
Nikki: Name one of your favorite artists to work with and why?
Shameka: One artist I enjoy working with is Chad Huges. Chad is a pop rock artist who truly cares about the wellbeing of his dancers. He goes out of his way to make sure they are well looked after. He is full of positivity, and such a joy to be around.
Nikki: Are you currently working on any projects?
Shameka: I have a lot of things coming up with the company. We are hosting a summer intensive on July 17th at Joy of Dance. We will be competing at The Beat Down Dance Competition on August 6th. That same weekend you can catch us performing at the Taste of the Danforth Festival. Also, Company members are doing the Fringe Festival with Catalyst, Lauren Lyn is Competing on SYTYCDCanada. Hollywood is doing Tours for Mia Martina and Alyssa Rubino. While Kristian Dalisay and Justin David will be performing at Summer Rush with Danny Fernandez. We have lots of other things in the works but we are really excited for our upcoming fall production Pandora’s Box.
Nikki: Qualities you think Toronto Dancers possess?
Shameka: Versatility and determination. Toronto is known for it’s cultural diversity and with that comes an array of different dance forms. A melting pot of cultural and urban dance styles allows Toronto dancers to be more open to expanding artistically. Furthermore, because the dance community here is so small and there are a lot more dancers than job opportunities there is a consistent drive to reach the top. Determination is the key to success and Toronto dancers are full of it.
Nikki: Any advice for emerging dancers and choreographers working/training in Toronto?
Shameka: With hard work and determination, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE. Limitations live only in our minds. But if you use your imagination, your possibilities become limitless. Remember you choose to create your own reality.THANK YOU SHAMEKA FOR BEING PART OF T.D.O.T. XOAIM PERFORMING AT BAZAAR DISNEY EDITION…..
AIM PERFORMING AT BAZAAR MADONNA EDITION…..