Archive | August, 2011


30 Aug
This weeks Dancer/Choreographer shout out goes to Angela Mahoney. Angela has been dancing since she was old enough to stand on two feet. Following many years of training in ballet, modern, lyrical, musical theatre, jazz and hip hop in New Brunswick, Angela held onto her passion for dance as part of the Saint Mary’s University Dance Team in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
In 2006, Angela moved to Toronto to continue training and to follow her dreams of becoming a successful dancer and teacher. Since then, Angela has had the opportunity to perform in various shows such as The Bazaar, Pencer Brain Trust’s DISCO, Moto Amore, and the NHL Pro-AM Gala. She was also a spotlight dancer on BPM TV’s “Get Up and Dance!”. Angela recently appeared as the lead girl in Neverest’s music video “About Us” as well as music videos for Kardinal Offishall, Audio Playground, Keshia Chante, Shawn Desman, Brian Notice, Patrick Christopher and JD Era. Angela has also had the opportunity to work with renowned choreographers such as Sho-Tyme and Luther Brown.
Angela, alongside Danny Davalos, created “The Motion Dance Project”; a project designed to inspire and motivate children, teens and adults through dancing in schools, childcare centers, and studios. Angela and Danny have had the opportunity to travel all across Canada teaching workshops as part of this project.
In 2010, Angela was chosen as one of the top 6 among hundreds to perform with Katy Perry at the Much- Music Video Awards and has also choreographed for artists such as Kelly Anthony and Patrick Christo- pher. Currently, Angela recently starred in an instructional dance DVD for women and also appeared as a guest judge on China’s popular talent show “Blossoming Flowers”. She continues to grow as a dancer and teaches workshops and classes in Toronto and throughout Ontario. 
Bio Provided by Angela


Check out What Angela had to say in this weeks shout out….


Nikki: Do you remember the first time you started dancing? 

Angela: It’s hard for me to remember a time in my life when I WASN’T dancing. I started really young, gathering my friends to organize performances for family members in my living room. I remember taping a music awards show when Brandy performed “Baby”. I watched it over and over, learned the entire routine, and knew all I wanted to do was dance. My father took me to a studio in my hometown, and I haven’t stopped since. 


Nikki: Do you remember the first song you choreographed to? (Or your earliest memory)

Angela: My first “live performance” (and by that I mean aside from the shows I put on in my living room) was a duet I choreographed in grade 1 for my school talent show. The song was Paula Abdul’s “Opposites Attract” and at the time I thought it was the greatest thing.


Nikki:  Your personal advice for dancers when it comes to free styling?

Angela: I think free styling is something that intimidates a lot of dancers, myself included. I think we’ve all had those moments when we’re in an audition and something happens… a move, a hit, a kick… something that makes us think ‘did I really just do that??’. It can be a very humbling experience! I think a good freestyle is the result of confidence, musicality and personal style. It’s important to understand the music as well as what feels good when it comes to moving your own body, and I think the only way to do that is to overcome your nerves and fears and just go for it. If krump is your thing, do it. If girly is your thing, do it. Just be yourself. It’ll come eventually. 🙂


Nikki:  Getting in the zone to choreograph, what does it take for you?

Angela: For me to get in the zone to choreograph, the biggest thing to me is the right song. I love when I’m listening to a song that inspires me to create and the steps just flow naturally.


Nikki:  Who are some of your biggest influences in the Dance industry?

Angela: I respect and admire choreographers that embrace elements of old school and real hip hop. Choreographers such as Luther Brown, Sho-Tyme, Jaquel Knight, Luam Keflezgy, the DoDat family, and more, are all an inspiration to me. For me personally, as a female dancer, I love when girls can hit as hard as male dancers, but still be sexy and feminine at the same time. I admire the women in this industry that can do that.


Nikki:  Name a Toronto Choreographer you enjoy working with and why?

Angela: Luther Brown, definitely; I think he is a hip hop genius. I had the opportunity to work with him on Keshia Chante’s new video for her song “Shooting Star” and it was such a privilege to work for someone I look up to so much. I also love working with Danny Davalos. He is someone who took me under his wing when I first started focusing on hip hop, trained me and helped shape me as a dancer. I’ve had the opportunity to work with him on many different projects and I am constantly learning from him so for that I’m very thankful.


Nikki:  Name one of your favorite artists to work with and why?

Angela: I loved working with Shawn Desman. He is one of the most down-to-earth people I know. It’s really refreshing to work with an artist who has been around for so long, with such a successful career, who is so humble. It’s a great vibe and always a ton of laughs working with him.


Nikki: Are you currently working on any projects?

Angela: I’m currently choreographing a piece for this year’s Women In Dance showcase. It means a lot to me to be a part of something like this that celebrates the hard work and talent of female dancers in the city. The piece celebrates strength & femininity and I am thrilled with the dancers that are working hard for me for this show.


Nikki:  Qualities you think Toronto Dancers possess?

Angela: For the most part I think Toronto dancers are pretty fearless. Day in and day out I see people going for what they want, doing everything they can to get it!


Nikki:  Any advice for emerging dancers and choreographers working/training in Toronto?

Angela: I am only still in that emerging stage myself, but what I’ve learned over the last couple of years is that to be successful in this industry you need to take risks. There will be ups and downs, great experiences and not-so-great-experiences. But it’s important to learn something from all of it. Respect the ones who help you achieve your goals as well as everyone you work with. It takes more than skills to make it, and attitude and professionalism will go a long way. Lastly, have fun! We are so fortunate to be able to do what we love. Always remember that! 🙂



22 Aug
This weeks Dancer/Choreographer shout out goes to Robert DeOliveira.  Impressing audiences with his charisma and talent since childhood, Robert DeOliveira was born an entertainer. Born in Toronto, Ontario, Robert is a familiar fixture in the GTA entertainment industry. Currently, he lives in Mississauga but teaches in various competitive studios around Ontario. Robert took to dance at age ten and started working professionally at the age of thirteen. With Hip-Hop as his specialty, he has danced for such artists as J-Man, Andrea Lewis, Blake McGrath, Jully Black, Keshia Chante, has opened up for Destiny’s Child at the GM Place in Vancouver, British Columbia and is currently choreographing for artist Dru, formally from the Canadian R&B group, In Essence. Some of his film and television credits include assisting Luther Brown on So You Think You Can Dance Canada Season 4, dance double for the next installment of Alvin and the Chipmunks, a dance role in the Disney movie Camp Rock 2, featured dancer and choreographer in Dru’s music video Would You Mind; choreographer of the “Future Soundz” music video by GSUS artists, featured dancer in J-Mans “Girlz Trippin” & “More (featuring Cali)” music videos, choreography for the Raptors Lil Ballas 2008 Dance Team and acting in a variety regularly aired North American commercials. His list of accolades is long, with a top International Power of Dance award, a first-place Overnight Celebrity scholarship, a first-place Jump-Off prize with Nu-Limit Entertainment, a scholarship from internationally renowned choreographer Marty Kudelka (Justin Timberlake, Donnie Klang), a Choreographers Choice scholarship at the Next Level Workshop (Luther Brown, Rhapsody, Lauren Gottlieb from SYTYCD, Mia Michals and Tyce Diorio), various scholarships from Monsters Of HipHop including his most recent, being nominated for the 2011 MOHH Production Show in Los Angeles.
Roberts documented dance classes have been talked about online and posted by artists such as Ciara, Jovi Rockwell and Electrik Red. He has travelled around the province teaching workshops and classes in different cities and is a hard-working individual who loves entertaining his audiences.

Bio provided by Robert



Find out what Robert had to say in this week’s shout out…  


Nikki: Do you remember the first time you started dancing?

Robert: Ever since I was a young child, music always moved me. When I was a child, my family used to always go on camping trips. I remember being 3 or 4 and standing on top of our cooler, in the middle of our camping park, singing and dancing to Michael Jackson’s “Bad” cassette. I would also record music videos on my VHS and play them in slow motion to learn the choreography. I guess I always had an itch for dance 😀


Nikki: Do you remember the first song you choreographed to? (Or your earliest memory)

Robert: I can’t remember exactly what the first song I choreographed was but I want to say it was either Lil’ Kim “The Jump Off” or Sean Paul “Get Busy”.


Nikki: Your personal advice for dancers when it comes to free styling?

Robert: This is a hard question to answer because I have a hard time free styling. It’s weird because I can be at home, in my zone listening to some hot records, and I can freestyle. But when it comes down to an audition where all eyes are on me it seems harder to connect my movement. The only advice I can give, which I need to take myself, is PRACTICE. The more you practice free styling, the more comfortable you will be with it. Try not to think so hard and just let it escape your body.


Nikki: Getting in the zone to choreograph, what does it take for you?

Robert: For me to get in the zone, it takes a really dope track that can drift me away from reality. That beat needs to bump hard. I need space, and I need the music to be loud.


Nikki: Who are some of your biggest influences in the Dance industry?

Robert: Choreographers wise, some of my biggest influences are Luther Brown, Tabitha and Napoleon, Rhapsody, Jaquel, and Kevin Maher. Dancers wise, my biggest influences would have to be my dance fam: Leon Blackwood, Tatiana Parker, Tamina Pollack Paris, Shane Simpson, James Tabong. Other dancers who influence me are: Candace Brown, Jian P, Miguel Antonio, Leroy Curwood, Andye J, Dannie B, Parris G, and so much more.


Nikki: Name a Toronto Choreographer you enjoy working with and why?

Robert: There are two Toronto choreographers that I enjoy working with. I love working with my dance dad, Leon Blackwood because no matter what the job is, he always tries to have fun and always looks out for his dancers. I also really enjoy working with choreographer, Luther Brown. I’ve had the privilege to work with Mr. Brown recently. I can say that it’s a lot of fun and jokes but aside from that Both of these Choreographers have a real strong passion for what they do and always try to bring out the best in every Dancer.


Nikki: Are you currently working on any projects?

Robert: In Jan. 2011, I decided to further my education at Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning. I am currently studying Travel Management and Tourism Industry and have just completed my first year. Besides school, I have had the honor to assist Luther Brown on Season 4 of So You Think You Can Dance Canada. It has been an amazing experience and I am so grateful to be a part of this project.


Nikki: Qualities you think Toronto Dancers possess?

Robert: I think it’s safe to say that Toronto dancers possess many qualities, but one of them that we ALL possess is HUNGER. We are hungry for work as the dance industry offers limited gigs in Toronto. I also believe that Toronto dancers are hard-workers, reliable and dedicated!


Nikki: Any advice for emerging dancers and choreographers working/training in Toronto?

Robert: Never give up! This industry is tough and there are times where you’ll feel down and question yourself but you just need to hold on and keep doing your thing. Everyone’s time will come. When one door closes, another one will open.




15 Aug

This weeks Dancer/Choreographer shout out goes to Liana Lewis. Liana is originally from Calgary, Alberta. Her passion for the arts began at the age of 3 when she was enrolled in piano lessons. She began her music training with the well established not for profit organization The Suzuki Talent Education society in Calgary. According to their site not only do they offer music this school prides itself on character development such as perseverance, patience, respect for others, teamwork and honest self-evaluation. Through this training and music Liana’s passion for movement was inspired.  By age 6, she began studying Jazz at Premiere Dance Academy and was soon after training in Ballet (RAD), Modern, and Tap excelling in regional competitions. Not only did Liana have a knack for dancing, but she loved to sing and act as well. After graduating High School Liana moved to Toronto in hopes of pursuing a career as a Triple Threat Performer. This led her to audition for the Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts, where she completed her two-year program in Acting, Singing and Dance.  Since her move she has worked with some of Toronto’s most noted choreographers and has had the opportunity to perform nation wide. Some of her past credits include Bonjay’s first video “Stumble’ it’s a twin video the other features Addy Chan, her choreography can be seen in the More or Les “Pop n Chips” video, Interior Design Show flash mob, and Toronto Prides Project Dance. She has just gotten back to Toronto after touring Canada and the USA with Koba Entertainment inc. Find out what Liana had to say in this weeks shout out.

Bio by Liana and Nikki

Nikki: Do you remember the first time you started dancing?
Liana: My mom would probably say I came out of the womb dancing. I cant really remember exactly when I first started dancing, just remember being in my living room dancing around to whatever music was playing, which happen frequently!!
Nikki: Do you remember the first song you choreographed to? (Or your earliest memory)
Liana: The first song I remember choreographing to was Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up”. My brother and I made up this dance at Christmas time for my family; I remember we both took turns dancing on this piano bench that kept making a loud sound when we were on it.
Nikki:Your personal advice for dancers when it comes to free styling?
Liana: You are your own worst enemy when it comes to free styling. A lot of dancers spend too much time in their head then just letting it happen. We have to remember its free style there’s no wrong movements. Listen to the music and just let whatever it evokes to you happen. Believe in what you are doing. Putting music on shuffle can help you get better. I use to Go-Go dance and some nights I would have to dance to hard rock music…. Dancing to something out of my element help me with my confidence with free styling.
Nikki:Getting in the zone to choreograph, what does it take for you?
Liana: For me it has to do with mood and music. If I’m really feeling a song I will put it on repeat till ideas start coming to me, then I will put something together. It’s all about the beat, lyrics and what the singer is conveying with their voice.
Nikki: Who are some of your biggest influences in the Dance industry?
Liana: There’s so many hahahahaha. I have to first start off with my dance teachers I had growing up back in Calgary, they are the reason I’m still dancing today. My teacher Peggy Giesbrecht did a piece to Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” and till this day I can still remember how I felt watching it. I would also have to say Alvin Ailey, Debbie Allen, Rosie Perez and of course Janet Jackson. Most people don’t know I actually come from a jazz/contemporary background, also do modern, ballet and tap. It wasn’t until I moved to Toronto I got into hip-hop. I remember the first time I took Luther Browns class; it felt like home to me, his choreography just made sense to me.
Nikki: Name a Toronto Choreographer you enjoy working with and why?
Liana: I enjoy working with Hollywood Jade. Not just cause he’s a good friend of mine it’s because he is good at what he does. His choreography feels right in my body, it makes sense. I love that he doesn’t just choreograph to the beat that he also takes in the lyrics and what the artist is conveying. We also share the love for musical theatre, which brings me joy when he uses that element in his pieces. He’s also very good at directing and developing an artist; he knows what will make you a stronger performer.
Nikki: Name one of your favorite artists to work with and why?
Liana: I love working with Bonjay they are a Toronto base group (check them out, Broughtupsy available on ITunes). I dance for them a couple times prior to doing their video for “Stumble”. Their music is a mix of Dancehall, Indie, and R&B. I just love everything about them, they are so passionate about what they do and are so humble. I feel pretty lucky to have worked with them and that they are so supportive of me and my dancing!!
Nikki: Are you currently working on any projects?
Liana: I’m currently on break right now. Since August 2009 I’ve been in and out of the city touring with Koba Entertainment. It’s a children theatre base company; they turn shows like the Backyardigans into live versions. In the fall I’m set to do a States side tour of Max and Ruby Bunny Party, I will be playing the role of Ruby. I’m enjoying the time off to work on myself!!
Nikki: Qualities you think Toronto Dancers possess?
Liana: Toronto dancers are hungry, we live, eat and breath dance. The drive/determination never seems to go away. We don’t wait around for opportunities to happen we make them happen. Not every dancers dream is the same we are all individuals, which makes it possible for us all to be working on something. We are able to be supportive yet have a healthy competitive way about ourselves. When we do get booked we don’t take that opportunity for granted.
Nikki: Any advice for emerging dancers and choreographers working/training in Toronto?
Liana: JUST DO IT!!! Believe in yourself and others will see your confidence. Knowing who you are as a person will help you in great strengths. You have to be willing to put the time in, can’t do things halfway. Be willing to learn, let yourself be open, being close minded will get you nowhere. Train in as many styles possible having a wide background will do you wonders. Surround yourself around like-minded people, it always good to have a support system. Don’t wait around for the next big thing, create opportunities. Most importantly NEVER GIVE UP!!!


8 Aug

This week’s Dancer/Choreographer shout out goes to Caroline Torti. Passion and perseverance have always been at the heart of every step Caroline has taken in her professional dance career. She has performed on stages worldwide and sought out as a choreographer by some of the most prestigious dance organizations in North America. Currently Caroline is featured as a dancer and actor “Teena” on the CW’s new hit TV show “Hellcats” starring Ashley Tisdale. Some of her recent credits include Top 14 finalist for the premiere season of the hit TV show “So You Think You Can Dance Canada”, a member of the innovative and highly renowned dance company Helix Dance Project, under the artistic direction of Linda Garneau, and worked with acclaimed choreographer Mandy Moore for her piece in “Hysterica” based out of Los Angeles, California. Caroline has performed in various industrial events for companies such as Bell Mobility, Canon, Sears, and Calvin Klein, as well as charity events such as Fashion Cares Toronto, Steve Nash Charity Game, and Dance For It. She has also had the opportunity to dance in music videos and live performances for artists such as Danny Fernandes, Kreesha Turner, George, Shawn Desman, and Jully Black. Caroline has been recognized for her work as a choreographer at regional and national competitions receiving several choreography scholarships. She has also been teaching for various studios around the Greater Toronto Area and teaching master classes at some of Toronto’s professional studios. Caroline loves working with young aspiring dancers and hopes that she can be a part of their personal growth and artistic development.


Bio Provided by Caroline


Caroline on Twitter

Find out what Caroline had to say in this week’s shout out… 


Nikki: Do you remember the first time you started dancing?


Caroline: I started dancing at the age of 3 so I don’t have too many clear memories of that time but I do remember the first time I truly danced, related it to my life, and lost myself in it. I was about 14 years old and I will never forget how amazing that felt to me that day.



Nikki: Do you remember the first song you choreographed to? (Or your earliest memory)


Caroline: Growing up I always made up dances in my living room either with my friends of by myself. I can remember choreographing a lyrical solo to Michael Jacksons “you are not alone” when it first cane out and was on the Grammy nominee’s album. What I would give to see the footage of that!



Nikki: Your personal advice for dancers when it comes to free styling?


Caroline: Free styling has always been something I’ve had to work on. I grew up in a studio setting where 99% of everything was set choreography so when I started auditioning and going to classes where they asked you to free style I was so intimidated. My advice to dancers would be to try to spend a good amount of time on your own free styling and finding your own personal style. Once I discovered how I liked to move it became a lot easier for me to do it in front of other people. I still feel I can always improve my freestyle so I’d also say not to get frustrated and keep on working on it.



Nikki: Getting in the zone to choreograph, what does it take for you?


Caroline: For me, the best way to get in the zone to choreograph is to go into the studio with one or two of my friends and fellow dancers and turn most of the lights down and just dig deep. I like having people around to bounce ideas off, otherwise I just end up talking to myself!



Nikki: Who are some of your biggest influences in the Dance industry?


Caroline: I feel like every dancer and choreographer I have worked with up to this point has had an impact on me. I try to really study people that I respect and learn from them. One of my biggest influences is Linda Garneau. She has taught me so much about life through dance. I wouldn’t be the dancer I am today if it wasn’t for her.



Nikki: Name a Toronto Choreographer you enjoy working with and why?


Caroline: I love working with Luther Brown. He makes every job fun! Don’t get me wrong he definitely makes you work but it’s always a good vibe and the final product is always amazing!



Nikki: Name one of your favorite artists to work with and why?


Caroline: One of my favorite artists to work for is Shawn Desman. I have danced for him and also worked at his competition that he runs. He is very down to earth and respects everything that his dancers do for him so much. It’s really refreshing!



Nikki: What was it like being part of the 1st season of SYTYCDC Top 20 cast?


Caroline: Being part of the first season of SYTYCDC was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life. It’s such a rollercoaster ride of emotions and it truly tests your strength and perseverance as a dancer and a person. The relationships I made on that show will forever remain my family for life. When your part of the first season of any show it’s always an experimental process so everybody really learns and grows from it.



Nikki: Are you currently working on any projects?


Caroline: I recently finished shooting season one of the CW network show “Hellcats” starring Ashley Tisdale. I started as a dancer on the show and then they gave me a role as “Teena”. Now I am shooting a remake of Snow White in Montreal starring Julia Roberts. I’m also in the process of writing my own music, which is a really exciting new passion of mine.



Nikki: Qualities you think Toronto Dancers possess?


Caroline: Toronto is such a diverse city and its dancers reflect that, but I find that the most inspiring thing about dancers from Toronto is their drive. Maybe because we have to work so hard and there isn’t an extensive amount of classes the way there is in other cities that makes us so committed to training and growing that gives us that something special. Every time a dancer from Toronto makes a move to another city or starts a new project here, you can almost guarantee that they will be successful because of their undying determination and drive.



Nikki: Any advice for emerging dancers and choreographers working/training in Toronto?


Caroline: My advice to emerging artists in Toronto would be to take as many classes as possible, find inspiration from other sources in your life as well that you can incorporate into your craft and always keep working hard. Talent will get you places but hard work will get you further and keep you there longer!
















1 Aug

This weeks Dancer/Choreographer shout out goes to Bree Wasylenko.  Bree knew from a very young age that she wanted to be a performer. Born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, she trained in many styles, including jazz, tap, ballet, contemporary, modern and hip hop. In order to pursue a career as a professional dancer, Bree knew that she couldn’t stay in Calgary – so in late 2007 she made the life-changing move to Toronto. Since then she has trained under some of the best in Canada, including Luther Brown and Linda Garneau. She was blessed to be a part of Linda’s renowned company, Helix Dance Project, in both the ’08 and ’09 seasons. She has also had the privilege of working with, and being an assistant to, Sean Cheesman and Clarence Ford on So You Think You Can Dance Canada, Seasons 1 and 2.

Bree has enjoyed many successes both on stage, and in front of the camera. She has done numerous industrials for Bell Mobility, Sears, RBC, Shoppers Drug Mart and LG, as well as dancing with and appearing in music videos for artists such as Shawn Desman, Keshia Chante, Aleesia, Kim Davis, Kreesha Turner, and many more. Her first feature film was “Turn the Beat Around”, choreographed by Tre Armstrong, and was also a featured dancer in the Family Channel TV show “Baxter”.  Bree recently shot three movies over a two month period. She was a Reindeer Dancer in an as yet untitled ABC Family Channel Christmas movie. She then worked as Assistant Choreographer to Danny Teeson in the Disney movie, “Frenemies”. Bree’s latest movie was “COBU 3D”, which was choreographed by the one and only Nappytabs! She was also assistant choreographer to Valerie Moore in the “Back to School” Staples commercial and acted as the stand-in for star Heather Morris. All of the skills Bree acquired while doing these assistant choreography jobs came to good use when she choreographed the pilot episode of the new CTV  legal drama “Stay With Me”, premiering this fall!
The highlight of Bree’s career thus far has been making the top 20 of Season 3 of So You Think You Can Dance Canada. She grew immensely as a dancer and performer, as well as making great new connections with the judges, choreographers, and her fellow dancers. Her dancehall routine became an internet phenomenon, being viewed millions of times all over the world. The routine was even featured in a segment on CNN, showing many clips of Bree on stage.  So You Think You Can Dance Canada has opened many doors for Bree, and has proved to be an invaluable experience. She is looking forward to putting her newfound knowledge to good use, and cannot wait for what her career in the entertainment industry has in store! 
Bio provided by Bree 

Bree Wasylenko Website

 Here’s what Bree had to say in this weeks shout out….. 
Nikki: Do you remember the first time you started dancing?
Bree: I think the first memory I have of me dancing involves shiny spandex bodysuits OVER neon bike shorts. I don’t remember what actual moves I was doing, just that I was the most colorful in the class. My parents have home movies of me dancing in the bath as early as one, and constantly putting on full out shows and productions (using my little sisters as props) in the living room.
Nikki: Do you remember the first song you choreographed to? (Or your earliest memory)
Bree: Do I ever! It was Space Jam. In my best friends bedroom. I think I was 7. Neither of us were very good at the time, but for some reason our favorite move to put in was the splits (left, right, AND centre). 
Nikki: Your personal advice for dancers when it comes to free styling?
Bree: I’m still trying to master the art of freestyle, so I don’t know if I’m the right person to be giving advice! I think just really listening to the music, and paying attention to what is being asked of you. If you’re in a hip hop audition and someone says “freestyle in your own genre”, if you’re a contemp dancer don’t do hip hop because that’s what you “think” they want to see! Always play to your strengths.
Nikki: Getting in the zone to choreograph, what does it take for you?
Bree: A great song, and some mood lighting! Those are the two biggest things. From there it’s just a matter of whether I’m having an on or off day. With practice I’m starting to have a lot more on days than off!
Nikki: Who are some of your biggest influences in the Dance industry?
Bree: Linda Garneau was a huge influence early on in my career. She taught me to hear music differently, control my movement, and what it meant to work my butt off in rehearsals! Now it’s my peers who have successful careers that I aim to emulate. People like Caroline Torti and Natalli Reznick, who are constantly working in film and television, as well as with international artists.
Nikki: Name a Toronto Choreographer you enjoy working with and why?
Bree: I love love love love loooooove working with Steph Rutherford! Not only is she a great person and friend of mine, but her movement is so unique and very suited to the way that my body wants to move. Her choreography is strong, powerful, intricate, and quirky – what else could you want?!?
Nikki: Name one of your favorite artists to work with and why?
Bree: My favorite recording artist to work with by far is Shawn Desman. He is just such a warm, friendly, funny, and grateful person! Whenever I do videos or gigs with him I just feel like I’m working with a friend. More people should be like that!
Nikki: What was it like being part of SYTYCDC season 3’s Top 22?
Bree: Being a part of SYTYCD was such an amazing experience. To this day it has been the most difficult, yet rewarding thing I have ever done. In the few short weeks I was on the show I gained more knowledge of myself as a dancer and performer, and of this industry, than I have in the past three years. If you allow it, you grow at an exponential rate. I LOVED learning new genres and routines, and having only 4 days to master it and perform in front of the nation. What a rush!
Nikki: What made you make the move from Calgary to Toronto?
Bree: Growing up I loved dance, but didn’t think you could really make a career out of it. I always assumed I would just go to university, and lead a normal life. Then something clicked at 17 and I decided I wanted to be a professional dancer. Calgary has a wonderful underground arts scene, but people there dance for the love of it – not for a pay cheque. I debated between Vancouver and Toronto, but something about Toronto intrigued me just that tiny bit more. After high school I worked my butt off for a year and saved a ton of money, then made the leap! It was scary, but the best decision I’ve ever made. I couldn’t picture my life any other way! I am so unbelievably blessed to be able to wake up every day and do what I love.
Nikki: Are you currently working on any projects?
Bree: At the moment I’m mostly teaching summer workshops, but I just signed a contract with The Canadian Opera Company for one of their fall shows called Iphigenia in Taurus. My last year in high school I was in a youth modern/contemporary company in Calgary, but since then I’ve done mostly commercial work for film and television. This show is very contemporary and modern based, with a lot of “dance” acting involved. I haven’t had much desire to do these types of contracts, but in the audition I felt so uncomfortable that I knew if I was offered the job I had to take it! Feeling uncomfortable and scared presents a challenge, and if you can get over that fear you’ve conquered something and grown as a dancer, and hopefully a person as well.
Nikki: Qualities you think Toronto Dancers possess?
Bree: Toronto dancers are hungry, and know what they want. But also don’t always know how to get it. Which I think is what makes us such a strong and friendly community. We lean on each other for help and support, and are proud of friends when they are successful. It isn’t quite as cutthroat as bigger dance cities like LA and NY, but there’s still enough healthy competition that dancers don’t get complacent.
Nikki: Any advice for emerging dancers and choreographers working/training in Toronto?
Bree: It takes so much hard work, concentration, and dedication to make it in this industry – so why waste even ONE ounce of that worrying about what other people are doing? If you don’t like someone’s choreography, don’t take their class. It’s that simple. Don’t sit around and bitch with your friends about how much they suck. People get where they are in this business by either working their butt off, or knowing how to play the game. It’s really easy to hate on people, but it seems that most of that hate stems from feeling like they’re getting work that they don’t deserve (and you do). So instead of wasting that negative energy on them, turn it into positive energy you can put back into yourself to help you succeed!


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