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!!!

One Response to “LIANA LEWIS”


  1. BLACK CANADIAN AWARDS | The Dancers Of Toronto - March 4, 2014

    […] LIANA LEWIS […]

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