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.