Check out what Moses had to say in this weeks shout out…
Nikki: Do you remember the first time you started dancing?
Moses: Do I Ever! The first time I started dancing was when I was 19. At the time I was a third year full time student in a Pre-Professional Law program at the University of Winnipeg. I was asked by a good friend to participate in a variety show for charity at one of the local theatres. I agreed to do so and thought it would be quite humorous if I re-enacted and performed the audition scene Julia Stiles did in the movie “Save The Last Dance”. At this point dance was something I loved to do for fun, I had no formal training and that was made apparent when Nicole Owens, who is now a dear friend and the President of Dance Manitoba, approached me after my performance to see where I trained. To her surprise I had told her I never danced a day in my life, and suggested I look into it, at least recreationally. I then enrolled myself at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet for a few months, before I became full time student at The Shelley Shearer School of Dance. I would drop my studies shortly after to pursue a career in what started off as a hobby. It was huge sacrifice, and quite the struggle, but never has there been a day where I regretted the decision I made to dance.
Nikki: Do you remember the first song you choreographed to? (Or your earliest memory)
Moses: The first song I ever choreographed to was Aaliyah’s “Try Again”. The video intrigued me to come up with my own choreography and teach it to some friends- where I would later enter it into a local debutant dance competition. Again with no formal training under my belt, we tied for first!
Nikki: Your personal advice for dancers when it comes to free styling?
Moses: Free Styling for me was one of the hardest things I ever had to learn. Understanding that there was no wrong way of moving. I pride myself as one of those people who never cared what other people thought about me, so why did I let the opinions of others get the best of me? Especially in what I love to do most. We are our biggest critics when it comes to our art, and it’s not always easy stepping out of that comfort zone. But once you do, wow, the possibilities.
Nikki: Getting in the zone to choreograph, what does it take for you?
Moses: It’s finding that one piece of music that matches the mood you’re in. I find that when that piece of music falls into your lap, it takes over your mind, body, and soul that you can’t help but move and create.
Nikki: Who are some of your biggest influences in the Dance industry?
Moses: Some of my most recent influences I’d have to say would be working with the judges and choreographers on So You Think You Can Dance Canada. Their continued support through all the years I auditioned to the injury I sustained on the show after finally making the top 22, the wisdom they shared helped mold the dancer I am today and I couldn’t be more thankful. Special shout out to Jean Marc, Tre, Luther, and Blake for always believing in me. I also have credit all the amazing dancers and teachers who believed in me at what’s considered an older age to start dancing- Nicole Owens, Mary Pidlaski, Sofia Costantini, Shelley Shearer, Eryn Hyman, Kim Sato, Joanne Pesusich- just to name a few. On top of that all the choreographers and assistants that I have had the pleasure of working on several sets with from Kelly Konno, RJ Durell, Jeff Dimitriou, and Paul Becker, the list could go on and on. I am just so humbled and honoured to have had worked with as many talented and inspiring people in the business so far and I am genuinely excited to see what’s next for me.
Nikki: Being from Winnipeg what made you decide to spend time living in Toronto?
Moses: The opportunity is quite significant for a dancer when you compare what a city like Toronto has to offer when you come from a small big city like Winnipeg. It’s a tough decision to make for anyone to leave their hometown, where they know everything and everyone. Toronto is such a face paced city and is full of work for dancers. I quickly realized that I am no longer one of a handful of talented well established dancers, I am now one in a million, which for me is an absolutely amazing feeling to be in such great company. If there’s one piece of advice I can offer to any dancer thinking of relocating, is to never give up. The transition may be hard and stressful- but trust me when I say your hard work, dedication, and sacrifice will go a long way.
Nikki: Name a Toronto Choreographer you enjoy working with and why?
Moses: I recently have had quite a few opportunities to work with several choreographers based out of Toronto. I think most recent would be a project I am working on at the moment, with the amazing Eryn Waltman. She was the first dance class I took after I received word that I would no longer be participating on this seasons show (SYTYCDC) and if it wasn’t for that beautiful class, I wouldn’t of met her at that time, or heard of the audition she was having for her company, and might not have brought me back to Toronto as soon as I did. And now I am a part of a company that is pushing me to be stronger than I’ve ever had to be and challenging me in so many different ways, not only physically and emotionally, but also the movement quality challenges me to step out of the box. Eryn not only is a beautiful soul, but is a choreographic genius and I am so blessed to be a part of something that has such potential for a bright future.
Nikki: Name one of your favorite artists to work with and why?
Moses: I’ve had the pleasure of working with so many up and coming disney and nickelodeon stars it would be so hard to name just one. It is an amazing feeling to be surrounded by such young hard working talent- it definitely keeps me on my A Game!
Nikki: Can you share your SYTYCDC experience with T.D.O.T.?
Moses: My SYTYCDC experience was quite the roller coaster these past few seasons. From making top 40 two years in a row, to finally making it on this season, only to have it taken away over what for me was a minor injury, but for them a major liability. It was one of the hardest experiences to deal with. I decided to stay in Toronto a few weeks after I was told I would no longer be on the show, and I could never be alone- the thought of not being with my SYTYCD family was heart wrenching. When a dream as big as this is taken away from you, it’s hard to grasp that saying “everything happens for a reason”. But the decision to let me go was definitely a blessing in disguise. It not only gave my shoulder time to heal, but it opened so many opportunities I wouldn’t of been able to do had I been on the show.
This was the press release after the first taping of the show which goes into detail exactly how I was feeling when this was all going down:
“The last few days have been the toughest few I think I’ve ever had to deal with in some time now. I don’t remember the last time I felt so defeated and disappointed in myself or in a situation that was pretty much out of my control. I have been going through phases of sadness and gratitude… Sadness obviously because I find myself no longer in a competition that didn’t even begin for me… And gratitude in knowing the company that surrounds me really does care about me and my wellbeing. Where I was stubborn to notice and admit injury- you guys were there for me. I know right now all I feel like doing is blaming you guys for this disappointment, when I have no one to blame but myself for not giving my body the time to heal. It is also important to realize that not only am I looking out for my health and safety, but that of my partner- whom it would be unfair to put at risk. I have been through a lot in my life, sacrificed relationships with my family, but knowing how proud they are of me is what will get me through this. I will come out of this stronger than ever, and if the time and the place is right you will see my face in the top 20 again. I have been blessed with such an amazing opportunity to work with great dancers, choreographers, and an amazing production team. I leave the competition with a better sense of who I am and a huge drive to continue to live out my dream. This isn’t the last you’ll see of me.”” The size of your success is measured by the strength of your desire; the size of your dream; and how you handle disappointment along the way”
Nikki: Are you currently working on any projects?
Moses: I am currently working with choreographer Eryn Waltman and the company “Conteur” on the much anticipated show entitled “State of Mind”. (www.conteurdance.com) Also working on this project are past SYTYCD competitors Caroline Torti, this seasons Melissa Mitro and Lindsay Leuschner.
Nikki: Qualities you think Toronto Dancers possess?
Moses: Having been in Toronto now for just over a month I’ve gotten to know quite a few dancers. What I’ve noticed with almost all of them is that there is a hunger and a drive for success. There is an energy where everyone feeds off of each other, it’s almost like friendly competition, but pushing each other positively. I’ve been told that Toronto is a very face paced city when it comes to the industry, and I can see that now. I feel extremely blessed to be in such good company.
Nikki: Any advice for emerging dancers and choreographers working/training in Toronto?
Moses: Toronto is not an easy city to transition into that’s for sure, but keeps an open mind and stay positive. No one said the road to success was going to be easy- it takes dedication, sacrifice, time etc. to achieve those goals we’ve set for ourselves. Stay true to who you are and stay humble- anything and everything is possible.
THANK YOU MOSES FOR SHARING YOUR PASSION WITH T.D.O.T. XO
CHECK OUT HIS DEMO REEL AND HIS AUDITION SOLO FOR SYTYCDC….