This weeks Dancer/Choreographer shout out goes to Jaeblaze. When the incomparable talent of Fatima Robinson was met with the passion and creativity of jaeblaze, a match made in choreographer heaven was born. At the time of their 2005 meeting, jaeblaze had established a reputation as one of Canada’s premier choreographers thanks to her flawless ability to unite the aggression of hip-hop with the passion and excitement of Jamaican dancehall. Robinson was working with an unknown Rihanna on her first video for “Pon de Replay” and tapped jaeblaze to bring her authentic style of dance to the project. After seeing her in action, Rhianna insisted jaeblaze join the tour as a dancer and choreographer. Impressed by her work ethic and dedication to the craft, Fatima Robinson also requested jaeblaze’s continued assistance, which resulted in the opportunity to showcase her incomparable work to international A-list clientele.
In 2007, jaeblaze was requested to assist with the choreography for the Academy Awards (Best Costume -“Dreamgirls”) and again in 2009 (Best Song “Jai-Ho” – Slumdog Millionaire). “The Black Eyed Peas” are big fans of the energy jaeblaze showcases in her work and the highlights of their relationship include: the 2011 Superbowl Half-Time show, 2010’s “The End” world tour, the 2010 Grammy performance of the monster hits “Imma Be/Got A Feeling” and Fergie’s 2006 “My Humps” video (MTV award winner for Best Hip-Hop video). Reggae artist Sean Paul also received an MTV award in 2006 after showcasing jaeblaze’s work in the “Get Busy” video. Kelly Rowland, Enrique Iglesias, Niki Minaj, Leona Lewis, R. Kelly and many others have benefited from her talent. Internationally, jaeblaze has traveled the globe choreographing routines for the Japan MTV Awards and for the India based Disney production of “Cheetah Girls One World” along with all the dates on the Cheetah Girls North American tour. Ad agencies for Target, Old Navy, Kelloggs, IPod and McDonald’s have all used distinct elements of Jaeblaze’s choreography for prime time campaigns.
When “So You Think You Can Dance Canada” introduced a Dancehall category to the competition, Toronto native jaeblaze made history as the first choreographer to bring authentic dancehall to a nationally televised show. She returned to SYTYCDC in 2009 and in 2010 jaeblaze choreographed a powerful dancehall piece called “Clarks”. The online video gained tens of thousands of views in a few short days and the viral popularity of the routine prompted several international news outlets, including CNN, to interview jaeblaze about the influence of dancehall on the mainstream industry.
jaeblaze specializes in a form of dance that claims no formal training, which works to her advantage. Considered a dancer’s dancer, jaeblaze is synonymous with unparalleled creativity, exceptional work ethic, a commitment to the client’s vision and the well being of her dancers. This can be seen on stage as Jae just completed Jordin Sparks break out performance “I AM WOMAN” on American Idol as well as Jordins tour opening for NKOTBSB. Jae recently returned from France completing the Black Eye Peas “THE BEGINNING” tour. She jumped right into the film production of the star studded remake of Sparkle starring Whitney Houston and Jordin Sparks, which is set to release August 2012.
“Dance is what I am made of! There is no separation.
It’s what I do and what I am.” -Jaeblaze
Bio provided by jaeblaze
Find out what Jaeblaze had to say in this weeks shout out…
Nikki: Do you remember the first time you started dancing?
Jaeblaze: No! lol..I was told by my adopted family that my mother would dance hard up to 9 months pregnant with me..lol..They said it was unbelievable the way she moved and how passionate she was..I later learned that she was a Jamaican folk dancer in her prime..Interesting!! I’ve always had an admiration and respect for the arts from childhood…i grew up watching my mom have house parties and the guest dancing to ska, disco, reggae, and singing out old Rockas tunes..They would cheer me on as I imitated what I saw and I loved the feeling…I always knew i wanted to perform…that’s my earliest memories of dancing
Nikki: Do you remember the first song you choreographed to? (Or your earliest memory)
Jaeblaze: No! lol…im sure it was something to Michael Jackson, New Edition or Janet Jackson because i was always dancing to one of their songs!! I always was the one in school who would initiate dance routines, singing groups, artistic paintings or improv sessions…i was just a character at all times!! I’m sure my school mates and siblings can tell you how obnoxious and annoying that was but because I was always so committed and involved.. I can’t tell you what the first one was…i was always trying to create!
Nikki: Your personal advice for dancers when it comes to free styling?
Jaeblaze: My personal advice for dancers when it comes to free styling is to let go! Because I’m not a trained dancer and come from a freestyle background I have the ability not to be hindered by the lines and restrictions some dance genres dictate the body to have! Dance is supposed to be total freedom!!! Do what you want, move the way you want and don’t be hindered by what may be considered “cool” or not!! Just dance!! Get lost in the movement and the music which will expand your musicality! Now on the other side of the coin, I also advise to become educated about other dance genres and learn technique as well because it will only enhance your freestyle!!
Nikki: Getting in the zone to choreograph, what does it take for you?
Jaeblaze: to choreograph I just need inspiration…whether it comes from music, art, fashion, or words… I just need to be inspired! When I’m inspired by music it usually a bass driven beat that moves me then I zone out! I also love working with artist who have their own visions and that helps because I want to bring that vision to life, I have a focal point and its then my job to translate what that vision is!
Nikki: Who are some of your biggest influences in the Dance industry?
Jaeblaze: some of my biggest influences would include Fatima Robinson who I had the amazing opportunity to co-choreograph with for 5 years. Great experience and a lot of exposure to countless forums of dances. Of course Michael Jackson because he changed the way audiences view music and dance on a whole! I also admire Dancehall legends like Bogle and Dancehall Queen Carlene because they set the foundation for dancers in the Dancehall community and that’s a genre very close to my heart!
Nikki: Name a Toronto Choreographer you enjoy working with and why?
Jaeblaze: a Toronto choreographer I enjoyed working with would be the homie Luther Brown. Him and I worked together in the junior and high school era…we basically started our careers together with a bunch of kids (our age mind you lol) from the Driftwood Community Centre in Jane and Finch…we had a crew called One Step Up comprised of dancers and steppers..We did fashions shows, talent shows, competitions…we were the crew to beat back in the day! And everyone in our crew has gone on and flourished into amazing adults with great careers…very proud of Big Move, Jully Black, Denise “Bruk it Up”, Fogah Don, Julie and Araba, lol..There is just too many to name!! But our members went on to own dance studios, dance for Argos and Raptors, featured in countless music videos, commercials, became actors etc…We really set the standard for Toronto!!
Nikki: Name one of your favorite artists to work with and why?
Jaeblaze: wow! That’s a big one! I can’t just name one because I’ve had so many phenomenal experiences with phenomenal people! So bear with me! Jennifer Hudson-amazing work ethic, lovable person…rapper Nelly-he called my mom on the phone because she was his biggest fan! lol Fergie of BEP-just a cool round the way chick!! Kelly Rowlands-super sweet! Jordin Sparks-spunk, voice, body done! Derek Luke and his wife Sophie-astounding actors and heart of gold those two! Lady Saw-she could be family! Chaka Khan-adorable lady, so professional! These are my fav artist because they were so gracious and fun to work with which made my job really easy! They definitely made an impression on me!
Nikki: Are you currently working on any projects?
Jaeblaze: Currently I’m working on shooting something really special…that i can’t quite talk about lol! But stay posted! Just finished the remake of Sparkle movie in Detroit. Then went straight to NYC to choreograph VH1 Divas… I’m doing workshops around the country for the start of 2012, then move into production for another gig in Feb./march…all in the works but I will keep you posted on everything I promise!
Nikki: Qualities you think Toronto Dancers possess?
Jaeblaze: I say it all the time and will continue to say it…Toronto dancers are the best all around performers…they have the look, the moves, and the drive! All we need now are the opportunities for those qualities to shine!! Toronto dancers posses all the qualities needed to become a top booker in America, well world wide as a matter of fact!
Nikki: Any advice for emerging dancers and choreographers working/training in Toronto?
Jaeblaze: keep at it!!!!! Know your craft! DO NOT STICK TO ONE CHOREOGRAPHER!! In order to gain knowledge, how to politic, learn different techniques, freestyle, perform, network, you have to expand your dance vocabulary! To do such you must expose yourself to everything! Do not be afraid to be a student of dance because it may not be kool or what everyone else isn’t doing! I am always learning and always seeking out dance knowledge that will allow me to excel at what I do! When u become “cultish” you then cut yourself off from a whole world of experience! You may have immense talent but because you have stayed loyal to one person your talent will remain where that person is! And if he/she becomes dormant…so will you!!
THANK YOU JAEBLAZE FOR SHARING YOUR LOVE AND PASSION WITH T.D.O.T. XO
CHECK OUT JAEBLAZE’S REEL & THE SHORT FILM SHE DIRECTED, CHOREOGRAPHED AND PRODUCED….FIYAHHHHH