This week’s Dancer/Choreographer shout out goes to Derick Robinson. “It takes an athlete to dance, but an artist to be a dancer.” and Derick Robinson has made that transition. After many years of training at the provincial and national levels of soccer, Derick left his sporting roots behind to explore the world of dance. Starting out as just a hobby, dance has grown into more than just a passion; it’s his way of life. He has had the opportunity to work with such artists as Divine Brown at the “Toronto New Year’s Bash” to bring in 2011, and for Lady Gaga at the 2011 “Much Music Video Awards”. He is the founder and choreographer for the new all male Hip-Hop dance crew, The O.G. Crew (Original Gentlemen). They have competed at World of Dance Toronto, The Canadian Street Dance Championships, on Much Music’s Best Dance Crew and have recently performed for Trish at The America’s Next Top Model Live Event in Toronto, which he choreographed.
Over the past few years Derick has developed and refined his own style of dance that is only starting to be exposed to the Toronto scene. His work has been seen at The Bazaar Showcase, On Much Music and at Toronto’s Choreographer’s Ball. He believes that creating a connection between emotion, movement and the music is what makes his choreography so unique. As an up and coming choreographer in Toronto, his work has been described as creative, innovative and diverse. Derick’s choreography is based with Hip-Hop, but he likes to fuse it with other styles such as African and contemporary. Excited to continue his journey with dance; Derick is eager and enthusiastic to bring something new and different to the stage.
Bio provided by Derick
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Find out what Derick had to say in this week’s shout out…
Nikki: Do you remember the first time you started dancing?
Derick: The first time I started dancing was in grade 10. I was always the athletic guy doing all the sports, and one day I just decided to try something different and join the dance class at my high school. I had no idea was I was doing, seeing as the first thing we did in the class was ballet. It wasn’t exactly what I had expected, but I quickly started falling in love with the movement.
Nikki: Do you remember the first song you choreographed to? (Or your earliest memory)
Derick: The very first song I choreographed to was call Rising Sun by DBSK. It was the first year I started the dance crew at my high school. We were called XclusiV. I had absolutely no idea what the words meant, but I fell in love with the rhythm and feel of the song. I remember that whole process like it was yesterday. We practiced for months, and once our performance was over it was one of the best feelings I have ever felt.
Nikki: Your personal advice for dancers when it comes to free styling?
Derick: I know there are a lot of dancers that say they can’t freestyle. But when you strip down free styling down to what it actually is, it’s just moving. The best advice that I can give is to remember that free styling is just about freely dancing without the stress of having to mess up choreo. Just put on some music and move in any which way you please.
Nikki: Getting in the zone to choreograph, what does it take for you?
Derick: I think of doing choreography as if I were doing a puzzle. I need to have the right theme, purpose, music and motivation. Each one of these things has to come together to be able for me to get in the zone. Sometimes it can take me 30 minutes to choreograph something and other times it takes weeks. Some dances are more complex and others are just for fun. I have to have all the right pieces to be able to get a finished product. If I can’t have all of these elements come together then it just doesn’t feel right, I don’t know how many dances I have scraped and started over because I wasn’t getting the right feeling from them. Choreographing takes a lot of patience.
Nikki: Who are some of your biggest influences in the Dance industry?
Derick: There are so many people that have influenced my dancing and myself. First off would be Mike Song, he is the reason I got into hip-hop and has always been a huge idol of mine. Ian Eastwood is one of my biggest influences. I can really connect with his dancing. The passion and musicality he puts into his dances are incredibly inspiring. Some others are Keone Madrid, Mariel Martin, Tony Tran, Jaja Vankova, Jillian Meyers, Megan Lawson, Leon Blackwood, Shameka Blake and Esie Mensah.
Nikki: Name a Toronto Choreographer you enjoy working with and why?
Derick: One of my biggest inspirations would be Hollywood Jade. He is basically the one that found me as a dancer and helped introduce me to so many people in the industry. He gave me my very first dancing gig. He has always pushed me to be the best that I can be and to never settle for anything less, and he has been there for me in any situation. His creative visions are always of phenomenal quality and class. Without him, I don’t know where I would be with dance, or if I would even be dancing at all today.
Nikki: Name one of your favorite artists to work with and why?(Could be another Dancer, choreographer, musician etc. Doesn’t have to be from Toronto)
Derick: My favorite person to work with would be Shameka Blake. She has this incredible ability to bring out movement in me that I never thought I could be able to do. Sometimes I really don’t understand how certain the things can come out of her brain. “I can’t” literally doesn’t exist in her vocabulary, so there is no limit with her and she always strives for perfection, which brings out the best in me.
Nikki: Are you currently working on any projects?
Derick: The biggest thing I’m working on right now is with my crew The O.G. Crew (Original Gentlemen) we have qualified to represent Canada at the World Street Dance Championships in England at the end of August. So we are currently trying to do as much fundraising as we possibly can to come up with enough money to go over there and compete. So keep a look out for workshops, performances and small little fun things that are going to be coming from us in the near future.
Nikki: Qualities you think Toronto Dancers possess?
Derick: I believe that Toronto dancers are always hungry for more. We push and push and push to be the best we can be at all times. There is always a fire burning inside of us that makes us want to do as much as we can to become the best we can be. I honestly think that Toronto dancers are really underrated in the larger dance industry. But I also believe that the world is soon to have their eyes opened very wide. Toronto is ready for movements.
Nikki: Any advice for emerging dancers and choreographers working/training in Toronto?
Derick: I think the biggest advice that I can give comes from a quote that I live by, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you”. If you always sit back in your comfort zone with dancing or choreographing you will never be able to grow and develop. Take the risk and try a new style of dance, try a harder class, try anything new and different. You will always know your abilities, but you will never know where those abilities can take you if you don’t reach as far as you can. Don’t ever get comfortable, dare to be challenged, dare to fail and dare to be unique.
THANK YOU DERICK FOR SHARING YOUR LOVE AND PASSION WITH T.D.O.T. XO
CHECK OUT SOME FOOTAGE OF DERICK DOING HIS THANG…
January 21, 2013
[…] Check out Derick’s Full feat HERE