This week’s Dancer/Choreographer shout out goes to Alana Randall. Alana, a Toronto native, always knew she wanted to be a performer. At the age of 3, dance was what started her love for performing. Alana has competed in dance competitions all over the country and the U.S. She has had the opportunities of dancing for many artists such as Bow Wow, Boomtang Boys, Neil Young, and Katy Perry, to name a few. You may have also seen her dancing for the Toronto Raptors Dance Pak and the Toronto Argonauts on court or on the field.
Aside from dancing, in her early pre-teens, Alana became serious about acting and singing. She had already been in numerous commercials, films and music videos – but that wasn’t enough for her. So she put a hold on her career to further her education in performance. After high school, she studied theatre performance for a year at Humber College and went on to study musical theatre at the Randolph Academy. After graduation, she worked hard to build a name in this industry. As if all that education wasn’t enough, not too long ago, Alana graduated from the New York Film Academy studying Broadcast Journalism in New York City and lived there for a good while. She came back to Canada to do a show and has been booked solid ever since. Alana has been seen in commercials for McDonalds, Payless Shoes, Liberty Mutual, and CTV’s “So You Think You Can Dance Canada.”
A few years ago, Alana even gave film/TV acting a whirl and landed her first principal role playing the character of Maya in the MTV movie “MADE…The Movie”. After working on other TV/Film sets, she soon landed a principal role as a series regular on the CW hit TV series “Hellcats”, playing the character of Frankie. After the amazing experience of filming a full season, she knew that TV/Film was something that she wanted to pursue. Not to dismiss theatre, because this tiny triple threat of a performer will always be a theatre baby. Selected theatre credits include, “Vagina Monologues” (Jerry Orbach Theatre, NYC), “Hairspray” (Drayton Theatre), “High School Musical” as the role of Taylor McKessie (1st Canadian cast/Neptune/Drayton Theatre), “Footloose” as the role of Rusty ( Alumnae Theatre), “From Here To Africville” as the role of Eva Hattie (Factory Theatre). Alana will be a part of the cast of “The Wizard Of Oz” at the Ed Mirvish Theatre opening December 2012 and running until September 2013, followed by a North American tour. Alana feels truly blessed that she is able to do what she loves. She strives to inspire, be inspired, and create a strong impact on her audiences when she performs whether through movement, words, expression, or song.
Bio provided by Alana
Find out what Alana had to say in this week’s shout out…
Nikki: Do you remember the first time you started dancing?
Alana: I don’t really remember when I first started dancing because I was only 3 years old, however I do remember the first time I really knew that I wanted to perform for the rest of my life. I was 7 years old and performed my first Jazz solo. I didn’t want to ever leave that stage and it was such an amazing feeling performing in front of a huge crowd and hearing them cheer for me!
Nikki: Do you remember the first song you choreographed to? (Or your earliest memory)
Alana: I have a lot of memories of songs that I choreographed to. I think one memory that really sticks out at the moment was when I choreographed a Hip hop/Jazz piece to a mash-up of songs for an event called Carassauga. It was for a dance group when I was in High school. One of the songs in the mix was “Peaches ‘n’ Cream” by the group 112 which was popular at the time.
Nikki: Your personal advice for dancers when it comes to free styling?
Alana: Relax, be free, and have fun. Feel every single bit of the music and let it translate through your body. Whatever you do, don’t over think your moves. Just go go go!
Nikki: Getting in the zone to choreograph, what does it take for you?
Alana: It takes raw emotion and getting to that place. I usually choreograph to music that speaks to me at the time.
Nikki: Who are some of your biggest influences in the Dance industry?
Alana: Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson and Paula Abdul where big influences for me while growing up. Right now, I’m a big fan of Mia Michaels choreography. There are so many that the list could go on forever! Lol
Nikki: Name a Toronto Choreographer you enjoy working with and why?
Alana: I really enjoy working with Jeff Dimitriou because he’s such a generous choreographer. And by that I mean he is so talented in his choreography and in knowing exactly what he wants with his vision, but he is also open to the dancers adding their own personal ‘swag’ might I say to the choreo and giving us some freedom. I’ve worked with him for a while now on projects such as Hellcats and L.A. Complex, so I’ve really gotten to know what an amazing person he is as well.
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)
Alana: Out of all the artists I’d worked with throughout my career so far, I’d say that my favorite to work with would be Shantall Young Oneto. She is such a talented Latina singer and a genuinely beautiful woman inside and out. She has so much soul in her music and truly loves what she does and has inspired me as well as many others.
Nikki: Are you currently working on any projects?
Alana: Well I just got back from performing in the musical called HAIR which ran since April at The Grand Theatre in London Ontario. I have different projects up in the air for the summer. I’m starring in an independent short film called “A good man is hard to find” it premieres at the TIFF bell Lightbox theatre in Toronto on June 4th. In November I’ll be starting a contract with Mirvish Productions performing in the musical The Wizard Of Oz. It opens in December at the Ed Mirvish Theatre (formerly called The Canon) and will be in Toronto until September 2013. We will most likely head on a North American tour after that.
Nikki: Qualities you think Toronto Dancers possess?
Alana: Confidence, drive, flow, culture, creativity and edge. There’s just that extra something that has set us apart and has given us a name in the music and dance industry all over the world.
Nikki: Any advice for emerging dancers and choreographers working/training in Toronto?
Alana: Train, audition, and take as many classes as you can by different choreographers. It is crucial for a dancer/choreographer to be ahead of the game and continue to learn and grow as an artist whether you’re working or not. It also keeps you in that circle so that your name gets out there. No matter how tough it gets in this industry, and trust me it can get really tough, don’t give up on what you love. Keep pushing harder. And I know that it’s easier said than done, but don’t compare yourself to other artists because everyone is unique in their own individual way, and each performer has something special to offer.
THANK YOU ALANA FOR SHARING YOUR LOVE & PASSION WITH T.D.O.T.