This week’s Dancer/Choreographer shout out goes to Alvin Collantes. Originally for Mississauga, Ontario, Alvin discovered his passion from dance accidentally at eighteen years old while attending his first year of studies at The University of Western Ontario. He stumbled upon a local dance studio in London and spontaneously decided to register for eight adult recreational ballet classes. Completing his two years of undergraduate, Alvin decided to postpone his academics in order to intensively train in all styles of dance including ballet, improvisation, modern, contemporary, jazz, hip-hop, ballroom and latin. Alvin attended the School of Toronto Dance Theatre, where he obtained his core strength and training in Contemporary and Graham technique. While in school he had the opportunity to work with renowned choreographers including Darryl Tracy, Julia Sasso, Robert Kingsbury and Sharon Moore. His idiosyncratic and unique contemporary style has further developed through this experience.
Recently, Alvin was fortunate enough to live in New York City for a few months to work with renowned choreographers including Igal Perry, the Artistic Director of Peridance Capezio Center, Brian Norris, the Artistic Director of Men On Pointe Ballet Company as well as Max Stone. Along with this experience, he was very lucky to have done an internship with one of the most leading fashion PR agencies in the world, BPMW Agency. His exposure to the Fashion Industry has given him the opportunity to integrate this knowledge into his style of movement.
Alvin continues to perform in all types of events including weddings, corporate events, birthday parties, dance recitals, Nuit Blanche, outdoor festivals and charity shows. Alvin is highly involved and grateful to be a part of the Toronto dance community and continues to grow as an artist while guest teaching and choreographing for studios across Ontario. He is very thankful to have had the opportunities to get his choreographic works featured on shows such as Toronto’s Original Choreographer’s Ball and The Bazaar Showcase. Alvin continues to prove that with constant dedication and persistence anything is possible.
Bio provided by Alvin
Check out Alvins You Tube www.youtube.com/alvincollantes
Follow Alvin on Twitter @AlvinCollantes
Find Out What Alvin had to say in this week’s shout out….
Nikki: Do you remember the first time you started dancing?
Alvin: The first time I started dancing was in my first year of school at The University of Western Ontario. I was super stressed out with mid-terms and exams and so I spontaneously decided to take adult recreational ballet classes at a local dance studio. I felt that going outside of my comfort zone would help me de-stress and relax my mind. After my first ballet class, the rest was history.
Nikki: Do you remember the first song you choreographed to? (Or your earliest memory)
Alvin: Idioteque – Radiohead
I totally fell in love with this song and really embraced my weird personality and style. I admire artists like Thom Yorke who are not afraid to express themselves and take really bold risks in order to cultivate their gift.
Nikki: Your personal advice for dancers when it comes to free styling?
Alvin: Free styling to me is a simple definition of dance. Choreography and structure becomes second nature because when dancers go to an audition, it usually starts with a freestyle round. It takes a lot of trust, inspiration and creativity to be able to move without thinking.
When free styling:
– Try to think of visuals, pictures, images, textures and volume
– Take your mind to a place you’ve never been before
– Make sure that your mind is very relaxed and refreshed
– Listen to the music and let your body react to what you’re hearing
– Trust your body and trust your technique
– Never hold anything back
– Be Present
Nikki: Getting in the zone to choreograph, what does it take for you?
Alvin: I have this mindset where I make sure that I am inspired by a concept, an idea, an object or a situation before going into choreography. I study the music and I try to figure out how it was created and produced. Music to me is always a marriage to the movement. The movement should respond to how dancers interpret the music along with the inspired idea. After a few improvisational exercises and play, then the choreography begins.
Nikki: Who are some of your biggest influences in the Dance industry?
Alvin: In Toronto, some of my biggest influences are Darryl Tracy, Eryn Waltman, Hayley Paone, Haley McPherson and Robert Kingsbury. These are some of the artists that I do admire very well because they acknowledge that their artistry is inspired by how they live their lives everyday. They all have very unique perception of dance and I really admire their own interpretation of it.
In New York, Max Stone really inspired me to accept who I am as a dancer, creator and a mover. Regardless of the lack of my technical experience, I have embraced my artistry be being able to accept my imperfections, embrace them and integrate them as part of my artistry.
Nikki: Name a Toronto Choreographer you enjoy working with and why?
Alvin: I really enjoy working with Hayley Paone, the artistic director of inhale Dance Company simply because I have a great connection with her not only as a choreographer but also a mentor and a friend. She has helped me a lot to be open with my emotions and being able to relate it into my dancing.
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)
Alvin: If I was living my dream, I would love to work with Stephen Petronio Dance Company. I saw Stephen Petronio Dance Company perform at the Joyce Theatre in New York and their world premiere piece entitled “The Architecture of Loss” has inspired me so much. He was able to incorporate fashion designers, visual artists, and live musicians into the creative process of this piece and I would love to take part of his company and learn a lot from him as a dance mentor and artistic director.
Nikki: Are you currently working on any projects?
Alvin: Stay tuned – JULY 8th – I will be teaching a FREE Modern-Inspired Class on behalf of Tre Armstrong’s The Give Back Foundation. This event will be held at the National Ballet School of Canada. E-mail (email@example.com) for more information
July 20 at the Royal Opera House for Lineen Duong’s Smile for a Cause Charity Showcase, I will be showcasing my latest choreographic work.
I am also promoting a brand new all male pointe ballet company called MEN ON POINTE based in New York City, for their upcoming tour in the fall! visit (www.indiegogo.com/menonpointe) for more details!
I will also be guest teaching this summer in Toronto so e-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org) to subscribe and be in the loop or if you are a dance studio and is interested!
I am also working on various video projects involving some of the active members of the Toronto Dance Community in both commercial and classical / modern fields, email me (email@example.com) for further inquiries and questions.
Nikki: Qualities you think Toronto Dancers possess?
Alvin: Toronto Dancers have a lot of heart and pure motivation to be able to do what they do everyday as artists. Their talents are most of the time undervalued by either not getting paid or corporations not abiding by the payment agreement. It takes a lot of drive to be able to stay in this industry and I do believe it takes a very strong, mature and hard working dancer to be able to have a long lasting dance career in the industry.
Nikki: Any advice for emerging dancers and choreographers working/training in Toronto?
Alvin: Evaluate every opportunity. Value yourself as an artist and always demand for compensation. You are allowed to say no to any gig that you think is not worth investing your time, your effort and money. Know that any professional paying gig can pay you more than they can initially offer. Learn how to negotiate and always think of your dance career as your own business.
THANK YOU ALVIN FOR SHARING YOUR LOVE & PASSION WITH T.D.O.T. XO
CHECK OUT SOME OF ALVINS WORK…
<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/26089170″>Með suð í eyrum Performed by Alvin Collantes</a> from <a href=”http