This week’s Dancer/Choreographer shout out goes to Scott Fordham. Born and raised in Deux-Montagnes, Quebec, Scott started his dance journey in Montreal’s underground. From Hip Hop to dancehall he could be seen burning up dance floors and lighting up stages across the city. It was not until he made his move to Toronto where he was exposed to jazz funk and, while keeping his urban foundation, developed his own style which contains elements of Hip Hop, Dancehall, African and Jazz Funk. His choreography is notoriously hard-hitting and challenging all while capturing his love for music.
Scott has worked with recording artists by the likes of Nelly Furtado, Anjulie, Deborah Cox, Cascada, Jully Black, Divine Brown, Azari & III, Kreesha Turner and Danny Fernandes to name a few, while opening for artists such as Katy Perry, LL Cool J, Shirley Bassey and Monica. He has also worked with top industry choreographers Luther Brown, Jae Blaze, Tre Armstrong, Mel & Chanti and Jaquel Knight (Single Ladies) among others. Scott’s work has been seen on Much Music, Mtv, Fashion Television, City TV and in music videos on various stations. Additionally, Scott was a “Guest International Choreographer” on ABC’s American Music Awards red carpet special in 2010 in Los Angeles.
More recently, Scott put on his first major solo production on entitled “Limitless” on October 15th, 2011 at Toronto’s St Lawrence Centre for the Arts where he and his cast of 43 dancers displayed his unique style of choreography in a high-energy and memorable showcase. Also, Scott was involved for the third consecutive year with City TV’s New Year’s Eve Bash in Nathan Philip’s Square, Canada’s undisputed #1 New Years Eve special while choreographing for Anjulie. He followed up this performance by Choreographing at the 2012 Juno Awards again for Anjulie in Ottawa and most recently at the 2012 Much Music Video Awards for Nelly Furtado.
Bio provided by Scott
Find out what Scott had to say in this week’s shout out…
Nikki: Do you remember the first time you started dancing?
Scott: My first performance marked my first attempt at dancing and choreographing. It was during my graduating year of high school and I performed and choreographed a number in the annual variety show. I was 16. The show turned out great and shocked friends and family but I did not really venture into dance until I was 21 aside from hitting the clubs.
Nikki: Do you remember the first song you choreographed to? (Or your earliest memory)
Scott: Absolutely! It was Usher’s “U R the One” from his 8701 album. I still remember the opening 8 count…well, sort of…
Nikki: What made you decide to move from Montreal to Toronto?
Scott: I knew I wanted to work with recording artists and on the commercial side of dance. I left Montreal once I decided to make choreography my career so I could throw myself into a larger and new market to give myself that push. It put me in survival mode and so I was hungry to do it and do it well! I am always looking to re-create that situation which is what made me start to dip into the UK market and soon I will be
Nikki: Your personal advice for dancers when it comes to free styling?
Scott: I would say be you and do you! When it comes to free-styling, you want to stand out. In an audition, you want to be noticed but know what choreographers, producers, artists, directors etc. are ultimately looking for and play on that. The “Free” part allows you to approach movement in any way you desire and the “Style” part is where we see you and what sets you apart.
Nikki: Getting in the zone to choreograph, what does it take for you?
Scott: I definitely listen to any song involved a few times and then step away and go about other tasks that need to be done that are not dance related. This allows the song to sit in my body and really affect me. I later return to listen again and then I stage the show. I see how I want the show to move or flow and how many bodies I want first. The actual moves come later on. Sometimes I do the lights out with candles thing or go somewhere where crowds of people are rushing around and watch them but my favorite is being by water as you can see and hear a different rhythm every time. It really depends on the song and the energy I want to see in the piece or project.
Nikki: Who are some of your biggest influences in the Dance industry?
Scott: Before I began choreographing names like Wade Robson, Tina Landon & Paula Abdul were definitely on my radar and impacting me artistic side as well as artists such as Usher, Janet & Britney. Now, choreographers with careers Brian Friedman and Frank Gatson Jr inspire me. Mia Michaels fascinates me and no artist is hitting it like Beyonce right now, she gets it!
Nikki: Name a Toronto Choreographer you enjoy working with and why?
Scott: Of the choreographers I know who really rep Toronto, Luther Brown. He is extremely talented, clearly loves what he does.! A choreographer from my generation that I admire and have enjoyed working with is Stephanie Rutherford, I think she is a great talent and has a bright future ahead.
Nikki: Name one of your favorite artists to work with and why?
Scott: That’s a tough one but I will say Deborah Cox. My first professional gig was choreographing for her. She is an artist who is not into gimmicks or too much of anything that takes away from the music. She has a straight-forward approach in the sense that she understands the power and talent she has with her voice and is secure with it. You see and feel that when she hits the stage.
Nikki: Are you currently working on any projects?
Scott: I just finished choreographing for Nelly Furtado at the MMVA’s in Canada. As I answer these questions I am actually in London, UK choreographing a performance for Deborah Cox in Trafalgar Square and I head to Montreal next week to produce the follow-up performance of my show “LIMITLESS” that hit the St Lawrence Centre for the Arts last fall in Toronto. I am extremely excited for that performance. I have ongoing projects with Anjulie, which keeps me busy and some artists who are set to make noise this fall. Get ready!
Nikki: Qualities you think Toronto Dancers possess?
Scott: Toronto dancers know how to perform! They love the “Lights”, they work the “Camera” and are always ready for the “Action”. Many of them are truly World-Class! You have dancers or choreographers like myself that come from other cities and are hungry for jobs so Toronto-nians are always kept on their toes. It gives Toronto a really interesting and somewhat competitive dynamic.
Nikki: Any advice for emerging dancers and choreographers working/training in Toronto?
Scott: Find your lane and stay in it! This is so important in my approach to life and dance. It is ok to broaden your lane but make sure you have one. Know what you want and where you want to go. Do not try and be the next “so-and-so” because you’ve lost before you’ve begun. Not every contract is for you , however, you will have your moment if your motives are true to your artistic self and you are willing to work hard. Dancers, work with choreographers who will push you and Choreographers, always follow your gut! Do not stage something that you think people want to see…Make them want to see more of what you just showed them!
THANK YOU SCOTT FOR SHARING YOUR LOVE & PASSION WITH T.D.O.T. XO