Archive | September, 2012

LATOYA WEBLEY

24 Sep

This week’s Dancer/Choreographer shout out goes to Latoya Webley. Latoya is originally from Toronto (Canada) she was born and raised in a Jamaican household. Latoya has been dancing since she was 9 years old. Her style and dance background is a compilation of Afro, Freestyle, Hip-Hop, Jazz funk and Dancehall. Trained originally by her sister, Diana Webley (RUKUS Dance Troop), she has had the opportunity to work and train w/ some of the industry’s top choreographers such as Tanisha Scott, Tina Landen, Fatima Robinson, Luther Brown, Jae Blaze, and Hihat. Latoya has been teaching, choreographing and dancing as a professional dancer for over 16years. Choreography credits include Bruno Mars, Flo Rida, Drake and Akon. Latoya has danced in movies, commercials, videos and has graced many stages alongside Sean Paul, Jamie Foxx, Pharell, P.Diddy, Lady Saw, Black Eyed Peas, Rihanna, Jill Scott, Simple Plan and M.I.A to name a few. She has also had the opportunity to tour with Shakira, Destra Gracia, Kardinal Offishal and JoJo. Latoya’s most recent performance was displayed on the 2012 Grammy Awards and 2012 MTV Video Music Awards where she danced alongside Rihanna for both productions displaying some original movements from her dancehall background. Latoya has been blessed and loves to share her talent with others locally and internationally. She has done workshops in Canada, US, Japan, China and is always excited to share her passion and love for dance with others.

 

Bio provided by Latoya

Twitter: @ToyaWeb

Youtube: MsToyaWeb

Facebook: latoya.webley

 

 Check out what Latoya had to say in this week’s feature…

Nikki: Do you remember the first time you started dancing?

Latoya: I started dancing at the age of 9 at Falstaff Community Center.

 

Nikki: Do you remember the first song you danced/choreographed to? (Or your earliest memory)

Latoya: Cyndi Lauper ‘Time After Time’ (Choreographed by my sister Diana Webley @ our daycare showcase)

 

Nikki: Your personal advice for dancers when it comes to free styling?

Latoya: My personal advice for dancers would be to listen, dissect and be open to the music. Don’t wait for an audition to start free styling but try to do it every chance you get. Becoming familiar w/ the various genres of music will expand your freestyle capabilities.

 

Nikki: Getting in the zone to choreograph, what does it take for you?

Latoya: I love having good energy and vibes around me. Listening to good music automatically inspires and motivates me, it definitely puts me in the zone.

 

Nikki: Who are some of your biggest influences in the Dance industry?

Latoya:  Wow… I have so many. At various points in my dance career I’ve had different ones.  No two dancers/choreographers are alike and their paths to success have all been different.  We all know that it’s takes a lot of hard work and dedication for Canadian dancers to get the opportunity to work in the United States. My dance troop RUKUS was one of my first big influences. We did every talent show, dance competition, worked w/ local artist, club events, fashion shows, fundraisers and videos for YEARSSSSSSS!!!! And most of the time there was little to no pay. We just loved to perform and entertain. Those days have such a huge influence and are the reason for my success to date. Also Tanisha Scott, Mark Samuels, Luther Brown, Jae Blaze and Laurie Ann Gibson to name a few leaving Canada, excelling and paving the ways for so many Canadian dancers has influenced me tremendously.

 

Nikki: Name Toronto Choreographers you enjoy working with and why?

Latoya: Jae Blaze and Tanisha Scott are two Toronto Choreographers whom I enjoyed and had the pleasure to work w/ during my professional dance career. Jae Blaze worked as the assistant choreographer to Fatima Robinson on my first video for a major artist, Rihanna ‘Pon Di Replay’. Tanisha Scott gave me the opportunity to work w/ Sean Paul. Working w/ Sean Paul was my first dance job when I got my visa to work in the United States. Both Tanisha Scott and Jae Blaze have stretched me as a dancer so much and on so many levels.

 

Nikki: Name one of your favorite artists to work with and why? (It does not have to be a pop star any type of artist that a Dancer would work with i.e.; another Dancer, Choreographer, Musician etc.)

Latoya: One of my favourite artists to work w/ has always been Kardinal Offishall. I choreographed along side my Rukus dance crew member Onika Powell my first Canadian tour. Kardinal Offishall opened up for 50 cents ‘G-Unit Tour’. Kardinal is an amazing artist and entertainer. He always has the stamina to keep the crowd going. No two shows were ever alike. It was hard work but so much fun!

 

Nikki: Are you currently working on any projects?

Latoya: Yes, most recently I danced w/ Rihanna for the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards and performed w/ No Doubt at the iheart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas, which were both amazing experiences. I’m currently working w/ the artist JoJo… Check out her new single ‘Demonstrate’! Ill be heading to Japan, Montreal and Toronto in the near future to do a few workshops. 

 

Nikki: Qualities you believe Toronto Dancers possess?

Latoya: The city is multicultural and I find that the Toronto dancers are able to draw on the various cultures and styles when dancing that they’ve been exposed to. Toronto dancers have a fire like no other, great performance quality!

 

Nikki: Any advice for emerging dancers and choreographers working/training in Toronto?

Latoya: There is so much that I can say… but ill narrow it down to these few things.

‘Never despise the days of small beginnings’. Meaning the small jobs, local talent shows and artist that I started working w/ in the beginning have aided in the success of my dance career today.

There is no one sound way to make it as a dancer so find what works for you.

Beat day and night on your craft, all aspects of it!

Maintaining good relationships will always be key.

Support each other!

Support each other!

Support each other!

Oh ya and Support each other!!!!!

HAVE FAITH!

 

Special THANK YOU to everyone who has supported me over the years. I am truly thankful and blessed to have your inspiring comments and positive words… I look forward to a prosperous future, THANK GOD!

THANK YOU LATOYA FOR SHARING YOUR LOVE & PASSION WITH T.D.O.T. XO

CHECK OUT LATOYA’S RECENT DANCEHALL WORKSHOP AT OIP DANCE CENTRE IN TORONTO…

 

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT LATOYA DANCING BACK UP FOR RIHANNA AT THE  2012 MTV VIDEO AWARDS

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BRITTANY GUDMUNDSON

17 Sep

This week’s Dancer/Choreographer shout out goes to Brittany Gudmundson. Brittany  knew from a young age she wanted to be a performer. Born and raised in Chilliwack, British Columbia, she trained in many styles, including jazz, tap, modern, contemporary and hip hop. At a point in her training process growing up she had to choose between dance and gymnastics as she was soaring in both at a competitive level and even had an amazing opportunity to train with an Olympic trainer. It was a hard decision in the moment but she went with her heart and decided dance is what she loved and what she wanted to pursue. After graduating, and training in Vancouver for a couple of years, Brittany knew she had to take the next step for her career by moving to Toronto in late 2010. Toronto has been more than what she expected and has worked alongside the best choreographers and dancers in Canada through stage performances, tours, film and television work and music videos.

Toronto was the best move she’s made thus far in her career it has brought her many successes both on stage, and in front of camera. She has caught eyes of renowned teachers such as Blake McGrath, Shannon Mather’s, Kelly Konno, Brian Friedman and Sonya Tayeh. She has had the amazing opportunity to back up dance on Artist Blake McGrath’s, Canadian tour as well as Artist Guinevere’s, American tour, opening for Nick Carter. She has danced and appeared in music videos for artist’s such as Anjulie, Victoria Duffield, Cascada, Kreesha Turner, Bruno Mar’s, Alyssa Rubino, Saukratee’s, Keisha Chante and many more, as well she was a part of the biggest award show in Canada, ‘The Juno’s”, performing with Artist Anjulie. Brittany has performed on the film, Disney’s ‘Frenemie’s”, and has performed in Global’s “Bomb Girls’, CW’s ‘Nikita’, and CW’s “Hellcats’! From commercial work to performing, she is very motivated to keep growing in all areas of dance and will never stop pushing for her dreams!

Bio provided by Brittany

Follow @BlondeBrittt

Facebook: Britty Good

You Tube: Brittany Gudmundson

Check out what Brittany had to say in this week’s shout out…

Nikki: Do you remember the first time you started dancing?

Brittany: Honestly, I don’t remember the first time I started dancing. All that  I know is my auntie and mom were driving down a main street back in my home town and they spotted a cute pink building with a sign out front saying “Jazz, Tap, Stage and Hip Hop, Register now”, they thought it would be pretty cool to put their daughter’s in a tap class, from there on I was hooked!


Nikki: Do you remember the first song you choreographed to?

Brittany: Heck yes, I remember this pretty clearly! After school I went home with my friend and we choreographed to Spice Girls, “Wannabe” track. Of course we went all out and dressed up like them too, I always had to be Baby Spice! We even lip synced while dancing, so we pretty much choreographed the full tour that day!

Nikki: Your personal advice to dancers when it comes to free styling?

Brittany: TRUST YOURSELF! Try not to over think the music and your movement, there is no wrong, just be confident and do you, no one is there to judge, everyone learns something from each individual. Take the time to jam to a beat, get to know your body and understand your instrument! Free styling isn’t just about the movement but the emotion and story behind it, enjoy it!!

Nikki: Getting in the zone to choreograph what does it take for you?

Brittany: I am inspired by everyday things, and I have a big imagination. The song is a big part of choreography, I don’t tend to look for a song, I always wait for one to find me, weather it moves me, I have a vision, or it relates to something in my life, I’ll feed off of that.


Nikki: Who are some of your biggest influences in the industry?

Brittany: I have a lot of influences I look up to in the industry. I have always looked up to Blake McGrath and Brian Freidman growing up. They are unreal and don’t let anything get in their way of what they want, their fearless. Another influence I have that is close to me and I look up to is Taylor James. He has always believed in me and has pushed me ever since we met. Watching him grow as a dancer and conquering his dreams is so inspiring and makes me believe hard work pays off. It’s always nice to have a close friend and someone you can trust in the industry who truly wants the best for you!

Nikki: Name a Toronto choreographer you like working with and why?

Brittany: There are so many Toronto choreographers I love working with that have really made me the dancer I am today. They all bring such different qualities to their work and defiantly inspire me. Scott Fordham, Leon Blackwood, Mark Samuels, Jeff Dimitriou, and many more. Scott Fordham is the hardest working choreographer out there not just as a choreographer but in the business side of it all as well. Leon Blackwood has an ear for musicality and a vision as a choreographer like no one else in the business. Mark Samuels is so humble and an amazing role model with so much talent in so many areas. Jeff Dimitriou brings an energy that’s so refreshing and so rare in this industry it’s always a treat. All of these choreographers are also unreal dancers and performers, they all bring such a unique energy and vibe to their work and I am honoured to be a part of it!

Nikki: Name one of your favorite artists to work with and why? (It does not have to be a pop star any type of artist that a Dancer would work with i.e.; another Dancer, Choreographer, Musician etc.)

Brittany: One of my favourites to work with is Scott Fordham. I met him kind of randomly while I was assisting a convention in London Ontario, from there I have worked with him ever since. He is defiantly one of my influences and has always wanted the best for me. He never stops surprising me with what he accomplishes and how he goes about his work so professionally. He knows what he wants and knows how to achieve his vision; he is so dedicated to his passion and has accomplished everything he has put his mind to. From being there to witness all of this I have defiantly grown and have so much more to learn from him!


Nikki: Are you currently working on any projects?

Brittany: I currently just finished shooting a commercial back in Vancouver. It was my first acting gig and can’t wait to explore more in that field, It’s a whole different side of performing that I think will add to my work…but I believe there is always a project, if that is to be in rehearsal for a performance or gig of any type, to be in an audition or even taking class, your always learning and growing every day!

Nikki: Being from the West Coast tell us why you come to Toronto and the quality you think The Dancers here possess?

Brittany: Well coming from a small town of British Columbia to Toronto I definitely got to see the difference in the industry. Toronto dancer’s brought my

Passion back! They bring a whole different dynamic to dance; I’ve learnt a lot since I’ve been here and I have taken in the movement and become a part of it all. There are so many talented dancer’s out here that are so original but I think all Canadian dancers bring a fire and hunger to their dancing!


Nikki: Any advice for emerging dancers and choreographers working and training in Toronto?

Brittany: My advice would be to always follow your gut and never give up on your dreams, vision it and believe it, there’s nothing that isn’t possible! Just be true to yourself!

THANK YOU BRITTANY FOR SHARING YOUR LOVE & PASSION WITH T.D.O.T. XO

CHECK OUT BRITTANY’S REEL…

JANET L CASTILLO

10 Sep

This week’s Dancer/Choreographer shout out goes to Janet L. Castillo. Janet is a powerhouse choreographer, dancer, TV personality, and mentor. Her vigorous training and work has taken her from Toronto to New York and from Los Angeles to London, England. She is known by high-profile Hollywood directors and choreographers as a “rare talent” who brings “brilliant artistry with an intelligent, creative, and sharp mind.” Passionate about making a difference through the performing arts, Janet’s radiating energy continues to inspire and touch audiences around the world. 

Performing since she was five-years-old, Janet’s dance vocabulary spans across a range of styles from classical, street, and cultural forms. Always pushing boundaries and facing her fears, she made the jump to New York City after graduating from York University with a degree in Mass Communications and Sociology. Training at Broadway Dance Center under the best in the industry, she hasn’t looked back. Highlighted television and film appearances include being a resident dance judge on Much Music’s NML Best Dance Crew, Las Vegas Finalist on So You Think You Can Dance USA, the Oxygen reality series Making it Big, The Latin GRAMMYs, Jammx Kids TV Special, BPM TV’s Dance Moves, The Drop, The Toronto Show, Take the Lead (Antonio Banderas), and Honey (Jessica Alba). Janet has worked with superstars Jennifer Lopez, Christina Milian, Jojo, Queen Latifah, Hip Hop legend Kurtis Blow, American Idol finalist Jasmine Trias, and has worked with Canadian artists including Canadian Idol finalist Gary Beals, Kreesha Turner, JRDN, Jenna G. and Queen of Hearts. She has been featured in various projects for MTV, Macy’s, The Bay, MAC Cosmetics, Rocawear, Asia Entertainment and was the dance captain for the American tour of the urban musical You Don’t Know Me (In Association with Cedric the Entertainer, Music by R&B Group City High). 

Along with her performance and choreography credits, Janet is the founder, and co-artistic director of Catalyst the Company alongside long-time dance partner Natasha Powell. They kicked off the company in October 2009 with Catalyst Bootcamp, a unique program geared towards assisting aspiring professional dancers to reach for their ultimate dreams. They extended into a performing company, exploring a combination of classical, contemporary and street dance forms to offer an eclectic taste of movement representing the diversity of Toronto. Janet has creatively developed and pitched the most entertaining shows for both corporate and charity events including Artbound Charity Party, Canadian Special Events Star Awards, Fashion Alternative Toronto (FAT) Show, Women in Dance, Talent Defined, Pink Bedroom Charity, International Dance Day, and Dancing with the Compass. In May 2012, Janet wrote, c0-produced, co-directed, and performed in the full-length Catalyst production “The 5th Element’, which raised $1,000 for Free the Children’s Artbound Initiative and later got restaged for the Fringe Festival in summer 2011. The production received rave reviews, was awarded the “Da Kink” Award by award-winning playwright and producer Trey Anthony, and was nominated for a Broadway World Toronto Award for Best Dance Production up against the prestigious 75-year-old National Ballet of Canada.

Driven to learn all aspects of the arts and entertainment industry, Janet has utilized her business savvy skills in marketing and production for the top live theatre companies including managing, casting, and choreographing a street dance tour for Dancap Productions and has helped build and execute marketing campaigns for Starvox Entertainment and Mirvish Productions.

An accomplished dance and entertainment writer, Janet’s work has also been published in Mateo magazine, Dance Quarterly, and YYZ Magazine where she has interviewed and written compelling stories on the industry’s leading performers including former Pussycat Doll Carmit Bachar, actor Tyler Blackburn, America’s Got Talent choreographer Chris Dupre, The Groovaloos andBroadway Jesus Christ Superstar choreographer Bradley Rapier. Small in size but big in dreams, Janet is on an endless mission to achieve the impossible and continues to inspire others to do the same. Living daily by her slogan “Anything is possible…if you just believe”, Janet L. Castillo is a true testament that anyone can achieve success through hard work, perseverance, faith, and an unwavering commitment to one’s true destiny.

Bio provided by Janet

 

Web. www.janetlcastillo.com

Facebook. Janet.L.Castillo.90

Twitter. @janetlcastillo

YouTube. JanetCast8

     You Tube. dancebreakdowntv

 Web.  www.catalystthecompany.com

You Tube. catalystthecompany

 

Check out what Janet had to say in this week’s shout out…

Nikki: Do you remember the first time you started dancing?

Janet: At aged 5, I clearly remember walking to my first hula class not knowing where my mother was taking me.  I cried hysterically because I didn’t want to participate, but once I started the class, the tears vanished and they never came back after that. As a shy child, I fell in love with dance because it allowed me to express myself without having to use any words.  It all felt so natural.  From there I moved on to Filipino folk dancing, ballet, jazz, acrobatics, latin, ballroom, hip hop and the vocabulary continued to expand….

Nikki: Do you remember the first song you choreographed to? (Or your earliest memory)

Janet: First song I choreographed to was Madonna’s True Blue in grade one. I got a few of my female classmates together and taught them the song and then we performed it during recess to a group of people.  I had no idea what I was doing. I just liked the song, like to move, and liked my friends. Lol

Nikki: Your personal advice for dancers when it comes to free styling?

Janet: Show me YOU and please LISTEN to the music. You can have all the tricks in the world but if you don’t show me your story and connect with the music and your audience, I turn a blind eye and it will take a long time to get my attention back.  Aside from learning choreography in classes, go out to the club and just jam to a wicked DJ or live band and let your body loose.  Musicians breathe their life and soul into a song and as dancers, our goal is to bring that alive through our bodies.  Tune up your instrument, experiment freely, and don’t take yourself too seriously!

Nikki: Getting in the zone to choreograph, what does it take for you?

Janet: Soul music.  Plain and simple.  If I hear music that has soul no matter what the style, it immediately takes me to another place and I get into an undeniable zone.  I often surprise myself on what my body begins to do as my mind fizzles out. I also enjoy feeding off of other people’s energy so working with other choreographers and dancers always get the creative juices flowing.

Nikki: Who are some of your biggest influences in the Dance industry?

Janet: Tina Landon is a huge inspiration for me because when I was growing up; she was one of the leading female choreographers and was so sensual and powerful in her movement.  To this day, her choreography is remembered because of her story-telling and signature style.  My first street jazz teachers Jermaine Brown and Rhapsody at Broadway Dance Center opened my world of what “jazz” was. Wes Veldink for my first class in contemporary and Anthony Thomas for making my head spin in locking class. Rich & Tone for proving that soul can live in the commercial industry. As far as companies, I would say Beat Freaks, Complexions Contemporary Ballet and for those who have passed in the theatre world, I’m influenced most by Bob Fosse, Cyd Charisse, and Gene Kelly.

Nikki: Name a Toronto Choreographer you enjoy working with and why?

Janet: Natasha Powell – we create magic when we get together.  We can be in completely different worlds but once we get into a creative space, our versatile vocabularies collide and we get lost in the process. We are connected on a deeper level and I believe it shows in our work. 

Nikki: Name one of your favorite artists to work with and why? (It does not have to be a pop star any type of artist that a Dancer would work with i.e.; another Dancer, Choreographer, Musician etc.)

Janet: My favourite choreographers to work with have been my mentors Lisette Bustamate and Chonique Sneed.  I assisted them while I lived in Los Angeles and it was like the dream team came together at the perfect time. We were swamped with work and we each had each other’s back whether creating in the studio, teaching the dancers, calling agents, booking space, casting auditions etc. I’ve recently been certified under their artist-coaching program called Creating Opportunities where I am now an Elite Team Coach and can help dancers build the life of their dreams. Yet another reason why I love working with them – they are female trendsetters, leaders, and forever evolving. 

Nikki: Are you currently working on any projects?

Janet: I’ve just launched an online dance instructional series called Dance Breakdown where I break down the moves to some of today’s favourite artists.  The channel will extend to feature exclusive interviews, events, news and dance stories to help bridge the gap between the emerging and professional worlds.  I am creating and performing in a hype dance piece for Free the Children’s annual charity party ‘Artbound’  alongside choreographer Jojo Zolina. As a new Elite Team Coach for Creating Opportunities, myself and LA choreographer Gigi Torres will be teaching Toronto’s first crash course of the program (Registration information below) .  I am also speaking and hosting interactive workshops for young women groups because I really believe in giving back knowledge, tips, and advice that extends even beyond the dance community. 

Nikki: Qualities you believe Toronto Dancers possess?

Janet: Raw talent, passion, hunger, and diversity. Our city is one of the most diverse and it’s revealed in our dancers. 

Nikki: Any advice for emerging dancers and choreographers working/training in Toronto?

Janet: Be a sponge to everything in the city because we are lucky to have so many amazing teachers here who are equipped with expertise and worldwide experience.  Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and take a ballet class if all you know is hip hop.  Or experiment with some beginning improvisation classes if you’re a salsa dancer.  The more you extend yourself and learn from as many teachers as possible, the closer you are to becoming a true artist.  And a true artist is ever-lasting. Sometimes dancers can get too ‘cliquey’ and that immediately limits your possibilities and stunts your evolution.

Also, take time with your craft and make key connections. Success doesn’t come overnight so be patient with the process and be careful not to burn any bridges along the way. Become educated on how the business works and stay humble when you think you’ve “killed” a piece because believe me, the work is never done.

Oh…and fall in love with dance over and over again …and again…and again…

 

THANK YOU JANET FOR SHARING YOUR LOVE & PASSION WITH T.D.O.T. XO 

THIS DANCE LIFE- THE 5TH ELEMENT….

DANCE BREAKDOWN WITH JANET…

 

 

JULIA CRATCHLEY

3 Sep

This week’s Dancer/Choreographer shout out goes to Julia Cratchley. Julia is originally from Richmond Hill, Ont. where she danced with Vlad’s Dance Company, and graduated from Unionville High School’s Arts York Dance Program.

Julia continued her training as a contemporary and classical artist in Vancouver, B.C, with Arts Umbrella’s Graduate Program under the direction of Artemis Gordon and Lynn Sheppard. Here she had the opportunity to work with internationally known choreographers, including Roberto Campanella, Emily Molnar, Serge Bennethon, and Robert Glumbek to name a few. She also had the chance to workshop with companies and choreographers such as [Bjm_danse] and O’vertigo in montreal, Ballet B.C in Vancouver, ProArteDanza in Toronto, Jill Johnston and Sidra Bell in New York as well as companies in Europe.

Julia has been lucky enough to be a part of Toronto dance company Helix Dance Project for three seasons now, and has assisted Linda Garneau with the process of ‘Rain’ ‘Verb.atim’ and ‘UnEarth’. She is a dancer and choreographer for Bridge to Artists which has now had three shows to date ‘Prima Volta’ ‘Senses’ and ‘On the Sawdust Trail’. She is most recently a company member of a Rutherford Movement Exchange’s Asension. Julia is a freelance dancer/choreographer and adjudicator and participates in many shows throughout the year. Julia Also teaches an open class at OIP dance centre in Toronto.

Bio provided by Julia

Facebook: JULIA CRATCHLEY

 twitter: @jcratchley

  youtube: Danzerj

Find out what Julia had to say in this week’s shout out…

Nikki: Do you remember the first time you started dancing?

Julia: I began dancing when I was 2 1/2 so i don’t remember starting to dance, but i do have memories from a young age of being very excited going to ballet class!

Nikki: Do you remember the first song you choreographed to? (Or your earliest memory)

Julia: I would choreograph dances all the time in my bedroom when i was very young, probably starting at 5 or 6. As much as i don’t remember my first song, i can tell you it was definitely played off of my fisher price tape player. I can also tell you when i was young I believed myself to be incredibly innovative combining both ballet and jazz into the same dance. Later i came to realize this was basically something called lyrical… and someone had already figure that out. If only i had been born earlier…

Nikki: Your personal advice for dancers when it comes to free styling?

Julia: The best thing i was ever told about improvisation is ‘there is no wrong!’ I think when you remember this, you stop judging yourself, and thats when you can begin to explore. Then of course to constantly explore more! When you think you have done every movement your body possibly knows, be still for a moment, re-evaluate, look at it from a different angle, then continue.

Nikki: Getting in the zone to choreograph, what does it take for you?

Julia: When you have beautifully talented supportive dancers around, i think you can do no wrong. I often think about ideas for pieces when my mind is relaxed. Whether on a bike ride, driving or at the gym, usually thats where an idea will pop into my head. Then its just getting into a clear space with some great music and playing around with movement.

Nikki: Who are some of your biggest influences in the Dance industry?

Julia: I think influences in this industry can always change. Some filter in and out, some stick and sometimes you learn or work with someone that brings you great inspiration at that time, right when you need it. One huge influence in my dance life has been Crystal Pite (Kidd Pivot). I have loved every piece i have ever seen of hers. She is brilliant on so many levels, and her work is so complex, yet so relatable to any audience which is think is an incredible talent to possess. I have had other people along the way who have been big influences to me, and are a huge reason to why i am where i am. Peter Chu, Emily Molnar, Arty Gordon, Vlad, Linda Garneau- All of these people have either been huge mentors in my dance life, taught me whats its like to love dance and show it, or all of the above. I wouldn’t be here without them. 

Nikki: Name a Toronto Choreographer you enjoy working with and why?

Julia: Linda Garneau hands down! I have been lucky enough to work with this brilliant woman for years now, and working with her just gets better and better! I do think its rare to find someone who’s movement fits you so well, and so does their mind. Linda and I creatively are always on the same wave length and its truly incredible to be able to dance for someone like that. As much as i feel I always know her next step, she then always finds a way to stump me and push me to a new limit. What else can you ask for as a dancer?

Nikki: Name one of your favorite artists to work with and why? (It does not have to be a pop star any type of artist that a Dancer would work with i.e.; another Dancer, Choreographer, Musician etc.)

Julia: This one is very hard for me. I have so many artists in my life which are truly incredible to work with and inspire me in so many ways. I’m going to say Peter Chu, he reminds me constantly what this life of an artist is always about. Even though i don’t work with him or see him nearly as often as i would like, any time I do he reminds me why i do this. His work, and how he teaches makes me remember why we put the endless hours in. I think you need people like this in your life. 

Nikki: Are you currently working on any projects?

Julia: Currently i’m working on two shows which i’m dancing in. The first one is actually in the Domincan Republic with a choreographer Derrick Yanford from New York. We are performing with his company down there Sept 22nd and 23rd. The Second show is with Rutherford Movement Exchange under the direction of Stephanie Rutherford. The show ‘Ascension’ is being performed Sept 29th and 30th at the Al green theatre.

Nikki: Qualities you believe Toronto Dancers possess?

Julia: I believe internationally Toronto dancers are always known to be a little quieter then others, but also incredibly fierce! Any time I’m in another place they always say how all the toronto dancers they know are so amazing! I think we work hard, train hard, and we know how to push when needed and that gives us an edge. 

Nikki: Any advice for emerging dancers and choreographers working/training in Toronto?

Julia: My best advice is to never give up! I’m a strong believer that if you really want something, and are determined enough, you WILL get it. There will be many people in this industry who will shut you down, and tell you that you can’t do it. There will also be plenty of people that will believe in you. Focus on the good, and let the negativity fuel you to prove the non-believers wrong.

THANK YOU JULIA FOR SHARING YOUR LOVE & PASSION WITH T.D.O.T. XO