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
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!!!!!
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…