Archive | April, 2013

ALEXANDRA CRENIAN

29 Apr

This week’s Dancer Choreographer shout out goes to Alexandra Crenian. In 2005, Alexandra left her home in Saskatchewan to experience big city life in Toronto, Canada. It wasn’t long until she was thrown into the dance scene and fell in love with all of its possibilities. Alexandra has since danced all over the world; China, Singapore, Japan, Lebanon, Greece, Sweden and the USA. She is featured in Much Music commercials and the Family Channel, as well as ‘Skittles’ Candy, Dr. Pepper and IMAX commercials.

Alexandra has danced for artists: Shawn Desman, Bridgit Mendler, Naughty by Nature, Rob Base, Young MC, Ludacris, Sugarhill Gang, Mia Martina, Aleesia, Cory Lee,  Shiloh, Veronica, Alexisonfire and toured internationally with Massari.

Alexandra has numerous live shows under her belt, and has been seen acting and dancing on television shows (SKINS Mtv, Electric Circus, The Best Years)  and in feature films (Hairspray, Breakaway, My Bloody Bachelorette and Martin Short Goes Home.)

The most memorable, live-televised performance to date? Alexandra dancing for
Lady Gaga during her infamous performances at the Much Music Video Awards in 2009 and again in 2011.

Alexandra is constantly traveling, teaching workshops and performing internationally.  She has recently co-choreographed RENT the Musical in Toronto.  Her love for dance is infectious, as it is felt by everyone who has the opportunity to meet her.

Bio provided by Alexandra

alexandra crenian toronto dancer

Follow Alexandra on Twitter :@alexcrenian

Alexandra on Instagram: alexcrenian

Alexandra’s Agent:  Parent Management

Find out what Alexandra had to say in this week’s feature….

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

Alexandra: Don’t all babies start dancing automatically when they hear music?  It’s just the most natural reaction… I definitely don’t remember that.

 

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

Alexandra: I’m going to say it was probably to something from Grease, my dad used to watch that movie with me every weekend.  My choreography was definitely not on par, it was before I even knew I what that word even meant.

 

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

Alexandra: Listen to the music.  Really, actively listen.

 

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

Alexandra: I just turn on the music, start to freestyle, and take it from there.  The music gives me all the answers I need: from concept to feel to transitions.  In the rare event that I’m doing a piece without music, I use the breath as the rhythm and the theme of the show to pull me through.

 

Nikki: You moved to Toronto from Saskatchewan in 2005. What was your reason for moving here? 

Alexandra: I initially moved to Toronto to attend University majoring in Psychology. I didn’t start dancing until I moved here, instantly fell in Love and haven’t stopped training and dancing since.

 

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

Alexandra: Wow, this is a difficult one.  

My influences aren’t even confined to the Dance industry or people.  Music really inspires me, Film really inspires me, Clothing inspires me… come to think of it, even the weather or something weird my cat does can inspire me into a random dance session regardless of where I am.

Watching Marilyn Monroe in ‘How to Marry a Millionaire’ or ‘There’s No Business Like Show Business,’ Or Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire in ‘Funny Face.’ Liza Minelli in ‘Cabaret’ or Shirley McClaine in ‘Sweet Charity.’  I’m a huge Fosse fan, after seeing him do the ‘Snake in the Grass,’ and knowing how Michael Jackson was a hugely influenced by Fosse.  I love watching films from the 1950’s, whether musicals or not, they show an incredible amount of work ethic, multiple one-shot full on dance numbers and so much of our history.

Artists: Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, James Brown, Prince, TLC, Missy Elliot, Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears.. I’m just going to stop before I name every artist on my iPod.

That being said, I’m obsessed with Youtubing footage: from watching SOUL TRAIN footage to 1940’s social dances… actually by writing all of this I am realizing I may be addicted to watching footage.  It is amazing to see the growth of dance, sometimes I’ll watch a clip from a Jitterbug competition and I’ll see the influence it has given other genres of dance.  I love watching ballroom or salsa footage, or watching a dance documentary like PINA or a dance movie like BILLY ELLIOT or DIRTY DANCING… Dance is so incredible.  We have an endless supply of inspiration, not only in film and music, but in books as well.  Reading about dance and the reason it has changed/grown (because music is constantly evolving.) Reading about who influenced what and why is one of the most interesting, inspiring things.  The more I learn about dance, the more I feel like I need to find out.  To understand why I move or the dances I’m teaching is an integral part of why I love dancing in the first place.  There is so much to learn!

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

Alexandra: I am going to name a few, but I wish I could name even more.

I love working with Miles Faber: together, we recently finished choreographing RENT the Musical at Lower Ossington Theatre.  RENT has been absolutely one of my favourite and most rewarding projects I’ve ever worked on.  Thanks Miles.

Carla Catherwood is another person I adore working for, what an amazing woman she is!  Here is a link of a class she and I choreographed and taught together: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkL9v9mPhHE&list=FLR5omDu5yElqFM0LVxZtiQA

JoJo Zolina, just watching him dance gives me goosebumps.  

Toya Robinson, she is probably the person I’ve worked with the most since I’ve lived in Toronto (8 years).  I did my first music video with her in 2006, in 2009, she sent me a Facebook message with the information for a Lady Gaga audition… I would not have booked that gig had she not shared the audition info with me.  We’ve traveled Canada, Greece and Lebanon together for dance.  Next week I get to work with her too! She is such an amazing person and choreographer.

Shawn Bracke, Eryn Waltman, Leon Blackwood, Shawn Byfield, Amy Wright, Melissa Moore, Mayhem’s Finest, Bo Lam, Emily Einsman, Melissa Mitro

There are so many more people I want to name, and others that I haven’t yet had the opportunity to work with…. I am so looking forward to getting the chance! The list could be pages long!

 

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.)

Alexandra: Well, Since I named more than one person in the last answer… I’ll say all of those people for the choreographers/dancers.  

I really love and enjoy all the performing artists I’ve gotten to work with:

Lagy Gaga, Massari, Shawn Desman, Naughty by Nature, Sugarhill Gang, Cory Lee, Brigit Mendler, Alexisonfire, Shiloh, Aleesia, Veronica, Ludacris and  Mia Martina to name a few.

It is amazing to meet and watch all the people involved in making a music video or a film! The amount of work that goes into a two-minute scene is incredible, it’s almost unbelievable. Every person, from lighting, sound, director of photography, director, boom operator, make up artists, catering, editing, continuity specialist to wardrobe and set designers make the project come to life.  The film crew are the people who keep you looking good.  Without them, we can’t do our jobs properly.

I truly love and respect the people I work with who are passionate about their work.  We are so lucky to have the opportunity to do what we love!

Nikki: Qualities you believe Toronto Dancers possess?

Alexandra: Toronto dancers are absolutely thirsty for knowledge.  We definitely give it our all in auditions and performances!

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

Alexandra: Work hard, don’t judge and be kind.  Actions speak louder than words.

 

Nikki: Any upcoming projects, shows or classes you would like to share with T.D.O.T. ?

Alexandra: If you’d like to see RENT at Lower Ossington Theatre, it is on until June 2nd. Get tickets here:

http://ticketwise.ca/index.php?event_id=1641

www.lowerossingtontheatre.com
Check out the classes of the choreographers I mentioned, you won’t be disappointed.
Look out for a feature film I’m in: My Bloody bachelorette (release date TBA):

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2309534/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1
Watch out for Miscellum Dance Collective, recently launched in Toronto:

www.miscellumdance.com

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

CHECK OUT ALEXANDRA’S DANCE REEL…

ALEXANDRA CRENIAN TORONTO DANCER Alex1 ALEXANDRA CRENIAN TORONTO DANCER ALEXANDRA CRENIAN

Advertisements

HANI ABAZA

15 Apr

This week’s Dancer/Choreographer shout out goes to Hani Abaza. Hani grew up in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada where his love of dance and movement stemmed. He Started dancing at age 18 soon after found himself training in Toronto where his career took off.  He has performed all over North America for world renown artists and companies like Kelly Clarkson, Snow Patrol, Patty Labelle, Adele, Feist, Sean desmond and Florence and the Machine.  Shaping Sound and Sonya Tayeh Dancers and Helix Dance Company. He is now Between Toronto and Los Angeles where his Dance career has lead him to work with the leading talents of our generation including Travis Wall, Wade Robson, Mia Michaels, Mandy Moore, Sonya Tayeh, Noemie Lafrance and Luther Brown, on projects like Cirque Du Soleil, SYTYCD(can), MTV VMA’s, AMA’S to name a few. Hani is an alumni contestant from top 20 of sytycd Canada’s season 3. Hani is now choreographing, Teaching and dancing his way across North America and continues to team up with other industry innovators.

Recently last fall Hani found himself visiting Vietnam and Choreographing on the hit show SYTYCD Vietnam season 1 where the people fell in love with his art, and he is truly making a worldly impact.
Hani’s passion for Movement and Dance is immeasurable; his unique outlook on dance in life adds a fresh face to movement, and his Vision is a relate-able innovation of eye candy.  Hani’s movement is unique and versatile, a perfect addition to todays commercial and concert dance stages.

Bio provided by Hani

0070

Facebook  

Twitter: @hanibuzz 

Youtube Channel 

Bloc Profile 

LinkedIn Profile

 

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

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

Hani: I feel like as a child I was always dancing around the house.  I always had a strange connection to music as if what I was listening to was emulating what was going on in my life.  I remember as a kid laying on a rug my mom had at home and I would trace out the shapes in the rug with parts of my body that’s the contemporary in me I guess.  I would also do a breakdance solo in front of the TV to the teenage mutant ninja turtles theme song every time it was on.  I started training at 18 after watching a friend of mine and criticizing her she said to me “ if its so easy then u do it “  I said “ ok I will”

 

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

Hani: Haha oh wow  yes with out me even knowing I was dancing I did a solo in the grade 5 fashion show to “ cotton eye Joe ” that was supposed to be martial arts “KATA” with some line dancing .  I thought I was really creative J

 

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

Hani: My advice for Free style/improv is to first do it as much as u possibly can always and second take a moment to allow the music to register in your brain and blood and when you “go” its should feel as if something else is telling you what to do.  As dancers we forget dance is the only art form that NEEDS another art form (music).  So listening and connecting is the most important.   Take all you excitement emotions thoughts and use them to connect

 

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

Hani: Everything I create needs a purpose behind it. Sometimes it’s a past or current situation of mine or someone else’s, or it could just be a simple feeling or thought.  That one thing is the seed I plant in my head and sometimes it takes 2 minutes or 2 weeks to build on.  It takes all the dots to come together through everyday life until I know I have something special.

 

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

Hani: Ohad Nahirin : for his ability to create his own vocabulary of dance and sharing with the world dancers and non dancers alike

Jaimie King: for his keen business sense and transitioning from dancer to a world renowned director

Mia Michaels: for her ability to connect with any audience and make them feel something through her choreography

Travis Wall:  for achieving so much at a young age as a dancer and choreographer

Linda Garneau:  because she is one of the truest artists I know she always produces timeless work

Bob Fosse:  for his legacy of dancing directing choreographing and changing dance on film and stage forever

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

Hani: Some of my most exciting moments as a dancer in Toronto were working with Mr. Luther Brown.  I mean that man has a way of playing hard and working even harder.  For me his style is not my forte but he definitely inspires me to want to dance with and for him.  Come to think of it I can honestly say as a dancer who’s worked around North America some of his projects will always be my favourite experiences. 

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.)

Hani: I’m going to say my girl Caroline Torti, I’ve danced with her in jobs and also choreographed on her and she is so solid as a person and artist it’s always a pleasure working with her. Caroline has and impeccable work ethic and a real cool attitude.

 

Nikki: Qualities you believe Toronto Dancers possess?

Hani: I’m not even kidding when I say Toronto Dancers are so special, there is a hunger that pushes everyone to be such unique artists in Toronto.  Because in Canada the industry is still growing the opportunity to make a lucrative career just dancing is hard.  Many dancers teach, choreograph, and learn so many other talents which basically make them all hustlers.  Toronto dancers posses DETERMINATION “ whatever it takes” is the attitude in TDOT

 

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

Hani: Yes!  Understand your industry, DEFINE you dreams, be good with money, and realize that rejection is just life’s way of giving you a tough nudge in the right direction, learn from it and never stop MOVING J

Nikki: Any upcoming projects, shows or classes you would like to share with T.D.O.T.?

Hani: I’ll be teaching all summer in the TDOT so keep your eyes open and come dance with me!

 

 THANK YOU HANI FOR SHARING YOUR LOVE AND PASSION WITH T.D.O.T. XO

CHECK OUT HANI’S DEMO REEL…

CHECK OUT A CLIP OF HANI’S CHOREOGRAPHY DONE ON THE VIETNAM SYTYCD….

Hani Abaza Toronto Dancers HANI ABAZA TORONTO DANCERS HANI ABAZA TORONTO DANCERS

hani abaza toronto dancers

 

 

 

MATTHEW CUFF

1 Apr

This week’s Dancer/Choreographer shout out goes to Matthew Cuff. With 7 years of experience in Hip Hop and Contemporary, Matthew Cuff has performed in numerous shows across the GTA, including Montreal’s World Hip Hop Competition. As a dancer, instructor, and choreographer Matthew Cuff takes a lot of pride and is very optimistic with dance. Starting his career with rigorous training from Ballet Creole, George Brown, and School of Toronto Dance Theatre Matthew Cuff has excelled as a dancer and a budding choreographer and has become a force not to be reckoned with. Matthew portfolio includes work with recognized Choreographers such as, Tracy Armstrong, Jae Blaze (Blaze Entertainment), and Sean Cheesman (So You Think You Can Dance Canada). Matthew is determined to build an arsenal with various forms of dance which will make him flexible and able to provide various forms of choreography that reflects his passion for his art. With his determination and passion for dance and performance, one can only expect great things from Matthew Cuff.

Bio provided by Matthew

headshot

Facebook Matthew Cuff

Twitter@itz_snoopy

Instagram: itz_snoopy

 

Find out what Matthew had to say in this week’s feature…

 

NikkDo you remember the first time you started dancing?

Matthew: It was third grade and we learned the Cha Cha and the Waltz lol.

 

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

Matthew: Ummm oh wow! I believe it was for a middle school talent show and it was to Michael Jackson-You Rock My World haha!

 

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

Matthew: Tell A Story.

 

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

Matthew: A shot or two to get the buzz going. Kidding, I am inspired by musicals, fashion or it can be something within a song that sonically sparks something in my mind.

 

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

Matthew: Michael Jackson R.I.P. Fatima Robinson. Brian Friedman.

 

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

Matthew: It would have to Debbie Wilson she has been a great teacher/mentor and always inspired me to be the best I can be.  

 

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.)

Matthew: Rhapsody James I got to meet her and take her classes. I admire her personality and her choreography.  I would not mind dancing for Rihanna either love her style and music.

 

Nikki: Qualities you believe Toronto Dancers possess?

Matthew: Individuality.

 

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

Matthew: Do what you love. Love what you do.

 

Nikki: Any upcoming projects, shows or classes you would like to share with T.D.O.T. ?

Matthew: The School of Toronto Dance Theatre Presents…Momentum 2013

May 2 – 4 & 9 – 11, 2013, 8pm

School of Toronto Dance Theatre Show LINK

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

CHECK OUT MATTHEW’S CHOREOGRAPHY TO “DIAMONDS”… 

bodsnoop