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
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….