This week’s Dancer/Choreographer shout out goes to Lauren Cook. Lauren is a choreographer, teacher, dancer, and the artistic director of Alias Dance Project. She is a graduate of Ryerson University (2005) with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance. Lauren has had the opportunity to perform in works by Julia Sasso, Kathleen Rea, Vicki St. Denys, David Earle, Darryl Tracy, Heidi Strauss, Meagan O’Shea, Emmanuel Jouthe, Valerie Calam, Helen Simard and Jodee Allen, Apolonia Valesquez, Ofilio Portillo, Susie Burpee, Andrea Spaziani, Gita Harris, Geordan Coupland, Meghan Cafferky, Troy Feldman and Allen Kaeja, and Emmanuelle Le Phan. Some of Lauren’s choreographic credits include Under the Mulberry Bush (2007), The Hidden Truth (2009), While You Were Sleeping (2010), Restorative Structure (2012) and A How To Guide (2012). Lauren is the co-artistic director of Pivotal Motion Dance Theatre (Alias Dance Project’s, contemporary youth company) and a certified Pilates instructor.
Bio provided by Lauren
Follow: @AliasDanceProj on Twitter
Check out what Lauren had to say in this week’s feature…
Nikki: Do you remember the first time you started dancing?
Lauren: I started dancing when I was 3. My mom put me in ballet at the local community centre. When I turned 10, she agreed to let me study more than just ballet, so I enrolled in Modern, Hip Hop, Lyrical, Jazz, Tap and African Dance.
Nikki: Do you remember the first song you choreographed to? (Or your earliest memory)
Lauren: The first song I remember choreographing to was a crazy german band. I used to research the music artists that my favourite dance companies used and then from there try to find something that was similar but different.
Nikki: Your personal advice for dancers when it comes to free styling?
Lauren: I would have to say, just be yourself and dance for yourself. The minute you try to do what you think people expect you to do, you’ll trap yourself. Allow your mind to be open to your physical impulses in the moment.
Nikki: Getting in the zone to choreograph, what does it take for you?
Lauren: This takes a really inspiring piece of music and time in the studio alone to workout movement.
Nikki: Who are some of your biggest influences in the Dance industry?
Lauren: My influences are always changing. Sometimes they even surprise me. I think that I am influenced by everything I expose myself to, the performances I see, the people I train with, who I talk to, my students, the list could go on and on.
Nikki: Name a Toronto Choreographer you enjoy working with and why?
Lauren: I could name many… but if I had to choose one, I would say Valerie Calam, she is so open and humble. She creates a space where you feel safe to take risks.
Nikki: Name one of your favorite artists to work with and why? (It does not have to be a pop star.
Lauren: Any type of artist that a Dancer would work with i.e.; another Dancer, Choreographer, Musician etc.)
My favourite artists to work with are the women of Alias! We are all interested in constantly changing and evolving… always learning. As soon as we get comfortable we present each other with a new challenge.
Nikki: Qualities you believe Toronto Dancers possess?
Lauren: I don’t think I can put the qualities of a ‘Toronto’ dancer into a box. There are so many exciting and different qualities in Toronto Dancers.
Nikki: Any advice for emerging dancers and choreographers working/training in Toronto?
Lauren: Make your work and find ways to show your work. Don’t wait for opportunities, create them.
Nikki: Any upcoming projects, shows or classes you would like to share with T.D.O.T. ?
Lauren: “Shifting Edges”
A DanceWorks CoWorks Series Event
Shifting Edges marks Alias Dance Project’s second full-length production, including commissioned works from some of Canada’s most celebrated dance artists, as well as an original Alias creation. This mixed program is an exciting treat for those brave enough to see what can happen if we step off the edge.
“This group is exploratory and creatively envelope-pushing…One need not be an expert or a dancer to appreciate this innovative effort.” Terry Gaisin, Ontario Arts Review
May 29th- June 1st, 8pm
June 2nd, 2pm and 8pm
Dancemakers Centre for Creation
Suite 313, 9 Trinity St., The Historic Distillery District
In Person: (Cash) DUO Office (M-TH 9:30-5:30, 476 Parliment St. Toronto), or at the door.
Choreography by: Apolonia Velasquez and Heidi Strauss, Troy Feldman and Allen Kaeja, Valerie Calam, Ofilio Portillo and Lauren Cook
Pre-Show installation performance by the young artists of Pivotal Motion Dance Theatre, created by Kate Hilliard.
Performances by: Caitlin Amodeo, Francesca Chudnoff, Lauren Cook, Gita Harris, Kate Nankervis, Amanda Pye, Marisa Ricci, Rosemarie Stea, Courtney Stolarski
Artistic Advisor: Valerie Calam
Atmosphere Design: Angela Beever and Robin Woodward
Lighting and Technical Direction: Adrien Whan
DJ Patooti Hed
THANK YOU LAUREN FOR SHARING YOUR LOVE & PASSION WITH T.D.O.T. XO
CHECK OUT THE TRAILER FOR “SHIFTING EDGES”