Archive | August, 2013

SARAH VANCE

19 Aug

This week’s Dancer/Choreographer shout out goes to Sarah Vance.  Sarah is a Dancer, Actor, Singer originally from Waterloo, Ontario. Ever since her first tap class at the age of four, she has been living and breathing dance. Sarah trained extensively in Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Contemporary and Hip-Hop and went on to complete her RAD Advanced one Ballet exam with distinction as well as winning numerous awards at regional and national competitions.  She began her professional career on her 18th birthday with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and has never looked back since.

Sarah made the move to Toronto with the goal of becoming a triple threat. She continued her training not only in dance but focused on acting and singing as well. Sarah soon found success in both stage and screen and has worked in both facets across Canada. While performing she balanced the student/dancer lifestyle and graduated from York University with an Honours Science Kinesiology Degree.

Most recently, Sarah filmed the Stephen King horror movie “CARRIE” starring Julianne Moore and Chloe Grace Moretz premiering in theatres this October. Other FILM/TV credits include: Warehouse 13 (Syfy), Bomb Girls (Global), Christmas Dance (CTV), The Next Star (YTV), King of the Camp (YTV), SYTYCDC (CTV), X-Weighted (Slice) Part Mammas (Slice), Breakaway (Alliance Films).

Sarah’s first love has always been the stage. As a musical theatre performer she has had the opportunity to be a part of such shows as Spamalot, Hairspray, High School Musical (Drayton Entertainment), Music Man (Capitol Theatre), Rave On! (RGA Productions). 

Sarah has also appeared in music videos and live performances for such artists as:  Carly Rae Jepsen, Victoria Duffield, Vanilla Ice, FeFe Dobson, Aleesia, Shiloh, Kreesha Turner and the Trailer Park Boys.

Other performing ventures include dancing four seasons in front of 20 000 fans as a member of the NBA Toronto Raptors Dance Pak, NBA Europe (Rome/Madrid), contestant for Miss Universe Canada and travelling coast to coast across Canada with the Doodlebops Live! Together Forever Tour (KOBA Entertainment).

Sarah shares her passion for dance with all those around her and continues to train and grow as an artist.

Bio provided by Sarah

Sarah Vance Toronto Dancers

Facebook: Sarah Vance

Instagram: @vancerdancer

Twitter: @vancerdancerr

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

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

Sarah: When I was young I would go over to my Grandma’s house and watch all of her Shirley Temple videos. I would dance and sing along to every single movie and wanted to be just like Shirley Temple. My parents got the hint and enrolled me in dance lessons at age four.

 

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

Sarah: I remember making up dances for hours upon hours in my basement to any music that was on the radio. I also recall choreographing a dance to every single song on the Spice Girls and Backstreet Boys C.Ds. I would then try to teach all the dances to my brothers.

 

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

Sarah: As I got older free styling became a struggle for me. I was always in my head and thinking way too much. My biggest advice is to let go and just let the music guide you. Before I freestyle I always repeat to myself “just listen to the music”. It helps me center my thoughts.

 

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

Sarah: I usually like to choreograph really late at night when everyone else is asleep. I find that’s when I feel most relaxed and subsequently end up being more creative. I can tell it’s a good song to choreograph to when subconsciously I immediately start choreographing steps in my head when I listen to it. Certain music whether it be fast or slow just inspires me to move when I hear it. I also love to listen to the same song over and over again while I’m sitting on the bus or subway and visualize concepts and choreo.

 

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

Sarah: My biggest influences are definitely my peers. I’m continuously inspired by the dancers around me. The talent and work ethic of other dancers motivates me to keep working hard and to never stop learning.

 

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

Sarah: I’m so thankful to have worked with many different choreographers here in Toronto and have learnt so much from all of them. However, a choreographer I have recently met this past year and really enjoyed working with is Jeff Dimitriou. Since the first time I took his class he had a way of pulling out new qualities of my dancing I never knew I had. Technique is important to him but he teaches dancers the stories you create with your movement is just as essential. From working with him and taking his classes I learnt to go beyond the steps and truly listen to the music and perform.

 

Nikki: Name one of your favourite 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.)

Sarah: I honestly can’t pick just one artist. There are so many talented and amazing people in this industry that I feel blessed to have worked with each and every one of them. 

 

Nikki: Qualities you believe Toronto Dancers possess?

Sarah: Toronto Dancers are versatile, creative and possess the drive to succeed.

 

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

Sarah: My advice would be to never stop taking class. Take class as often as you can and with as many people as you can. There is so much to learn from every different teacher so don’t limit yourself. Network and remember your classmates will become your co-workers. No matter how successful you become there will be tough times and it’s important to learn to use your downtime productively to grow as an artist. Stay positive and continue working hard because when the opportunity does propose itself to you, you’ll be ready. “I feel that luck is preparation meeting opportunity.” – Oprah Winfrey

 

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

Sarah: I’m currently in rehearsals for an episode of “Warehouse 13” as a “42 Street” tap dancer chorus girl, you’ll be able to check it out on the Syfy Network. Also, in theatres this October you may just see a familiar face getting electrocuted by Chloe Grace Moretz in the new remake of the Stephen King horror movie “CARRIE”.

 

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

Sarah Vance Toronto DancersSarah Vance Toronto DancersSarah Vance Toronto DancersSarah Vance Toronto Dancers

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ASHLEY BRODEUR

5 Aug

This week’s Dancer/Choreographer shout out goes to Ashley Brodeur. Aspiring dancer and instructor Ashley grew up in St. Catharines, Ontario. Having been dancing since the age of 3 she has immersed herself deeply into the artistic and commercial world of dance. Competing heavily in her teens years, she has been given numerous high scoring awards as well as choreography recognition. A member of both Jazz and Tap Canadian National Dance teams she has been honoured with both a Gold (Tap) and Bronze (Jazz) medal for her talent. Proficient in ballet, contemporary, jazz, tap and hip hop styles of dance, Brodeur has since took her talent to another level. Trained as a scholarship recipient in Los Angeles (Millennium Dance Complex, The Edge), she then attended York University BFA Dance and found her place at George Brown in their Commercial Dance Program. Upon graduation Brodeur was approached by Shameka Blake and was a founding member of AIM Dance Company, whom she still works with today. Featured dancer in upcoming artist JMan’s debut video and later performed in various shows and festivals such as the Toronto Fringe Festival in 2010 and the Kuumba Festival to name a few. As a dancer in Toronto she has worked and trained with choreographers such as Hollywood Jade, Lenny DeLa Pena, Shameka Blake, Esie Mesnah and Stephen Findlay. Brodeur then relocated to Calgary, Alberta and completed two years of training with professional company, Decidedly Jazz Danceworks in their professional training program. This rooted jazz company expanded her dance vocabulary into African, Afrocuban and Swing styles. She was also the Hip Hop Instructor for the School of Decidedly Jazz and taught Contemporary, Jazz and Hip Hop at various studios, after school and at risk youth programs and also regularly for Aventa Addiction Treatment for Women. In 2011 she was the head adjudicator for Gotta Dance? in Cold Lake, AB and had her first piece showcased in the Ignite! Festival for Emerging Artists. As a former member of ILLFX Entertainment, led by Edgar Gilbert Reyes of So You Think You Can Dance Canada, she performed all over Calgary. A partnership was established between the crew and a band, The Groove Academy. Performing at a variety of holiday parties, The SAM Awards and The Calgary Stampede the collaboration experienced great support. Working with Espy, a giant flashmob was conceptualized and was taught in schools, dance studios and events all over the city. The final event was a huge success being covered by CTV Calgary. Happy to be back in Toronto and upon return from Dubai with CMart Worldwide Producers, Brodeur has continued training and performing with AIM Dance Company and as a new member of BOSS. Dancing along side some amazing talent, she has since performed with PSY at the 2013 MMVA’s, Choreographers Ball in works from Esie Mensah and Leah Totten, and also was a featured dancer in Bravo! Fact Short Film, “A Song for Torah Jane.” She is also currently sharing her love of dance by teaching with the ACE After School Program, Dance Kraze Productions, Muskoka Dance Connection, Dance FX in St. Catharines and excited to be at a few more studios in the fall. Working as an Entertainment Representative, Instructor and Choreographer for DivaGirl Entertainment created by Laura Furtado she is also advancing her business skills and writing regularly for Eligible Magazine in the Diva Dish and DivaGirl Entertainment. With great plans and aspirations for the future, a strong belief in community and a love for diversity in the arts, Brodeur is truly on the rise. I Am a Dancer by Ashley Brodeur 

Bio provided by Ashley

Ashley Brodeur dancers toronto

Facebook: Ashley Brodeur
Find out what Ashley had to say in this week’s feature…

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

Ashley: Quite vaguely but I remember there was a Mickey Mouse body suit involved. My mom was my dance teacher growing up. She opened her studio before I was born and taught all through her pregnancy. I guess I was dancing before I even knew it. 

 

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

Ashley: Aside from making up dances with my girlfriends to the Spice Girls on the bleachers at school, I choreographed my first solo at 14. It was to “Bye Bye Blackbird” by Liza Minnelli. There were more dances I made up before then but this was definitely the start of something different. Although I still didn’t really know what I was doing haha. I’ve always loved jazz and musical theatre so this is something that I’m definitely still pretty proud of.

 

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

Ashley: Breathe and listen…As hard as that may be. What I find really helps me is focusing on what I’m good at. Free styling is a moment to express yourself and shine, especially in an audition setting. The more confident you are, the more that translates. Risks are great and should be taken but when you’re trying to land a gig, be strong, confident and as secure as possible in your movement. I think that’s when you might surprise yourself the most.

 

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

Ashley: Honestly, it comes at the spur of the moment. The more I sit and try to force it out, it doesn’t happen. It’s a fine line between thinking too hard and not thinking at all. I always tell my students the first step is the hardest. Sometimes it’s hard to follow your own advice!

 

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

Ashley: Sean Cheeseman. He came from Decidedly Jazz Danceworks which I had an opportunity to train with for a few years. His movement is rich in all ways- technique, authentic and funky. It’s pretty cool training somewhere he helped create.

 

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

Ashley: Hmm…I’m going to have to say Shameka Blake. I’ve been working with her the longest and she’s really been a mentor to me. Her choreography is challenging and it’s a great feeling when you catch it. I’ve left and come back a few times so it’s really great to know I have AIM.

 

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.)

Ashley: I had the pleasure of working with a band called The Groove Academy in Calgary, AB. It was one of the most unique experiences I’ve had. Working directly with a band in the rehearsal process is such an interesting dynamic and on stage….there’s nothing like dancing with a live band!

 

Nikki: Qualities you believe Toronto Dancers possess?

Ashley: I think the most unique thing about Toronto is our style of Hip Hop. We’ve definitely got some different ways of moving. Within that style we have lots of varieties of teachers and choreographers to work with. Not to mention some very knowledgable dancers in terms of foundation.

 

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

Ashley: Train in as many styles as possible. You need to have your niche but dancers are getting more and more versatile everyday…literally. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket so to speak. It’s hard to make a living just off of dancing so expand yourself creatively and stylistically as much as you can. Don’t be afraid to travel and experience new places. Dance is beautiful and it’s everywhere. Also, get yourself acquainted with the entire scene and I can’t stress this enough…Know your history of Toronto! As a dancer it’s very important to know where you’re headed and where it’s all come from. Do your digging, research and ask questions. There’s some serious talent here so it can only benefit you to know your surroundings because you never know who that unfamiliar face may be. Don’t forget your professionalism at the door either 🙂 

 

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

Ashley: I’m performing with Esie Mensah at The Love Letters STRICT Tease Fundraiser and with Allison Bradley at Smile 4 The Cause. I’m doing some teaching in my hometown of St. Catharines and Bracebridge over the summer and it looks like I’ll be headed to Newfoundland in November.

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

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