This week’s Dancer/Choreographer shout out goes to Chantel Riley. Born in Toronto, Canada to Jamaican parents Joan and Errol Riley. Chantel started dancing at the age of three and continued up until the age of eighteen. Her involvement with dance helped prepare her to achieve her current dream of playing Nala in The Lion King on Broadway in NYC. She was also a part of her home church choir in Toronto (Kingdom Covenant Centre) which helped her develop her craft in singing live on stage. Before hitting the big stage of Broadway, Chantel was given the principal role as Nala in Hamburg, Germany in which she performed every night in German.
Chantel is grateful to God, her family and the amazingly talented teachers and directors that helped get her to where she is today.
Bio provided by Chantel
You Tube: TheChantelRiley
Find out what Chantel had to say in this week’s feature…
Nikki: Do you remember the first time you started dancing?
Chantel: My earliest memory of dancing was probably around three or four years old
Nikki: Your personal advice for dancers when it comes to free styling?
Chantel: Feel the music out and just let it flow. Don’t ever be afraid to hold back by any means necessary. You are unique, so freestyle should be your chance to show just how unique you are.
Nikki: Who are some of your biggest influences in the Dance industry?
Chantel: Growing up I’ve always loved the dance style of Michael and Janet Jackson, Fred Astaire. Right now though, thanks to the show ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ I love the choreography of “Nappy Tabs”
Nikki: Name a Canadian Choreographer you enjoy working with and why?
Chantel: Nicola Saclamacis who is the owner of The Dance Pac in Mississauga. She is a great choreographer that not only shared her passion of dance with us, but also allowed us to have a lot of fun doing it.
Nikki: Name an artist you would love 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.)
Chantel: I would love to work with the beautiful sisters Phylicia Rashad and Debbie Allen. Their charisma and beauty as performers is so breathtaking. Their beauty and strength as women inspire me. I pray that one day I will have the chance to work with them.
Nikki: Qualities you believe Toronto Dancers possess?
Chantel: Confidence is key! If you don’t believe in yourself you will not be able to live up to your full potential.
Nikki: Any advice for emerging dancers and choreographers working/training in Toronto?
Chantel: The hustle may be hard, but it is worth it. Keep training and keep learning. Its never too late to learn something new or to enhance something old.
Nikki: Any upcoming projects, shows or classes you would like to share with T.D.O.T.?
Chantel: Well I am currently playing the role of Nala on Broadway in Disney’s The Lion King. So, if you ever in New York City please stop by and see the show. It is truly fantastic.
THANK YOU CHANTEL FOR SHARING YOUR LOVE & PASSION WITH T.D.O.T. XO
GET TO KNOW CHANTEL AS SHE TRANSFORMS INTO NALA