Archive | October, 2013


28 Oct

This week’s Dancer/Choreographer feature goes to Tea Haraga. Tea grew up in a small town Chilliwack, British Columbia dedicating her life to competitive dance from a young age. She competed and trained with an outstanding dance family, reaping awards and scholarships provincially, nationally and in the United States as a young dancer. Stepping her feet into the professional world, she quickly realized that the entertainment arts are her absolute passion… and her gypsy jet setting life took off! Her life so far has been full of adventure… artistic development… and an ever growing determination for success in her pursuits. Her colorful career has lead her to experience and work in commercial dancing, modelling, choreographing, photography, videography, styling, and artistic directing. Her recent endeavors involve ventures into the music industry… involving recording and creating a brand of herself as a musical performer, and her creative collection of artists close by her side.

A few of Tea`s Career Highlights include:

Nelly Furtado, Ke$ha, Disney`s Girl vs. Monster, Mariana`s Trench, Anjulie Alive Tour, Big Time Rush, Sucker Punch, So You Think You Can Dance Canada, Canadian Radio Music Awards, Toronto Fashion Week, Vancouver Fashion Week, Toronto`s Choreographers Ball, Samsung, Classified, Canada`s Wonderland Brock Zanrosso, Vancouver Nightlife Award Winner (House of La Douche), Maxim, Mario, International Salsa Festival, HMV.

Bio provided by Tea.

tea haraga dancer toronto

Tea on Facebook
Tea on Twitter @Tiasteaparty
Tea on Instagram @tiasteaparty
Tea on AboutMe
Find out what Tea had to say in this week’s feature…

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

Tea: I was 8 years old! My parents enrolled me in a local Dance Studio called Centre Stage. I started off doing Ballet and Jazz, and then as I got older I started getting more serious competitively with Dance 🙂 


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

Tea: I was fresh out of Highschool and thought I would try it out. I actually never thought choreographing would be a thing I would enjoy and pursue, but I quickly realized I had a natural comfort and passion in the art of creating movement… and began to pursue professional choreographing and artistic creating.  


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

Tea: Learn how to soak in the music and environment quickly, to portray your personality effectively to the audience or judges (If this was in a workshop or audition scenario). I strongly believe in showing originality, musicality, and a strong emotional presence in free styling situations. Dancers who learn how to relax and have fun during a stressful audition or situation, are very enjoyable to watch… but also giving some real FIERCENESS (not relaxing too much ;)) 


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

Tea: Honestly, I am someone who gets inspired from almost anything and anyone… and then from there, when I have a moment to sit in a studio (or sometimes on the subway/bedroom when I am in the mood :p) I start visually putting themes… with choreography… to stories… to music, and so on! Oh… and then the extravagant costumes and props I also attract myself to, haha. I feel like I am always creating and in that mind set everyday almost, especially because I am very consistently inspired in my life right now. Just give me a couple espressos and Ill come up with a production show for you LOL. My friends are very inspiring and creative too, which help a lot! We are always bouncing off ideas for shows, videos, etc.!  


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

Tea: Wow…. Im going to say I have A LOT! And I feel like throughout my whole life it is ever changing who is more influencing and inspiring to me. I have bounced around to different cities across North America for years now, so my surrounding dance peers are always changing… but some icons that are always catching my eye in the “Industry” are… Mia Michaels, Ian Eastwood, Wade Robson, ugh! I just have so many that I love! In Toronto… Scott Fordham was one of the first Choreographers that was very influential in my career for sure.  


Nikki: What made you decide to move to Toronto?

Tea: Well, I heard it just was filled with a different and more explosive dance/art culture… more opportunities… just more everything really! I am from a very small town in British Columbia so it was time for me to get outta there! I thought Toronto would help me expand my career and let me indulge in my inspirations, which it has greatly! I LOVE TORONTO!  


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

Tea: This is probably biased, but my best friend/partner Ross Wirtanen is someone who I thoroughly experience pure joy working with currently. We collaborate together… we think too much a like… and we have a good balance of being serious and getting work done, to having some laughs too! (Ummm sometimes too many laughs, but we somehow turn our jokes into real choreography most of the time?! Haha… if you’ve seen our work, you will understand) 


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.) 

Tea: I love working with Musicians. I have had so much joy on artist development projects… where I have had the opportunity to help create the visual experience for a signed Musician. Usually that includes choreography for the Live shows or music videos… styling and overall appearance of the artist… production input for future endeavors into their project, and so on! Just pretty much coming up with ideas and creating for artists to develop popularity in the indie or pop culture involved world 🙂  


Nikki: Qualities you believe Toronto Dancers possess? 

Tea: I fully recognized the real HUNGER the Toronto Dancers possess when I first got here. People want to pursue an adventure into the theatre/live world… or open a studio… or just become a unicorn… they make it happen here! Like almost ASAP! Its so fast pace and go go go… which I really appreciate and admire! I LOOOOOOVEEEE Toronto dancers!!! So much talent and beauty!!! 


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

Tea: Just be real…. be yourself… don’t be afraid to take chances and make mistakes! Be special… be a NICE and GENEROUS person… and ALWAYS dream big and don’t look back. Only look up to and take advice from happy dancers/choreographers…and people who are on the way to obtain success or who ARE successful in your eyes! Don’t listen to people who have failed and are negative, they clearly didn’t do the right things to achieve their goals. Look at who you surround yourself with…. and enjoy the struggle! 🙂  


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

Tea: YES! 🙂 I am co directing/starring in a crazy messed up/fantastical show called Marina Antoinette! It is going to be a one night only, Marie Antoinette themed experience… filled with blood, guts, sex, and drama. Live music… an incredibly talented cast of dancers, cake, liquor, actors, aerialists, ugh… just a whole lot of everything haha! We cant wait to put this on for the community, it will be a good time! November 3rd at the Mod Club! 


Press Release


tea haraga dancer torontotea haraga ross  dancer torontotea haraga dancer toronto


8 Oct

This week’s Dancer/Choreographer feature goes to Tamina Pollack-Paris. Tamina is a Toronto native whose love of dance began at the age of 2.  It was at that time that it was discovered she loved to perform for the camera.  By the time she was 8, she had received full scholarships at Toronto’s Interplay School of Dance where she received training in Hip-Hop, Jazz, Irish, Ballet and Modern. After receiving her first professional job with the Toronto Jr. Raptors Dance Pak at the age of 9, she leaped into the professional world of dance and hasn’t looked back since.

Tamina’s career highlights include:  Season 1 of So You Think You Can Dance Canada, Top 16, TV and movie appearances on  American Idol, X-Factor, Glee, Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventures starring Ashley Tisdale, Disney’s Camp Rock and Camp Rock 2-the Final Jam starring the Jonas Brothers, Frenemies, Turn the Beat Around, Sorority Wars and Hellcats. She has appeared in commercials for Stride gum, Zantac, Bell Mobility, The Government of Ontario and Tourism, High School Musical 2 and America’s Best Dance Crew 2. Tamina has also worked with artists such as Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Ke$ha, Big Sean, Rye Rye, Outasight, Victoria Duffield, Keshia Chante, Aleesia, Danny Fernandes and  Anjulie.

Currently, Tamina plays the role of “Tiffany” in the new tween Family Channel drama called “The Next Step



Tamina on Facbook
 BLoC LA: Tamina


The Next Step on Facebook: Tamina aka Tiffany 

Coming soon!

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

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

Tamina: My first memories of dancing were being in diapers doing the “bogel” and “butterfly” to SWV’s “I’m so into you”. Lucky for me I have this memory recorded on tape by my wonderful mother. Even at 2 years old it was clear that I couldn’t get enough of the camera, lol.

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

Tamina: The first song I remember choreographing to was actually my mother’s single called “I need someone”. Even to this day I can remember the musicality of it. I remember giving my mother steps to perform on stage and showing her how to walk like a model (unfortunately at that age my walk was a bit crooked, I was about 6 years old at this time). Looking back, I’m so happy that a lot of my first dance moments were caught on film. It’s so great to see where you started because it’s a representation of the rawest and purest form of your talent, and whenever I feel lost, it always helps me to feel grounded again.

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

Tamina: As a choreography-based dancer, I know all too well of the fear that comes with freestyling. By letting go and not being afraid of looking crazy, I recently have been able to let my natural dance vocabulary shine freely. My best advice when it comes to freestyling is to not think. Don’t think about what you’re going to do next, because when you’re thinking you’re no longer dancing. Don’t do what you feel people want to see, do what you feel your body wants to express. Sometimes the moments we feel the most ridiculous, actually end up being the best because our guards are let down

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

Tamina: To get into the zone, I need the music to speak to me. I need to feel connected to the song in some way or another whether it be the beat, the lyrics, or what the song stands for. I need to find something inspiring in order to create movements that will hopefully to inspire others.

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

Tamina: WoW, there are so many people that I will be forever grateful to for taking a chance on me. I honestly feel I’ve learned something from each and every choreographer or dancer that I’ve met and worked with throughout my career. I take these lessons and try to pass them on to the next generation of Toronto Dancers to keep the legacy alive.

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

Tamina: All of them! They are all so talented, I can’t narrow it down to one because each choreographer has a unique quality about them that I can appreciate and learn from 

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.)

Tamina: I’d have to say one of my favourite choreographer’s is Fatima Robinson. It’s funny because I have yet to work with her, but just through learning her choreography from an audition I was truly inspired. There is just something about her movement. It is the epitome of elegance, sophistication and simplicity. That is something that I really admire about her work.

Nikki: Qualities you believe Toronto Dancers possess?

Tamina: Toronto Dancers are definitely some of the most talented dancers I’ve seen! I think that one thing that we all need to remember is to always keep learning. Never be afraid to diversify and deepen our dance vocabulary, even if it means stepping out of our comfort zone. Although we have a lot of talent here, we can never be too comfortable because that my friends is what I call “Plateau”- ing . Always find something new to tackle, that’s what’s so great about dance because there is always something new we can work on and challenge ourselves with.

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

Tamina: Do it because you love it. Everything else will follow. When it is your time, you will know. Be patient, Be professional and work hard 🙂

Nikki: What was it like being on the first season of so you think you can dance and currently starring on Family channel’s the Next Step?

Tamina: Being on the first season of So You Think You Can Dance Canada was definitely a life changing experience for me. Although I was already a professional dancer before being on the show, it was my first taste what it felt like to be in the spotlight. Usually dancers are behind artists or one of many within a company. But this was the first time where everything came down to what you brought to that stage. Yes it was an empowering feeling, but it was also extremely difficult because it meant that all the pressure was on you to either sink or swim. All and all I am definitely thankful for the experience because not only did it make me stronger as a person and performer, but it also taught me the importance of diversification and the advantages it gives you as a working dancer.

Being on the next step:

Landing a lead role on Family Channel’s “The Next Step” was definitely a huge step in my career as a performer. This was my first role on a series where not only would I be dancing, but I would be acting as well. Acting was always something I wanted to tap into, but just as with every other field, you have to put in the work and training in order to even think of being noticed on a professional level. So when word of the show came out, I was thrilled because not only would it give me the opportunity to work on my acting, but I could also combine my love for dance. What is also so great about the show is that we have the best cast around. Every time we’re on set it just feels like another day in the dance studio, vibe-ing and creating new things. I love it! We just finished taping season 2 and it’s going to be an awesome season so stay tuned!

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

Tamina: During my time back from LA, I’ve decided to create a small, tight knit training program called “The Girls Club”. The focus of this program is to promote growth not only through training and passing the knowledge I’ve gained throughout my years in the industry, but also through a sisterhood of support and community.
The girls and I have been working very hard this past month, and we have teamed up with a speakeasy called “The Libertine” to put on our debut show called “La Libertine… For the Night” is happening This Thursday at 10pm.
It’s a new spin on a live show, which I’d prefer to think of as an “experience”. Changing what would be normally perceived as a restaurant, into a platform for infinite possibilities! The music is going to be poppin, and the food is to die for! Don’t miss your chance to be a part of this unforgettable night. 

For more information please check our event page:

Presenting The Girls Club. Now you can finally sit with us!!


CHECK OUR SOME FOOTAGE OF TAMINA as Tiffany on “The Next Step”…..

Check out Tamina featured in an Episode of  the hit TV show Glee…

Tamina and Joey perform a Hip Hop routine on SYTYCDC Season 1…

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