This week’s Dancer/Choreographer shout out goes to Andrew “Pyro” Chung (of Toronto, Canada) Andrew is a professional dancer, performer, and street dance instructor/choreographer from Toronto, Canada. You may have spotted him on T.V, in movies, or touring around the world doing live stage performances. He has opened for artists such as Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock, Hedley, Kardinal Offishall, Maestro Fresh Wes, and Black Eyed Peas. He has also been featured in productions such as The International Indian Film Academy (IIFA), the closing ceremony of the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico 2011 under the direction of Luther Brown (SYTYCD Canada judge). And Dora Award winning production named Klorophyll presented by Gadfly.
Pyro has also entered numerous dance competitions and battles over the last decade. In the last 2 years alone, he has won over 20 all styles championships in various events across North America. Pyro has been awarded Dance of the Year by Gadfly in 2011 and 2012. Also awarded Artist of the Year by Manifestos Floor Awards in 2012 and 2013.
Pyro is more known for his freestyle abilities but a lot of his focus is towards the youth in his community. Reaching out to the youth in his community in anyway we can, he teaches school workshops, after school workshops, studio classes, and also speaks at school assemblies with his crew Twisted Ankles Dance Crew and Unity Charity.
Bio provided by Andrew
Find out what Pyro had to say in this week’s feature…
Nikki: Do you remember the first time you started dancing?
Andrew: Hmmmmm…. I don’t remember anything specific because there was always a big dance influence in my life, seeing as how my older sister was a dancer. My mother put my sister and I into figure skating when I was young. I never thought of that as dancing but now that I think of it, it pretty much is.
I remember copying Mr. Wigglez when I saw him in a Limp Bizkit music video when I was about 12 years old. That was probably the first time I found interest in some kind of street dancing.
Nikki: Do you remember the first song you choreographed to? (Or your earliest memory)
Andrew: Oh I definitely remember because I was so proud of myself for making such a hype choreography… but when I look at it now it was just HORRIBLE!!! LMAO!!
It was to “Da Rockwilder – Method Man and Redman”
Nikki: Your personal advice for dancers when it comes to free styling?
Andrew: “Do more, think less”
Don’t worry about your surroundings, and remember that freestyling is a self-expression. So tell the world who you are, what you represent, or even who you want to be without yelling it out.
Don’t forget that dancing goes to music, so open your ears and focus more on the music and how it makes you feel, rather than focusing on what move you’re going to do next.
If you want to freestyle a specific style such as, popping, locking, bboying, hip hop, etc. just make sure you learn your foundations and techniques that come with that style. Learn your history because that will help you understand the importance of the style and will make you a good popper , locker, bboy/bgirl, krumper, house dancer, etc. There is so much to learn… it’s never ending. “never a master, always a student”
Nikki: Getting in the zone to choreograph, what does it take for you?
Andrew: I need a song that speaks to me first and to catch my attention. If I’m really feeling the song I will just put that song on repeat and make something up on the spot. But if a song is given to me and I have to choreography to something specific then I just need some time alone to think and keep listening to the song until something hits me. Usually if I get the first couple moves or get the ball rolling in some kind of way, everything else should just fall into place.
Nikki: Who are some of your biggest influences in the Dance industry?
Andrew: First off I’d have to say my older sister Chanel because she sparked my first interested in dancing.
Second would be Mr. Wigglez of Rock Steady Crew and Bonic of Rock Force because they were the first poppers I saw that made me start popping in the first place.
Third is Bboy Dyzee of Supernaturalz Crew, he told me what the importance of bboying is and led me in the right path because all I wanted to do was learn how to windmill and flare when I first started bboying.
Fourth would be my crew members of Twisted Ankles Dance Crew. They were a consistent push for me to get better since day one. And as new members are recruited over the years we continue to inspire and motivate eachother in any way we can.
Nikki: Name a Toronto Choreographer you enjoy working with and why?
Andrew: Well I am currently a part of a company called “Gadfly” directed by Ofilio and Apolonia. I like how they challenge me and help me discover things about myself that I didn’t know were there. Also their fight to treat dancers fairly throughout the duration of each project makes me appreciate them even more.
I had the privilege of dancing for Luther Brown in Guadalajara, Mexico. I like how he’s always on top of things and serious when he needs to be but really cool and chill the rest of the time. I definitely look forward to another opportunity like that.
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.)
Andrew: I like working with anyone that has a good work ethic and knows how to be professional. A pet peeve of mine is going to rehearsal or meeting and feeling like I’ve wasted time.
Nikki: Qualities you believe Toronto Dancers possess?
Andrew: I think the amazing thing about Toronto dancers are that we are so diverse because there are many different types of opportunities open to us. And as times goes on and the community grows closer together, we all become more well-rounded dancers.
Nikki: Any advice for emerging dancers and choreographers working/training in Toronto?
Andrew: Plain and simple, just work hard.
Want to be an industry dancer or choreographer? Go take classes, network, market yourself, showcase your choreography.
Want to be a good street dancer? Live the lifestyle of a street dancer and train, educate yourself, and take in the culture.
Nikki: Any upcoming projects, shows or classes you would like to share with T.D.O.T. ?
Andrew: Every Tuesday at Vybe Dance Company – Popping at 745, Locking at 900
every Wednesday at Dancercise – Funk Technique Class at 600
contact firstname.lastname@example.org for Private Classes
Also “Locking in a Different Light Part 2 – West Coast Edition” being released early January 2014 a series of concept videos I have been working on to show the street dance style (locking) in a different perspective for more people to be inspired or even open to learning it.
THANK YOU PYRO FOR SHARING YOUR LOVE AND PASSION WITH T.D.O.T. XO
CHECK OUT HIS WORK “LOCKING IN A DIFFERENT LIGHT PART 1”