Archive | January, 2015

GEORGE ABSI

20 Jan

This week’s Dancer/Choreographer shout out goes to George Absi. Pursuant to his long time love for the arts and more specifically for dance, George has been a professional dancer for over ten years. He has been training in all genres, Ballet, Jazz, Hip Hop, Tap and contemporary. He was born and raised in Ottawa, ON where he did most of his training which includes A.D.A.P.T and R.AD. After his training, George moved to Toronto to pursue his career as a professional dancer. He first landed a job working on a cruise ship. Soon after he landed jobs like dancing for International Artist PSY, Deborah Cox, Kreesha Turner, Fefe Dobson, Aleesia  and Classified just to name a few. George performed and appeared on several T.V shows and commercials; this past year he appeared on Breakfast Television, Toronto International Film Festival, he acted on the T.V hit show Party Mama’s Season 4 and “Threads” a short film as a news anchor. He appeared on Cineplex commercials and Tim Horton’s Web Commercials. Over the years, he also danced contemporary Jazz and Hip Hop for various independent shows such as Pandora’s Box Choreographer Shamika Blake, Limitless Choreographer Scott Fordham and Notre Dame De Paris Chorographer’s Vlad and Linda Garneau to name a few. Recently he danced in a motion picture movie named “FULLOUT” airing this year on the Family Channel. George is an now the Artistic Director and Choreographer of T.D.C Entertainment catering to main event functions and corporate events such as The Luminato Festival, The Teddy Bear and The Bell Celebrity Gala. George was also nominated for his work for The Star Alliance Awards for best outstanding choreography for special events. He performed at Toronto Choreographer’s Ball for various choreographers including Leon Blackwood, Scott Fordham, Julia Cratchley, Shavar Blackwood and more. These days you can catch George teaching drop in classes at the Underground Dance Centre in the heart of downtown Toronto. George believes that with hard work and determination you can conquer anything in life.

Bio provided by George

George Absi Dancer Toronto Dance

Follow George on Instagram: @georgeabsi

Follow  George on Twitter: @joujouabsi

Check out what George had to say in this week’s feature…

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

George: This may seem silly, but I was dancing as soon I was born. I barely ever sat still and always wanted to dance. I vividly remember always wanting to dance to the song “Jump” by Kris Kross. I would make my mom or dad play it constantly and I would obviously be wearing my clothes backwards, simply because it was the thing to do back then. I started professionally dancing at a dance studio in Ottawa, Greta Leeming Studio of Dance at the age of thirteen, and the rest is history.

 

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

George: My very first song I choreographed to was “All That Jazz” from the Broadway hit musical “Chicago”. It was my first year of high school and I was asked to put together a piece for the year end Fashion show of the decades. I had dancers from various studios in Ottawa, and it was the only time we all danced together as a group aside from competing against each other at competitions. The experiences and the memories we made were unforgettable. It was full out choreography filled with high kicks, turns, jazz hands and old school jazz walks across the stage. I will never forget it.

 

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

George: Free Styling is a form of confidence-boosting, self-expression and is usually a huge challenge for most dancers. My advice for dancers would be to dance to your highest potential, dance like no one is watching, always keep your audience engaged and most importantly, be confident in what you do. Never try something for the first time, that’s what class is for. At times use some sparse choreography as a very loose outline for the improvisation.

 

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

George: Getting in the zone is a routine for me. The ambience and my surroundings are very important. Getting in the zone means having a connection with the music. I listen to the song over and over again to get all my ideas out. Then I start playing around with choreography. At times when I set a piece, I would have my little black book with a hint of sparkles to write down to create formation and images.

 

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

George: My biggest influences in the Dance industry would have to be choreographers Brian Friedman, Yanis Marshall and Miguel Zarate. Just this past year I had the privilege to take class from Yanis and it was incredible. The feeling of letting go and dancing full out is the best feeling. All three choreographers influence me every day. They’ve allowed me to be who I am as a dancer and person. Never to hold back give it your all any chance you get. I have yet to take class from Miguel Zarate, but it’s indeed on my bucket list of 2015!

 

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

George: I absolutely love working with many choreographers in Toronto. Jeff Dimtrou is one choreographer I can say I worked with and learned so much from. His unique style and his positive surroundings are untouched. His way of teaching and getting his vision to come across is a process that I love to be a part of. I also can’t go on without mentioning choreographer Leon Blackwood. I’ve had the privilege working many jobs for Leon, and every single one turns out beautifully and even more powerful than the previous job. I’ve learned so much from Leon and I am happy to say I look up to him with tremendous respect.

 

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.)

George: My all time favourite artist to work for is Miss Deborah Cox. Growing up I would always listen to her music. This past year I was honoured to dance for her live at The World Pride Festivities here in Toronto thanks to choreographer Scott Fordham. I will never forget rehearsing with her and having her sing live every run thru. She sounded and looked absolutely beautiful. Always very nice to her dancers and thanked us over and over again. It was a dream come true and I will never forget that feeling.

 

Nikki: Qualities you believe Toronto Dancers possess?

George: Determination, Drive, motivation, encouragement, fire, hard work are just a few qualities I believe Toronto Dancers possess. Everyone is simply different but we all want the same thing. It’s up to you to make it happen with your personal qualities. When you find yourself you will find others.

 

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

George: Know your worth! When I first moved to Toronto I wanted to do everything possible even if I had to sacrifice my pay. To be honest, that’s how you have to get your foot in the door. However nowadays, emerging dancers are very well trained and are stepping into the industry a lot quicker than before. Therefore, dancers are willing to do high profile jobs for little or no pay. You are worth more! A non paying job to get known or recognized is when your choreographer isn’t getting paid or it’s for a good cause. Dancers must know that with great training and fantastic technique does not come great work ethic. You need to be considerable in all areas. Treat one another as you would like to be treated. Finally, dance from your heart. If it’s not coming from a good place your audience will see right thru you.

 

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

George: I am now currently choreographing and working as Artistic Director of T.D.C Entertainment, under the direction of Vanessa Engle. I create pieces to suit and capture to any high profile event. Also, I was recently part of a motion picture movie named “FULLOUT” dancing airing this year on the Family Channel. I teach drop in classes at THE UNDERGROUND DANCE CENTRE at the heart of downtown Toronto. (Wednesdays 9:30-11 HEELS, Thursdays 12:30-2 HEELS, 5:30-6:30 CONTEMPORARY and 6:30- 8 JAZZ/FUNK class) I also teach at the Annex Dance Academy choreographing for competition season 2015 in all genres i.e Jazz, Contemporary, Hip Hop and Musical Theatre.

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

CHECK OUT GEORGE’S CLASSES AT THE UNDERGROUND AND PERFORMING FOR LEON BLACKWOOD AT TORONTO’S ORIGINAL CHOREOGRAPHERS BALL

George Absi Dancer Toronto Dance George Absi Dancer Toronto Dance George Absi Dancer Toronto Dance

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JORDAN “JMAN” FRANCIS

5 Jan

This week’s Dancer/Choreographer feature goes to Jordan Francis aka Jman. Jordan showed signs of  talent at a very young age . He captured the interest of directors and photographers early  in life  doing various print jobs and commercials. At the age of ten he landed the leading role of  “YoungSimba” in Disneys “The Lion King,”  that’s when he really fell in love with performing live. When he was only eleven years old Jordan went on to writing music, one of his first songs “No Matter” made his hometown radio stations cd compilation volume 1, he also wrote a song for a local rapper that  can be heard in the feature film “How She Move” ..Trained in all types dance from Ballet, Jazz,Tap,Lyrical,Modern and Hip Hop…Jordan has won various awards and scholarships for his dancing across Canada and the U.S. and in 2006 he held the title of chorographer of the year at the IPD showcase and has recently added three more choreographer awards to his credits including (young choreographer 2008), his dancing has landed him roles in movies such as “Honey” starring Jessica Alba and Missy Elliott  “Music Man” starring Mathew Broderick and many others.. Jordan is also a well known lead voice actor his voice can be heard  on the Kids WB, The learning Channel(TLC) and on teletoon where he was  the voice of Jamie James in the hit series show “Carl Squared.”  Sky is the limit for this very talented young man at such a young age  he has already accomplished  so  much.. singer/songwriter/dancer/actor/producer and choreographer. Most of you all may know Jordan from Camp Rock one and two where he plays the role of Barron . His voice can also be heard on three songs on the  Camp Rock soundtrack..”Hasta La Vista”, “We Rock,” and “Start the Party” in which he sings solo. The soundtrack reached no.1 on the Billboard charts. In 2010 he was featured on the “Jonas Brothers World Tour”  .. Where he performed in front of numbers up to 80k every night across North and South America. Most recently check out Jordan on his own show  entitled  “The Cross Country Fun Hunt Saturday mornings on CBC. Coming soon YTV’s “The Next Star Super Group” Hosted by Jordan Francis Bio provided by Jordan

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Follow Jordan on Twitter: @officialjman

Follow Jordan on Instagram: @officialjman

Check out Jordan’s soundcloud: Jordan-Jman

Facebook: Jordanblair.francis

 

Check out what Jordan had to say in this week’s Shout out…

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

Jordan: yes I remember it was my first recital I was 3 or 4 yrs old. I remember practicing every Saturday. 

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

Jordan: The first number I put together with dancers was called fight club. We dancers were in boxing gear, robes hand wraps and all. 

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

Jordan: be fearless! Don’t ever think too hard, it’s about being you. Be confident. At the end of the day freestyle is like practice and being yourself. 

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

Jordan: for me it’s keeping my mind open. Seeing the vision I’m looking to create.

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

Jordan: Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Sammy Davis Jr, James Brown, Michael Jackson

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

Jordan: I enjoy working with my Sister Cali a.k.a Sarah that’s who I started working with in my choreography field. I also enjoy working with Shane Loc a.k.a Shane Simpson.

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.)

Jordan: Demi Lavato. I’m not saying that because she is super famous. I’m saying Demi because I grew up with her in this entertainment industry. I’ve seen her journey to becoming a major artist and this has been an inspiration to me. Demi is also an artist that is open to dancing and taking her craft seriously. 

Nikki: Qualities you believe Toronto Dancers possess?

Jordan: Toronto dancers possess diversity. There is so much culture in the city and it reflects the dance ability. 

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

Jordan: Yes, don’t be afraid to try and collaborate, be open-minded. Take classes in all genres of dance not just the one you’re comfortable with!!! 

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

Jordan: I just finished performing at the choreographers Ball Dec edition 2014. I had fun!! Earlier in the year we wrapped with the Next Star Super Group!! We had a blast!! I plan to release new music top of the year virally. I still teach from time to time so follow me on instagram & on twitter!! 

THANK YOU JORDAN aka JMAN FOR SHARING YOUR LOVE AND PASSION WITH T.D.O.T. XO

CHECK OUT JORDAN’S RECENT PERFORMANCE AND CHOREOGRAPHY AT TORONTO’S ORIGINAL CHOREOGRAPHERS BALL

Jordan Francis Dancer Toronto Dance

Jordan Francis Dancer toronto dance