Archive | March, 2015

LAMAR JOHNSON

30 Mar

This week’s Dancer/Choreographer shout out goes to Lamar Johnson. Lamar, born and raised in Toronto Canada is a self-taught dancer who is dedicated to building his craft and inspiring others. At the early age of nine, he was casted as ‘Little Man’ alongside Jessica Alba in the feature film “Honey”. He had many other accolades in his early years as a performer such as appearing on The Maury Show for ‘America’s Most Talented Kid Dancers’, performing at the Apollo Theatre in New York City and the host of Pop It! On TVO Kids. Along his journey, Lamar found himself connecting to acting, where he appeared on shows like Degrassi, Rookie Blue, The Firm, Covert Affairs, Family Channel’s hit TV series “The Next Step” and his most recent television credit Saving Hope. He’s also appeared in feature films such as Parkdale, Liar, Cuffed, Home Again, Apple Mortgage Cake and his most recent, Full Out – also, crediting a few commercials under his belt.

Lamar is an honour roll student who also enjoys playing many sports, singing, designing, teaching and choreographing. With a strong love for the craft, he plans on pursuing his dreams, all while inspiring others to pursue theirs.

Bio provided by Lamar

Lamar johnson dancers Toronto dance

Follow Lamar on Twitter @lamarjohnsonn

Follow on Instagram: @lamarjohnson 

IMDB: Lamar Johnson 

www.thenextstep.family.ca 

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

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

Lamar: The first time I started dancing was at the age of 9 at a talent show my Elementary School put on annually. It was the moment I knew I was meant to be a performer!

 

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

Lamar: The first time I personally choreographed was actually on the second season of The Next Step. I was never really into choreographing until that moment. I choreographed a short section of the Nationals routine. It was a great opportunity for me to showcase my choreography skills, and showed me that I was more than capable of doing it!

 

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

Lamar: Some advice I’d give to dancers when it comes to freestyling is to not think. That might be odd to some people reading, but when I freestyle, I don’t think. I just let the music take my body – which allows me to move organically. I think that’s when you do things you would’ve never done if you were to think about the next move.

 

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

Lamar: For me, getting in the zone to choreograph takes getting inspired in some sort of way. Whether it’s through the music, or just through visually watching something. With that inspiration, it allows me to get a sense of where to start with my movement, then all else comes with that.

 

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

Lamar: My biggest influences in the dance industry are actually two individuals that are not even from Canada. One of them is from LA (Keone Madrid), the other from Japan (Koharu Sugawara). I feel every time I watch them dance I get inspired. Their movement is so raw and unique, I love getting into it.

 

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

Lamar: I really enjoy working with Luther Brown. I’ve known Luther at a very young age when he used to choreograph for a local dance crew by the name of Du Dat. They always had the most flavour and substance in their performances that nobody could match. I had the opportunity to work with him on Season 3 of The Next Step. The experience was awesome. To see his creative process was inspiring.

 

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.)

Lamar: I would love to work with Jon M. Chu. He’s the director on many projects, one being some of the Step Up franchise. I think they way he highlights dance in such a cinematic way is incredible. His eye for detail is awesome and would be an honor to potentially work with him on a project.

 

Nikki: Qualities you believe Toronto Dancers possess?

Lamar: I believe Toronto Dancers possess the quality of giving their all on stage. Every time I go to showcases in Toronto, I never fail to be impressed by the amount of energy they have. Or as us dancers say, being “full out.”

 

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

Lamar: I would say that if you’re passionate about something, in any aspect of ART, don’t be afraid to showcase it and show the world. Disregard what you believe people will think about it, and just DO. Believe in yourself and your art.
 

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

Lamar: Well I’m constantly trying to showcase my talents in every medium across the board. I’m in the process of outputting videos onto social media outlets, doing more choreography, writing film and designing. So you will be able to see a lot of that in due time. In the mean time, I do a lot of teaching so keep an eye out for upcoming classes and events on my social media!

THANK YOU LAMAR FOR SHARING YOUR LOVE AND PASSION WITH T.D.O.T. XO

CHECK OUT SOME FOOTAGE OF LAMAR SHOWING OFF HIS SKILLS AS “WEST” ON THE NEXT STEP

FOOTAGE OF LAST WEEK’S FEATURE TREVOR TORDJMAN AND LAMAR JOHNSON 

Lamar johnson dancers Toronto dance Lamar johnson dancers Toronto dance

TREVOR TORDJMAN

16 Mar

This week’s Dancer/Choreographer shout out goes to Trevor Tordjman. Trevor began studying dance at the age of 4 in his mother’s dance studio, Confidance.  Although Trevor was exposed to and trained in many forms of dance, he quickly developed a passion for Hip Hop and Breakdancing.  Dedicating the majority of his free time to studying dance from a young age, he has been able to hone and develop his own unique style. 

Trevor began to gain exposure after being cast as a dancer in several music videos and commercials.  Including works by Victoria Duffield and Shawn Desmond, and national ad campaigns for Coca-Cola andThe Family Channel.

 Trevor landed his first major television role in 2012 when he was cast as “James” in Temple Street Production’s hit dance series, The Next Step.  His first role in a feature film followed not long after, being cast as “Nate” in the Ariana Berlin bio-pic Full Out.

In early 2014 Trevor founded Raw Motion Dance, a full-service dance convention and in-studio workshop provider.  Please visit www.rawmotiondance.com for more information on how you can meet and dance with Trevor.

 Bio provided by Trevor

Trevor Tordjman dancer toronto dancewww.trevortordjman.com

www.rawmotiondance.com

Follow him on instagram @trevorflanny

Follow him on twitter @trevorflanny

All social media links 

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

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

Trevor: The first time I started dancing was at my mother’s dance studio Confidance at the age of four. I had a competitive trio to “Rockin Robin” by the Jackson 5. It was hilarious!

 

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

Trevor: I can’t remember the first song I choreographed to but I do remember teaching my first class. My mom let me teach a hip-hop class weekly to a group of boys. I was 14 years old.

 

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

Trevor: For me, when it comes to free-styling it is all about feeling the music and letting loose. Of course it is much easier if you are already familiar with the song you’re dancing too, but if you don’t know it, just follow the beat!

 

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

Trevor: First I need to be inspired by a song. Once I have a song that inspires me, all I need is a nice pair of headphones and enough space to move a little.

 

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

Trevor: I often watch videos on Youtube, mostly of Keone and Mariel Madrid. Their choreography is insane. Although from another perspective, I am influenced by Gil Stroming. He runs one of the biggest dance production companies in all of North America right now. I just find it amazing how he has made such an impact on the dance industry by connecting huge choreographers with aspiring dancers.

 

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

Trevor: I do a lot of choreography with Lamar Johnson. We often collaborate, and when we do, everything flows at such a fast pace. Our styles seem to work together very nicely.

 

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.)

Trevor: I have been given to the opportunity to work with Luther Brown on a few occasions. I find that his choreography possesses a lot of personality, and I love that. When performing for a live audience, stage presence is a quality that is needed in order to engage your viewers.

Nikki: Qualities you believe Toronto Dancers possess?

Trevor: I believe that a lot Toronto Dancers tend to always give it their all, or as dancers would say being “full out.”

 

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

Trevor: Some advice I would like to give to emerging dancers working/training in Toronto would be to never shy away from sharing your art. If there is something that you are passionate or proud of, don’t be afraid to showcase it.
Nikki: Any upcoming projects, shows or classes you would like to share with T.D.O.T.?

 

Trevor: I recently founded a company called Raw Motion Dance, and we are constantly trying to offer outlets for upcoming dancers to train and showcase their talents. For more information visit www.rawmotiondance.com to stay updated on our events currently happening across Canada.

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

WATCH THE EXTENDED TRAILER FOR SEASON 3 OF THE NEXT STEP 

TREVOR AS JAMES ON THE NEXT STEP PERFORMING A DUET

Trevor Tordjman dancer toronto dance Trevor Tordjman dancer toronto dance raw motion danceTrevor Tordjman dancer toronto dance

MIA DILENA

2 Mar

This week’s Dancer/Choreographer feature goes to Mia DiLena. Mia a professional dancer from Toronto, received her Certificate of completion in 2009 from The Ailey School (home to Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater) in New York City. There, she worked with several multi-award winning teachers and choreographers such as Camille A. Brown, Pedro Ruiz and Milton Myers. At an audition in 2008, Mia was one of the few dancers selected from the student body to perform with the Alvin Ailey Company at the New York City Center Theater as part of the company’s 50th Anniversary featuring Oprah Winfrey as honorary chair. After graduating, Mia was accepted into the 2009, 2010 and 2011 editions of Springboard Danse Montréal directed by Alexandra Wells. Here she had the chance to work with many prestigious choreographers and companies like Margie Gillis, Ballet Jazz de Montreal and RUBBERDANDance. Prior to her post-secondary education, Mia received the Proficiency Award in Dance from her high school, Etobicoke School of the Arts. She also passed her Royal Academy of Dance (R.A.D.) Advanced 1 Ballet Exam with Distinction, and was accepted into the distinguished National Ballet School of Canada summer intensive. During Mia’s time as a competitive dancer, she won several regional titles and top overall awards at American Dance Awards and other competitions. She also won a 1st place full scholarship for an exchange program to study ballet in Genoa, Italy in her final year of high school.

Mia was chosen at an audition for the role of Gracie Shinn in Disney’s The Music Man starring Kristen Chenoweth and Matthew Broderick. Later, she played the lead youth dancer in the Bravo! Fact film, From Time to Time, directed by Moze Mossasnen and choreographed by Ginette Laurin. Mia has danced in several Toronto based dance companies including Helix Dance Project, directed by Linda Garneau, Conteur Dance Company, directed by Eryn Waltman, and Bridge To Artists, directed by Vlad Novitski.  Mia had the extreme honor of performing with and assisting Teddy Forance and his entire esteemed faculty at his workshop, Generation IV Dance, in Massachusetts in 2012 and 2013. In 2012 and 2014 Mia was invited to dance with Bridge Dance Concepts, directed by Derrick Yanford, at the EDANCO International Contemporary Dance Festival in the Dominican Republic. She has also been featured in music videos, including Heaven by Blake McGrath, Time’s Up by Aleesia, and Graceland by Allan Rayman. As well she performed for Aleesia at the CityTV’s New Year’s Eve Bash in 2011 at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto.  

Mia has travelled throughout Canada teaching on the faculty of many workshops and dance studios. She currently teaches and judges for On The Floor directed by Mitchell Jackson and Lisa Hupe, FRESH Dance Intensive directed by David Norsworthy, and Vlad’s Dance Company directed by Vlad Novitski. Mia has also had the pleasure of assisting many respected choreographers in Canada and the U.S. including Derrick Yanford, Teddy Forance, Jason Winters, Vlad Novitski, and more.

Mia is enthusiastic to see what’s next for her career and is always thrilled to see the exciting things her fellow Toronto dancers are involved in.

Bio provided by Mia

Mia DiLena

Facebook: mia.dilena

Instagram: @miadilena13

Twitter: @DiLenaMia

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

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

Mia: I remember watching my brother doing gymnastics at home when I was 3 years old and I tried copying him. My parents put me in gym too and the coaches told me I should try dance as well to help with that aspect. When my mom told me I got to wear makeup and a costume, I was sold! But I remember loving dance from the first day.

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

Mia: When I was very young, I always danced in my room and made up stuff to my Paula Abdul cassette tape… But I think my first real piece of choreography was a solo to Breathe Me by Sia. My first piece I set on a group of dancers was to Empty Buildings by Catherine Feeny. They were my guinea pigs.

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

Mia: Don’t waste time being afraid. I wasted so many years by feeling insecure. As soon as I felt that what I had to contribute to a room was valid, I never stopped. Free styling/improvising is sometimes the most amazing feeling. You get lost in the best possible way. There are so many ways to shape your free style. You can take a cue from the music, you can give yourself different tasks, consider different qualities (speed, resistance, etc.) and so on. If it’s at an audition, take into consideration what the panel is probably looking for and highlight your strengths.

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

Mia: It’s different depending on the time of day/weather/who I’m working with/ the environment etc. Today I warmed up with one of my students with some awesome lights, chill music, some crunches and a large coffee! Sometimes I know exactly what I’m setting out to choreograph and other times the bodies in the room help me get in the right head space and “in the zone”.

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

Mia: I have many!! Where do I start? Crystal Pite of Kidd Pivot is brilliant. I can’t think of a more fitting word to describe her. Jiri Kylian’s choreography, Petite Mort, on Nederlands Danse Theatre, is breathtaking and awe inspiring. It definitely influenced my understanding of technical and musical execution. Here in the city: Vlad Novitski. Or as he’s more well known, Vlad. I owe so much of who I am as a dancer and choreographer to him. I think I’ve been influenced by many of my experiences, some I’m aware of and some just seeped in. I worked with many choreographers at a program called Springboard Danse Montreal and I think much of what I experienced there altered and influenced me. For example, after working with a company in Montreal called RUBBERBANDance, I noticed my choices as a mover were changing. Also, I’m often influenced by any dancer that is driven. It’s so stunning to watch someone with drive.

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

Mia: Linda Garneau takes the cake. She really creates your ideal working environment and relationship. She’s unbelievable to work with. I just finished her latest show, The Waiting Room, with her company, Helix Dance Project, and some of the words that kept circling through the cast were compassion, generosity and love, to list a few. I felt lucky and grateful everyday to be in that rehearsal room. She’s a master of MANY crafts. People will work with her til the end of time.

Nikki: Name one of your favourite artists to work with and why? (ie; another dancer, choreographer, musician etc)

Mia: This is a hard one to narrow down. But I think I will go with Vlad. For people who don’t know him, he’s known for his ability to tell a story through dance. I’ve never cried more than when watching his work. Working with him as a dancer, he creates some of the most complicated, intricate but beautiful movement I’ve ever done. To this day, (after knowing him for over 10 years) he still creates movement that only he can duplicate. It’s that intricate. But he loves finding organic movement with each person he’s setting choreography for. In my opinion, he’s shaped some extremely stunning dancers that are currently working in this industry.

Nikki: Qualities you believe Toronto dancers possess?

Mia: I feel like there’s something so unique about each dancer that has come from Toronto. High levels of talent and skill, are present, but something individual about each one. However, I’d say perseverant, technical and respectful are some of the qualities that Toronto dancers are known for.

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

Mia: I think we’re all trying to figure things out as we go. But being able to become what the industry needs at any given time is very important. One day you might be in a contemporary show and the next day you might be in a mainstream music video. The more versatile you are, the more opportunities you’ll receive and the more fun you’ll have along the way. Also, I’ve always been a supporter of the “trained” dancer. I think it’s crucial to keep training and honing your skill. You have to find work and audition, but don’t stop growing and developing your craft. As for choreographers, I think the best advice I could give is the more you do, the better you get. You learn what you like about your own voice.

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

CHECK OUT SOME FOOTAGE OF MIA DANCING 

Mia toronto dancer dance Senses. Mia. Betty Oliphant Theatre Carmen. Mia. Betty Oliphant Theatre