Advice from a beautiful mind by Rachael Poirier

Danielle Gardner and Impact Dance Productions are humbled to share a blog by the one and only  Rachael Poirier Founder and Artistic Director at Danzmode Productions.

Rachael Poirier has greatly impacted many dancers and choreographers around the world including mine (Danielle Gardner). Sit back,enjoy and learn from one of the most amazing choreographers Canada has had the opportunity to call its own.

Dance is fun but mostly hard work, exhausting at times, rejuvenating and exciting at other times.  But we dance because we love the music, the movement, that sweat trickling down our backs, the discipline, the satisfaction of a great performance, rare but attainable, the perfect high.  Dance becomes part of our existence and is hard to let go once it is a part of you.  My biggest advice would be this – always be grateful to the ones that help you whether teachers or family.  We can’t be successful all alone.

There are a lot of people that help and inspire us along the way.  Like yourself, love yourself, respect yourself.  Work hard but at the same time, know what feeds your soul whether it’s spiritually, a walk in nature or spendingtime with your family…Find peace and silence, a calm, beautiful place to go frequently.  Keep good associates, friends, and make sure they are driven and inspired.  Stay free of alcohol and drug use.  Don’t compare yourself to others.  You are unique.  Embrace that, nurture that and fly with that thought.  No once can be compared to you and that is a wonderful special feeling because you are simply yourself.  Don’t try to be like someone else.  Remember art is not valued by a price tag, or a sales pitch, or a great resume.  You simply like it or you don’t.

Embrace difference, whether in people or art, keep creation moving and changing, don’t get stuck. Don’t be afraid to step out of the box.  Don’t worry about what people say, allow yourself to shine and to fail.  So many are driven by the fear of failure, but if you do fail, it usually just means you’ve done something different, and people as much as they profess to love difference, more often than not, it takes a while to accept it or to have the right person doing something different, example; someone famous.  Try hard not to be that person.  Most people arefollowers, try hard to be a leader.  Don’t believe everything you hear, most people feel a great need to over sell themselves, which to me just shows their lack of experience, because the dance industry will always humble you in one way or another.

To the dancers; you must have a great desire to improve and learn from everyone you meet.  Some teachers I disliked I needed the most as they were the ones that were tough, not complementary, they pushed until you cried, they’re the teachers I remember.  Don’t be a dancer that only dances to win an award, or dances for only admiration, you’ll be disappointed.  The ones that have made it (which I consider paying your bills through performing dance), they are tough, humble, hardworking and usually aren’t the ones talking about how successful they are and how much they’ve done or are doing.  Beware that you treat other dancers, studio owners, choreographers as you’d like to be treated.  As soon as you think you’re great and have nothing to learn, you will stop improving.  We are always learning.  Respect your fellow dancers and teachers.  Next time you win a trophy ask yourself where you won it and was there any competition.  Win an international competition like N.Y.C.D.A. or Y.A.G.P. then be proud, then go back to the barre and practice more because really nobody cares if you have bragging rights.  The dance community is small, have many friends that don’t dance.  As lovely as we are, our conversations tend to get a bit boring.

To teachers: treat your dancers like they’re your own children, care that much and they will be successful. Dancers need discipline and direction, they want it, and of course a bit of love.  The dancer you consider the worst in class, challenge yourself if you can make that dancer great, you’re a good teacher, remember that when you want to strangle them.


“Don’t dance unless you have to.  If you can let it go and do something else that makes you just as happy do it, because it’s tough, it’s hard work, and your body will eventually tire. You must love it”

Rachael Poirier

Blog made possible by:, and Impact Dance Productions

“Makeup for the bright nights & flashing lights” By Joyce Poon


New Blog Post By: Joyce Poon -President and Founder of Noir Lash Lounge

There’s a reason many women seek the services of a professional makeup artist for those special occasions in life, namely their wedding day. These pros know their stuff. The difference is never overly dramatic (you’ll still look like you) and yet, it makes all the difference from doing it yourself.

A drawback many actors and dancers have is that they can’t afford a makeup artist for every “big” event and for those in theindustry, that could be a lot! Appearances, auditions, performances – sometimes even a TV spot which doesn’t include an in-house artist at your disposal.

To add to that, stage and camera-ready makeup is not your daily wear. Many times I’ve been filmed or photographed thinking I look fabulous only to balk at the playback. Where did my eyebrows go?!? So here are some tips for makeup that won’t fade in the spotlight:


Use a primer. Especially if the segment is being filmed in HD or you are being photographed. Today’s high resolution cameras pick up EVERYTHING.


Invest in a really good foundation – one that you can move in, sweat in and still stays put. Try several out before committing. Practice with a full face on. It affects your performance when you know your face is literally melting for all the world to see.


Use concealer on top of the foundation. Sure you might think you look flawless in the mirror. Snap a selfie on your cell phone and that’ll make you think again. Use it not only to cover the redness around your nose, but the dark circles under your eyes. Also use it as a highlighter on the bridge of your nose and tops of your cheeks.


Make your eyes as dramatic as possible. And then add more. That’s how much you’ll need. Don’t be afraid to use black eyeshadow along with plenty of eyeliner. You might feel like you look like a raccoon in the mirror, but take a self-portrait and suddenly, it as if you didn’t put any makeup on at all.


Use strip lashes. Sometimes a pair isn’t enough, so don’t be afraid to layer on another. And don’t be shy. Go long and thick and for the stage, don’t be afraid of some of those crazy looking ones – they translate amazingly beautiful on camera!


Don’t be afraid to contour. The thought of contouring sounds so complicated, but as any actress, model or dancer will attest – it’s done for EVERYONE on any stage production. Just because you can’t afford a pro doesn’t mean you get to skip this important step. Learn to contour. Use a bronzer and a blush brush. Pinch the edges of the blush brush and apply in the hollows of your cheeks. Where the shadow falls is where you’ll want to apply it. Now unpinch your brush and blend.


Play with color. Luckily dancers get to wear such bright, colorful costumes not just over the course of their career but even in a single performance! Don’t forget cheek color and definitely apply much more than you would on a normal basis. Not sure how much? Use a camera with a flash setting from across the room to get an idea of how much you need to no longer look “washed out”


Don’t forget your brows!! This small detail frames the whole picture nicely together. It draws attention to your beautiful eyes and defines the face. Don’t be afraid to make the brows slightly thicker than your natural ones. A strong thin line is unnatural and jarring to the face.

This may seem like a lot of steps, but for those special occasions, how you appear is as important as how you’ll perform. It’s all a part of your stage persona. Lady Gaga just wouldn’t be Lady Gaga without the makeup (even in her full resplendent finery).



Joyce Poon- President & Founder of Noir Lash Lounge

A Dancers Stance by Kamilah Sturton ( Ballet Kelowna)



“A Dancers Stance ” By Kamilah Sturton ( Ballet Kelowna)

The arts deserve a voice. Health support for the arts is not consistent across Canada!

Under British Columbia’s compensation, Dancers are considered to be workers, but for example, Saskatchewan does not. The act that defines a worker varies across Canada. Some may say, “Well you are a BC resident why isn’t that enough to cover you?” The brief answer I’ve learned is that the “company” has to have ties to [in this case] Saskatchewan.

This past summer while teaching and judging in Brazil, I had the honor of working with Vladimir Klos; Director of Stuggart Ballet, he verified what many dancers in North America hear. Dancers in Europe are treated like gold. Vladimir told me that if a dancer in his company, cannot afford a place to live, a vehicle, food, and extra money to live by; he is not paying them enough. Dance/art in Europe is part of their culture, and everyday lives. People take in operas, ballets, art exhibits, film festivals, concerts, etc. Yes as a country Canada is much younger than Europe, but it is difficult knowing that we as North Americans struggle to fill the seats of many performances with artistic relevance.  

“Your child shows much promise” “If you want this and have the passion, you can make it in this industry” “You have what it takes” “You have what can’t be taught” 

How many of you in the industry heard these or similar words of support. When did these words of belief and hope turn into mere memories of days when the ‘future’ seemed years away?

What happens to those words when you are finally in the ‘future’ and you realize you’re not only dealing with your own goals and struggles, but working against thousands of talented individuals who heard the exact same words, as well as giving the arts a voice in our artistically challenged North American society.

What happens to those words if you have one bad step, fall, or jump…do you all of sudden not have “what it takes”, and this is the end of dance as you know it? No.

When I decided to make dance my main FIRST career, I knew very well that I was choosing the life of an artist. Potentially struggling to make ends meet, not being accepted by broader society, and possibly having a short career. Unbeknownst to me, as aworker in the community, I would be invisible should an injury or sickness occur. I do not regret a single choice I have made. It is a bit frightening though that after these many years, and after this latest injury (resulting in inability to work for 4-6 months) I am left struggling to support myself.

Many Canadians don’t put much thought into their work safety coverage, thinking that since we are in Canada our health is all taken care of. This was my thought at least until this latest injury struck, Perhaps naive but I figured if a construction worker was taken care of, why wouldn’t I? I was wrong. Not only could I not receive coverage for getting injured on the job, while under contract, thus not being able to work. In the eyes of the Saskatchewan WCB (this is where my latest contract took place); I am not even considered a “worker”. The closest related job category is a theatre performer.

Dancers; you know what you are worth, know your coverage, read everything you sign, ensure the “Company” that wants to hire you pays into WCB and if so look into their provincial coverage towards Dancers, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. You will be in a better position in the long run, should anything unfortunate occur.

You define your own success, it is what you do with set backs and struggles that makes you stronger in the end. If your ‘ability’ to dance ends tomorrow, or 50 years from now, know that dance has given you more than most will learn or experience in their lifetime. An injury takes more than exercises, ice, and Advil. It takes patience, an optimistic mind, and believingthat dance will open up multiple doors if you stay open to all opportunities.

” Advice From Behind the Lense”

Impact Dance Productions Presents a blog post by Mike Wollin from Foundry Films. Take a peek into the life of a professional that works from behind the camera. We hope you take his tips to your next film audition and blow the casting director away!

January 8th 2013:


My name is Mike Wollin and I run FoundryFilms a tv and film audition studio located in Vancouver B.C.  For the past four years we’ve primarily shot auditions for film and television as well as editing demo reels for local actors.  Previous to those years I worked for another company offering similar services so all in all I’ve been filming auditions/editing reels for 9 years (that’s a little scary when I say it out loud).

 During that time I’ve shot over 12,000 auditions, and have had the privilege of working with some of the top actors in Canada. Here are some auditions tips I’ve picked up over the years.


  • First and by FAR the most important thing to remember when taping an audition is to have FUN!  If you aren’t having fun then why bother?! 


  • Learn your lines or if you don’t have them memorized at least hold onto the sides (aka script) while you film the audition so you can get your line if needed.  This is more important when you’re in a casting session. CDs don’t usually have a lot of time when running casting sessions and if you have to keep restarting your scene because you can’t remember your lines it doesn’t reflect well on you and it throws the session off schedule.


  • Don’t go into an audition with the “I’m not right for this part” attitude. A lot of the time casting doesn’t know what they’re looking for, it’s your job to convience them that they’re looking for you!  I’ve heard numerous stories of actors booking roles when they thought they bombed the audition.


  • Remember that Casting Directors are on YOUR side. They want you to succeed because if you succeed it reflects well on them. Don’t be afraid to ask questions either, it opens up a dilaogue with casting and shows that you’re willing to take notes/direction.


  • DO NOT wait until last minute to film your audition! Get it done early in case you need/want to make some adjustments and re-shoot the audition.


  • Remember that we are our own worst critics.  Something that you might notice about yourself most likely won’t be noticed by anyone else. No, I didn’t notice your eye twitch, no, I don’t think you hair is out of place.


  • I’m a big fan of shooting the rehearsal although not every actor wants to.  However, 9 times out of 10 when I do shoot it, we’ll end up using that take.  Actors are great at psyching themselves out and the second they know the camera is on, everything changes. Most of it is nerves, which I get, so just take a deep breath and relax.


  • Don’t over prepare your audition.  Get your lines down, figure out the blocking for the scene but don’t get too specific.  If you have every moment in the scene pre-planned when filming the audition, guess what, it looks pre-planned when it’s filmed.


  • Focus on your reader.  In a taped audition you get to bring your own reader so bring someone who is willing to connect with you in the scene.


  • Don’t be afraid to spend a little money to get your auditions taped professionally.  A good portion of my clients have the option of taping their auditions at their agency for free.  However they recognize the advantage of putting their best foot forward by submitting a professionally shot audition.  Picture and sound quality matter.


Those are just a few of the things to remember when taping an audition. Thanks for reading!

Mike Wollin and Danielle Gardner-Founder&Creator of Impact Dance Productions

Blog made possible by,,


“Something in the Water” by Joshua Beamish

Danielle Gardner Founder of Impact Dance Productions would like to introduce the first of many blog posts that will be featured on

Blogs will be posted by industry greats, casting agents, hair and make up specialist and many more inspiring people.
We hope you enjoy these blogs as much as we have enjoyed creating them!
Team Canada Choreographers Joshua Beamish and  Director Danielle Gardner
January 1st 2013:
The journey through a career in this industry is always unpredictable. Dancers move where the work is, opportunities come and go with hype and the threat of an injury, large or small, is always looming. Many dancemakers have their calendars planned out three years in advance, while other artists are expected to drop everything in an instant to obtain a shot at that lifelong dream contract.

My own career path is perhaps one of the least traditional I’ve come across, having started a professional dance company at 17. In just under a decade, I have already experienced so many genre shifts that I’ve come to realize that many of the students I’m currently working with have no idea that I started out just like them. While I always placed a strong focus on ballet, primarily through the training from my mother Loretta Lachner, there was nothing I loved more than jazz. I was a Triple Threat scholarship student, Kelly Konno was my number one idol and I was sure that I too would end up dancing for Janet Jackson one day. When I heard students getting excited about attending Triple Threat this year it reminded me of how much I gained from opportunities like my Triple Threat, Groove Street or Harbour Dance Centre scholarships. These organizations gave me access to teachers who challenged me with new vocabulary and they put me in a room with the best of my peers. Through Triple Threat I experienced a week of private musical theatre training at Randolph Academy and had the opportunity to attend their first ever Hawaii Dance Experience. My experiences at Groove Street paved the way for my time dancing in the Source Dance Company and Harbour Dance Centre went on to give me support to enable the realization of my first two professional productions. Above all, I most realize that these institutions and instructors taught me that my individuality was an attribute to be celebrated. They made clear that my greatest offering to the dance world was the unique nature of an artistry that was particular to me. I haven’t forgotten this, as this truth has taken me to places I never expected possible.

In the years that have followed I gradually pulled away from the studio and competitive world, creating just a few solos and judging the odd competition. The demands of running my company simply required a complete focus. Everything else in my life took a back seat.
Since my relocation to New York I have ironically spent more time invested in outreach work with BC’s young dancers than ever before. The formation of our annual MOVE: the company Summer Intensive, in addition to creating works for Team Canada and Richmond Academy, reignited a passion for exploring the creativity and capabilities of young artists. In the past year I’ve actually found myself seeking out opportunities to have a hand in opening the minds of the next generation of professional artists. It’s steadily growing into a passion that equals my love for directing professionals.
I believe that there is something so uniquely special about the training of young dancers in British Columbia. Many of my greatest collaborators were groomed in BC’s local schools. One only needs to mention Crystal Pite, Tiffany Tregarthen, Simone Orlando, Celine Gittens and Amber Funk Barton among counless others, to realize how much incredible talent has emerged from the BC studio system. I’ve often wondered what it is that keeps BC consistently producing such evolved young artists. Is the importance placed on ballet training without the tunnel vision focus that it’s the be all and end all of dance? Is it the fact that we still have dance festivals and The Provincials, as well as the dance competition circuit? Is it that we’ve had so many truly great local success stories who’ve undeniably made it, and yet still return to BC to give knowledge and inspiration back to the next wave of movers.
It’s certainly some combination of these factors, among others, but I think that the real secret is that our dance studio ecosystem in BC celebrates the individuality of youth. Children are taught to dance in a group but allowed to grow as soloists. They are taught formalized techniques but are also exposed to improvisation. They are even often encouraged to enter student choreography and music interpretation categories at the festivals.
When I teach in BC I come across far fewer TV dance emulaters than I do anywhere else. This doesn’t mean they altogether ignore widespread mainstream influences, but it does illustrate that they know how to turn off stylistic conventions when asked. Danielle Gardner and Jeff Mortensen, two dancers who move between concert and tv dance careers including contracts with my own company, are perfect examples of artists who deftly balance commercial interest and artistic integrity. In truth, I respect that ability more. After all, being a chameleon is the only way I manged to fund a year of my contemporary dance company’s activities by taking a roles in commercial projects, not least of which being in a Nickelodeon TV movie musical with Kelly Konno.
Thank you for reading
Impact Dance Productions