Menina Fortunato, is a seasoned professional with many years of experience as a professional dancer in all areas of entertainment. She began her professional career in Vancouver and has been based in Los Angeles for over a decade.  Image

She has had the pleasure of working with the world’s biggest stars including Britney Spears, Beyonce, Earth Wind & Fire, Carmen Electra, Rain (Bi), Luis Miguel, Jennifer Garner, Carrie Underwood, Paula Abdul to name a few. She has toured the world & seen my millions on TV & film. Select credits include America’s Got Talent, Star Trek: Enterprise, Alias, MAD TV, Guy’s Choice Awards to name a few. Most recently she transitioned behind the camera in casting & production on several productions including The X Factor & America’s Got Talent. Go to to learn more about her career. 

After a long performing career, it is her time to give back to the next generation of dancers. She created THE HOLLYWOOD SUMMER TOUR, a dance career intensive for aspiring professional dancers with the intention to education, prepare & inspire dancers to realize their dreams. Go to to learn more.

1 – Diversify Your Training
In this ever changing dance industry, a dancer must keep up with the current trends in order to stay competitive. There  was a time when dancers specialized in only one form of dance and that was sufficient. In the last decade, thanks to TV shows like So You Think You Can Dance, a dancer has more opportunities if they are well versed in multiples styles of dance. Both choreographers & agents love to work with versatile dancers. 
2 – Get an Agent
If a dancer wishes to work in all areas of media, including commercials, TV, film, live shows etc, getting a dance agent is essential. Dance Agencies have access to castings that are typically unavailable to the public. A dance agent will negotiate contracts with the intention to protect the dancer’s rights and ensure appropriate wages. Dance agents are typically paid 10-15% commission on the contracts they negotiate for their clients. 
3 – Get Professional Photos
Professional photos are the business card for all talent, especially dancers. They are used for agency submissions, casting submissions as well as auditions. The industry standard is an 8×10 photo with the name on the bottom. Some dancers might use a collage of 2 or more images on the same 8×10 print in order to showcase multiple looks. A poor headshot could cost a dancer an audition or a job, so it is critical to choose a photographer that can produce high quality images with proper lighting that captures the “best you”.
4 – Prepare a well formatted Dance Resume
A dance resume is not formatted like a “traditional job” resume. It should be well formatted with the dancer’s name, contact information, stats including height, weight, eye color, as well as credits separated in sub categories (ie. film, tv, stage, theatre, videos, industrials etc), training and special skills. 
5 – Create a Professionally Designed Website
Since we are in the digital age, a professional website is very valuable and useful. Like any business, it has everything one needs to know about a dancer’s career – photos, resume, bio, videos, press, contact etc. It allows a dancer to showcase all their work in one place that is easily accessible and viewable by anyone in the world. It can also be integrated with a dancer’s multiple social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram etc) and casting profiles (IMDB, Casting Networks, The Casting Workbook etc).
6 – Create a Dance Demo Reel
A dance demo reel is a short 1-3 minute montage of video clips showcasing a dancer’s body of work. It should be professional edited with captivating music, titles etc. It should entice and intrigue the viewer. It is a useful marketing tool that can be used for submissions for potential work.
7 – Broadcast your professional work on Video Sharing Networks 
Once you have video content worth sharing (ie. professional work, class footage), it is a smart idea to post it on video sharing sites (ie. YouTube, Vimeo etc). It’s also valuable to “tag” the video with key words, so viewers can easily find it. Video sharing allows for anyone around the world to see your work, which could result in booking work worldwide.
8 – Be proactive & seek work opportunities
Even if a dancer has an agent, they should not rely on their agent to find all their work. A dancer should be pro-active and submitting themselves for work, whether it’s blind submissions to potential companies they wish to work for or daily submissions through casting websites.  
9 – Attend Dance Related Events
Attending dance related events is a great way to see other dancer’s work, be inspired, and also network with other dance professionals who also might be attending the event. There is a saying in the entertainment world – “out of sight, out of mind”. If potential employers don’t see you, they might forget about you. 
10 – Make Friends
Building relationships is very important. “Who you know” and “who knows you” can lead to potential work opportunities. Friends like to hire their friends. It’s not uncommon for a casting director or choreographer to hire someone they know. You can’t afford to burn bridges. Your reputation can & will follow you. A good dancer with a wonderful work ethic and positive attitude is more likely to work than an extraordinary dancer who is unreliable and has a bad attitude. Your like-ability can be just as important as your talent. The dance world is small and building a positive reputation is important for a long lasting career. 

Bringing The Tropics Home By Robyn Gerry

With Vancouver Fashion Week approaching we thought we would contribute a little fashion into this weeks post in celebration of the opening of VFW taking place tomorrow night at the Four Season. Opening choreographed by Founder & CEO of Impact Dance Productions…Danielle Gardner (AKA me :))

Please sit back and enjoy some fashion goodies by Robyn Bank our Fashion Blogger Diva

-Bringing The Tropics Home-

I among the majority of you Vancouverites probably think that the rain is terribly romantic, (unless your heartbroken and love lost… in which case its probably for the most part depressing – sorry). As luck would have it, were all in for a seasonal treat. With the arrival of daylight savings, comes future sun saturation and vitamin D ie: summersssss a comin! and with it, fashions strong craving to embrace the sun, melatonin soaked skin, and tropical prints. With the arrival of spring It’s no surprise that florals seep their way into the minds and seams of the international fashion houses.
The palm leaves that were sewn on the runways of A LAB Milano and Alexander Wang, are raging in full bloom this spring. This pantsuit from Stella McCartney (throwing it back to her days of designing for Chloe), she’s taken the tropics to a mirror and then thrown it on a menswear inspired pantsuit. These prints aren’t just on runways but are infiltrating street-wear as well as a great resurgence in sub cultures. Tropical flowers can be seen on everything from Vans shoes to Huf Hats.
Although here in Vancouver we have but two months of summer (if we’re lucky), this year we can celebrate summer like the rest of the world from May to September through textile expressionism that goes beyond pastel colours. The great thing about this tropical trend is that it’s VERY wearable. Pair your favorite Hawaiian button up with cut offs and chuck taylors and your set. If your anything like me, constantly juggling work, yoga/spin classes, nights out with your ladies and hikes up the chief I for one am glad that I can bring the tropics with me even if its overcast.

Robyn Gerry

This Blog Post was made possible by IMPACT Dance Productions

Dancing my heart out by Kristina Akester

Dancing My Heart Out

Dance has always been a huge part of my life. I know that’s so cliche for a dancer to say, but ever since I was a little girl, dance really has been my entire world. Putting in countless hours in the studio, going home to practice routines in my living room, watching dance videos on Youtube, going back to the studio to practice… It’s always been my passion. I just love to dance because it simply makes me happy inside. I guess because it’s something I’ve always done, I’ve never realized the impact that it has had to shape me as a person. The past two years in my life have really made me understand how important dance is to me.
In the summer of 2011, my dad passed away. It was completely unexpected and I felt like my whole world had been turned upside down in a split second. I felt sad, confused, angry, and frustrated, along with all of these other emotions that I didn’t know how to deal with. I was lost as to what to do with myself anymore, and in turn I slowly began a downward spiral into depression.
The next year and a half was a bit of a mess. I was trying to deal with all these thoughts in my head on top of school, family, friends, and dance. I felt so overwhelmed all the time, and started self-harming as an outlet to deal with what I was feeling. I started drawing away from the people I loved and was quickly losing my passion for dance. I felt like I would never be good enough as a dancer and because dance had always been part of my identity as a person, I started feeling like I would never be good enough as a person as well. I was growing distant from the little girl that just loved to dance because it made her happy. As time went on I became more and more miserable and the people around me in my life started noticing. Eventually the truth came out about what was going on and fortunately, I was immediately started on a recovery program.
The recovery process has been one of the most frustrating and inspiring things I’ve had to, and continue to go through. I’ve learned that instead of pushing dance away, it’s the one thing I will always be able to count on. Whenever I get the urge to self harm, I dance. If this means putting on music and just dancing in my bedroom late at night, then that’s what I do. I’ve also learned that sometimes you just need to dance for yourself. Through all of this, I think that has been the biggest blessing – rekindling my passion for dance. I’ve reconnected with my inner five year old who just likes to dance because it makes her happy. I dance because I love it. I love the way it makes me feel, and how everything seems better when I’ve had a bad day. I believe using art as a way to express oneself is one of the most stress-relieving and calming things a person can do. Dance will always be there for me when things get tough and I am so proud to call myself a dancer because I truly believe it is one of the most special art forms out there.

Jam Session by Impact Dance Productions

At Impact Dance Productions we believe music should be heard by all !
We would love to share a few fun playlists to compliment your day.
Sit back,blast some tunes,close your eyes and let the music warm your soul.
-My generation by The Who
-Mustang Sally by Wilson Pickett
-Caught up in you by .38 special
-Stand by me by Ben E King
-The Jive Bombers by Bad boy
-Babe im gonna leave you by Led Zeppelin
“I JUST WANNA CRY” playlist:
-Hero by Regina Spektor
-Creep by Scala&Kolancy Brothers
-Moonlight Sonata by Ludwig Van Beethoven
-No Ones’s Gonna Love You by Cee Lo Green
-Just a game by Birdie
-Breaking the law by Emelie Sande
-Explosion’s by Ellie Goulding
-Into the dust by Mazzy Star
“LETS CUDDLE” Playlist:
-Kiss me by Ed Sheeran
-Never quit loving you by Jill Barber
-Cant stop thinking about you by Martin Sexton
-Lost in the light by Barchords
-Addicted to love by Florence and the machine
-I dare you by Ali Milner
“PUMP IT” Playlist
-Fire by Ingrid Michealson
-High for this by the Weekend
-Yeah yeah by Willy Moon
-I ❤ u so by Cassius
-Iron (remix by Gucci Vump)by Wood kid
-Love me (Kat Krazy Remix)by Stooshe
-Do it like that by Ricki-lee
-Your body (ken Loi Remix) by Christina Aguleira
Let us know what you think of our playlist and subscribe for more music!
Follow us @IMPACTDancePro
Blog made possible by

Transitions by Amy Josh of Noord Nederlands Dans company

  1. My name is Amy Josh and I am a 21 year old professional contemporary dancer based in Europe. I spent my teenage years living in Vancouver, Canada completing my training at Arts Umbrella Dance school in Granville Island thanks to the SPARTS program at Magee Secondary School. Upon graduation from the Arts Umbrella/VCC Dance Diploma Program in June 2011, I moved to the Netherlands to pursue an apprenticeship with Noord Nederlands Dans company. After my year with the company,which finished in June 2012, I decided to stay in Europe. Since then, I continiously traveled in order to work for different choreographers, attend workshops around the continent, visit companies with the overall goal to understand the ins and outsof the European dance world. Additionally, I auditioned for projects as well as companies within Europe. I am now back in the Netherlands and currently working with Club Guy and Roni.

Looking back to my day of Graduation in June 2011, I am in awe at how much I have learnt and of how much has changed. On that day you are filled with young hopes, dreams and ambitions, yet terrified of all the uncertainty they bring. Taking that first leap into the professional world, in any profession, is daunting. You have your student achievements, support from your parents and/or teachers, and your potential as a rock that you now stand upon. You look out encountering this big grey cloud of uncertainty, realizing you are alone. It is now up to you to turn this potential, this support, into action. It is the time for you to make what you want out of your life. So your first question will be: how?

I managed to acquire my apprenticeship with Noord Nederlands Dans Company through the incredible network of my school. We, as second year graduate students, did a collaboration with the company allowing the director to see us. When arriving in the Netherlands for the first time, I was initially shocked at the cultural difference. Speaking in terms of the art world in particular, I was more than pleasantly surprised by the European value for the arts and how much higher it was than that of North America. You are constantly surrounded by performances, art openings, exhibits or music festivals. However, I then came to realise that Europeans think that this is not the case. All I could respond is, “well, you should go to North America!” More than anything, it was greater eyeopener for me that North American artists should continue to fight for a value in the arts and greater government funding. As a result of this artistic support, the dancers are taken care of and treated like any other professional in another career discipline.

When it came to language barrier, I wasgrateful (and still am!) for the fact how easyit is to get around with only speakingEnglish. In the Netherlands, as well as most of Europe, you can get by without speaking the language as the majority of people are educated in English. In saying that, it still is a definite benefit if you do speak the language of the country you are in as it is very appreciated by the citizens. Due to the combination of so many nationalities within any dance company, the spoken language in the work environment will always be English.

The transition between student to professional was bigger than I ever anticipated. My first year as an apprentice was a huge struggle as every day came with so much learning. Coming out of this year oftransition and navigating, the biggest advice I can give to younger dancers is to be patient with yourself, aware of your surroundings and support, be observing more experienced people around you and last but not least being open to learn and change. The transition requires you to dropstudent habits you have acquired to support your success as a student. For example, looking for approval from others outside of yourself and waiting for direction from the person at the front of the room. These are two aspects of student mentality that helpyou be a ‘good student’ which don’t reallywork in the real world. A choreographer is looking for an individual who is able to take their own initiative. In the professional world it is your responsibility to make sure you produce high quality art. In the past as a student you have had a handful of great teachers working alongside you, pulling outevery ounce of greatness they see in you. They follow you on your journey and will often guide you back if you stray away into inevitable teenage confusion. However, in the professional world no one will be following your journey and on your back for improvement. You are treated as an adult and as an employee. They employ you for your work and it is then your responsibility to produce at the highest standard possible. You are responsible for your own success. No one will hand you a job, an audition, or tell you what to do next in your career path. It becomes part of your journey to take your career out of your teacher’s hands into your own. You must push yourself every day to become better and research your workphysically as well as mentally.

After this year of transition, one of the best things I could do to further my own career was to gain even more experiences, professionally and personally, by travelling. Coming to Europe I knew very little aboutthe European dance world. By just being here and meeting people I managed to expand my knowledge immensely as it is correct what they say: the dance world is very small! Becoming familiar with the companies  and projects out there, refines your artistic beliefs. In other words, it clarifies with what work you connect more with and what kind of work you wish to be involved in. By doing different workshops you meet other artists that can guide you and lead you to your next place. In my experiences over the past eight months of travel, I would plan one thing to be in a certain place for a specific reason during the period of an approximate five days. After that, I did not know, yet something always came. Once you get the ball rolling, one thing will present itself after another. All you have to do is trust yourself and always be open for opportunities. The more you put yourself out there in the dance world, the more you will be seen.

In all these adventures I have had pursuing a dance career away from home, I have encountered many positive and negative aspects of this choice. Some negative aspects have been mostly involved with being brave enough to step into a greater unknown than that of if you were at home. By moving away, you are given the opportunity to recreate yourself but this also comes with having to start from the beginning and create your network almost from scratch. It allows much freedom coming to a place where you are more or less unknown yet you must work much harder to create opportunities for yourself. It is also requires a great deal of strength as your support system is now miles away. You are then forced to gain strength and belief in yourself entirely as you are your greatest support system. In comparison, if you stay where you grew up and/or trained you have your friends, teachers, or parents to pick you back up during those inevitable weak moments.

Some positive aspects however of working away from home, in my case Vancouver vs Europe, you are presented with more opportunities for employment here and more value given to the art form. In Europe everything is close and accessible with short plane rides and constant trains travelling between European cities. You are exposed to so many performances from different dance genres and art exhibits. Ultimately, it has been impossible for me to feelartistically uninspired here.

Blog made possible by & Impact Dance Productions