Danielle Gardner is back at it!!!
We are in the midst of compiling short stories and blogs to post over the coming months following the lives of industry greats, dancers, teachers, life coaches and more in hopes to shed light on many of the great people in our community and country. Please enjoy our first article in our blog series featuring Adam Mckinnon one of Vancouver’s most sought after choreographers and mentors for the next generation of dancers.
“ADAM’S STORY “
My name is Adam Mckinnon,
I am a very passionate dancer and choreographer. My dance story actually began later in my life. This is where my story begins. I was born in Victoria B.C, and I had a very rough childhood growing up, having been through a lot for someone at such a young age that no one should ever have to go through. The years were rough but it taught me a lot about people and life before I was even 6 years old. I was abandoned at the age of 6, and put into child services with nothing but the clothes on my back, and at that moment I realized life was not fair and it was going to be up to me to survive, no one else was going to help me, but me. I went from home to home, School to School, for years until I was about 12 years old, I had gone through a lot with each of the homes I was placed in over the years with unthinkable acts. One day I was surprised by my Social Worker, saying I was going to be adopted! I was so excited by the thought that someone wanted me, and I would finally have a family that loved me and cared, but I quickly found out this was not the case. The family I was provided with had other things in store for me and my life was at it’s lowest point having trouble with my adoptive family, the law, and experimenting as many lost teens do without proper guidance. I was failing in school and at life, I had nowhere to go as I had run away for the final time and stayed away. I was now 14 years old living on the streets and going down a path that was not going to end well for me, as I was lost, scared, I only had myself, and I was surrounded by the wrong people. The only option at that point in time to me was death. I lay freezing on a park bench at 3am, and realized this is the end….
I was suddenly awoken by the sounds of police sirens and my first instinct was to run, but I said to myself I give up. I was picked up and taken back to the adoptive home I was in a few months back before running away. A few months had passed while I was living in the worst of living conditions and now back at my adoptive family, yes the street was better than there. Now that you know where I’m from, this is where my dance story begins. I was struggling being back at school after coming off of the street, and I was now living on my own at 15 years old, and I was about to be expelled from school. I was dragged into the principals office, the principal and my teachers were fed up with me and I didn’t blame them I was out of control and had way to many issues with authority figures, nothing was going to help me. I was told I was four credits short of passing that year having missed so much school and not even trying in school didn’t help, I was told I had to pick up an elective for those 4 credits to pass. My thought at the time was, I would always pass the dance room at my school and thought to myself that looks so easy I could do that, and for those last four credits it was going to be a breeze. I walked into my first dance class hesitant and thinking I already waned to quit, but something hit me. It felt like I was meant to be there, I know that’s sounds weird to say but I had an overwhelming feeling that I couldn’t explain, I finally had something that filled my heart, and made a change in me for the better. DANCE SAVED MY LIFE. I took the class and passed with flying colours, and I passed that year, I then went onto dance studio training and excelled in that as well. I was also getting into singing and started a group (Boy Band) called 4TE’ so my life was very focused on Singing, Dancing, and Choreography that it took me on a completely different path out of trouble, and my troubles. My group worked hard and we got a record deal with Sony Music Canada, the highlight of my life at that time. My group stayed together for a coupe more years working on music, doing shows, but we ended up disbanding. I still had a passion for the arts especially dance, I continued to create and dance everyday in every aspect, in all styles with studios, crews, and anything related to dance. I danced all day, everyday, and my passion grew stronger and stronger and it still does. I trained for years and started to win competitions and create a name for my self in the dance community in Victoria, and Vancouver. One day I was told by an adjudicator that I should move to Vancouver, and pursue more opportunities in dance which was a dream of mine, so I picked up everything and moved that coming fall. I auditioned for 3 different studios and got the job at all of them, so paying the bills was going to be easier than I thought, things were looking up. I hustled into the Vancouver dance scene and met all the top dancer’s and choreographer’s in the city. I trained everyday at Harbour Dance Centre, and finally got a class there which was another goal of mine I had accomplished. I wanted to expand my career into the entertainment industry which I had a taste of as an artist, so I hustled there to by knocking on all the doors, Agents, Managers, and anyone who would help me get into the business. I quickly learned about rejection and kept hearing no, after no, but as I mentioned before I have been through a lot and no one was going to stop me. As I continued to teach and put myself out there, my name grew as a dancer and choreographer. It must have gotten out there as my first big industry job wasn’t with an agent or a manager, it was through word of mouth and extremely hard work. I booked a job with a big music producer/artist, and honestly from that point on it was felt like dance job after dance job were coming in at dreams speed. I have now worked with the worlds top choreographers helping me shape as a dancer and choreographer. I have worked with many recording artists Nelly Furtado, Michael Buble, K-OS, Marianas Trench, Carly Rae Jepsen, Elise Estrada, Brian Mcknight, and so many more. I have worked on Film and Television Fringe, Sucker Punch, Chips Ahoy, Coca Cola, X-Men, Del Taco, and many more. I get the opportunity to travel the world teaching, judging, and touring with recording artists. I have also created many successful dance crews and companies, Created Vancouver’s best dance showcase, and I continue to grow as a dancer, choreographer, and most of all a person. This is the just the beginning.
Never Give Up!
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