MOE BRODY- MY JOURNEY WITH HARBOUR DANCE CENTER

MOE BRODY: Owner of Vancouvers Hottest Dance Centre

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After finishing her degree in Human Kinetics at UBC, Moe returned to dance with the NBA Grizzlies Extreme Dance Team and then choreographed the CFL’s BC Felions and the creator of UBC’s Dance Team. She has done movies with Hayden Panetteire called I Love You Beth Cooper, for Ashanti and Brittany Snow in the movie John tucker Must Die, Dr. Doolittle 3 and Percy Jackson and The Lightening Thief. She’s done commercials for McDonalds, Barbie, Kyocere, Coca-Cola and Disney. She is also on faculty with The Source, Rise, Danzemode, Groovestreet Productions and Broadway Bound International. As an adjudicator at dance competitions, she derives much satisfaction dispensing helpful advice which she hopes will inspire future dancers. She is co-owner of Harbour Dance Centre in downtown Vancouver where her favorite place to be is in class, sharing a good story or two.

Please enjoy her amazing journey and know its never to late to do what you love!

MOE BRODY- MY JOURNEY WITH HARBOUR DANCE CENTER

How did I become one of the owner’s of Harbour Dance Centre? I have to take you way, way back. It was a long journey, but a great one.

In grade 8, my dance teacher shut down her studio. I found out she started teaching for some friends of hers that had opened a new adult studio. What was it called? Harbour Dance Centre? Never heard of it. I took class from four amazing women: my teacher, Valerie Easton, Belinda Sobie, and the two owners, Pam Rosa and Danielle Clifford. Now you’d think I would have found this haven and never left right? Haven’t you heard of a thing called High School? The drama, fitting in, new friends…yup, they pulled me out of dance and into some excess pounds on my thighs. I stayed at Harbour until about grade 10, then it was bye-bye dance.

My teenage years were hard. I moved out of my mother’s home in grade 12 with no money but a lot of drive to work. I went to UBC with four courses on my plate and three jobs to pay for it all. Dance wasn’t even on my radar. However, it was all I knew. I had no relation to any other passion in my life. Because of this I studied Kinesiology; anything to relate to the body. We analyzed the momentum of a baseball swing or the anatomy breakdown of a basketball free throw….but no one liked my idea of the velocity of a pirouette. Dance was still in me, just way down deep. After graduation, I got a job in Sports Marketing for a new sports franchise in Vancouver (The Vancouver Voodoo Roller Hockey Team). It was here that things took a turn. The President of the (Vancouver Voodoo Roller Hockey) Team suggested we get a Dance Team, some sexy girls to fill the arena. He asked me to do some research on how much this would cost. He and I were shocked to find out how much dance choreographers actually charged. (I had no idea. Like really, no idea). He then said, “Moe, isn’t dance your thing? You’re on salary, this us one of your new tasks in your job description. Get on it!” I panicked. I was now 24 years old and hadn’t really danced in 9 years. I knew how to do the six-step prep for a clean double pirouette, and that about summed it up. Crap! What was I going to do? Wait, Harbour Dance… I wondered if that place is still open. What? Belinda is still teaching? I better get back into class!

With the same dance attire that I left with, parachute shorts, leg warmers, ripped flashdance t-shirt, I put it back on! She gave us a thrashy jazz combo, and I was in heaven. Everything felt so natural, so easy. Why did I ever leave this? In between groups, Belinda stopped the music and walked over to my spot. She got right up to me, face to face and said…..”Moe……you still got it. Where have you been?” Let the bawl-fest begin. Between the tears and the sweat, I left so dehydrated you’d think I was in the desert.

The Dance Team audition went well. Some old familiar faces came through, Joanne Pesusich, Laura Bartlet, Lisa Stevens, Sandi Croft….the old “young” Harbour gang. At the same time, Joanne was planning her move to L.A and had some studio teaching hours to give up. She asked me if I wanted to teach dance. Me? I didn’t know anything except what I learned in the 70’s and early 80’s. She assured me nothing much had changed. So back to Harbour I went to get into ballet and jazz class (as well as some new dance style called hip hop, funny right? )

Since you’ve read my novel, you know my history with Harbour Dance Centre. When I started back up in dance in the mid 90’s, I knew this place was something special. In 2009, Danielle was thinking of retiring. In 2010, it became a discussion. In 2011, it became a reality. Again, I am one lucky girl. The place that gave me my passion back is now something I can call mine.

Special thanks to this weeks guest blogger Moe Brody of Harbour Dance Centre.

Blog made possible by: www.harbourdance.com, www.daniellelgardner.com & Impact Dance Productions

Follow us on Twitter: @IMPACTDancePro / @daniigardner 

“LEAVING ON A JET PLANE ” By Alexei Geronimo

​​​”LEAVING ON A JET PLANE….Once Again”

By Rock The Ballet’s Alexei Geronimo

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I am so grateful to be apart of the International dancecompany “Bad Boys of Dance” and their hit show “Rock the Ballet” which has sored through thousands of audiences across the globe.  It is a highly technical and athletic show that infuses different styles of dance and music from ballet, jazz, acrobatics, and contemporary to hip hop, b boy, and funk with the main background of ballet and contemporary dance.

I started out with the company in the summer of 2009 and since then we have toured thoughout UK, Germany, Switzerland, France,  Scandinavia, Spain, Italy, Greece, Australia, and even parts of Asia. The show consists of 5 core boys, 1 male lead, and 1 female lead and is usually double casted. Each dancer is versatile and technically strong but everyone has a different style and strength to offer. Some of the most versatile boys across North America make up this company and its so inspiring to dance alongside such talent. Being in this kind of environment really pushes you to be stronger. Seeing different parts of the world and cultures has definitely changed me in so many ways and I have grown so much as an artist and person. The company is directed by Rasta Thomas and choreographed by his wife Adrienne Canterna. They are highly respected stars in the dance world.  The company is structured by a couple weeks of rehearsals in Maryland to learn the show followed by daily ballet classwhich then travels to the first city of tour. I enjoyed the fact that we had a full daily warm up before the show (usually ballet class) to keep our bodies in shape because that is not always the case with shows and that is something that I value as a dancer.

I have had the honor to perform in some of the most beautiful theaters in the world!. International television shows include ” international tv shows like fama and 3 sat german tv
shows and engagements such as the rainforest benefit and for Elton John at “The Rainforest Benefit at Carnegie Hall.” To be in the prescence of other famous artists such as Sting, Lady Gaga, and Mary J. Blige was one of the most memorable experiences with the company. One of my favourite cities was Edinburgh Scotland. It had such a modern city feel with a historic background. Climbing Arthurs Seat at nightand watching the sunrise and the beautiful rivers that surrounded it was a moment I will never forget. It was like opening a fairytale book and jumping in it. Being a part of the company was like a home base for me, it allows for male dancers like myself to be in their element and show the world their talent. The company is now on tour with a new show and creating another new show “Romeo and Juliet” scheduled to premier in the summer time. I recently performed in Vancouver with the show in Nov/Dec and I was beyond thrilled to show my hometown what I have been apart of for the past 3 years.

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Alexei Geronimo

Blog made possible by Impact Dance Productions

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@IMPACTDancePro http://www.daniellelgardner.com

Confessions from an Audition by Alexandra Crenian

This Tuesday  Impact Dance Productions is featuring a blog post by Toronto based dancer and choreographer Alexandra Crenian! She has worked in the dance industry for many years and has great knowledge of the audition process. Alexandra crushes her competition by not only being fierce but also by being humble, which has lead her to perform with idols such as the one and only Lady Gaga!

Confessions from an Audition by Alexandra Crenian

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Let’s start with what happened…I walked in the door to the theatre and immediately asked one of the auditionees, “Could you tell me what room the casting is in?”  The Auditionee looked me up and down, put her hand on her hip, scoffed loudly and walked away, laughing (she was muttering some sort of rude sentence that I can’t even remember.)  Luckily, a happier, more polite human being showed me the correct room.  I can only assume that she thought I was a ‘competitor.’  Unfortunately for her, I was not only on the casting panel, I was also the choreographer.  Not only was it incredibly embarrassing for her when she realized her error, it was uncomfortable for everyone in the room who witnessed it.  Needless to say, she didn’t get the part.

        If that auditionee had truly believed in herself, she wouldn’t have felt the need to be rude, nor the need to compare herself to a stranger.  She had demonstrated a form of bullying to psych out her competition.  Not only can a bad attitude ruin your opportunities before you even get in the audition room, but it simultaneously lowers your own self-esteem.  There is no need to compare yourself to anyone else.  Chances are, even if you don’t book that particular job, you will at some point book something with other people in that very room.  If you are rude to everyone, no one will want to work alongside you.  When a person is hired for a job, they spend 8 or more hours a day with the same people.  No person would knowingly hire anyone who brings an air of negativity with them, that energy is contagious. It brings down the group.

How can a performer (or anyone) help themselves from becoming bitter and negative in professional situations? Work on yourself.  Don’t compare yourself to others, there are many qualified, talented people out there… someone else’s talent doesn’t discredit yours.  Truly confident, happy people are more willing to help others, collaborate and keep a positive energy in the room.  It’s such a small world, chances are if a person is hired once and represents themselves professionally, with a great attitude, they will continue to be hired by the same choreographer/director.  The goal shouldn’t be booking the one job, it should be creating a professional relationship by showcasing yourself and how you treat others well.  Thus ensuring you will be rehired in the future.  It is also important to realize, you never know who anyone is or who they’ll become: don’t judge them.  Most of the time, we aren’t aware of anyone’s story but our own.  The reality is everyone has had, or will have, multiple difficulties in their lifetime.  To feel like the universe owes you something because you’ve had a hard time will lead to disappointment.  Preparation, research and hard work is the key.  There is no short-cut.  The person you are competing against for a role today may end up being a person that hires you tomorrow, or vice versa.  Kindness and honesty is rare, but is very much appreciated and remembered.

Have hobbies outside of your career, when your art form becomes your income, you’ll need other outlets.  Reading, knitting, sewing, yoga, playing a musical instrument, writing… all of these are examples of  creative outlets that leave you feeling accomplished.  Staying committed to your goals, no matter how small (i.e. setting your alarm for a certain time, and actually waking up at that time) build your self confidence.  A personal favourite of mine, is to make lists: lists of goals, short and long term, grocery lists, to do lists.  The small act of crossing off what I’ve accomplished leaves me feeling exactly that, accomplished.

        The next time you’re at an audition, know that the only thing you have control over is yourself.  Your actions define who you are, how you feel about yourself, and how you regard others.  Remember the reason you love what you do and that we are truly fortunate to have the opportunity to do it.

Blog made possible by Danielle Gardner, Impact Dance Productions and Alexandra Crenien.

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: @IMPACTDancePro

http://www.daniellelgardner.com

“My Dance Journey To Israel” By Caitlin Griffin

Danielle Gardner and Impact Dance Productions are pleased to share a blog post by the outstanding dancer and choreographer Caitlin Griffin. We have had the pleasure of working alongside Caitlin and can boast that she is a true artist at heart that dances with passion that could warm a room and has the drive to get up and jump over some of life’s biggest hurdles.

“My Dance Journey to Israel”
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Following a difficult year spent grant writing, crowd-funding and recovering from a serious injury, I find myself on the other side of the world, in the midst of one of the most intensive periods of personal and artistic development I have experienced. It is day 61 here in Kibbutz Ga’aton, with the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company’s Dance Journey program and it has been worth every second of the uphill climb it was to get here.

The Dance Journey program is undeniably unique. As one of 25 dancers from around the world who gather and live on the Kibbutz, we study intensely for 5 months under the direction of some of the leading voices in contemporary dance.  We also have full access to every practical resource required for dance creation and production and the support of numerous accomplished artists.

Thanks to the support of the BC Arts Council and a dedicated community of supporters I am not only here, but well into the creation process of a new work.  My most ambitious work to date, the piece in it’s infancy has already evolved through several stages of depth and clarity; simply because of my surroundings.  While living on this serene Kibbutz, surrounded by fruit trees, cacti  and diverse wildlife, it has become easy to clear my mind of daily distractions and to explore ideas with curiosity and intensity.

With over three months left, I have been collecting many things from this experience I will try and bring to my artistic development when I return home.  I anticipate a difficult adjustment period without the family of artists and host of resources I am privileged to have here, but I will be excited to find my footing in Canada again.  My renewed energy will be spent dancing and creating with a whole new understanding of my creative potential and with a deep sense of gratitude for the journey.

Blog made possible by Caitlin Griffin, daniellelgardner.com & Impact Dance Productions

My journey through Julliard by Gillian Abbott

Impact Dance Productions is proud to share a blog post by the brilliant Gillian Abbott . We have had the pleasure of watching Gillian perform and can tell you she is inspiring to say the least. Please enjoy this wonderful blog !

My journey through Juilliard by Gillian Abbott

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I entered this prestigious school knowing more about it from films than reality. First semester was a dream! Living in New York City and meeting talented people from all over the world.

As the “honeymoon phase” wore off, I saw the reality of being at a conservatory and life in NY. Amongst my high moments I definitely had lows, forcing me to face challenges that shaped me. One of the biggest challenges was maintaining my confidence in an intense environment. It’s important to remember that we all have different paths and destinations. To stay focused on my own track I began to journal. This tool has helped me follow my heart- it usually knows what’s best, but you have to take time to listen.

I’ve also learned how to make things happen for myself. Some of the most fulfilling projects are student produced taken on in our “free time”. Last spring I choreographed the first musical at Juilliard, “A Little Night Music”. My friend in the drama division directed it and asked me to join her team. It was amazing to collaborate with actors, opera singers, musicians, and a composer!

Finally, in these past few months I’ve learned to cherish the present. I feel so blessed to have this opportunity and I know I will look back at these days longingly. This experience has opened me up to things I never imagined. I came into Juilliard as a dancer, but I am leaving as a blossoming artist.

Three tips for your own journey: 1) Take time to listen to your heart and follow it! 2) Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you, make them happen for yourself! 3) Stay present and be grateful for where you are. It’s all part of your story.

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Gillian Abbott xo

Blog made possible by: http://www.daniellelgardner.com

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

Bringing Artists Together by Linda Arkelian

Bringing Artists Together

I live for the Arts. My creativity unfolds through the performing arts, the  visual arts  and teaching. Of increasing importance are my  creative collaborations with an eclectic group  of dancers,all of whom share “an artistic soul” and train in my dance classes.

The structure of my ballet classes has evolved beyond a syllabus. Many genres, including experimental theatre, performance art, visual art, yoga and the healing arts, have merged into my ballet classes.  For example,  I concentrate on the use of breath to bring life to movement . My dancers internalize in order to endow all movement with  intention and meaning.

I have connected artists from diverse disciplines through my”Bringing Artists Together” project, which began when I inviteda guest photographer to my ballet class three years ago. Since then” Bringing Artists Together” has expanded to include a wide range of artistic media and genres. Classical musicians andAfrican percussionists have graced the studio. The dancers haveinspired visual artists’ abstract expressions or realistic ventures. Photographers and videographers have documented  eventsoffering their unique perspective of our shared explorations.

Both emerging and established artists have found new impetus for their artistic directions. Guests have shown  tremendousdevotion to attend my events.  On one of Vancouver’s most blustery days guest artist, Yared Nigussu, travelled on the bus with a 6′ canvas tucked under his arm. Stepping off the bus he literally blew in on a gust of wind to paint my dancers.

A ” Bringing Artists Together”  event – with David Cooper in attendance- led to our collaboration on the   short film “Hands”. The success of this film and the 15,000 views on Vimeomotivated the planning of our next film.

On another serendipitous occasion my guest percussionist Russell Shumsky went to grab a coffee before our event. At the cafe he ran into Ugandan musician, Kinobe, who was inVancouver on tour for one day only. Seeing Kinobe’s handmade gourd instrument, Russell invited him to jam with us during our event. Upon returning home to Africa to complete his CD,Nomad Soul, Kinobe  messaged me to say that in all his travels across the world nothing had matched his experience that day.As Kinobe wrote: “My new CD will be out in 2 weeks and you really inspired my recording process and the title track, Nomad Soul…there is something I always believe, the most important things in life are those things that we cannot touch, not property, not money, but love, humanity, and if you share and give that to people, that will always stay with them and it is something no one can or will ever take away, that is how powerful it is. Thereis no price for the love you bring to people…”. The impact of  Bringing Artists Together”  continues to reverberate.

My vision for the future is to expand the collaborative process,ever widening the circle of artists.

Dance Classes with Linda Arkelian https://www.facebook.com/groups/52099500512/?fref=ts

Scotiabank Dance Centre Website http://www.thedancecentre.ca/members/index/ballet

Bringing Artists Together film by

David Cooperhttp://vimeo.com/52350159

Hands film by David Cooper & Linda Arkelian http://vimeo.com/37639703