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

Gratitude By Anonymous

Impact Dance Productions has been gifted with a beautiful blog about pure gratitude from an anonymous writer. Taking the time out of our busy lives can really help change the lives of the young and the old. After reading this blog you will see how taking the time to nurture someone can ease all pain big or small.

Please enjoy!

Gratitude for Great Dance Teachers

By a Winnipeg Dance Mom*

Last year my nine year old daughter was excited about enrolling in a hip hop workshop at her dance studio, but as we entered the building she was overcome by a tidal wave of panic:  what if she wasn’t good enough? What if the guest teacher didn’t like her?  What if he embarrassed her?  What if she started to cry?  What if? She dragged me to the washroom and collapsed on the floor, sobbing and completely overwhelmed, and the workshop started without her.  It was a low point in our battle with child anxiety, a formidable foe which affects roughly one child in ten.

Last week, now ten years old, the same sweet girl emerged triumphant from her first big dance competition.  Six dances brought five high gold awards, a first place in hip hop, and second place in rookie small groups.  She was smiling from ear to ear.  I was, quite possibly, the proudest Dance Mom ever. This wasn’t just a regular dance victory; for us this accomplishment was doubly important.

So how did we get from there to here?  It has been a long road, and we certainly aren’t finished yet.  Keys to her improvement have included sage advice from a psychologist, great resource materials, fantastic classroom teachers, and especially her own hard work learning and practicing coping strategies; I am so proud of her efforts.  What I didn’t anticipate though was the role that dance would play in her progress.  What I wasn’t quite expecting was the tremendous influence of a few great dance teachers.

The culture of a dance studio clearly starts at the top.  Our director, Rheesa Schacter, was the first person with whom I discussed the anxiety.  She encouraged me not to push too hard because dance should be fun.  She suggested some strategic changes to the weekly schedule.  And during that hip hop workshop it was Rheesa who successfully coaxed my girl into the studio, stopping the class mid-way to personally introduce her to the teacher, and staying in the room until she was settled and having fun. Despite a million competing demands Rheesa finds time to pull my child aside and praise her strengths, or grab her for a quick hug in the hallway.  As a result, my little one knows she is important and safe in this studio.

Brittany Silverstein, a talented second year university student, introduced us to competition.  Her face lights up when she’s with her dancers; she laughs easily and treats them with such respect.  Confident in a recreational dance she choreographed last spring, Brittany entered it in two local competitions with Rheesa’s blessing.  I’ll admit that I was nervous.  The opportunity to dip our toes into competitive dance with Brittany was a good test.  Her contagious confidence and enthusiasm fueled my daughter to succeed – and a new competitive dancer was born.

It is hard to find words to sufficiently thank Jessica Smith, the 19 year old jazz teacher.  When I first spoke to her about the situation, she gave me her full attention and said “Thank you for telling me.  Please tell me exactly how I can help.”  Her kindness, patience, and encouragement have exceeded my wildest expectations.  When my daughter is too overwhelmed to step into the classroom, Jessica warmly welcomes her to join whenever she is ready.  Her corrections are firm but kind so that all the dancers leave with their self-esteem intact.  She has a natural talent for dealing with anxiety; she doesn’t just say that “everything will be okay”, but reviews the evidence with my daughter (“you’ve shown me that you know your dance, you’ve incorporated your corrections, your last rehearsal was great”) so that she is able to conclude for herself that it really will be okay.

Everyone knows about Mama Bear Syndrome.  If you threaten her cubs you put your life in danger.  But the converse is surely true:  adults whose hearts are open to helping vulnerable children will likely find themselves showered with gratitude and love usually reserved for family members.  There is nothing I would not do to thank these gifted teachers and kind souls.

Researchers have found that the very act of dance can have a positive influence on anxiety; this makes sense, particularly in a girl like mine who pirouettes across the kitchen and chassés down her school hallways.  Paired with amazing faculty like ours, we have learned that dance is truly a healing force.

*Identities withheld, at the request of the dancer

 Blog made possible by Danielle Gardner Founder & CEO Of Impact Dance Productions

Twitter – @IMPACTDancePro

“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

“What I want the world to know about ballroom dancing” by Melanie LaPatin

The day has come and we couldn’t be more pleased to share this fantastic blog by the Icon herself

MELANIE LAPATIN

Choreographer on SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE

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On Behalf of Impact Dance Productions please enjoy

 

“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.― Friedrich Nietzsche

If people would only try ballroom dancing! People that have not experienced ballroom dancing don’t understand the sheer brilliance of the emotional, spiritual, physical, and mental freedom you can attain, and the growth you can embrace.   Every celebrity on Dancing with the Stars and every competitor on So You Think You Can Dance attests to their newfound respect and love for ballroom dancing, which is one of the reasons I love both of those shows.  What other sport allows for the technicality, character, musicality and physical connection that can be achieved in ballroom dance?

While most dance styles have specific techniques, most do not have rules within those techniques. Ballroom dance is based on a syllabus that, while allowing for certain variations, requires mastery of a strictly defined set of steps and the nuances of each, the settling of a hip, the……  Furthermore, it requires a partner.

What other form of dance requires you to, in the span of only a few seconds, embody the Latin flavor of a Cuban salsa,  the fiery passion of a Brazilian samba or the lighthearted energy of a USO dance from the 1940’s?

Beyond literally changing your form, you have to adjust your mindset and your musicality, while at the same time giving that character to your partner.  Yet, for all its intricacies, ballroom dance is accessible to anyone, regardless of age or ability.

I believe ballroom dance, even competitive ballroom dance, is about challenging yourself to be better than your last performance and living your own personal greatness on the dance floor rather than competing against other couples..  What can possibly be more satisfying than this?  The hours, the money, the time, the blood sweat and tears invested in ballroom dancing are well worth it if…..the chase what you get out of it. ­­­­

My career in ballroom dancing has taken me from dancing on a three by five foot stage at an old theatre in New York City, to performing at the Hofburg palace in Vienna where Mozart used to play.  It has put me on the same stage with Jimmy Hendrix, Led Zepplin and Eric Clapton at the Royal Albert Hall.  I have looked out over a crowd of 40,000 strong at the Tokyo Dome in Japan.  At the time, because I was so focused on the dancing, I didn’t really have time to appreciate it all, but looking back, I have come to understand the joy that dancing can bring to people and the places it can take you.  In short, it can change your life.

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Melanie LaPatin- So You Think You Can Dance Choreographer

Blog made possible by: Danielle Gardner & Impact Dance Productions

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: @ IMPACTDancePro

 

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

TOP 10 LIST of THINGS TO DO TO BECOME A SUCCESSFUL PROFESSIONAL DANCER

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 www.meninafortunato.com 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 www.thehollywoodsummertour.com to learn more.
 
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Here is her TOP 10 LIST of THINGS TO DO TO BECOME A SUCCESSFUL PROFESSIONAL DANCER

 
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”.
 
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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. 
 
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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).
 
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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.
 
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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.
“FEELIN A LIL OLD SKOOL” playlist
-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 http://www.daniellelgardner.com
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