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 

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

“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

 

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