Archive | January, 2010

Dancing is for everyone

26 Jan

So you love to dance, but you are convinced that dancing is something that is too hard, and or you think it could only be done by professional dancers and those who where born with the great ability of co-ordination.

Or maybe you’re too scared to take your first dance class, because you have never and I mean never in your life danced before, but you would love to learn.

A lot of times people come up to me, and they say, I really want to dance, but I’m scared.

I ask them why and I get different reasons, but the most popular one is, it looks hard, I ask them why it looks hard and usually it comes down to, whenever they see someone dancing its usually a dancer so they compare there skills to those of someone with training or who has a dance background.

They watch shows like so you think you can dance or dancing with the stars and then base there capabilities off these shows….

Nooooo, lol…that’s a big no no…

Those participants and dancers on TV shows have had time to practice, plus many of them have years of training especially on popular shows like So You Think You Can Dance and American Best Dance Crew

Plus…dancing is not just for dancers, it’s for everyone and anyone to enjoy.

Dancing is a one of life’s gifts that should be enjoyed by the world.

There are dance classes out there for recreational dancers and professional dancers. And there is a big difference between them.

Professional dance classes are designed to train dancers at a level that is needed to work in the dance industry.

Recreational dance classes are designed for everyday people with no dance back ground and those who may have had a dance back ground but do not want to take a professional dance class, or they are not ready for a class at that level.

Recreational classes are for all to enjoy, one of the great benefits is that you’re learning at a pace that is good for you, yet you’re still challenging yourself.

Dancing is for everyone, so if you have that fear and thought in your mind that it’s too hard or dance classes are only for professional dancers, wipe it out of your thought process today and start dancing.

There are many people out there who want to dance, all they want to do is move…give yourself the gift of a life time and dance, even if its at home, just move around, and take a recreational dance class.

I guarantee you will feel better.

Oh yes and the popular question I also get is.. “OMG Kay-Ann, I seen your videos on youtube, they are great, but I can’t dance like that”

What’s on youtube are video clips of me dancing with other professional dancers at showcases and events, and I wouldn’t dear teach those moves to participants in an open level recreational class…that would be crazy, the moves are too complicated. Plus alot of rehearsal time went into each performance.

So the answer to that is…what you see on youtube is at an advance level, the moves I will teach in an open level class are just as unique, easier, yet they are meant to challenge you,  and you are still able to master them with practice, you will enjoy them and leave feeling good and accomplished.

Open level recreational classes are for everyone..so come out and enjoy

Start dancing, and let go of that fear. Dance is for everyone find a dance class that’s at an open level that you will enjoy. Just try it.

Dance * Live * Inspire

Kay-Ann Ward

These inmates got groove

26 Jan

This video brought tears to my eyes..lol….Its the feeling, and how together they are…Wow these inmates really put in rehearsal time..Truly powerful and quite entertaining.

I have to find out, how they did this, stay tuned.

There is Hope for Haiti

23 Jan

We all know the devastation that hit Haiti on Tuesday January 12th, 2010.

Lives were forever changed within minutes of a massive 7.0 earthquake that killed thousands of people. Kids were left without parents, people were buried alive by homes and buildings that came crashing down, the chaos that took place and that is still taking place is not only unbearable, it is also heart breaking.

Millions of people around the world immediately started asking what they could do to help. And help is what the world is doing. With different charity organizations around the world and in Toronto, many Fundraisers are taking place.

If you don’t know how to help here are links of organizations pouring out resources to Haiti.

World Vision

Unicef

Red Cross

Yele

Hope for Haiti Now

For continuous news coverage you can always tune into CNN  and other local TV news stations.

Different televised shows are taking place to raise money for the cause.

Last night Hope For Haiti Now: A Global Benefit For Earthquake Relief was held on a variety of TV stations, celebrities came together to use their star power for an amazing cause. I got a chance to watch few of the performances and I was deeply touched. Jennifer Hudson and Wyclef Jean brought tears to my eyes.

 I missed Beyoncé performance for Hope For Haiti Now: A Global Benefit For Earthquake Relief, I watched it today and was deeply touched. Here it is.

If you missed the live show, thats OK, you can get a list of all the artist that performed by visiting Youtube. Just type in Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earth Quake Relief

Canada is doing their part. Congrats to all Canadians who together raised money for Haiti at “Canada for Haiti.” Over $8 million dollars was raised on Friday January 22, 2010 on a televised Fundraiser which brought together Canadian celebrities from Celine Dion to Rachel McAdams from the Hit movie The Notebook.

With many local and grand fundraisers taking place, please give generously.

Here are a few local fundraisers coming up, and yes there will be plenty of dancing taking place.

Babyboyz Dancegroup

When: January 24th, 2010

Where: Tattoo Rock Parlour 567 Queen Street West

Time: 7pm

Cost: Pay what you can

Hosted by Canadian Dance Group Baby Boyz visit website

***

 

What: Concert, Enjoy a night filled with music, dance and art. Proceeds raised will go to Haiti.

Start Time: Tuesday, February 2 at 6:00pm
End Time: Tuesday, February 2 at 11:00pm
Where: Footwork Bar
Link to the event

**

**I’m working on a great Fundraiser which will bring together Toronto’s finest, to raise money for Haiti, details to come in the following week**

For now there is so much we could and continue to do, give whatever you can, pray, talk to your friends and family about it, keep hope alive, it will take years to rebuild this nation, but they could do it, and they could do it with our help. Lets not turn our backs. This is more than just sad, we have kids, and people holding on, so we must hold on with them.

Dance * Live * Inspire

Kay-Ann Ward

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Are you right for the job

21 Jan

Something interesting happened, and through frustration, I started to vent, it was a healthy vent, the kind of vent we all need to get out the toxic feelings inside of us.

Well after venting I felt better and my thoughts cleared up, and it was as if a light bulb went off in my head.

Here is what happened.

I was getting frustrated because I wasn’t getting the results I needed, and I felt this was a serious block towards moving on to the next step, getting these results was and still is extremely important, however I was not working with the right people.

The team I was working with were all friendly and made me happy, they all wanted to do the job well, but the problem is they were not right for the job, and because they were not right for the job, I got frustrated when I didn’t get the results I needed. I didn’t have the time to break down specifics with them; if I did then the outcome would have been different.

How does this apply to dance?

Picking up choreography fast and being able to execute the choreography well is important, majority of the time, choreographers do not have enough time to break down each move to dancers, so it is up to that dancer to be able to soak up information quickly and be able to execute the moves well enough in a short period of time, without the choreographer having to repeat information over and over and over again.

Choreographers do not always have time to break down how dancers should feel when executing a dance move; it’s also up to the dancer to be able to express the essence of each move through his or her body.

You could be a great dancer, amazing and with just one more rehearsal, you will perfect the dance move and be able to perform it well. But majority of the time, that extra rehearsal is not there.

So you must be able to pick up quickly and execute each move well.

I knew this already, but sometimes you have to experience before you could actually relate.

So yes the choreographer likes you and knows you could dance well and perform well, but they don’t have a full day or two to break down each move, therefore you’re not right for the job.

So what ends up happening at times is that, the dancers who are able to pick up choreography quickly, execute the moves well and who are able to express the essence of the moves get the job, because they are able to do what needs to be done effectively, in a short period of time.

Choreographers are looking for dancers who could do the job with out having to think that the dancer may make a mistake on stage, which is damaging to the performance, the artist, the choreographer and to you the dancer. Some choreographers may understand and some may not be very understanding. I mean the truth is we all mess up every now and then, but could you mess up and fall back gracefully into choreography, it seems simple, but its not, this is a skill that good dancers also have, the skill of making it seem like nothing happened.

Also the work that is being put on you is the vision of the choreographer, what you look like is a direct reflection of the choreographers talent, so if you are not performing to the standards of the artist and choreographer, it will not look good, the choreography will not look the way its been envisioned by the choreographer, which now becomes a problem.

When you are able to understand this dynamic you have just improved your knowledge of the industry and are now ready to move forward in your dance career

What could you do to get yourself to that level?

  • Take dance classes, train your brain and body to learn how to pick up and execute choreography quickly.
  • Dance with essence and emotion
  • Don’t give up, some dancers have a great skill to be able to grace through auditions, some don’t, the majority has to work at this skill.
  • The job has to get done, it’s a business, don’t take business matters to heart, learn how to let things go.
  • Think and act like a professional dancer. Walk in the room prepared to do what you know and love to do. Your job is to dance your heart out period; anything else on your mind at that time should be second priority. This is blunt but very truth.

 Lesson learned

**So what I learned  was, even though I like this team, they are not right for the job, I have to go out and find a team that is able to give me what I need to get results.**

It’s not personal. If I had plenty of time to work with this team, then yes I could train them to get the results needed, but if I don’t have time, then I need to go out and find a team that is able to execute the plan.

Dance * Live * Inspire

 

 Like always thank you for reading. Help spread the word about this blog. I love sharing my thoughts and experiences with you, please spread the word amongst your friends and other dancers.

Kay-Ann Ward

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Little X

19 Jan

On Saturday January 16th, 2010 I went to a lecture at Ryerson University that Canadian Music video director Mr. X also known as little X taught. The topic of the workshop was *Performing for the Camera* This workshop was for everyone in the industry, from dancers, directors, producer and music artist.

I thought it would be good for me to go and take in the knowledge from one of the industries leading directors.

If you don’t know who X is, now is a good time to Google him. He has worked with some of the industry’s top artist and has directed videos that featured some of Toronto’s finest dancers.

 Little X is the one in the gray suit

I got the chance to work with Little X two years ago, when he directed Kreesha Turners Bounce with me Video.

 On set of Kreesha Turners “Bounce with me” Check out the video on You Tube.

I was one of the featured dancers, the video was choreographed by Toronto’s own and lead judge of “So you Think You Can Dance Canada” Tre-Armstrong.

So what did I take from the workshop?

Ummm dancers and performers all I could say is this, you have to love what you do, because it takes a lot of work to get the final product looking the way it does.

**He touched on some key points that I think is beneficial for dancers and all artist**

1)      When performing in front of the camera, use your body and follow your instincts. Let every move and every shot count, don’t waste a move or a look, let your energy radiate through the camera and into the rooms of all the viewers watching. He used Beyoncé as an example…just watch Beyoncé when she’s doing her thing, it could be a close up or a wide shot, she knows what to do with every part of her body.

2)      Be on point, stay focus, their are many distractions on and off set, you can not come on set, with distractions, time is of essence, and work has to be done, make sure when you arrive on set, that your ready, even if its hurry up and wait which is usually the case.

3)      Do your research, be passionate about what you do, to the point that it becomes an obsession, study what makes the top performers and artist great, watch how they move and how they work the camera, down to the smallest gestures from the way they move their eyes, there fingers, there hands and how they stand. Perfect example Michael Jackson.

4)      Be persistent and put yourself out there. WORK HARD.

5)      He touched on something that was interesting and of course because someone brought it up. Sex Sex…the way women are objectified in videos etc. His point of view is this. A women’s body is beautiful, if she chooses to show it, its her choice, and if you have a problem with it you should solve that problem, she doesn’t have the problem. You do. And why should she change for you, if you get a hard on from watching, then you deal with it. She is a grown women who is able to make educated decisions about her life. …no further discussion is needed. Let’s move on.

6)      Practice, makes perfect. If you’re an artist who doesn’t dance, take dance classes or classes that allow you to move and become aware of your body. If you’re a dancer learn how to move your body with purpose. Practice your facial expressions in the mirror. Understand what it means when the director says, we are using a  18, or 35 lens. Or when he says, we are coming in for a close shot. Know what movements to use, so that the shot is effective, to know this,  you need to know your body.

7)      Most of all when you get in front of the camera be yourself. Let go and do what feels best, follow your instincts, because your instincts is usually the true you.

8)      It’s never ok to tell someone on set how to do there job..ex.  you are the dancer it’s not ok to go to the makeup artist and say could you change my makeup I don’t like the way it looks, it’s not about you, it’s about the video, that’s just an example, I’m pretty sure there are many horror stories of people telling others how to do there jobs…all in all focus on doing your job right.

It was a good workshop, informative in different ways. I was told the next one will be Feb. 7th, 2010. I’ll keep you all posted.

Put it this way, if you want to work and continue to work in the industry, it’s always good to learn, its good to hear from the director himself what he’s looking for…hint hint..:)

On another tip, he brought out a few artists to take part in shooting demo music videos, and could I say, we have talented  artist here, the talent that came out, was nice to see.

Thanks for reading. Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog for updates on everything that makes dance and the art of creating amazing.

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Dance * Live * Inspire

Kay-Ann Ward

Torontos Original Choreographers Ball

15 Jan

Toronto’s Original Choreographers Ball took place on Sunday January 10th 2010, at the Mod Club to a venue filled with dancers, choreographers, family, friends, supporters, art lovers and the list goes on.

I was one of the dancers. I love to choreograph, however I was happy to dance and just focus on performing. The performance I was in, was choreographed by Esie Mensah, she choreographed an energetic African performance. Sorry I was trying to get all the dancers who were part of this performance together for a picture, but everyone was all over the place, it was really busy backstage.  On the other side I got the chance to watch the entire show, and I took quite a few pictures of the backstage madness. 

Could I say dancers have quite the personality, that I could testify to because I’m a wild child when my creative energy is out and about.

I wasn’t able to take as many pictures of the performances as I wanted to, due to where I was in the venue and the lighting. However I got a few good ones.

It was a night of dance, there were performances that brought different elements that I appreciated and enjoyed. I have to say we have some amazing and talented dancers here in this city, lets not forget that, and I want to applaud all the dancers and choreographers for putting themselves out there.

Enjoy the pictures.

  Strike a pose dancers

 Myself and Sheldon, I love that when I see him, his mohawk has its own personality.

 Myself and Candace Simpson, Creative Director and Choreographer for Enigma Production

 The Boys Bobby, James Tabong, Leon Blackwood and Shavar Blackwood.

 The other Boys of the night Brook, Shane, and Tyler

Myself and the beautiful Minerva

I love this picture, these lovey ladies are looking great. Jessica Reynolds, Shameka Blake, Gigi, and Courtney

Hollywood and one half of 2 badd

Myself and J-Man

Myself and Chris Delos Reyes

Before the show down…(Thats me)

Myself and Leon Blackwood

Natasha Powell from Catalyst

Miranda Liver pool, great lady, and also one of the dancers who peformed with me.

Me and Ms. Soda (I have to ask her how she got that name)

Ms. Soda striking a pose by herself, you know how us ladies do

  

Dancers have quite the personality

The madness backstage, Shavar Blackwood should not have been in this picture lol, it should have been just Esie…lol but like I said Dancers are crazy, yet special.

lol…don’t ask…Hollywood too funny

Oh man, Oh man..lol lol but they had a great performance, wish the lighting was good for pictures

lol..lol and there they go again..this time with Leon Blackwood in the back, getting his cameo

Mark Samuels from Do Dat, with a clown lol lol..the clown is one of the dancers in Lenny Lens performance..

  

Getting creative with make up, hair and costumes (I love and appreciate all the details that go into making a performance and story unique)

Matthew Cuff…he went all out with this hair cut…I like I like:)

  

Love the  earrings and tattoo (Yes I love big earrings and I’m a tattoo fanatic, plus I got one at the same place behind my right ear.)

Performance shots

Some sexy Salsa, nice and short, to the point, and energetic

LR Productions, choreographed by Lindsay Ritter..great theme

LR Productions, choreographed by Lindsay Ritter..great theme

Irvin Washington…Choreographed this number..I loved the story line:)

Well this one is for the ladies, Shavar Blackwood choreographed a sensual yet heated performance, and this was how it ended with a lot of top less guys on stage. So I asked them to pose when they finished there performance and they did.

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Dance * Live * Inspire

Kay-Ann Ward

Focus

7 Jan

On Tuesday I had my 1 on 1 workout session with Helen Fox who is a great personal trainer and friend.

Before I went into the gym, matter of fact, the night before, I told myself you know what I’m going to workout and chances are its going to be a challenging workout. I knew that I will have to push myself and I also knew that I had to clear my mind to get the best out of my workout.

I have to say it was an amazing workout. It was tough, and it was hard, my thighs felt like they were going to fall off, but all in all my mind was set and I was focused, because I prepared my thoughts and my attitude from the night before and when I woke up in the morning.

I’m sharing this with you because, FOCUS..If you didn’t know already is vital.

As a dancer I always get my thoughts on track before I enter my rehearsals.

Before I teach my dance workout classes or teach choreography for a show, I prepare my mind to focus. It’s not always easy especially when life gets in the way, and some days are more effective than others. But the point is, to focus, get your mind right.

Get rid of all outside distractions, and negative energy.

The choice is yours, we all have good and bad days, but either way we have a choice in how we let these situations affect our abilities to do what we need to do.

Prepare your mind to get the results you need.

Here are a few tips that’s great for dancers to apply before a dance rehearsal, dance class or show

The night before, the morning of and before your class, rehearsal or show tell yourself you could do it

Quiet your thoughts and focus on how you feel, any feelings and thoughts that are not in alignment with your goals, get rid of them

Know that not because something is a challenge means that you can’t do it, you could do anything that you set your mind to

Before you enter your dance class, rehearsal and or performance, take a deep breath and bring your focus and energy towards making this the best experience for yourself

When you feel yourself doubting your capability, make note of the switch in your thought process and bring your thoughts back to a place of yes I could do this

These tips are for dancers but they could be applied to you even if you are not a dancer

Take these tips and apply your situation to make these tips work for you.

I’m happy I got my mind right, because I had a great workout.

Dance * Live * Inspire

Kay-Ann

*Just Dance* Have a great start to 2010

4 Jan

So for many tomorrow is the official start to 2010.  It’s the first actual week of 2010. ..Yeah to that

And even though we are entering 2010 with weather that is colder than I would like to think about, I hope that the very thought of having a great year, and accomplishing all you’re goals gives you a warm feeling inside..lol I get that feeling when I think about all the creative ideas and things I want to do.

But more than just setting goals and accomplishing them, enjoy life and all that it has to offer.

When you dance, dance because you love it, not because you want to impress those around you, and even though I use the word dance it also applies to life. Live authentically, live to be happy, and be happy to live.

The next time you step into a dance class, just breath and say “You know what I’m here for me, and this is not to impress you or you. I’m here because I love this and I want to better my skills and just dance.”

And yes we all want to be recognized by our peers, but you know what everything happens in due time, focus on the love you have for your craft.

Just dance..and let your essence touch those around you..This comes from experience…and this I will touch on later on this week… Stayed tuned..

Have a great start to 2010.

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Dance * Live * Inspire

Kay-Ann