It’s hard to do anything especially when you’re not accustomed to it, being open-minded was something I lacked for the majority of my life. There’s always a reason for someone to lack the ability to be open, and I believe for myself it was because I was very insecure. So much that it prevented me from even doing the things that I wanted to do like dance. It took me up until I was 20 years of age to build up the courage to go and take a hip-hop dance class, and because I adapt quickly I was great from the start.
Now I refused to be open, to do any other dance style because I believed anything other than Hip-hop was lame. Ballet? you crazy? I’m not gay why would I do ballet?! Ballroom? isn’t that for old people? I was simply blinded by my own ridiculous assumptions and even though I lost my insecurities to dance, I was still too hesitant to be open, to break that barrier of ignorance I was coated in.
“Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.”
“So You Think You Can Dance Canada” came around, and I went for it. They liked me and I did very well, I made it to the finals! that’s top 200 in all of Canada who auditioned, to say I was excited is an understatement. I had 5 whole months to train before the finals came and I continued my regular Hip-hop classes and waited until there was a week left to take one private ballroom class. The worst part is that someone offered to help, I didn’t take the initiative. Finals weekend I did alright with the various styles of choreography we had to learn however it wasn’t easy at all. The final choreo we had to learn was Contemporary. I thought I was doing fine, but when it came time to show the judges, and I had to bust spins left right and center, I had no idea how to control it. I couldn’t spot and lost track of my direction, focus, and completely stopped dancing on the stage in front of everyone, I felt stooopid. I remember one of the judges said “it’s the battle of the beast, the strongest one stays alive”. Within 3 hours I went from being in Toronto on a stage 40 people away from making top 20 on a national TV show, to being on a plane and then on my bed in Montreal staring at the ceiling kicking myself. That moment I woke up, *face palm* had I been more open to other styles I wouldn’t of been sitting on my bed, I’d be working on my solo.
“A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it is not open.”
― Frank Zappa
A couple days later I signed up for my first Ballet class. My eyes were finally open. Months went by and I auditioned once again for SYTYCDC and made it to the finals again. This time was different. I spent the 5 months training as much as my wallet permitted me to in Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Ballroom, Hip hop, Popping and House, I worked hard.
My SYTYCDC audition
Finals once again came around the corner and it was time to put all my hard work to the test. This time everything flowed through my mind so easily it was all muscle memory, it didn’t take much thought, I was simply dancing. Contemporary choreo day came by, along with the memory of my insane blank out moment I had the previous year. I focused hard this time, and I made it through to the top 40. I was pumped, SO pumped, now all I needed to do was kill my solo and it’s smooth sailing from here. When it came time to deciding weather I make it or not I was told I need more training in ballroom. So I sucked it up, took the fail plane back home and got mentally ready for the following year, ya I was determined to make it and I stayed consistent. I doubled the training and took privates in ballroom this time as well, I trained all day, everyday. I traveled to NYC a bunch of times and training there was bananas! Now I was so versatile I started getting contracts in all styles. I auditioned for a Street Jazz contract, got picked and then informed it would be in Egypt for 10 days. Imagine if I had been open and started training like this years ago!!?
Toronto Bootcamp Week – Ballroom Eliminations
Toronto Bootcamp Week – Contemporary Eliminations
(I’m at 3:53s, the dude in the white dress shirt in front)
Toronto Bootcamp Week – Top 40 Solos
(My solo is at 2:14s)
Finals came by again, I made top 40 again, and said “this is it” top 20 here I come…or so I thought. I had been so focused on learning other styles and being as versatile as I can be, that I had completely forgot to focus on my OWN style, and lost *it*. I got the ‘X’ and failed once again.
“Learn how to build momentum and you will PUNCH THROUGH STRUGGLE”
No worries, I went to Egypt the following week and it was awesome!! As well there was an audition for a french TV show called “Ils Dansent” that was looking for 10 male dancers to be filmed training in all styles. Nice all I needed to do was get better in french lol. Luckily the people with me in Egypt were all french and I demanded they speak to me IN french while I wrote everything down, memorized sentences, even though I always spoke a little french I was never great. I nailed the audition and frenched it up. Got picked and this TV show was an experience of a life-time. Had I of made SYTYCDC, I wouldn’t of been able to participate in this other show, which permitted me even more training to help me pursue my career. Being open-minded gave me the window of opportunity and when I look back, I just smile. Because every experience was and still is great. (Thank you Nico & Wynn for Ils Dansent)
My Solo in front of thousands “Ils Dansent” – be open to failure
And you know what? I now have a new found love for Ballroom, in fact I dance & teach Ballroom more than I dance Hip-hop, why? because it’s hella fun try it. I have my 4th competition coming this weekend, and I can’t wait. If you had told me 3 years ago that I’d be here today I’d think you were insane.
Being open to failure is okay.
Instead of quitting when you fail, learn from the mistakes. That’s why people say they’ve learned a valuable lesson, because there is value in failure, so be open and use it. Never quit! never give up and you will reach your goals and live the life that you create (click here for more info).