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Vancouver Choreographer and NYC Poet Collaborate for “She” at the 2009 Sound Bites Poetry Festival

22 Mar

“Poetic Moves”

18 March 2009 (Vancouver, BC) Vancouver contemporary choreographer Heather Laura Gray and NYC spoken word poet Mahogany Browne will perform at the Sound Bites Poetry Festival April 12th with an added show on 13th 6pm, Roy Arias Theatre 300 West 43rd St., New York, NY.

This exciting collaboration began after Gray traveled to New York to deliver a DVD of a performance done to Mahogany’s “She”. “In 2006 I produced a 60 cast showcase of spoken word through music and dance. I found “She” on an unlabelled burnt CD from and instantly connected with Mahogany’s content and amazing delivery not knowing the author or the title”.

When Gray went to perform “She” a second time in 2007 she made sure to determine the author. From there the two communicated via email. “Trying to describe what I did was pointless; I knew I had to show Mahogany.” Soon after viewing the DVD Browne commissioned Gray to collaborate on new work for The Sounds Bites Festival 2009.

Both artists come from different cities, countries and very different backgrounds but bond through their passion to create journeys for their audiences. “She is an artist with amazing craftsmanship and awareness” said Gray “To hear that she was moved by my work meant I succeeded in connecting to that. I look forward to putting it together now in the same room.”

The SoundBites Poetry Festival returns, April 11th and 12th, with writing and performing workshops (sponsored by Poets and Writers) with an Off Broadway Showcase and a $1000 Team Slam. The team slam will be a 4 round event for 4-5 person teams. This slam will only host 12 teams. For more information go to http://www.soundbitesnyc.comMahogany Browne

Mahogany Browne is a nationally renowned performance poet, author, editor, freelance journalist, entrepreneur, and among other highly prestigious positions, the host and curator of the world-renown Nuyorican Poets’ Café in Manhattan.

Performing at "Body Language" Vancouver 2008

Performing at "Body Language" Vancouver 2008

Heather Laura Gray is a professional contemporary dancer, choreographer, actor, musical theatre performer as well as producer. She currently resides in Vancouver B.C. Canada.



Kelly Balon
Raw Talent Entertainment Management
Telephone: 778-838-7306

Now Or Never reps Canada at Battle of the Year – Part Two

1 Oct

INTERVIEW with Jheric Hizon – part two

READ Part One of the Interview

KB: How long have you been preparing for BOTY Canada?

JH: We’ve been preparing for it for almost a year now!!!!

You go to the World Finals on October 18th in Volkswagen Halle in Germany. NON has dedicated themselves for this moment. What do you expect from this competition in terms of reaching new levels as a bboy crew and being part of the bigger international bboy community?

Going to battle of the year were going to go there repping canada and were going to rep canada well. We have a good routine and hopefully the judges will like it that were good enough to make top 4. We know that the level of competition is amazing out there so we really just have to be on point when we’re there, and we have battled good crews in the past so we know that we measure up pretty good. Being at boty will just make us better bboys because the energy level will just sky rocket being with the top crews from around the world.

What do you think it is about bboying that attracts individuals from all different cultures?

I think its the rawness of the culture of bboying that attracts a lot of the other countries and people to bboying and also to push yourself to your own physical limits while doing it with style and grace… and the togetherness of different cultures coming together to battle each other without anyone actually dying lol!! (youknowhatimean)

NON is a multicultural crew. What has influenced your style and movement?

As we all know breaking originated in the bronx new york I would say that we embraced their culture… and my major influences were crews like the Rock Steady crew and New York City Breakers. I think its more of our work ethic that we bring to the table when we get together to practice or when we battle… we practice hard and battle even harder.

Which crews do you want to battle?

Definitely the Koreans or the Japanese just because we want to know how well or how bad we do. But most likely we will battle anyone who gets in our way!!! We would like t battle them all.

What lies ahead for NON after the BOTY?

More shows and more training and more competition… right now NON is riding high with the title but we try to stay humble we listen to what others tell us and we take what judges have told us in the past and try to just make ourselves just all around better dancers/bboys

Why isn’t Canada buying into BOTY as much as I thought they would?

I’m not sure why Canada isnt buying into boty. I cant speak for other Canadian crews, but as far as NON is concerned we just want to get out there and maximize our potential as a bboy crew. Right now we’re the big fish in the small pond and we want to be able to swim with the rest of the best and being in boty Germany I think we’ve proven that we can and we are!

I think to keep boty Canada going, crews need to step up, but like I said, I don’t know what the other crews are thinking. Maybe boty is not in their minds at all…who knows? But its such a good opportunity to be a part of it, just to be standing and competing and meeting other bboys you only get to see on videos on you tube.

Now or Never Crew competes at Battle of the Year in Germany on October 18th.

Now Or Never Reps Canada at Battle of the Year – Part One

1 Oct

The hype around bboying has never been higher. Transcending politics, geography, language and borders, breakdancing, or b-boying, has become the global phenomenon that everyone wants a piece of. Bboys and bgirls in community centres and nightclubs in every direction are breaking new limits in the art and discipline of movement. What began in 1980’s South Bronx has grown to reach every continent.

Battle of the Year (BOTY) is the World Cup of Bboying and it began in 1990. This is the competition that attracts thousands of bboys, bgirls, hip hop heads and fans to the new international bboy headquarters! The preliminary competitions are held in 33 countries with the Finals held at the Volkswagenhalle, Braunschweig, Germany. Doc feature film, “Planet B-boy” by director Benson Lee dives into the international culture of bboying telling the stories of bboys and bgirls from around the world, and brings it together at the Battle of the Year.

Battle of the Year Canada finally joined the preliminary circuit in August 08. Vancouver’s Now Or Never (NON) crew represents Canada for the first time at BOTY International Finals and is heading to Germany on October 18th.

Current members include bboy how (Jeri), bboy G (jay), bboy eloquence (jhaymee), bboy Twist (jheric), bboy Savage (victor), bboy Trickey (colin) bboy Jax(jackie), bboy Mugg(Kenny), bboy Bminus (Brian), and bboy Sniper (York).

To read the story of how NON got it together, get it here

Jheric Hizon joined NON for the World Hip Hop Championships in Los Angeles ‘07, where they came in sixth. At this year’s competition in Vegas, NON finished second, next to knuckleheadzoo (aka super crew of mtv”s America’s best dance crew). Also the founding member of Dead Reckoning Crew, Jheric is prepared. He gave me the run down about the crew, what they have been doing to prepare, what he expects in Volkswagenhalle, and where they go next.

INTERVIEW with Jheric Hizon of NON

KB: How was the BOTY Canada competition?

JH: There were only two crews that entered boty canada this year it was NON and another crew that was put together from 3 different crews in toronto..its too bad that most of the crews did not enter, either they werent prepared or they just didnt bother entering there was a two on two competition and most of the major crews in toronto entered that one. either way NON won the first ever battle of the year canada..hopefully more crews will follow in the next year( if they decide to hold boty again)

The competition wasnt too bad we definitely had our shit together we came fully prepared we won the best show for the showcase part of the competition and then we beat out the other crew for the title of boty canada….the other team was pretty good as well but they didnt have their routine down and when it came time to battle i think we shook them up with our routines and commandos cuz they tried to interrupt our runs by jumping in and out of the battle (not doing proper commando styles) yeah they were pissed off lol!!

What can you say about the caliber of talent in Canada? How do we measure up at the international level?

The calibre of talent we have in canada is incredible we just have to go out there and make a name for ourselves by hitting up international jams. There are a few bboys/Crews that make noise outside Canada (Casper, Dyzee and his crew Supernaturalz, NON). We try to do the same by competing against the best of the best out there… we don’t always win but we sure leave a presence at the end.

On an international level we’re up there its just there’s not enough of us doing it and trying to make it happen. That’s what NON is trying to change…. we want to encourage the young gens by stating that with hard work and dedication you can achieve success in what you do. It might take time but it will happen eventually!

Part two here

Top Young Vancouver Choreographers Team up for La Douche

5 Aug

Friday’s Pride Ball at Celebrities Nightclub in Vancouver opened with the work of six of Vancouver’s most innovative young dance choreographers and their powerful demonstration of the Vogueing / Waacking dance style made popular in the 80s by Madonna. La Douche, with their electric wardrobe, eccentric and impressively synchronized movement, took the stage and audience by surprise, commanding attention of more than 800 party-goers from front to back. Equipped with glitter, spandex and glam reminiscent of the disco era, this crew brings their fresh technique to this revived dance trend.

Its history rooting back to Ball Culture, an underground scene characterized by drag shows and dance competitions, Vogueing and Waacking were created in the gay clubs of New York City by Shabadoo and the House of Ninjas in the 1970s. Madonna introduced the dance style to pop culture upon the release of Vogue, in the 1980s. Vogueing and waacking are recognized by model-esque poses, and the rigid and fluid geometric body movement that merge with other disciplines including breakdancing (popping and locking), martial arts and gymnastics. Influences of ballet and modern jazz are also identifiable.

Jojo Zolina, known locally and internationally for his contribution to dance culture, introduced vogueing and waacking to Vancouver after working with the pioneers in New York City. Together with original creators Melena Rounis, Taylor James and Jen Oleksiuk, La Douche was formed as nothing more than an accidental creation among friends that shared a common interest in vogueing and waacking. Variations of the group have performed in Paris, Vegas and at Universal Studios in Los Angeles, and now it is on the radar of Chris Brown and Madonna’s choreographer.

Here is a clip from the original group at “For the Luv of it” in February 2008

What makes this latest performance of La Douche so interesting is the members of the crew, who are among Vancouver’s most inspiring to this city’s dance community. The original creation of La Douche involved these dancers, each of whom come from an impressive background and celebrated achievements. The new edition of La Douche, in the regrettable absence of Taylor James, added Vancouver’s leading young choreographers Heather Laura Gray, Geneen Georgiev and Louise Hradsky into the collaboration.

Collectively this group of performers has film and television credits including Catwoman, Reefer Madness, Studio 54, Dead Like Me, and Scary Movie 3. Each of them are successfully creating their own brand. Jojo Zolina is the creator of several other dance crews including hip hop group Over the Influence (with Marc Generoso, Stewart Iguidez and Tal Iozef) and Bucky Top, and continues to tour worldwide and train with the most prolific in the industry. He is currently teaching workshops across the country with OTI and is in collaboration with House of DangerKat.  Jojo is also one of the creators of BreakNorth, a hip hop conference educating youth on the hip hop elements and the roots of its influence in Vancouver.

Jen Oleksiuk is kicking ass with her new all-female dance group, Stonefoxx, which is taking on Plush nightclub and several other venues and festivals, as she and other members (Laurin Padolino, Maiko Maiyuchi, Kathryn Schellenberg, Natasha Gorrie, and Shauna Smith) tirelessly create new performances.

Newest members to La Douche, Heather Laura Gray, Geneen Georgiev and Louise Hradsky added a lot of hype to the stage on Friday, each with their unique character, supreme skill and control over their bodies. Louise Hradsky is currently part of the Inner Ring Circus and performs regularly as an aerialist and dancer. Heather Laura Gray, owner of Urban Flow Productions, has just been added to Amber Funk Barton’s new company, The Response, and will be performing in the full-length production of RISK.

Geneen Georgiev is the co-owner of Drive Dance Centre, Vancouver’s newest studio known for its unique supply of top level instructors representing the newest trends in dance. She also trains with the Underground Circus. Her business partner, Melena Rounis, is currently cast in Cirque de Soleil’s “The Beatles: Love” in Las Vegas, as she continues to co-manage the school.

La Douche at Vancouver Pride 2008 was a hype reflection of the diversity and aptitude of Vancouver’s dance scene. Members of the latest performance are among the rising legends in our city that are bringing fresh influence and inspiration from global trends and passing it on to the next generation of performing artists. Many fans will be looking out for their next creations, both individually and from La Douche. For those interested in learning from this super crew, they can be found at Harbour Dance Centre, Drive Dance Centre and A-Star Studios.

Raw Wednesday Lights up Carrall and Hastings

26 Jul

25 July 2008 — After the re-launch of Raw Wednesday, the opening of “Body Language” art exhibit, and the Reel Athletes / Crux Talent Launch Party last week, the Interurban continues to beacon positive vibrations on the notorious Vancouver intersection at Pigeon Park.

The exhibit and series of events has attracted actors, agents, producers, artists, residents, and corporate elites to the Downtown East Side to take in the stunning visual presence on the corner that is hard to overlook to the passersby. The gallery features the work of fifteen artists influenced by the art and discipline of movement, and serves as the backdrop for live performance installations.

On July 23rd Raw Wednesday opened the doors of the gallery onto the street and showcased diverse, talented, socially conscious performing artists, including DJ Ariel, salsa duo Angela Amici and Roland Aloysius, urban contemporary dance team 605 Collective, powwow dancer Shyama Priya with cellist Cris Derksen as the Wild Moccasins, and experimental hip hop dance crew Rusty Souls, who trace the movements of the bboy on canvas.

Now that the parties are over (for now), the gallery still shines, and traces of the embodiment of the gallery’s purpose remain; as bboys and bgirls are seen dancing in the windows, as a live art installation. Heads turn by those driving by the busy intersection; the fearful of the unwashed that routinely lock their doors while passing through Canada’s most shameful mistake. Unexpected spectators peek in the windows surprised by the bold and powerful images that seem displaced.

Body Language continues until the closing event on August 8th, and it is no better opportunity for Vancouver residents to drop in and witness the power of what can be a sustaining possibility if only we love our city and the people within it.

photo credit Scott Alexander

“BODY LANGUAGE” Art Exhibit Bridges Artists and Industry with Community

8 Jul

VANCOUVER, 7 JULY 2008 – Raw Talent Entertainment presents Body Language, the art exhibit and performance series at the Interurban Gallery, #1 East Hastings, open July 16th to August 8th.

Raw Talent Entertainment Management has collected work from more than seventeen visual artists to reflect on the inspirations, discipline and drive that produces athletic and artistic performers of the highest caliber. Mixed media including canvas, photography and video will set the backdrop for a number of events at the Downtown East Side gallery this month, including the public opening on July 16th, and Raw Wednesday on July 23rd.

Reel Athletes Talent Agency, who represents special skills performers for film and television, uses the gallery as the venue for the launch party for the new actors division, Crux Talent, on Thursday July 17th. The event invites Vancouver entertainment industry executives for a performance showcase including hip-hop artist Moka Only, diva DJ Betti Forde and Dj Ariel, and choreographer Heather Laura Gray among several other dancers, martial artists and musicians.

Proceeds from the industry event will go towards Raw Wednesday, a weekly performing arts showcase for the community, partially funded by Canadian Heritage, at the Interurban in July. Breakdancers, DJs, martial artists, and multicultural dancers will open the gallery to the street for an upbeat and colourful celebration of diversity. The gallery space will also be available for a Vancouver yoga studio to offer community classes.

Events and the exhibit itself attracts community residents, industry executives and artists alike, and those who have a stake in the quickly changing and developing Downtown East Side. Situated across from Pigeon Park at Vancouver’s notorious intersection of Carrall and Hastings, Body Language at the Portland Hotel Society’s Interurban Gallery will shed some light on the strengths of the community and the importance of public space for the arts.

Burlesque Beauties

11 Apr

The “Burlesque Beauties”… Provocative, Sensual, Entertaining, and Classy!

Are here to bring you a professional live and interactive cabaret dance show filled with sex appeal, talent, drive and class. These ladies are the real deal! You may not see them in nipple tassels, but the beautiful lingerie, costumes and choreographed moves will give you enough to take home and imagine…

The six ladies of the “Burlesque Beauties” will titilize and tease you with their different sassy and fun characters!

Miss Kitty Kat, Miss Mia, Miss Victoria,

Miss Chi Chi, Miss Roxy and Miss Baby Doll

It will be a true evening of entertainment for the ladies and a good old -fashioned teasing for the men

Be Classy

Be Confident

Be Yourself

“Live your life like a Burlesque Beauty”

Book the Burlesque Beauties

Kathara Cultural Theatre of Canada

30 Mar

kathara.jpgSince 2002, Vancouver has witnessed an artistic and cultural exchange with the 21 year- old Kathara Dance Theatre Collective of the Southern Philippines

Founded by Boots Dumlao, Kathara Canada continues to foster awareness of Philippine indigenous identity through theatre, traditional and contemporary music, dance and martial art.

Kathara Canada members, although born in the Philippines, Canada and even South Africa, they are all very passionate about their Filipino heritage and dream of meeting the tribes that they study first hand.

In the spirit of multiculturism, Kathara invites guest artists to explore the Philippines and its interwoven ancient history with linkages to India, China, Islam, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

Book Kathara Cultural Theatre of Canada

Dead Reckoning

30 Mar


Dead Reckoning is a bboy (breakdance) crew that came together in 1998. Dead Reckoning launched at a crucial time during the late nineties when there was little representation of Bboying in Vancouver. The crew deemed it necessary to introduce bboying to the public. As a result, they have performed throughout the lower mainland, entertaining audiences with their dynamic movements.

Highlight performances and appearances include: Vancouver International Children’s Festival, Dancers for Life, Pro-am (Miami), Outbreak, Vancouver International Dance Festival, Pacific National Exhibition, National Ski and Snowboard Week in front of audiences ranging from nightclub party-goers to Canada’s Governor General.

Dead Reckoning appeared on a major motion picture “Kickin’ it Old Skool” starring Jamie Kennedy. Dead Reckoning will always serve as an icon that real hip-hop is alive and thriving. The group continues to maintain its presence through live performances, masterclasses, weekly classes, and community outreach programs.

Book Dead Reckoning

OTI: Over The Influence

30 Mar

otially.jpgOver The Influence is an all male dance company based in Vancouver, BC and is constantly raising the bar for innovation and execution in Canada’s urban dance movement. Their repertoire of dance styles is vast from video dance, break dancing and krumping to the foundational styles of hip hop in popping, locking and new jack swing. Going beyond the standards of urban dance, OTI brings an array of themes, theatrics & storylines on top of their already unique and eye-catching choreography, leaving audiences amazed with the quality and substance of their shows.

OTI consists of founding members Jojo Zolina, Tal Iozef and Stewart Iguidez. Marc Generoso joined the company in early 2006 to round out the new look of OTI.

They have performed for various artists such as ‘Nelly Furtado’, ‘Black Eyed Peas’, ‘The Roots’, ‘K-Os’, the ‘Beastie Boys’, ‘Grandmaster Flash’, and ‘Swollen Members’. Movie Credits include: ‘See Spot Run’, ‘Catwoman’, ‘Reefer Madness’, and ‘Life or Something Like It’.

Individually and collectively, their talents have taken them beyond Vancouver, sharing their knowledge and skills in China, Germany, Brazil, Bosnia, Afghanistan, the Philippines, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Book Over The Influence


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