Tag Archives: Jojo Zolina

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.

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