Articles I wrote for the show last year:
Oh, Canada! The Toronto Dance Community Is Uniting
Urban Rumble Reveals The Hidden Talent Of The Toronto Dance Community
This year, I had the pleasure of co-hosting the show, and teaching a workshop during my stay!
Hosts for shows do NOT get enough credit.
It's one thing to be able to hold a conversation one-on-one or with a group, but being in front of literal hundreds with a mic is nothing short of terrifying.
I honestly didn't know how it would feel – and I wish this uncertainty had prompted me to be more prepared, but I (foolishly) placed too much faith in my puns and conversational skills.
Honestly, I felt mad awkward for the entire first half. Not only was I unfamiliar with the performing teams, I was unfamiliar with the dance community in general. I got paranoid and self-conscious, which definitely read.
During intermission, I went to the back room where the judges were chillin'.
Here is what saved me –
Markus: "You all right Jess?"
Me: "Yeah I'm good I think I don't know wai omg wat"
Markus: "You just seem a bit nervous is all"
Me: "Yeah dude this is freaking scary!!"
Markus: "Just be yourself dude, you're charming and funny! Don't sweat it."
I felt a bit more comfortable after that. The show ran more smoothly and I found myself enjoying being on stage rather than trying to read a bio as quickly as possible then scurrying off.
It was fun 😊
A learning experience, but definitely a fun one.
Thanks for getting me out of my head, Markus 💚
As someone who LOVES taking classes (and works for a company that pretty much dedicates itself to that), I do not take teaching lightly.
Any time I get an opportunity to do so, I find myself second-guessing what I have to offer.
"I write about dance all the time, but can I physically teach it?"
I know not the most versatile dancer – which sounds self-deprecating but it's true! There is so much I'm not good at / not qualified to teach.
But my comfort zone has always been flow/control. I like music that's dreamy with strong hits and basses, so that's what I danced to.
With the awareness of my strengths and the amount respect I have for class-takers, I put a lot of thought into this piece and the way I taught it.
And it was SO MUCH FREAKING FUN. Probably the best hour and a half of my entire trip. I especially loved watching everyone kill it in their own way. 😍😍😍
Cleanliness is cool and all, but it's really everyone's individual style that kept me mesmerized. Forget this piece lol, I loved watching y'all move.
As much virality that intricate combos and unique pictures carry, I still believe in dancing that feels good.
This was simple and easy, but felt good. Teehee.
Once in a while, you meet someone, and it's "click at first sight."
Hernani is one of those souls.
The way he understands creativity, business, entrepreneurship, balance, intimacy, relationships, loyalty, collaboration, encouragement, and just.. love – he gives the best feeling you could give to a friend:
the feeling that they're not so alone.
Strolling through Kensington Market, driving through the city, getting kicked out of parking structures, and shivering by the pier together – thank you for the most picturesque of moments that I don't need a camera to remember.
Those 4 days felt like a dream – being back in Toronto almost exactly 1 year later, feeling like a completely different person in the same skin.
I have so much love for Toronto and the GTA dance community because I experienced them at such pivotal parts of my life – last year, when I was the most unhappy I've ever been, and recently, when I can feel myself blossoming.
Thank you for your infectious positivity, hunger, and love that's stuck with me all year.
TO (hopefully), many more memories in TO 😌❤️