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Int'l choreographer urges dancers to become more marketable

Int'l choreographer says there is money to be made

Published:Monday | August 31, 2015 | 12:35 PMCurtis Campbell
After completing her duties as guest judge on the Digicel Rising Stars talent show, celebrity choreographer and movement coach, Tanisha Scott (centre) snapped a picture with the contestants.
Tanisha Scott, celebrity choreographer and movement coach, shows Digicel Rising Stars contestant Marsha K a few moves to improve her performance.
International dance choreographer, Tanisha Scott

Internationally renowned three-time MTV VMA-nominated dancer-choreographer, Tanisha Scott, was recently in the island, where she was a guest judge on this year's Digicel Rising Stars competition.

Scott, who has been dancing professionally for more than a decade, has graced the big stage with some of the biggest names on the international scene, including Sean Paul, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Sean Paul, Shaggy, Trey Songz, Wale, Ne-Yo, Chris Brown, BeyoncÈ, DMX, Sean Kingston, and OMI.

She says despite being overlooked at times, dancing can be a profitable profession if the participants take their craft seriously. The dancer has travelled the globe, teaching her moves, and says her formula is not only to transform her clients into good dancers, but also competent performers.

"It's not just teaching people how to dance and doing choreography, I also teach people how to perform. I help a lot of new artistes with their development, and I do a lot of movement coaching, which is kind of like stunt work for movies,"she told The Gleaner.

dancehall influence

Raised in Canada, and of Jamaican parentage, Scott says she started dancing because of the strong influence of dancehall and sound-system culture in her environment during her formative years.

"My father had a sound system called True Tone. They started the system in Jamaica, and once they migrated to Toronto, he partnered with a gentleman named Wayne Ho-Lung, and they continued playing in Toronto. So as you can see, I came from a musical family, even though no one was a dancer or singer. But since my father was a disc jockey, he was always playing a lot of music. So that is how I fell in love with music, and I started dancing at home, in the streets, in dance crews and so forth,' she disclosed.

The seasoned choreographer says her first big break came in 2002, when she was called upon to choreograph the entire music video for Sean Paul's hit record, Gimme Di Light. The video was directed by acclaimed music video director Little X, and like the title of the song, her career was lit on the international stage, as Gimme Di Light rose on the charts globally.

As for the local dancing scene, Scott likes the Syvah and Kreech dance moves. She also made special mention of Ding Dong, saying that his work is commendable. The experienced dancer also pointed out that for local dancers to truly translate their talents into real revenue, they should educate themselves on other types of dances outside of Jamaica, so as to make themselves more marketable. She also warned that serious attention should be paid to image and health.

"They need to learn all other facets of dance and different styles, so that their repertoire can be vast as choreographers. If they want to just stay as dancers, they need to promote themselves a lot, via YouTube videos and music videos, for example. The more exposure you get, the more people will see you, and then the demand will increase. Dancers should also find something they can specialise in, setting them apart from everybody else. By so doing, people will consider hiring them," she continued.

"You also need to eat healthy, workout and build your stamina so that you don't injure yourself, because that's the first way you will be

forgotten," she said.

Among other things, Scott is developing a dance programme for children and is also doing choreography for movies and commercials. According to Scott, "I can be found via social media at @Tanisha Scott on Facebook and fan page