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A one-of-its-kind, choreography camp introduces international professionals to India

Ashley Lobo's The Danceworx

Australian-Indian choreographer Ashley Lobo’s The Danceworx hosts’ artistes Brian Friedman, Exon Arcos, Gabe De Guzman, Jake Kodish and others in a three-day, virtual dance extravaganza

Ashley Lobo, through his work with The Danceworx and Navdhara India Dance Theatre, has always tried to create opportunities for enthusiasts to learn international styles from the best in the business. The company has constantly strived to make even lesser-known dance forms easily accessible to all and to equip aspiring dancers with requisite skill sets so that they can build flourishing careers while pursuing their passion.  Ashley’s dance academy for performing arts, The Danceworx, is now hosting a three-day, online choreography camp featuring international, professional artistes like Brian Friedman, Exon Arcos, Gabe De Guzman, Jake Kodish, Krista, and Autumn Miller among other popular names. The three-day camp from October 29 – 31, will include 12 sessions in commercial styles like – Jazz, Hip Hop, Funk, Street, Contemporary, Heels and Dancehall.

Ashley says, “There is no reason why we should let the pandemic stop us from learning, teaching, and growing as artists. I am so privileged and happy to have the opportunity to host online so many acclaimed dancers together for Indian students to learn from. Brian Friedman for instance was one of the first choreographers to use the style he initially referred to as “ganking.” Britney Spears happens to be his muse, and his style is eclectic and just a heady brew of drag queen glamour, vogueing, house, and thrashy jazz. I can only imagine the impact someone like him could have on a young Indian dancer.”

Another guest star invited by Ashley is Jake Kodish who started training in Hip-Hop and contemporary dance styles from the age of 12. Kodish is excited at the thought of interacting with Indian dancers and has a word of advice for anyone hoping to emulate him, “Train your body and mind every day! Great things come to those who wait as long as you work your backside off while you wait!”

Gabe De Guzman is a teen star who tasted success early as a Disney find in the sitcom Shake It Up and in Club Mickey Mouse, a spinoff of the 20th-century variety show The Mickey Mouse Club that starred Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears. He has performed with Will Smith at the Kid’s Choice Awards and Carly Rose Sonenclar at the X Factor finale and is looking forward to interacting with Indian talent. His advice for the eager crop of growing dancers in India is simple. “Stay true to yourself, keep experimenting and understand what makes you special in your craft. And if anyone is putting you down for what you love to do, especially male dancers, view that negativity as motivation to be a fighter and to never let people determine your passion.”

Other guest stars include Latino dancer Exon Arcos who was just 15 when he began taking professional dance classes in the Modern, Hip-hop and Contemporary styles. There is Krista Miller whose countless dancing credits include a performance with Jim Carrey in The Mask and at the Academy Awards with Debbie Allen. She has performed with legends like Prince and is one of the most sought after technique teachers in North America. Her daughter Autumn will also be part of the three-day camp. She started dancing at the age of six with her mother’s dance studio Brea Space acting as a jumping board. A 19, she already has more than a million Instagram followers.

Acclaimed dancer and choreographer Taisiya Borisova in her message, reminds Indian aspirants to strengthen their foundation, exercise and stretch regularly, explore different styles while constantly finding and developing an original approach. She adds, “Don’t compare yourself to others, only to yesterday’s version of yourself. And believe in yourself and in the fact that everything is possible if you work hard.”

Shirlene Quigley, the professional dancer and instructor who was also seen in Beyonce’s video, ‘Crazy in Love’, says, “Always remember why you started dancing and don’t ever stop training.”

Ashley concludes, “This is truly a once in a lifetime assemblage and I hope Indian dancers make the most of it.”