I had the pleasure of having a conversation with Teya Wild. She is a hip hop dancer from Vancouver, Canada. Teya has competed on So You Think You Can Dance Canada, and has appeared in a Nickelodeon film "Spectacular" and Disney movie "Zapped" and just recently, she finished work on Step Up 5! During our conversation, I found that Teya is a pretty open book and was very forthcoming with her life experiences. I look forward to seeing where her future takes her!
by Anthony Gardner
Friday Night Hip Hop
Meet Teya Wild
Q: Tell me about your family?
A: My Family I have 3 brothers and I am the 2nd oldest. I was born in Toronto, Canada and raised by my mom. When I was 3 we moved to Vancouver, Canada.
Q: When did you start dancing?
A: I started dancing at the age of 8. I took tap, ballet and jazz but I was not introduced to hip hop until I was much older. I moved to a new school, which was next door to a dance school. I would go there after school to take dance lessons and that is when I also began performing competitively. I started dancing hip hop around grade 10. I was lucky that all of my hip hop teachers taught various types of hip hop styles such as house, popping and locking. I was introduced to various different styles, not just commercial hip hop. When I was in 12th grade, I was asked to be a teacher at my dance studio, Seymour Dance in North Vancouver, where I taught various genres offered at the school. It was pretty cool being paid for teaching. A lot of my friends were talking about what colleges they were going to attend, I was talking about the classes I would be teaching next year. It became pretty clear that dance would be my career.
Q: So what did you do after dance school?
A: I had to figure out what I would do next. I decided I wanted to further my training so I immersed myself in the local hip hop community. I auditioned for a pre-professional hip hop company called SOULdier Company and was accepted. They taught every aspect of hip hop; DJing, MCing, Breaking, Popping and Locking. I met all the hip hop professionals in Vancouver. It was great! I graduated from the program in 2008. The following year I found out that Nickelodeon was accepting auditions for a new film. I landed a role in the film called "Spectacular”. I worked on the movie for 3 months.
I was invited to be a part of BC Tour “Project Soul Production" aka Art Starts which went to just about every elementary school and HS in Western Canada. We went from school to school and performed a program to introduce the kids to hip hop.
"For me life is continuously being hungry. The meaning of life is not simply to exist, to survive but to move ahead, to go up, to achieve, and to conquer."
Q: Do you have a dream job?
A: I would love to work on a tour and travel the world.
Q: What would readers or your friend be surprised to know about you?
A: I love running & hiking What are you listening to now on your music device? The new Drake album
Q: What are your favorite movies?
A: My favorite movie is Love and Basketball
Q: What is your Favorite Food?
A: My favorite is a Pesto Pasta dish. I don’t really cook now but I am in the process of learning to cook.
Q: Do you have any hobbies you have outside of dance?
A: Yes, I like to act and sing! I have done some training in acting and plan to take classes in singing as well.
Q: Tell me about Diamonds in the Rough?
A: The all girls group was formed in 2009 and I started dancing with them in 2010. They are a hardworking group and they put out videos at least a couple times a month. I haven’t had much time to dance with them because I was in Toronto. They do a lot of shows here locally.
Q: Tell me about your experience with "So You Think You Can Dance" Canada?
A: The first year that SYTYCD came to Vancouver was 2008. I auditioned but I did not make the show. At the time of the audition, I was not sure who I was as a dancer, so I tried to make myself be the type of dancer that I thought they wanted to see. I was not selected.
In 2011, a good friend of mine Carlena Britch was going to audition and asked me to audition with her. I got a "Gold Ticket" straight to Toronto after performing my solo when auditioning, and then there was a few months gap before I had to appear in front of the judges for finals week. I spent that time training in all of the genres, because in finals weeks, you have to be prepared to dance all styles. I focused on getting my hip hop tight and worked on contemporary and only a little bit in ballroom, I decided to attend as many Monsters of Hip Hop (MOHH) Conventions as I could. Since I was a three time nominee finalist, I was able to attend each convention free. I used it as my hip hop preparation for the show. My thoughts were that if I did my training at MOHH that finals week would be a breeze.
The finals week was great! I met dancers from all over Canada. Everyone was there for one reason and that was to share thier love for dance to make the show! In the finals weeks, you had to dance all of the styles if you were not eliminated. It was fun until ballroom. I was hoping to get a partner that was proficient in ballroom that could lead, I was fortunate to be paired with Kevin Howe. Kevin’s specialty was Contemporary but he was comfortable with Ballroom. Kevin had a great storyline for the show. Kevin had been audtioning and trying to make the show for four years. He was really passionate about making the show and I did not want to mess it up for him. During the short duration we had to practice, my ballroom shoes started tearing my feet and it was really painful but I had to push through the pain and in the end, we made it through. It wasn’t my best work but the judges gave me credit for working hard and it showed another dimension of my talent. Kevin was happy that we made it through to the next round.
The next challenge was one of the most difficult. It was the group challenge. All of the dancers stayed up all night working on our routines. I was really tired but I did not want to be the one being filmed sleeping. In the group there were dancers of all different styles; jazz, hip hop, ballroom and contemporary. The combo that we put together for our group was pretty cool and in the end we made it through. I was relieved!
I had made it through every round and the last round was contemporary, and it was very emotional for me and for all of the dancers because it was the last opportunity to make the show. Everyone brought all of their remaining energy and heart to their pieces. So in the end, Carlena and I both made the show. She was first to be called to walk the green mile and she was accepted! I was called right after her and I was also told that I made the show! We were both so excited! The two best friends made the show together. That was pretty cool!
After finals week going back home was hard to say the least. I had to go back to Vancouver and pretend that I did not make the show. I had quit my job and told co-workers I was moving to purse my career. In the end, they saw me on the show and hopefully they would understand my reason for not telling them. Some people understood but some were not as understanding. But I had to do what I had to do. Because of the contracts that I signed to be on the show, I was not able to share with anyone my status. It could be career ending.
I was elimindated the third week of the show. The first week I did a beautiful contemporary piece, and the 2nd week, I got the lovely Viennese Waltz. The third week I had to do Krump, which was so much fun! Although I am a hip hop dancer, Krump is something completely different and I most defintely have a new found respect for it. I felt that I never got a chance to show my strengths as a hip hop dancer so the viewers didn't really have a chance to fall in love with my unique style. As I look back I am forever grateful for the experience! I really grew as a dancer and got a chance to show that I could do other styles, and that I had technical training beyond hip hop. People were surprised that I could also do hip hop because on the show, they only saw me performing other styles. After the show, I decided to stay in Toronto because I had met such a huge family of dancers and choreographers. I lived in Toronto for 3 years and I had the opportunity to work with Luther Brown, Sean Cheeseman, Tre Armstrong and Steve Bolton who were judges and choreographers on SYTYCD. All and all it was a great achievement in my life.
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