Versatility + Adaptability = A Choreographer's Dream

As a freelance choreographer who spends time in both the competitive studio world as well as the professional arena, I am always working with new dancers. I don't often get to set work on the same people day in and day out and as a result I have developed a pretty good radar on what a dancer is capable and willing to contribute to a piece and down the line to a job. Although the educator in me is always striving to push dancers to expand their boundaries both physically and mentally, there are some limitations that only an individual themselves can liberate.

Two qualities have always been particularly apparent to me in dancer's that I have had meaningful and rewarding meetings with. Versatility and adaptability. There's a grocery list of other outstanding attributes that great dancers posses but these two are distinctly present in the dancers I have worked with over and over again in a professional setting. Why? Because they are the perfect pairing for creation.


First and foremost, versatility in the physical realm is such an essential skill set. Being trained in multiple styles such as ballet, jazz, tap, house, locking, popping, breaking, wacking, acrobatics, samba, paso doble, swing, jive, waltz, ETC - allows a choreographer to pull from a dancers vast understanding of their body. This doesn't mean that if I am choreographing a contemporary piece that I will actually choreograph a latin figure 8 hip or a fresno, but if my dancer has those physical capabilities I can incorporate their essence into my moves.

Versatility also becomes a huge factor in performance, vibe, expressions and emotional range. A dancer comfortable exploring and expressing profound storytelling, abstract concepts and remarkable showmanship, adds unparalleled value to any idea the choreographer examines. 


Taking direction, or new direction, and immediately applying it is a key characteristic of any steadily working professional dancer. Using your versatility to allow the choreographer's vision to come to life and adjusting your physical and emotional performance to your surroundings and their conditions is imperative.

Logistically, this could mean learning a piece for the grandeur of the stage and altering it for on camera performance in a film. Another classic example of this is learning a piece of choreography in a spacious studio and arriving to set or to the venue where you will perform and seeing you have 10% of the space you rehearsed in and still need to deliver an authentic performance.

Another form of adaptability that I personally welcome is the skill of 'being a blank canvas' vs contributing as an artist and knowing when each is appropriate. A great piece of work, in my opinion, is never solely the result of the choreographer or the dancer alone but a collaboration between the two. A dancer should be able to identify when the choreographer has a clear image in their mind and body and be able to physicalize it. They should also be willing to experiment when the choreographer has a feeling or a sense but is still discovering what it's form is. To me these adaptable moments are what make the creative process so intriguing and rewarding. 





Lights, Camera, Action - Acting for Dancers

In this day and age, it’s not enough to just be a dancer. Agents, casting directors and producers want talent with more than one skill. You don’t need to be a master at multiple skills, but you should have one or two tucked away in your back pocket to whip out when needed.

One of the most appealing additional skills for dancers to have at the moment is acting training. When I was younger I had no interest in acting – I just wanted to dance. My agent was constantly hounding me about taking acting classes to round out my skills, and eventually I caved and agreed to do it to “make him happy”. It was really unexpected, but I ended up loving it! I was exploring and experiencing my artistry in a new way, and without knowing it, my artistry as a dancer was improving because of it. Next thing I knew, I had booked my first acting job as a lead on “The Next Step”. The show has completely changed my life, and I never would have had that opportunity if I brushed aside the importance of training in other skills.

Dancers are always asking for recommendations on acting classes, so I’ve decided to put together a list of a few good places to start.

Pro Actors Lab –

This is the studio I spend the most time at. Marvin Hinz and Glen Gaston are great for the ultimate beginner. Bruce Clayton’s On Camera Class is a wonderful transition for dancers – you are challenged and pushed, but Bruce has an incredible knack for keeping your confidence high (which is just as important in acting as it is in dance) even though you may feel like you have no idea what you’re doing. Rae Ellen Bodie’s Voice class is a fantastic way for dancers to understand their bodies (even more than we already do) and access your emotional life through breath work. David Rotenberg’s classes are my favorite, but I would absolutely recommend training with at least one or two of the teachers listed above before graduating to his class.

Second City –

Improv can be used anywhere and everywhere, so it’s a good idea to get some basic skills under your belt. Skip Improv A – E, and go directly to the Improv For Actors class. Once you’ve gotten a taste, you can decide if you want to further your training, but this class gives you a crash course in improv, and really pushes you to step outside your comfort zone!

LB Acting Studio –

Lewis Baumander runs this studio that has a wide array of styles and teachers. They even specialize in youth classes – this is a great place for dancers still in school to test the waters and see if acting could be a part of their lives!

Armstrong Acting Studios –

This is another well-known acting studio in Toronto. They offer various classes with many different instructors, but beware – classes are a bit pricey.

Whether it’s always been your dream to become an actor, or you just want to round out your skills as a performer, taking class and training is paramount to your success. Just as with dance classes, it’s essential that you find teachers you connect with. Most importantly – enjoy the journey! Don’t be afraid to fail, and just go for it :)


Winter Views - Creating Content and Social Media

January can be a hard month for everyone. The holidays have come to an end, the cold presses on and for most people in the entertainment industry, the work is slower. So how do you optimize the free time? What can you do to ignite your own fire without breaking the bank or migrating south? 

For me, this time comes as an excellent time to refresh, regroup and reorganize for the coming months. But all that isn't what dreams are made of. At the same time I try to pursue more creative personal outlets that I don't always have time for in the busy months, learning new skills, training and creating content that intrigues me. 

Last week I did just that. With the help of my trusty boyfriend and photographer extraordinaire Fabio Buritica, we set out to play with some high frame rate action type photos. I had seen this "hustle" mural in Liberty Village which sparked some ideas and I also wanted to do some experimenting in High Park. Being January, barefeet and dancewear was a bit of a stretch so I suited up in my Nike and Patagonia gear to stay as warm as I could. 

Hustle n flow ↗️ 📷:@fabthebrand #toronto #hustle #fitness #nike #nikewomen #patagonia

A photo posted by Caroline Torti (@carolinetorti) on

Dancers love photoshoots and photographers love shooting dancers because of the limitless possibilities our bodies and minds possess. It's becoming more and more important in this digital age for dancers to have a good portfolio of content to use to promote themselves across the many social media platforms. At our last workshop we even discussed the effect a large following, on Instagram for example, can have on the casting process. Production companies see value in a built-in audience for their films and television shows. OBVIOUSLY this in no way negates training, experience and attitude, but if you already have those three on lock - it doesn't hurt to add another desirable asset to give you the best advantage possible.

Fly High Park 📷: @fabthebrand #highpark #toronto #leapin #dancer #choreographer #hops

A photo posted by Caroline Torti (@carolinetorti) on

There is a wide range of technology available to create your own content and a lot of people out their looking to collaborate on creative projects. From DSLR's and digital handheld cameras, to smartphones and tablets, there is something within everyone's reach. The most important thing is to just get started. Here are some great examples from dancers and choreographers getting inspired to create and share!

Miss you, my friend.

A photo posted by Bianca Melchior (@b.m.jpg) on

70's baby 📷✨

A photo posted by Amy Gardner (@amy.j.gardner) on

Always remember that your mind, like your body, needs exercise. Flexing creative muscles is just as important as going to the gym, taking class or reading a book. All these things together are simultaneously creating your personal brand as a dancer and engaging your audience, and hey, it just might help you Book down the line! 

xo Caroline

A brief history of music and dance in film.

I grew up on The Sound of Music. As children my sister and I would blast the soundtrack and sing off key but full spirit during long road trips and regularly perform the entire musical for our imaginary (but captivated!) audience. We’d transform our living room into an Austrian abbey in the late 1930’s. I would borrow mom’s skirt to twirl and fall in love for the first time as Liesl during Sixteen going on Seventeen, crawl up the stairs backwards as little Gretl for the final sleepy lines of So long, Farewell and wear a nun’s habit veil made of pantyhose to get into character for the vocal and emotional challenge of Climb ev’ry Mountain. Before I knew I wanted to be a dancer, before I discovered my obsession for music or realized I wanted to spend my life making TV and film I wanted to be Maria von Trapp. The Sound of Music put a spell on me, and since then I’ve loved the performing arts. The timeless choreography and music from movie musical classics like Westside Story are part of the foundation for my lifelong connection and affection for creating and expressing through song and dance.

Like every single person who has seen the film, I am an insane fan of La La Land. No seriously. I mean on some Belieber teenage irrational crying level fan dome. (A LaLander?) The brilliance of La La Land had me snapping out of the theatre and hittin’ a drag-run-run-drag back to the car.

With the international acclaim for the film and it’s complete sweep of last night’s Golden Globe awards I thought it would be fitting to go back in time and take a look at some notable classics which set the standard and revolutionized music and dance in film. They are without a doubt sources of inspiration for films like La La Land and are enduring musical influences for stage and cinema. I had a lot of fun going through the archives and studying the evolution of this genre. Hope you enjoy them too!


Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933)
Choreographer: Busby Berkeley

Rufus Jones for President (1933)
Choreographer: Couldn’t find a credit, but I like to think it’s Sammy Davis Jr. going off

Top Hat (1935)
Choreographer: Fred Astaire
Isn’t this a Lovely Day (To be Caught in the Rain) v=dl6FLfHTC68
Cheek to Cheek                                         


Swing Time (1936)
Choreographer: Fred Astaire                  

The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Choreographer: Bobby Connolly & Dona Massin
Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Hellzapoppin (1941)
Choreographer: Frankie Manning          

Stormy Weather (1943)
Choreographers: The NIcholas Brothers
Jumpin Jive

An American in Paris (1951)
Choreographer: Gene kelly
Scene 4
Scene 5

Royal Wedding (1951)
Choreographer: Fred Astaire
You’re all the world to me

Singing in the Rain (1952)
Choreographer: Gene Kelly
Good Mornin'
Singin' in the rain

The Band Wagon (1953)
Choreographer: Choreographer- Michael Kidd
Girl Hunt Ballet
Dancing in the Dark

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)
Choreographer: Michael Kidd
Barn Raising Dance -

Westside Story (1961)
Choreographer: Jerome Robbins
Sharks vs. Jets


Mary Poppins (1964)
Choreographer: Marc Breaux
Jolly Holiday

Sound of Music (1965)
Choreographer- Marc Breaux
Sound of Music
Sixteen going on seventeen

Oliver! (1968)
Choreographer: Onna White
Consider yourself

Sweet Charity (1969)
Choreographer: Bob Fosse
Big Spender:

Collective Elite present “RUIN” at the San Francisco Dance Film Festival

In May 2016, Caroline and Bree of Collective Elite filmed a passion project entitled RUIN.  Crafted out of the need to create entirely for themselves without restriction, the film has gone on to receive acclaim within the local Toronto dance community and beyond.  RUIN which currently has 175,000 views on YouTube was honoured by being selected to screen at the San Francisco Dance Film Festival.  


Watch RUIN here:


Caroline and Bree have just returned from the film festival and could not be more thrilled to have presented RUIN on the big screen.  For Caroline “it was an overwhelming experience to say the least. The talent and creativity we were surrounded by was most inspiring and the response to our film was astounding.  We feel so lucky to have had this opportunity and look forward to continuing this side of our business and creating more work for Canadians that will be viewed on an international level.”


If you have questions about starting your own film project or the dance biz, get answers at our next Booked workshop!  The Q&A portion of the day let’s you pick our brains about everything and anything to do with the business of dance.  Caroline and Bree have so much knowledge to share with you!  Learn more about what they do here:


Hope to see you at our Nov. 26th workshop!  


Love Addy

Getting your US Visa

Canada is poppin' with work for dancers. Our weak dollar plus provincial tax breaks for local hires has made Canada an attractive and affordable location for film and television productions. That being said, for many dancers making the move to the US is the ultimate dream. For those who are considering relocating, the first hurdle to get over is acquiring a US Visa.

Typically, dancers will be trying to get their hands on an 0-1 Visa. Quoting the USCIS an 0-1 Visa is “for the individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.” Making a strong application package to prove your extraordinary ability requires time, money, relevant high profile experience and people who will back you up. (I would also suggest a seasoned immigration lawyer.)

If you are thinking about applying for an 0-1 Visa I’d recommend starting to plan, collect evidence and financially prepare for it now. It will make the entire process much less daunting and will improve your chances of a successful application. Below are the basics of what you’ll need!

You’ll be asked to provide evidence from major jobs in your career and prove how your talent was integral to the project. Start to collect paystubs, contracts, photos, backstage passes, programs, tour books, media and interviews. This evidence should demonstrate your high level of talent and the quality of the jobs, with the financial proof to show for it. This evidence defends that you are of the top echelon of talent in the country.

Letters of Recommendation:
These letters are written by experts in your field who can vouch for your exceptional talent. Your chosen experts should have established careers and be well known in the industry. There are two kinds of letters you need to provide:

Subjective Letters- These letters are from people who you’ve worked with that will attest to your skill. For example: Choreographers, Executive Producers, Directors.

Objective Letters: These letters need to come from people who you have not worked with, but know of you based off your reputation and accomplishments. For example: Choreographers, Dance Organizations

Agent and Deal Memo:
You need to be signed to a US talent agency. For example: BLOC, MSA. The deal memo is often the most difficult piece of the Visa puzzle. You need to show you have a job ready and waiting for you in the US. Your employer should be a reputable company or person that will sign to confirm you will be working for them. You must provide specifics such as dates, pay and what responsibilities this job will entail. For example: Choreographers assistant, teacher at a studio, tour dancer, itinerary, how many hours per week, contract rates etc...

Money and an Immigration Lawyer:

The total for your Visa application can cost approximately $4200 US which equates to roughly $5560 CA. This quote includes USCIS, AGMA, Dance USA and lawyer fees. If you chose to go this alone, this number would drop but I highly suggest getting a reputable and experienced immigration lawyer to deal with your case. No one wants the headache or disappointment of a denied application. Kevin Levine is fantastic and incredibly knowledgeable with a solid track record for getting dancers their Visas. Find out more about his law office at Another resource is his former associate, Rachel Wool, who now operates through D'Alessio Law Group (

Feeling overwhelmed? Applying for your Visa means putting in work, but the earlier you start preparing the better off you’ll be!

If you have any questions about getting your Visa, come ask me at our next BOOKED workshop. The lecture and Q&A portion of the day covers everything from audition dos and don’ts to how to get an agent and much more. Join us November 26th at Dance Makers! Register at


XO Addy


There is a uniting mentality amongst the dance community: everyone is frustrated by the unfair pay and treatment of dancers within the industry.  In Toronto, there is a cyclical life to this conversation.  First, an instigating event (ex. The MMVAS), followed by public outcry (Anger! Facebook rants! #HASHTAGS!), mellowed out by attempts at rational discussion (“the community must unite; say NO!”), then it fades away and rests dormant in the quiet of inaction until it is awoken again.  And so the inevitable happens: nothing.  The problem is not with what the community is saying.  The anger, the frustration, the passion behind the debates, and asking why, is all warranted and necessary.  The issue is that it is just talk.  Everyone talks.  But who changes their behaviour?

On Saturday, May 28th I will be a speaker at INTERPOSE, a FREE seminar organized by Thomas Colford for dancers along with my fellow ladies from Booked Caroline Torti and Bree Wasylenko. We will be discussing the systemic issues behind low pay and what action YOU can take to influence progress.  As far as I’m concerned that is the most important piece of the puzzle: YOU.  If you or I do not take responsibility for how our actions impact the industry, set the example and stand up for ourselves then who are we to complain?  There is no unification of “us” or path to just treatment and payment unless the behaviour of each individual backs their words and supports the foundation of positive change. 

The seminar will be formatted in the style of TED Talks with presentations by Jon Drops Reid of Equity Canada and The Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists with the intention of informing and unifying dancers to improve the welfare of our community.  


Date: Sat. May 28th

Time: 9:00-11:00pm

Location: The Underground Dance Center 220 Richmond St West

Cost: FREE 

For more information check the Facebook group here:




The 'Call Backs' - The Booked Mentorship Program

The Booked Workshop is very much a passion project for Caroline, Bree and I.  We care tremendously about the information and experience we provide, and also feel a responsibility and enthusiasm in mentoring the next generation of dancers.  Auditioning is a skill, and like any other to become successful you must train!  Dancers who return to Booked to continue their training with us become members of The Call Backs in The Booked Mentorship Program.  

Each member of The Call Backs is paired with either Caroline, Bree or Addy based on who we believe can offer the most relevant personalized guidance.  After the workshop, The Call Backs have a one on one meeting with their Mentor.  In this focused and candid discussion no topic is off limits!  During the conversations with my Call Backs, we discussed everything and anything: fear, choosing a post secondary education or the pursuit of dance, the essentials of a demo reel, how to calm the mind in an audition, steps to becoming a choreographer, confidence building, how to get a US Visa.  These conversations are tailored to the individual and they get the opportunity to ask us anything; our Call Backs really pick our brains!  

We become incredibly invested in the future and success of anyone who comes to our workshop.  The Booked Mentorship Program allows us to get to know the person behind the dance, help them reach their goals and become involved in their journey through the industry.  Shout out to the first members of our program! 

The Call Backs

Larinee Movsessian

Brianna Andrade Gomez 

Mentor: Addy

Justina Janzen

Hayley Nault 

Mentor: Bree

Flora Ferguson

Madison Foley

Mentor: Caroline

If you have been to Booked and would like to become a member of The Call Backs register for our next workshop on June 11th!  If you’ve never been to Booked, come dance with us! You can still get 15% OFF registration till May 11th with our Early Bird Special.


Hope to see you at our next Booked! 


Toronto Dance Events Happening This Week!

Hey friends,


It's a great week for dance in Toronto!  Don't miss FEVER AFTER DARK this Friday Feb 26th at the Mod Club.  This showcase themed "Fire and Ice," is not to be missed as some of Toronto's best take the stage.  I'm really looking forward to new work by Celine Richard-Robichon, Scott Fordham and the brilliant Cora Kozaris.  (REMEMBER NO CHURCH?  I still haven't got my voice back from screaming that night!)  


This weekend come out for BYOB Dance Competition and Convention.  I'll be judging the competition Saturday Feb 27th, and teaching a workshop on Sunday Feb 28th with Mike Song, Derick Robinson, Bizzy Boom and Paulo Santiago.  For more info on tickets and reserving your spot at the convention check

Here's some inspo for a beautiful Tuesday afternoon!  I've been feeling on these choreographers for a while and just want to share some of their movement. All these choreographers have their own unique voice, style and sensitivity to music.  Most importantly when I watch them dance they make me feel something!  I want to be like them when I grow up:)

Vinh Nguyen

Dream within a Dream:

Chris Martin

Gimme All Your Love:

Hilty & Bosch


Tatiana Parker

I like:

Larkin Poynton


Mike Song & Anthony Lee

How I Feel:



Auditioning Is A Skill.

Feb 1, 2016


Hi everyone! It’s Addy Chan from Booked!


A new month is upon us and for many it’s a time to recharge, set goals for the month and refocus.  For others it’s a time to face our procrastination and actually accomplish what we set out to do in our New Years resolutions.  (I’m looking at you Addy!)  Like many dancers I’m in training mode (or at least trying!)  I think as humans it’s always important to broaden our perspective, learn more, gain knowledge and continue to be curious.  At the same time we must always strive to sharpen our skills and generally be the best version of us as we can; simple right? 


Last week I was a part of the DTRC’s on the Move event where I was a panelist and also participated in the networking lunch with a focus on Auditions.  It was a wonderful event where I got to speak with many ambitious aspiring and established dancers about their concerns and fears in regards to auditioning and what steps to take to make dance a career.  Everyone always has the same questions.  Where do I hear about auditions?  How do I get an agent?  How long should my demo reel be?  I don’t have many credits on my resume, does that make me look bad?  How do you get into the Union?  What’s a Union?  How can i change my look so I stand out?  How do I become a choreographer?  How do I get over being nervous in an audition so I can perform at my best?  HOW? WHAT? WHERE? WHY? ANXIETY!!  FEAR!!


Carving a career in the dance industry is an arduous and cryptic path.  The simple answer to these questions is you will learn through time, work and experience.  You will not get better at auditions unless you audition.  You will not learn about the business unless you work or by being proactive about gaining that knowledge.  How can I be proactive you ask?  Well… BY COMING TO BOOKED OF COURSE!  (Like that segue?)


BOOKED is a workshop started by Caroline Torti, Bree Wasylenko and I to expedite this learning process for you.  It personally took me many, many years to acquire the knowledge we pass down to you in a condensed 4 hours while providing a safe platform to train your audition technique without a job being on the line.  (Check our About section for more info on what we do!)  Straight up, I love Booked.  It is by far the most informative and valuable workshop I teach.  Aside from our lecture and Q&A portion of the day that is packed with information, the most important thing is you get to practice auditioning.  AUDITIONING IS A SKILL.  You can be a great dancer, but if you don’t know how to showcase that immediately in an audition we won’t see it.  If you are not confident in yourself we will not be confident in hiring you for the job.  If you cannot perform immediately you are not ready.  If you don’t know how to be a smart dancer you likely won’t separate yourself from the other 50 dancers in the room.  If you want to book jobs you need to master auditioning.  And that’s what you do at BOOKED.  Rather than learning through auditioning, we provide the training and experience through exercises, immediate personalized feedback and the opportunity to fix your faults on the spot without the job of your dreams at risk.  You’ll be set up so you’re ready when that dream opportunity comes.  We demystify auditioning and casting, eliminate unknowns and empower you with the information and techniques to perform at your best and build a career in dance.


We have many returning BOOKED dancers who have continued to train with us and every time we give them new challenges to improve their audition technique.  It has been our pleasure coaching new and returning dancers through BOOKED, watching them grow and hearing of their successes (or hiring them for a job!)  Like anything else, practice makes perfect.  If you want to be a working dancer, it all starts with the audition.  Auditioning is a skill; come train with us!


Our next BOOKED will be March 12, 2016 at Dancemakers.  Click here for all the info! 


Hope to see you then,


Love Addy

The Booked Blog!

Hi everyone!  It’s Addy Chan from Booked! 


Welcome to the Booked Blog! Every Monday we will be posting about all things dance.  Whether it be about upcoming events and auditions, video inspirations, show reviews, life as a dancer or lessons from a choreographer, you’ll find it here!  It will be a weekly collection of informative dance related items and updates on the latest from Collective Elite, Addy Chan Casting and of course Booked.


This Friday, January 29th I’ll be a speaker at 'on the Move' a free event for dancers hosted by the Dancers in Transition Resource Centre (DTRC).  Join Riley Sims, Kate Holden, Natasha Powell and myself for the panel discussion titled Finding Your Feet: Landing the work that builds the Career.  I will also be apart of the Networking Lunch discussing Auditioning.  'on the Move' is a free professional development event for graduating students and emerging dance artists of all genres.  Check the website to register for the event and learn about all the great panel discussions, workshops and networking activities.


on the Move:


Date: Jan. 29th, 2016

Where: Sony Centre for the Performing Arts 1 Front St E. Toronto

Time: Free events running from 9:00am-4:30pm

Finding your Feet: Landing the work that builds the Career 11:20-12:20pm

Networking Lunch: Auditioning w/Addy 12:20-1:35pm


Hope to see you at the panel discussion or over lunch while I discuss Auditioning!  Before an audition or booking, sending in your own submission is typically how you get your foot in the door and is your first impression to casting directors and choreographers.  If you want them to hire you, present yourself professionally!  Here are some simple (but frequently overlooked) tips and things to remember when sending an online submission!  

1) Always respond to or submit exactly what was asked of you. A lot of time and effort is put into making sure you are informed and making sure we get the information we need. We need specific answers from you, so make sure you deliver. 

2) RESPOND NOW. EVERYTHING IS TIME SENSITIVE. Communicate professionally and most importantly NOW.

3) READ. Please read castings and emails carefully. Please!

Talent who do the above are always memorable and will be called upon again. Those who do not are memorable too!

Don’t forget to check the Booked Blog every Monday to stay in the know!  You can also join our Booked Facebook page here:

See you next week!

Love Addy