Check out the newest hip hop dance class this August

Here is one of those “specials” that I let my subscribers and friends in on every once in a while.

As you probably remember, I mentioned in my last Free Newsletter that I’ll be offereing a fun series of unique, one-day dance workshops.

So far, we’ve had some awesome Adult hip hop dance classes. And, we had a spicy sample of Street Sexxy hip hop classes for the ladies.

If you missed out, here’s a few sweaty pics:

hip hop class

hip hop class2

hip hop class3

hip hop class4

hip hop class5

Check out the sweat, we gettin’ some good exercise! Last Saturday we danced to some MIMS in the beginner class, and Justin Timberlake after. Amazing work everyone. That was why we’re hot… =)

Ok, back to what I was talking about earlier.

Now get this: On Saturday August 11th, the next in the series of dance classes will be… [Drum roll please]

…a two hour, hip hop dance workshop for “ballerinas” and “bun-heads!” This two hour workshop will start at 4 pm that Saturday afternoon.

Why am I doing this?

Because I realize we all learn differently. We all have different dance backgrounds, training and abilities. We all have habits that were embedded in us from an early age. And as they say… old habits die hard.

So that’s why I’ve created this class: to help those of us who are “hip hop challenged” because of our inability to “let go” of our previous jazz and ballet training.

You know who I’m talkin’ about. Those who can’t ever relax, and have problems getting low. Or those who just can’t seem to hunch over because their spine and butt muscles are permanently engaged.

And, for those of you who are clearly missing the “funky” gene in your DNA. Know anyone that fits the bill?

Do YOU fit the description?

After thinking long and hard for a really cool name for this class, I’ve finally decided to call it:

“Hip Hop For Ballerinas And Bunheads.”

That way, there’s no confusion as to what the class is about!

I’d like to tell you more about my future plans for this class in particular… but only in person when you attend. The news is actually quite exciting, and I think you’ll agree how beneficial our upcoming plans can be for you, and so many others in the city.

Up until now, there hasn’t been a hip hop class that completely addressed the needs of jazzarinas (aka jazz bunnies). Sure, you’re flexible, agile, and can do pirouettes better than anyone else… but you have difficulty with the funky factor.

Having a jazz and ballet background myself (YES, I was also trained in jazz dance and ballet… you learn something new every day don’t you?), I’m able to personally help you through this difficult time. There is hope!

But only if you follow these 3 steps:

1.) TELL A FRIEND today about this class. Call them. Show them this info, and decide to join in the fun Saturday August 11th, at 4 pm.

2.) REGISTER for this class. On TUESDAY AUGUST 7th, I’ll be opening registration for ALL August classes. You must register in advance. Make sure to read August’s Free Newsletter coming your way later this week, all the info will be there for you.

3.) SHOW UP to class. But WITHOUT your legwarmers and jazz shoes. Hip hop people! HIP HOP. Dressing the part will help you look and feel the part. No high ponytails either. =(

Now listen to this very carefully: As I mentioned above, your August Newsletter will have all the info, so READ it when it shows up in your email later this week.

Lastly, if you’re a bunhead or jazzarina, you owe it to yourself to check out what this workshop has to offer you. Don’t sleep on this, because there’s only ONE workshop.

If you’re looking for a chance to finally get down, WITHOUT looking like a fish outta water… you need to get in this workshop.

Spread the news today, and don’t miss registration next Tuesday!

– SB

Can’t stop… Won’t stop… Yes, I dance everywhere

So, people always think I’m crazy.

Before I get into that, here’s a few shots from our Street Sexxy hip hop dance classes this weekend. TJ taught some fly routines and DAMN, everyone looked so hot!

Street Sexxy

Street sexxy 2

Street Sexxy 3

As I was saying, people think I’m crazy.

I dance everywhere. Yes, on the subway platform, in the train, on a street corner, in the bar, at a restaurant… it doesn’t matter. If there’s a beat playing, my body takes over. I’m helpless!

Here’s a few shots of my weekend. I had an interview with Muzik Movement Newz, the web’s new Internet TV Entrepreneur and Entertainment News Channel. Couldn’t resist tap dancing on the stairs…


Segment host Munira & I

Interview tappin’

I’ll let you know when the website launches and the interview comes out.

And here’s my regular hangout, JOE MAMAS on King Street. Always a great funky time, where I bring my tap shoes and throw down with the band.

Joe Mamas w Shugga

Joe Mamas 2

I don’t exactly know what I’m doing in that last pic, but feel free to make a comment on my rear end…

On that note, this Saturday, it’s Adult hip hop dance time!

Which means if you’re an adult, and you want some hip hop dance in your life, well… this is the most perfect class for you to take. What else do you need me to tell you?

NEWSFLASH: You won’t get any better if you don’t attend. Your dance skills will always be in the same place. Are you comfortable with that? If not, we can show you how to improve yo’ skills.

One class is ALREADY sold out- a week in advance. As of last night, only 17 spots were left for the second class… If you don’t act real soon, you don’t get a spot. Simple.

Visit the link below, watch the VIDEO and spread the news!

Then, you and I can be crazy everywhere TOGETHER. =)

– Shawn B

Adult hip hop dance poster

Hairspray Movie Is An Instant Classic

Ok, so I just saw the screening of Hairspray again, with cast and crew. This was my second time watching, and I’ve concluded that this film is an instant classic for sure.

The more times you see it, the more you appreciate all the details. Not just us dancing and singing, but the acting, makeup, wardrobe, lighting, humour, cinematography, subtle special effects, the extensive work put into the props and vehicles of the 60’s…

I’m gonna stop. Just make sure July 20th you’re in the movie theatre to watch it!

– Shawn B

Hairspray poster

Last night’s Hairspray movie screening

“Good morning Bal-timore!”

Yes, HAIRSPRAY madness is about to take place! Last night, I was at the VIP screening for what will probably be one of the blockbuster movies of the year.

Hairspray- Shawn B

First, there was the red carpet madness, as each celebrity arrived in their convoys to the Elgin Theatre on Yonge Street. It’s actually the same place where we had the Dora Awards, and here’s a secret: It’s where our show for Thrive! Entertainment will be this fall.

Yo, can someone say paparazzi? Wow. Two handfuls of photographers from every media source. And an army of screeming fans for Zack Efron. Is it his hair?

We went inside, where they had a photo op and autograph line. A few people asked me for MY autograph! Haha! Suckers…

Then shared some love to Zack, Elijah, Amanda and Nikki when there. It was good to see them all again, we spent so much time together last fall shooting this film. Good times.

Once inside the theatre, there were a bit of introductions from radio personality Billie and the producers of the film. Then on to the movie…

…which is one of the coolest films I’ve ever been involved in! GREAT music, choreography, costumes and editing.

I’m in all the scenes with the “Detention Kids” which is basically, all the black kids. If you don’t go check it out, I’m ah hurt somebody.

“Run And Tell That” was a favourite scene of mine, partly because I knew how fun it was shoot it. Also, “You’re Timeless To Me” is a hilarious and giddy duet between Christopher Walken and his wife John Travolta (yes, WIFE).

Adam Shankman did an excellent job with this entire film. You can learn about the film at

Of course, there was a fun afterparty with the cast at The Drake. That’s all I can say here. 😉

They Hairspray’d up the place, staff was dress in 1960’s style, and they served unnecessary amounts of icecream, twinkie cakes, DEEP FRIED OREOS (as if they weren’t bad enough for you already!) and an endless supply of sweet goodness that your dentist would have a field day with.

Apparently, “the darker the chocolate, the richer the taste…” I agree.

I’ll be seeing it again. When you go, let me know what you thought!

– SB

Here’s a few shots of myself and some of the cast.

Some Hairspray cast

Hairspray- Shawn and Nikki

More Hairspray cast

Hairspray- Shawn B and Elijah

July dance newsletter is ready for all subscribers

Hi friends,

Hope you had a great Canada Day Weekend! Yup, the news you’ve been waiting for is online:

  • Beginner hip hop and tap dance classes for the newbies;
  • a two-day workshop for tap teachers and assistants;
  • hip hop bootcamp with Nexx Level;
  • Street Sexxy classes just for tha ladies…
  • and more good news. Lots of classes to help you… “Shake Your Junk.”

I’ve sent out the newsletter to all my subscribers, so check your inbox. If you’re not on my subscriber list, what in Earth’s name are you waiting for? Sign up here…

Also, I need your opinion. Leave me your thoughts on the new look and feel of your newsletter and the website. I personally think it looks cooler… but who cares what I think, right?

I’m not sure about keeping the homepage black. Might change it to grey/blue like the rest of the site… your feedback will help me out tons.

I’ve also updated the Funk Factory site, let me know what you like/dislike.

Thanks for your help,

Shawn B
National Tap Dance & Hip Hop Instructor

And The 2007 Dora Award for Outstanding New Musical Goes To…

” And The Award Goes To…”

…wait for it… wait for it…. “Florence Gibson and Shawn Byfield!”

Florence and Shawn B

You know how in award shows they build anticipation, and make your #ss wait for the result? Well let me tell you, those were the longest 5 seconds of my life.

I normally don’t get that nervous- I was all fidgety and I couldn’t stop sweating. “What’s wrong with me? Calm down!” I kept telling myself. My mom rubbed my head (she was my date).

So YES, it’s official: the play “i think i can” I co-created with playwright Florence Gibson (who’s also a multi-Dora nominee) walked away with this year’s OUTSTANDING NEW MUSICAL Dora Award.

Oh yeah, it’s big.

(For non-theatre savvy readers: That’s like the uh, the Best New Movie award on the Oscars.)

And just so you know, I wore my tap shoes on stage for the acceptance speech! Gotta represent. I let my feet do the thanking of so many people involved in the production of our show- from original ideas and workshops to the final World Premiere at LKTYP.

Awesome. What an inspiring night. I’ll try to post video footage of my “speech”.

A HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to EVERYONE that walked away with an award, and especially to everyone that was nominated for one! Such amazing talent in this country.

My mom and Tangara

My acceptance speech

Me hangin’ out with “Farenheit”

Can I now take the time to say this: * YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE. * Put all your heart and soul into what you love.

This play is the perfect example of an IDEA, something completely intangible in our head, to becoming a reality with support from a fabulously talented cast, crew and production team.

What’s the secret?

Well, there’s no secret really. Just take ACTION. And keep taking action. You LEARN as you go. The more you try, the more you learn.

Write this down. Somewhere you can see it every day:


There’s a hell of lot more I can share here, but I’ll save some “wisdom” for later. I’m no guru, but I actually send a lot of positive energy in the messages I sent out- the ones about signing up for something you love.

(Do you feel it? Leave me a comment at the end of this post if you do.)

You can’t dance? Well, if you take my dance classes, bootcamps and dozens of workshops we offer, EVENTUALLY YOU WILL LEARN HOW.

That’s why my team and I are teachers. It’s our job to show you how.

And STICK TO THE PLAN. That’s key. Rome wasn’t built overnight!

I really believe this. And from my experience and the experience of others, it WORKS.


On that note, got an idea for a musical or play? You better believe it can happen. It did for Florence and I, and I’ve never written a musical in my life! So it can for you too.

Want to brush up on your tap? I’ll let you know in the next few days what programs I’ll have.

Need to get in shape? Bootcamps start next week with Nexx Level.

Lacking a social life? Come have fun in our workshops, and make a new friend.

I need to thank all of you for your support. We’re trying to provide positive, lasting and inspiring experiences, whether they be through classes, events, emails, or shows. A little support goes a long way…

…so PLEASE keep coming to shows, classes and events.

That way, I can stay inspired enough to get nominated for another award! =D

– SB

P.S.- You know how after someone wins a Tony Awards, or an Oscar, and for the rest of their entire life they’re introduced as “Academy Award Winner Denzel Washington?”

Hey, I’m just wondering! Just throwing it out there… Let me know what I should do. =)

So You SAY You Wanna Dance? Well, Make A Decision And Reap The Benefits

So you SAY you wanna dance again…

Well *stop making excuses* and get your butt in Nexx Level’s Bootcamp. Registration is OPEN for three different locations: Montreal, Oakville and Toronto, all starting soon.

READ up on the dance training, the team, the stylists, the photo shoots, the performance, the adventure. Then sign up for the location nearest you.

Nexx Level Summer Bootcamp

I wouldn’t be yapping about this dance program if I didn’t think Nexx Level’s Bootcamp could seriously improve the quality of your life in some way.

Over the past few months, I’ve had chats with various people about dance, or lack of dance in their lives. Hey, any of these sound familiar:

  • “When summer hits, I’m so dancing again”…
  • Or this one: “I’m so busy with school right now”…
  • Or how about this one: “OMG Shawn! You have to let me know where I can take some classes, I’m so (choose one:) out of shape/rusty/out of the loop/wanting to perform again!”

Guess what? Here it is.

Summer. Your chance. What you’ve been waiting for. Your break from school. Your motivation. It’s all here, finally, waiting for YOU.

And no, this isn’t some cheap class. It’s a bootcamp program. It’s intense, not a walk in the park. You get what you pay for. And you’re going to have to WORK.

Success doesn’t come easy. YOU have to put in the effort.

If you’re looking for a free ride, sorry, this isn’t it.

The question is, are you gonna put your money where your mouth is? Are you gonna just sit and hear me yap about it?

Or are YOU going to visit the website, take action, and be happy again?

Your choice.

Nexx Level is here to help you achieve where you want to be, but YOU have to take that first step.

Visit the site now. Get involved.

Then come back here, and let me know what your goals are. We’ll compare notes at the end of summer and see how many of them you’ve reached!

– SB

News: Local Tap Dancer Receives Five Nominations At Prestigious 2007 Dora Awards

Toronto, ON– Local tap dance choreographer Shawn Byfield will be celebrating FIVE nominations for the show “I think I can” at the 2007 Dora Mavor Moore Awards on June 25. The Awards take place at the Winter Garden Theatre in Toronto.


Shawn Byfield is the choreographer of “I think I can”, a story about bullying, teamwork and science. The play, told almost entirely through tapdance, closed the season at Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People. The show received five nods at this year’s Dora Awards, including OUTSTANDING NEW MUSICAL. The Doras celebrates excellence in Toronto theatre, dance and opera.


“It’s a thrill just to be nominated,” states Shawn, who is also the Co-Creator of the show alongside playwright Florence Gibson. “This is my first major play. The fact that we received not just one, but FIVE nominations blew me away. That normally doesn’t happen on your first try.”


A highly respected teacher and choreographer, Shawn started dance at six years old, and now shares more than 22 years experience in the industry. Shawn is Director of Canada’s National Tapdance Ensemble Funk Factory, and is a regular to television and film. Shawn appeared in the movie Bojangles with Gregory Hines, and his most current role is in the upcoming film Hairspray, starring John Travolta and Queen Latifah.


To get more information about the 2007 Dora Mavor Moore Awards or about Shawn Byfield, visit: or

# # #

NEWSFLASH: “i think i can” nominated for FIVE 2007 Dora Awards!

NEWSFLASH: “i think i can” nominated for FIVE 2007 Dora Awards!

i think i can up for FIVE Doras Awards. That’s sweet.

So. Remember when I kept bugging everyone to come watch my children’s show?

Remember how excited I was when it went up, and how hard we were working in rehearsals? Remember the pics I posted?

Well, at a press conference today at First Canadian Place, the news came out:

Out of OVER 200 shows, the play I co-created with Florence Gibson was nominated for not one, not two… but FIVE 2007 Dora Mavor Moore Awards! Including:






How do I feel? I’m friggin’ excited, so proud, and so honoured to be recognized by a jury of peers and professionals in the theatre industry.


So, on Monday June 25, the fancy shmancy award show takes place at the Winter Garden Theatre. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.

Here’s the link for all Dora info:

You’ll also see all the nominees at the bottom of the page.

** I want to say CONGRATULATIONS to every single person involved in all the shows that were nominated, and to EVERYONE keeping theatre alive in this country. Let’s keep creating good theatre.

** And if you’re reading this- keep SUPPORTING good theatre. Your support makes all the difference.

Lastly, we ALL worked hard on this production. It was a lengthy, three year process to put “i think i can” on to the stage. I’m glad for every minute of it.

If you didn’t see the show, please at least send your positive energy this way and leave your thoughts. We all appreciate the love!


– SB