NEWSFLASH! Toronto International Youth Dance Festival Update

Next Friday August 5th, I’ll host and judge the TORONTO INTERNATIONAL YOUTH DANCE FESTIVAL at Nathan Phillips Square, downtown Toronto. We’re very excited for the event, which I proudly serve on Board of Directors. Woot woot!
Shawn Byfield hosts the Toronto International Youth Dance Festival

Shawn Byfield hosts the 2016 Toronto International Youth Dance Festival

The team has done a super job showcasing diversity in dance, culture and ethnicity the past two years, and there’s even MORE this year. In fact, our organization has set up a CULTURE EXCHANGE. What’s that?
Well, I hope you’ve been paying attention to my encouragement to THINK BIGGER lately…
…because today, I’m at Canada’s National Ballet School teaching a large private group of bright young students who flew in… FROM BEIJING. How cool is that?! 
Come see what the fuss is all about next Friday August 5th, at Toronto City Hall. Event starts at 4:30pm. I’ll be there all night, so be sure to say hi and let’s take a snap together. Most importantly, our next generation of superstar dancers of all cultures would LOVE your support!
– Shawn B

** WARNING! ** Why Your Job Will Be Replaced With New Technology In The Next Few Months (And What You Can Do About It)


EXPERTS AGREE: Long term unemployment is at a record high (See data). More than one third of the entire US population is jobless.

The fact that North America is moving towards a performance based economy while utilizing TECHNOLOGY, doesn’t help either. This chart is from January 2014:

US unemployment

Unemployment sucks. It really does.

Yay for technology you say? Slow down eager beaver. There’s pros and cons just like everything else. Robocop above? He’s a definite technology PRO. Robocop for the win, hands down.

Or hands up, depending on what side of the law you’re on…

But there’s bad news too. I need you to read every word of this article because this economic shift using technology could be devastating news for you.

Let me explain…

In the very near future, if you have a job, you won’t be paid for your time anymore. Why not?

Instead of an hourly wage or salary, you’ll be paid based on your performance. That means, if you make $50K annually, your company will reduce your salary to say, $40K. They can. Because, well… what are you gonna do about it, quit?

Haha. We know that won’t happen.

Plenty of other people out there would be happy to take your job for less than what you’re making. You’re good, but not that good. So then…

…As part of your new performance based wage, your company might only pay you say, $30K “base salary.” Because they’ll cheerfully give you the opportunity to make the extra 10K by hitting sales quotas or commissions. If you hit your quotas you make some extra pesos. If you miss, the company saves even more. Not their fault you couldn’t handle the pressure.

How do you feel about that?

Here’s Where Technology Takeover SCREWS SH!T UP

store closing

** DISCLAIMER: What I’m about to share is not to hurt your feelings.

This is what’s REALLY happening. Don’t shoot the messenger **

Here’s where your life really gets screwed.

I’m sure you’re aware, digital technology is getting pretty advanced. So advanced that we *actually* don’t need to talk to real people anymore. Jobs are expensive. Software design is too, but once a winning program is built, a company just needs 15 of Bangladesh’s finest to maintain the program…

…which frees up say, 500 hard-working but disposable personnel in a large company’s stores or offices.

=== SIDEBAR: Richard Branson already has the first commercial space flight with Virgin Galactic totally booked. Great Spock! The imagined days of Star Trek are in fact becoming reality! ===

Yes, I know I’m poking fun. Now back to how this applies to your job?

Put your ego aside. YOU are the hard-working yet disposable one. Whether you like it or not, this is the direction today’s companies are moving in. They’re embracing technology to REPLACE YOU.

Today’s big companies don’t care how many years you’ve been with them. Unfortunately, your years of loyalty isn’t their biggest priority. Keeping the business afloat is.

What, you think because you have 3 degrees they will keep you? Get over yourself. (BTW: The more degrees you have often means to some employers you were afraid to take a risk and JUMP IN to the real world. Because it’s scary out there… So you went back to school for a victory lap to be “safe.” How’s that working out for you?)

The more money a company has to pay you MEANS the faster you move in front of the firing squad. “Ready! Fire! Aim!” They’ll shoot you down faster than a Japanese fighter pilot. You won’t know what hit you. With that said…

…Our economy is moving at warp speed with the technology takeover. In fact, many corporations have already been preparing you for the shift. For example:

Remember call centers?

You’d call a 1800 number when your thingy needed fixing?

Remember Blockbuster Video, when you had to put on sweatpants and WALK to rent a movie? Remember your friendly neighbourhood book store? Remember General Motors?

Old economy jobs are being replaced with new technology (Sometimes very suddenly. Blockbuster shut down almost entirely overnight.)

Warren Buffet already knows this is happening. His comments on the subject in this video:

Do you agree with his statements? Very debatable…

…But the proof is ALREADY here. Today, we’re accustomed to automated phone help or live web chat, Netflix for movies and Amazon to get our “books.” Heck, even Boeing 787’s fly automated… The pilots get the bird off the ground, take a nap, then wake up to land. The rest of your flight is pretty much up to the Matrix.

So what are the people who’ve been replaced left to do?

*** SIDEBAR! Here’s Some TOP SECRET SH!T ***

SECRET SIDEBAR: I follow and predict biz and economy trends. Here’s one for you: I predict Apple will TAKE OVER the book store biz through iTunes, or a similar iStore. They’ll team up first with major Colleges, Universities and then school boards to provide pre-loaded iPads with all the required books and reading material students need to have. Neat huh? Just remember you heard it here first.;-)

Anyway, what was I saying? Oh yeah…


Screen shot 2014-05-10 at 4.41.35 PM

Take a look at that screenshot from the Apple Store. See? Every Canadian Bank has an app.

Notice how with online banking it’s easy to pay bills and transfer money? Yes, even BANKS (the ones with all the money) plan to eliminate workers. Because if staff can be replaced with software, that software will save corporations millions of dollars annually in worker expenses. Think about it…

…Need to deposit a cheque? Yup, there’s an “app” for that too! TRUE STORY. Just turn on your TV- the commercials are already out, where you take a photo of your cheques. Pretty cool. Technology like this means that after the fad catches on, the public will learn how to use the app. And they’ll never have to physically walk into a bank ever again.

If you’re a bank teller, you’ll most likely have a “chat” in the next few months with your friendly HR department. They’ll tell you that the company is downsizing/reshuffling/optimizing… all synonyms for “you’re fired, pack your stuff, here’s 2 weeks pay.” The process takes about 20 minutes, then you’re out the door.

Sorry for the bad news… but better that you hear it now so you’re not surprised when it happens. Of course, unless you quit first?


If you’re still relying on a job to pay your bills, NOW is the time to wake up. Your job is NOT secure.

The good news is this:

You CAN protect yourself from this shift- and position yourself to take control of your financial stability on YOUR OWN TERMS. Instead of being a victim of technology, why not use it to your advantage?

Watch this short video.  George Strombo hosts an insightful interview with Seth Godin on Entrepreneurship, and why it’s important that you START YOUR OWN business:


If you don’t know where to start, just email me right here and I’ll personally send you more info to ponder. Because information is power.

Are you in a dead-end job? Are you worried about your security? Have you been replaced by a computer or software? Email me and love to hear your thoughts,



As a sought-after dance choreographer, performer, presenter, coach and entrepreneur, Shawn Byfield’s unique perspective is enjoyed by thousands who dance, train and mentor with him every year. To get your group learning, yearning, movin’ or groovin’… contact Shawn before today ends! Email right now.

Black Canadian Awards nominate Shawn Byfield

Black Canadian Awards Nominate Shawn Byfield In Top Six

Black Canadian Awards nominate Shawn Byfield

Black Canadian Awards nominate Shawn Byfield

I’m OFFICIALLY IN! And I’m asking for your help.

It’s true. I’m one of six amazing artists (out of 20,000 online votes) officially nominated in the 2014 BLACK CANADIAN AWARDS for Best Contemporary Dance Act.

What a remarkable honour! I’ve been dancing for 30 YEARS, and have always been a supporter of my community. It’s wonderful to be recognized for what I’ve done- and will continue to do on and off the stage now and years to come. I’m excited!

your favourite Canadian artists


Come support the Black Canadian Awards live show, March 1st in Toronto. It would be great to have friends and family cheering us on. You can get tickets at (group discounts available) and have a formal red carpet and entertaining night out.

– Shawn Byfield

ATTENTION: All Impatient, Entitled, Wanna-Be Choreographers, Actors, Directors, etc- Here’s A Harsh Reality Check Worth Reading


Unlike the dapper gentleman above, this post isn’t pretty. So if you’re looking for an article that leaves warm fuzzies, shuffle away. But if you can handle some truth sprinkled with sarcasm…

Listen up.

One of the most iconic directors, choreographers and entertainers of our time, Gene Kelly, had to WORK his way up the ranks. Imagine that! And if that word WORK made you shudder, you definitely need to read the rest.

This quick story may resonate with you:

Before even making it to Hollywood, Gene Kelly did what other parental pleasing kids did. What’s that, you ask? Answer: He went to university. For something OTHER than dance.

But wait- wasn’t he a child star? Hell no. Sure, today you know him as “GENE KELLY, OMG he’s so freaking famous and successful! I love Singing In The Rain!”

But guess what? He didn’t start all Hollywood. Far from it. In fact, Pittsburgh-born Kelly went to university and got a BA in Economics in his town.

Boring? Yes. Fact? Yes.

Wait, You Think YOUR Life Sucks? His Gets Even More Uninteresting

Graduation plaque

Then! Wait for it… he went to Law School for a bit.

Even more yawnage.

So guess what did he did while in post secondary? C’mon guess! You’ll never guess… He taught dance at his family’s dance studio. Like who does that? Oh wait- pretty much every dance studio kid with no idea of what to do in life once they hit 18.

And… that’s it.

No really, that’s it.

Sure, he had ambitions, and was passionately talented. That’s what made him so remarkable to watch. So in 1937 after getting his BA in Economics, he quit law school after 2 months (because that’s what lost youth do, “I think I’ll get ANOTHER degree in something I don’t like”) left his teaching gig at the studio and off he went to big ‘ol New York for a couple years to be a choreographer.

And guess how that turned out? Wikipedia: “After a fruitless search, Kelly returned to Pittsburgh…”

No surprise there. Cue movie man voice:

A heartwarming story of courageous small town cutie. Despite having [deceased parents] [disgruntled step dad] [no support whatsoever], cutie uses her burning passion for dance, a dry turkey sandwich and sells all her sh#t to scrape together enough pesos to live in Big City USA for two gruelling, roller-coaster weeks on her quest to make it.

Pretty much sums up every dance movie EVER, right?

Anyway. So a year later, Kelly went back home. Defeated. Whomp whomp. Hey, Broadway happens.

=== FUN FACT: If you haven’t seen Gene’s “Gotta Dance” scene then find it. It’s a montage of what he went through during this time. ===

Of course, he was always a star to his parents. Awww. His friends most likely enjoyed his Playhouse theatre performances.

Speaking of performances, visit my Toronto dance studio if you want to tap dance like he did.

So Did He Nail The LSAT? Is District Attorney Gene Kelly Finally Born?

Gene Kelly - Better than law school

He said “eff that, I’m gonna dance!” (or something like that.)

Kelly never returned to law school and FOCUSED his time instead on choreography for the local Pittsburgh Playhouse Theatre.

=== FUN FACT: one of the numbers he choreographed at the local theatre ended up being re-worked for a major movie EIGHT YEARS LATER. ===

His first taste of Broadway came because a choreographer at the time (Robert Alton) saw Kelly teaching at the Pittsburgh Playhouse and was impressed.

Pretty boring story huh?

Slow down, grasshopper, there’s more…

It was only from working his way up as a performer for three more YEARS did Gene Kelly finally get noticed and represented by Hollywood execs. Once there, his first movie was with, get this- Judy Garland, who was a mega film star- in her teens.

Yeah, no pressure… working with the seasoned singer/actress who already made ruby slippers and terriers famous. Fast forward to a few years of success… and you’d be singing in the rain too.

Ok Shawn… I Don’t Get It. But What Should I Do?


So what’s the moral of this story? If you’ve read this far, you most likely take yourself seriously and you’re passionate about what you can offer.

So here’s an easy to follow, bubble-bursting, reality based checklist every aspiring Coyote Ugly bartender or Julliard bound ballerina should magnetize to your fridge and read daily:

1) SHUT UP, Listen To Your Parents And Get An EDUCATION.

At the very least, find other passions in a different field of study. Because if your “thing” doesn’t work out then you can always fall back on Law School, Economics or some other sh#tty program. It’s hard work either way.

And when you graduate, you’ll hopefully get paid in your field, which will make you AND the ‘rentals happy. Plus, being smart is sexy. Especially in big cities. And ready for the Win-Win? Smart people can drop out of school and be wildly successful on their creative ideas. (Sergey Brin and Larry Page for example.)

2) Teach At And SUPPORT Community Theatre, Local Shows And Events.

That’s where you build your chops. Or props, tee hee. You’ll meet who you’ll meet. Some will be not as talented as you, most will burn circles around you.

But guaranteed, years later, some jerk you worked with then lands a BIG break. If you were a no-drama, no-attitude, humble to work with kind of person back then, you’ll be remembered and rewarded with a bigger role in the future.

3) Put Your Big-headed Ego Aside And EARN YOUR STRIPES.

You won’t be handed the top paying, most important role right away. “Oh, I’m sorry? You just graduated from theatre school and think you should be artistic director of the whole place? Yeah… NO. You’ll start as an usher, hand out f#ckin programs and sweep popcorn. Here’s your hairnet.”

THAT’S how this biz works. Do the sh#tty gigs before you earn the big ones.

4) Be Patient And WAIT YOUR DAMN TURN.

There’s already a seasoned director/choreographer/actor who has a track record for success. If you’re some fresh-off-the-Greyhound keener from Moose Jaw, then guess what?

Exactly. We don’t have time to guess. I don’t know you. And neither does anyone else. We’re Canadian. Which means we don’t handle risks well, so DO SOMETHING that might get you noticed over a long period of time and eventually, someone will catch on. When they do, you’ll be ready with a ton of experience.

5) Lastly, Learn About The Experts That Are ALREADY DOING IT.

More importantly: Learn about the people that DID IT BEFORE. In every school on Earth there’s a subject called History. Whatever industry you’re trying to get into, research it’s past and who created the present. There’s a big chance whatever your brilliant mind though of, somebody else already beat you to it.

Take time to Respect the work that others have done before your arrogant self showed up. If it weren’t for leaders busting their butts in the past, you might not even HAVE an opportunity today. With the FREE tools available to you to learn, improve your craft and even GASP- contact the person who has the job you want and ask for apprenticeship, you have no excuse.

Hey, this is what worked for Gene Kelly. I’d say he did quite well for himself. No handouts, no horse shoes up his butt, no silver spoon. Just hard work, patience and more hard work.

There is no shortcut to success in entertainment. If you aspire to do great things and leave your mark on this stage, there’s your exact process to follow. Use the tips to your advantage, and you’ll find your name in lights with the rest of them.

Merde! And Share your comments below if you found this useful- or know somebody who needs this wake up call,


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Shawn ByfieldShawn Byfield is a sought-after dance choreographer, performer, presenter, coach and entrepreneur. His unique perspective is enjoyed by thousands who dance, train and mentor with him every year. Visit to discover what you’ve been missing.

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