Toronto Dance Auditions – PRE AUDITION NOTICE

Shawn Byfield dance choreography & production

Shawn Byfield dance choreography & production

**ATTENTION DANCERS**

I have gigs & performance opportunities coming up that I’ll need talent for. I need performers who can do MORE than one style, and will hold a Toronto dance audition sometime next few weeks. If you only take hip hop, this is not for you. Not interesting. And yes, I will give preference to people that I see taking class regularly.

Know what’s interesting? If you can act, emcee, tap dance, play percussion or at least have music training, turn well on both sides, have great flexibility, can tumble, jazz dance, have super stamina, work a DSLR camera AND do hip hop. Notice hip hop is the *bottom* of the list.

SIDEBAR: Totally serious, my next show I’ll need almost all those skills… My last production had a super talented cast who could act as a character, improvise on the spot AND tap dance! And that original production received 5 Dora Award nominations, including winning the Outstanding New Musical award which beat Mirvish’s We Will Rock You.

Just a heads up! So dancers, you NEED to be a versatile performer, or have a completely unique skill set, like a performer in Cirque du Soleil. You can’t be a one trick pony. And if you’re planning to take one class last minute then expect to nail an audition… it doesn’t work that way! BE PREPARED. GET TO CLASS. Get your resumes and headshots DONE.

Reality is, I can help you prepare in advance for everything you need. Classes, coaching, headshots… Let’s see who actually contacts me? Will keep you posted on my website http://www.ShawnByfield.com

The Complete Guide To Finding The Perfect Woman At Recess

Ahh yes. The mystery of Woman. Hear her roar.

Us mortal men have asked the same pressing questions for centuries: What does she want? What does she mean? Why is she: [doing this] [saying that] [acting weird] [eating so much] [not eating anything] with me?

My futile attempt to search for the answers may humour most women. Apparently they humour easily when us men (they actually refer to us as “boys”) – try to come up with the right answer*

* MAN NOTE: When she gives you a multiple choice question, always choose “Secret Option C.”

Example: She asks “Do you think my friend Stacy is attractive?” Loaded question, right? Your response choices:

A) Umm, yes (leading her to think various things, resulting in her calling you a pig for liking her friends)

B) Umm, no (leading her to think various things, resulting in her calling you insensitive for not liking her friends)

SECRET OPTION C) Because the correct answer doesn’t exist.

You’ll NEVER fully figure them out during recess. Or lunch, or after school for that matter. But if you’re a man seeking truth and wisdom into the minds and hearts of the superior species, let this guide help:

  1. BE NICE. Help her out. If she misplaces her baton or loses her glasses, pick them up and offer assistance.
  2. BE FUNNY. If you have a knack for jokes, make her laugh. Every Frufie likes a guy with a sense of humor. If you suck at jokes, skip this one. Because she’ll be laughing AT you, not with you.
  3. BE SUPPORTIVE. Encourage her when she’s scared and you’ll win her heart every time.
  4. BE SMART. You don’t need to know every answer to Jeopardy. But learn a thing or two about Science. Because it’s all about chemistry.
  5. BE PLAYFUL. Stop being so serious all the time and let loose. Show you have a youthful side. Play games like “Hot Potato” and “Stella Ella Olla” with the others and you might get the “awwww” card.
  6. BE A MAN. There’s a time for sensitivity. And there’s a time to stand tall. So every now and then show off your masculine prowess and swing on the monkey bars. They like that.

There are more secret techniques. But put these few to work immediately at recess and you’ll find your perfect mate. I think… Please tweet me at @ShawnByfield with your feedback. Good luck!

– Shawn B

I Think I Can Ottawa

I Think I Can Tap Dance Show Ottawa

i Think i Can

TORONTO:
Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People

April 4th – May 5th, 2011
Get TORONTO Info And Tickets

OTTAWA:
National Arts Centre

May 11th – 28th, 2011
Get OTTAWA Info And Tickets

Top 4 Things That Made Me Smile Today

Tap shoes on Shawn Byfield

So. I’m slightly injured.

I’ve been rehearsing for a film, teaching and running BDX, teaching dance workshops at public schools, and letting the world know about my show. Plus other stuff like performing, newspaper and other media interviews & community work.

I love what I do. I hardly ever complain. I’m blessed to live a life in entertainment! I get to do TV appearances, dance classes, movies, school workshops, kick-ass studio, guest speaking, choreography, interviews, travelling…

Like seriously- There’s about 15 theatre productions running in Toronto right now. And one of them is mine.

Rusty screwdrivers suck

Ok. I’ve been rehearsing for a couple of things. One of them is a new dance movie coming out next year sometime. (Working with some seriously talented peeps and choreographers @NappyTabs @Nick_Gonzalez1)

Last Thursday, my body decided I should have a break, so it strategically damaged one of the discs in my lower spine and tightened the surrounding muscles. Feels like someone has a rusty screwdriver poking UPWARDS on my vertebrae, sending a sharp, shooting pain toward my shoulder blades.

Fun times! All of a sudden, instead of “Well hello world! Nice to tweet you!” I’m saying things like “mutha f**k! This pain is some bulls**t” when attemting to get out of bed…

I’m getting better. Pretty quickly actually, thanks to acupuncture and chiropractor visits to my Dr Ho, because this was no band-aid boo boo.

But not being able to fully dance SUCKS.

Know what I mean?

Even though I’m hurting a bit, I’m still thankful for my blessings. There’s always things, people and activities that make me smile daily! Some major awesome, and some silly but still a mood changer.

In random order, here’s the top 4 things that made me smile TODAY:

1) My interactive dance workshop with Grade 9 – 12 students: I taught a fun basic steppin class at St Lawrence Community Centre. A high school from Burlington came to watch I Think I Can. We had a pre-show workshop where they learned some tap history, dance moves and came up with their OWN step choreography. THEY WERE AWESOME. Why steppin? Big Boots characters do some in the show.

2) The Apple Store: I bought something? Yes. Call me Zeus, because I now have Thunderbolt.

3) This shiny new Sigma lens for my Rebel T2i. This beauty now lives with me. Speaking of smiling, hope you brushed your teeth next time I see you…

4) This has got to be the BEST thing I heard all day. If you’ve ever doubted the power and freedom of dance, or the wisdom and intellect of children, READ THIS:

At the end of each show at LKTYP we have what’s called a Talk Back. Cast members stay on stage and answer questions from the audience. A question was asked TO the audience

“Why do the kids in the show speak with their feet and not their voices?” To which one incredibly smart child around 10 years old, replied without hesitation:

“Because dancing speaks louder than words.”

Ain’t that the truth.

What injury? That kid healed my life today better than any expert doctor ever could. Now I’ll be dancing “full out” soon!

Hope this made YOU smile,

– Shawn B
@ShawnByfield

Been injured? Aside from getting the right treatment and rest, what helps YOU cheer up? Comment or TWEET ME your thoughts.

SNEAK PEEK PART 3: The Shoes Of I Think I Can

SNEAK PEEK PART 3: The Shoes Of I Think I Can

Tap Dance Shoes for I Think I Can Show

Tap Dance Shoes for I Think I Can Show

Shoes. OMG, SHOES.

So as you’ve learned, it’s a tap dance show. And we have a LOT of shoes! Each character has a signature step when entering to the stage, and their shoes are no different. Here’s what the cast of I Think I Can are rocking on their feet:

Tap shoe supplies

Tap shoe supplies

So the metal thingys on the top right? Those are metal taps made from aluminum alloy. They come in different sizes based on the shoe size and width. We’ve had to custom grind a few edges down to make them a perfect fit for our cast.

Metal screws attach to the metal plates or black fiberboard, never directly to the leather sole. The screws that come with the taps are a bit too small so our wardrobe team had sourced out screws that were slightly longer.Also, the screw head widths have to fit perfectly in the holes or they scratch the floor. NOT good. We’ve had to grind some down.

Check out the soft-shoe slide show:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As you can see, different styles of tap shoes are featured. Newton has sport tap runner shoes, since he’s the sport junkie in the production. Frufie, well hers are blue. Because she’s cute. Notice the unusual looking pair of clown shoes and boots? They were custom made from our awesome wardrobe department for additional characters in the show…

Most of the cast tap shoes are built up- which is when you add another sole of leather to the bottom. This gives the shoe a bit more weight, which allows for a heavier sound. It also makes steps like toe stands easier to do. They all have different shoe laces to match their wardrobe.

Everyone has TWO pairs of tap shoes because they’ll be worked pretty hard over the next couple of months in Toronto (Lorraine Kimsa Theatre) and in Ottawa (National Arts Centre).

I Think I Can custom tap dance floor

The stage FLOOR is just as important. It was custom built specifically for this show, tap-dancer ready. It’s a sprung floor with a masonite wood surface. The spring gives the tap dancers a bit of cushion when they land, which helps absorb shock and impact to their ankles, knees and hips. Plus, the sound their taps make resonates better on a sprung floor.

Now you know.

Come check out the good lookin’ feet!

– Shawn B

i Think i Can dance show - Toronto Ottawa

i Think i Can dance show - Toronto Ottawa

i Think i Can

TORONTO:
Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People

April 4th – May 5th, 2011
Get TORONTO Info And Tickets

OTTAWA:
National Arts Centre

May 11th – 28th, 2011
Get OTTAWA Info And Tickets

SNEAK PEEK PART 1: Behind The Scenes Of I Think I Can

SNEAK PEEK PART 1: Behind The Scenes Of I Think I Can

So what exactly is “i Think i Can” anyway? It’s basically a show about social skills, teamwork, bullying, schoolyard politics and science, Science, SCIENCE! A crazy teacher tries to get someone in her class to win 1st prize at the science fair.

Of course there’s WAY more, but that’s all you get. The cool part? This story is told mostly through Tap Dance.

So most of the time, you just get to enjoy the show. But rarely do you get to experience the behind-the-scenes stuff, activities and people that make the show a spectacular success. Like: Exact theatre and set design measurements and specifics. Technical details must be precise to make for a perfect fit…

Stage blueprints & specific dimensions

Stage blueprints & specific dimensions

Or this stuff: Creative meetings so that our set, character costumes, audio, lighting, animations and projections all integrate seamlessly to enhance the story without becoming too distracting…

 

Production meetings w Set, Sound and Projection Designers

Production meetings w Set, Sound and Projection Designers

And what about this stuff: Hours of designing and building massive sets to exact measurements, then painting and moving to the main space for assembly in the theatre…

 

Set construction and painting in the shop

Set construction and painting in the shop

It’s no easy task producing a professional theatre show! Months of expert planning, numerous weeks of preparation, production and creative meetings, contract negotiations, re-designs, problem solving & construction has already taken place for i Think i Can before we even started rehearsals with the cast (that’s another post…)

Just to give you a scope of the many levels of involvement, and attention to detail you’ll see when you watch the show. Exciting, it’s all coming together!

Stay tuned for PART 2,

– Shawn B

i Think i Can dance show - Toronto Ottawa 

i Think i Can dance & theatre show – Toronto & Ottawa

i Think i Can

TORONTO:
Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People

April 4th – May 5th, 2011
Get TORONTO Info And Tickets

OTTAWA:
National Arts Centre

May 11th – 28th, 2011
Get OTTAWA Info And Tickets