Sunday, May 30, 2010

Dancer in the Spotlight: GREG BAJA!

Hey everyone,

It's been a while since I've last posted anything, but you know, with high school coming to an end there's lots to do. But I did recently have a chance to ask some questions to Greg Baja, a member of the crew called Heavy Impact from America's Best Dance Crew. He gave insight into his experience from the show, inspiration, and his future! Be sure to check out their bio and clips from the show:

1. So when did you start dancing?
A: I started dancing "choreography" when i was 17, but bboying and freestyling since about 15

2. What is your favourite style of dance?
A: I love doing hip hop, but I LOVE watching contemp/lyrical

3. Growing up, did you always have the support of family and friends to pursue your passion for dance?
A: Yes they were supportive. I think they appreciated the fact that I was being productive artistically as opposed to being rebellious and being wild.

4. How did you get started with Heavy Impact?
A: I danced with Isaac since about 2004 on Team Boogiezone BREED in Seattle. When he got the call to put a group together for ABDC, I was one of his choices.

5. Could you tell us the story of how you guys came up with the name of your crew?
A: It was actually Isaac, Leon, and CJ who came up with the name. It actually started as Heavy Hitterz, but due to copywright issues we couldn't use it. So the alternate to that was HEAVY IMPACT. Also I think the name really stood for who we were as dancers and what message we wanted to come across

6. How long have you guys been together as a group?
A: We've been a group since October 2009

7. So, before auditioning for America’s Best Dance Crew, did you have any expectations about what the show was going to be like? If so, was it different than you thought it would be?
A: I had no idea what to expect from the show besides the fact that we were gonna dance A LOT and that it was TV, so not everything was what it seemed on the screen.

8. Each week, you were given different challenges, so in your opinion, what was the hardest challenge?
A: I would personally have to say the Lady Gaga challenge was the hardest for us. There were a lot of stipulations to that challenge and we didn't get to work with our set very much throughout the week.

9. What was your favourite part about being on the show?
A: Meeting all the crews and being able to do what I love and share it with the nation/world! There were so many wonderful people on this season, we literally became one big family!

10. What was the most helpful piece of advice that you have gotten from the judges?
A: To stay true to ourselves

11. Do you have a favourite routine that you performed on the show?
A: Our regionals was probably our favorite. It was our first impression to everyone, so we tried to make sure it was as close to perfect as possible! Plus we were super pumped to perform on that stage for the first time!

12. So what were the benefits after being on ABDC?
A: The biggest benefit was inspiring others. We got a lot of emails and messages saying that we really touched them and helped them to get back into dancing when they gave up. Thats the best part. Being able to give back

13. Being a dancer myself, what advice do you have for teens out there who want to make it in the dance world?
A: Don't ever be discouraged. Keep working hard and keep your eye on the prize. The thing that will get you the furthest is a good head on your shoulders.

14. Who is your biggest inspiration and why?
A: I get inspired by everyone who dances around me. My students, my teachers, my crew members, etc. We're all so talented amongst the dance community, it's hard to choose just one! But also anyone who has a passion (whatever that may be) and is pursuing it to the fullest.

15. Where would you like to see yourself in 5-10 years?
A: I want to be teaching all over the world doing what I love. As long as I'm able to do what I love for a living, I'll be completely content :)

16. So what’s next for Heavy Impact?
A: We're just trying to go everywhere and talk to everyone and teach everywhere and be friends with everyone!!! We love and support anyone who supported us, and we want to be able to give back to the world in whatever way we can. We're just normal people pursuing a dream just like anyone else!

Thanks, Greg!
Hopefully, I'll be able to come out to one of your classes one of these days :)


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Gossip Girl Treats!

If you are an avid fan of the hit TV show Gossip Girl (like me), you will be aware of the candy store that is featured in New York City, called Dylan's Candy Bar. If you haven't heard of it, you'll definitely want to check it out, since it is now being sold here in Vancouver at Holt Renfrew! Last month, I was able to go to an in store meet and greet with the store's founder, Dylan Lauren (yes, that name is familiar, because she is the daughter of fashion designer Ralph Lauren!). She was kind enough to give me an interview in between autograph signings, and gave me insight into her life as a candy fashionista. I was fortunate enough to have visited her New York location on my trip to New York last summer, so it was fantastic to get to meet the face behind the famous candy bar.

1. So what sparked your interest in starting your own candy store?
DL: Always loved candy. I felt there was a need for a store that didn’t exist with candy that I had seen from around the world. And I just started traveling and seeing all this great stuff and thought it would be great to have a store that had all the stuff I loved and that other people loved.

2. How many locations do you have?
DL: We have 5 locations in America: Houston, Orlando, Roosevelt Field, East Hampton and New York. And then we have a lot of outposts like Holt Renfrew and W Hotels...

3. How involved are you in each of these locations?
DL: Very involved. I travel a lot. I design all the products with my team. I really get very hands on so it’s really important to me, because my name’s on the door, to make sure the staff is good.

4. So during the creative process, how do you decide what candy to sell?
DL: I go to all the trade shows and pick different candies that I like and that I think will sell in a certain market. People just love the Dylan’s candy bar brand as well as those popular brands like Mars and Hersheys and Nestle. So we carry so many different candies for different holidays, so it’s great.

5. When I went to your New York store, I notice your famous display case of autographed candy boxes...Who was your most memorable celebrity visitor?
DL: I’d say, I love all; just the fact that all different people come. But I’d say Oprah Winfrey and Janet Jackson.

6. How do you feel that being featured on TV shows, such as Gossip Girl, help your business?
DL: Hugely. People love that show and they think it’s super cool, so they are like, “oh it must be a cool store to get candy.” And then those Gossip Girl stars love the store; they come in on a regular basis which is nice.

7. I also noticed that you sell a lot of merchandise as well as candy. Do you find that that sells as well as the candy?
DL: I think candy is number one, but people love the idea that they can live a candy lifestyle and have clothing that looks like candy and accessories, and they also complement each other.

8. How do you bring together fashion and candy?
DL: The clothing we’re starting to do, the jewellery we’re starting to do...The idea of different colours for different holidays, and different seasons. You know how fashion changes (winter, spring, summer, fall) we have darker colours for winter, brighter colours for spring, in our candies and in our clothing and accessories.

9. Do you have any new and exciting promotions or collaborations coming up?
DL: We’re going to launch a line with Gwen Stefani, Harajuku Lovers, that’ll be big, it’s Happy Bunny. And I’m coming out with a book in October called Unwrap Your Sweet Life, so it’s all exciting!

10. Lastly, what is your favourite type of candy?
DL: I love everything. But I’d have to say...we have really good marshmallow items in New York and I love red gummy candies, so red gummy bears, red Swedish fish, all of them.

Autographed photo!

In Holt Renfrew, at her display

Thank you Dylan for the fantastic interview! Check out the super sweet website!

Follow my adventures on Twitter: @christinaaa28


Hey guys,
Sorry for the hiatus, I've been preoccupied by loads and loads of homework and studying so I had to sacrifice a bit of blogging. On april 11th, I attended an in store meet and greet with Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas at a store called L2. He was there to promote his new clothing line I.Am. Since I got there early, I was given a t-shirt from his clothing line :)
Entertainment Tonight Canada was also there filming, so I got to meet Erin Cebula, one of the hosts. She was really nice and gave me some tips about how to get into the industry.
Here are some pictures from the event!


Erin Cebula of ET Canada!

Haha he called me "Xtina"
It was a cool experience!