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Meet Tatiana Parker

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tatiana Parker.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Tatiana. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I am from Toronto, Canada. I have been dancing since the age of 5 – started training in jazz, ballet, acro then found HIP HOP and came alive. I’ve always known that I wanted to be a professional dancer. I would be glued to the TV whenever a music video played, enamored by the dancers, following along and knowing that someday I would be in their shoes. I landed my first professional gig at 12, dancing in a music video. From then, I continued to work professionally throughout high school for different artists and corporations in and around Toronto. Once I graduated, I started my first year of University. That summer, I was asked to go on tour with a Lebanese/Canadian artist, Massari, which took us all over the Middle East & Europe. The tour extended into the following school year at which point I had to make the decision to either pass up the job and continue with University or drop out and focus on my dance career. I chose the latter.

I used to travel to Los Angeles every summer from age 17 onward – spending anywhere from 2 weeks – 3 months in NOHO taking classes all day long. I would do this every summer until I gained enough credits and money to apply for a work visa and made my official move out here in 2012 at age 24. Throughout the years, I have had such wonderful experiences not only performing but also teaching all over the world. I never had the intention on becoming a teacher/choreographer because I was so focused on attaining my goals as a performer, but somehow people saw something in me that I hadn’t yet recognized. It took me many years to realize my purpose as a teacher and I am so grateful to those who helped me find this light. I feel so much joy when I am able to witness my teaching help students ignite their fire within.

I am currently still actively pursuing my dance career whilst also fully coming into my role as a choreographer and continuing to spread light through my teaching.

Has it been a smooth road?
Oh, there have been many obstacles/challenges throughout my entire career. For starters, the high school I attended was very focused on academics and did not much support the arts. There were many occasions where I had to ask permission to miss class because of a dance job but my principle would rarely support this. I remember always hearing – “If you want to be a dancer, you should be attended an arts school instead.”

I was heavy into Soccer which was just as demanding as dance. By end of high school, I had to make a tough decision to cut out soccer in order to focus fully on dance.

Once I got into University, the decision I had to make (which I explained on the previous page) going into the second year – whether or not to drop out or miss out on a dance opportunity – was not an easy one to make. I feared not having a university degree and my father was very against the entire dance career (he now loves it all).

A very heavy challenge which I still deal with is my self-conscious body issue. I have never been proud of my physique and have always felt immense insecurity about it, still to this day. I have even experienced an occasion when a very famous Artist who I was touring with body-shamed me in front of an entire room and fired myself and another female dancer because we “look fat”. This trauma still resides within me but I am working toward having more confidence and releasing my insecurities.

Confidence in general still exists as my biggest obstacle. Self-doubt constantly gets in the way, but I have been working hard to help my mind & heart grow stronger every day.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am a freelance Dancer, Choreographer Teacher.

What I hear most of what I am known for is my ability to make people FEEL through dance. Whether it be them watching me or me teaching them and helping the dancer go deep in themselves.

I am told that my choreography is very “Free” and that often I am able to say just what the student needs to hear to help them unlock their magic.

I am most proud of my ability to make people smile and feel safe to express themselves freely in my classroom.

I am also very proud of my ability to tap into my feminine as well as masculine energy – expressing both softness and strength through my movement,

I believe my kindness juxtaposed to my grunginess is what sets me apart. I am always smiling, talking, laughing or helping strangers & friends. This makes me feel alive. Then, when I dance, I let out a very raw power that I think shocks viewers after having just felt my lighter side.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Absolutely. I would not be here otherwise. I miss my family, friends and culture back in Toronto but the endless opportunities and high level of talent that exists all over LA keeps me alive and pushing toward greatness.

I would not recommend starting your dance journey here in LA if it isn’t where you and your family reside. I say this because – the cream of the crop resides here. The most talented, hard-working professionals spread out further than your eyes can see. In order to stand out or even stand beside some of these extreme talents, your ability, experience and confidence need to level up to a very high caliber. I always recommend that a dancer visit this city often before making the move as well as really make the most of what their home town has to offer so that you can be ready to rock with the best of the best and bring something new to the table.

With that being said, everyone can have a different experience and maybe some people thrive in intensely competitive environments. I, for one, love the push of being surrounded by people who I look up to, but I am very glad that I put in years of work at home so that I learned how to be a professional before trying to hang with legends.

Image Credit:
Nabeel Pervaiz

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