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07 April 2014, 16:19. Leave a comment

mstoyaBy David Singh

When you’re talking about the Toronto dance scene, MsToya’s name is bound to come up in the conversation. The professional dancer and choreographer, whose real name is La Toya Robinson, has been a familiar face in the industry for quite some time now.

Her impressive resume speaks for itself. Robinson has appeared in music videos by Drake, Rihanna, and Ludacris, to name a few. She was a featured dancer in the Hollywood film Honey, which starred Jessica Alba. She has shared the stage with the Black Eyed Peas and Akon. And, to top it off, she’s toured the world with Lebanese-Canadian singer Massari, something she views as a career highlight.

“I’ve been able to travel the world with him,” said the 28-year-old Robinson, who is of Jamaican heritage. “I’ve been to North Africa, the Middle East, Australia, Europe, the United States, everywhere. I’ve seen Dubai three times in my life. It has been a highlight.

“I’m lucky in that I get to go and do what I love and get paid for it as well.”

Robinson shared her talents with the DD West Indian Bridal Expo in 2010, as she choreographed a routine for three of her dancers to perform onstage. She recently chatted with us and shared some advice for young dancers looking to break into the ultra-competitive industry.

BE VERSATILE
“The first thing would be to practice and take as many classes as you can — in all different styles. I feel that to train in one style will limit your opportunities. It’s a lot easier to get ahead if you know all kinds of styles, or at least a good number of them.”

NETWORK
“Networking is a big thing, just because you never know who can give you opportunities for other jobs or gigs or things like that. Be friendly and try to network as much as possible.”

INVEST IN AN AGENT
“Getting an agent helps a lot, because sometimes not all auditions are open call. Some gigs are closed auditions and it’s hard to get those without an agent.”

USE AUDITIONS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
“You really have to go to all the auditions. You’re not going to get everything, so the more auditions you go to, the more chance you have of getting gigs. Not going to auditions is not a good plan. I go to as many auditions as I can. If I don’t get it, I just look at it as taking a free dance class. You always learn from going to auditions. You see what other people do right and you see what you’re doing wrong.”

LOVE WHAT YOU DO
“Only get into it if you really love it, because it’s hard. It’s not an easy gig to always be able to get money. You have to really, really go after it hard. … The hard part about it is that people don’t always respect your talent. They don’t really understand that it is a job just as much as their job is, so people might not want to pay you for what you’re doing or give you credit for what you’re doing. You really have to work hard at it.”

For all special occasions, MsToya and her team will get the party started and dazzle your guests with their amazing choreographed dances to make your event even more special - www.mstoyarobinson.com