So you think you can dance?

By Geoff Lee

October 4, 2016 12:00 AM

STAR DANCER Blake McGrath, who owns VIP Dance Events in Los Angeles, instructed a master dance class at Fame Dance Studios in Lloydminster Thursday. The celebrity dancer and choreographer led students through a set of warm up exercises.

Celebrity dancer motivates local class

It took years of fancy footwork and fame to enable Canadian dance idol and choreographer, Blake McGrath, to step out of a limo.
The superstar came by limo to Fame Dance Studios Thursday night to instruct and inspire local dancers to take their talent to the celebrity level he’s achieved.
“It definitely comes down to a work ethic and a drive for these kids,” said McGrath who delivered a master class in jazz-funk and contemporary.
“I hope my class at least opens up their eyes.”
McGrath is the owner of VIP Dance Events in Los Angles and became well known for being on the first season of So You Think You Can Dance in 2005.
His appearance in Lloydminster brought him back to his grass roots to the delight of Fame Studio owner, Sarah Makins, who explained how she booked him.
“We have gone to VIP which is a Blake McGrath run convention for many years,” said Makins.
“When he e-mailed to say, would we like a private master class, I said yes right away.”
The workshop was open to students from Fame Studios locations in Edmonton, Lloydminster, Cold Lake, Bonnyville, and Spiritwood.
“Every year, we pull a guest for a master class and this year we thought we would do something more jazz and hip hop,” said Makins.
Shani Reid, a 12 year-old intermediate dancer from Bonnyville, was one of many starstruck girls   hoping to pick up some new moves from McGrath.
“It’s really exciting because, he’s really like famous and everything,” said Reid.
“I think he’s going to do a little bit of hip hop and jazz.”
Fame Studios instructor, Brianna Martin, who teaches at several locations, was also over the moon having McGrath lead a workshop.
“He’s a super amazing choreographer and person, so I am very excited to have him here,” she said.
“All the kids are so excited.”
McGrath has danced with stars such as Madonna, Britney Spears, Kylie Minogue, Janet Jackson, Adam Lambert, Ashanti,  Destiny’s Child and  Jewel.
He was stoked teaching young dancers in Lloydminster and he shared his impressions during a break in the action with this first class.
“The dancers are all real excited, very endearing, very sweet and you can tell they’ve been training really hard,” he said.
“I love working with new talent across the world.”
McGrath’s first set on the dance floor focused on jazz-funk that he said it is probably the most fun for kids aged nine to 12 to do.
He noted you don’t have to have as much technique to do jazz-funk, so the kids enjoy that more with contemporary dance more suited for older students.
McGrath learned how to cut a rug at the Tiffany Dance Academy and Joanne Chapman School of Dance in Ontario.
“For me dance was super important in my life,” noted McGrath who hopes more young dancers follow in his footsteps and turn it into a career.
“Those are the kids I really love connecting with and having a breakthrough in the studio, because I think it’s challenging them to the next level where they can rise and become a superstar,” he said.
McGrath said teaching has become his new passion and he knows whatever he says and does as a role model has an impact on kids wherever he teaches.
“These kids want to feel loved they want to get rid of their fears and insecurities and feel like they don’t have limits,” he said.
Makins noted McGrath also planned to close out the workshop by involving some of her dancers in a clip of choreography for the last video Fame Studios is doing to promote the Dream Centre.
“That’s the charity we’ve been working with in LA for the homeless. so he’s going to take some of students and choreograph something for them,” said Makins.

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