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Meet The Artist: Zoë

Meet Zoë, the contemporary dancer and model from Little Jamaica, Toronto who spoke to Bench to talk everything art.  

Q: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and where you're from?

A: Hi I'm Zoë, I'm 25 and I'm a model and dancer based here in Toronto, Ontario. I grew up here in Toronto, I was raised in little Jamaica and then eventually moved to Jane and Weston and I just really love my community and neighborhood.

Q: What drew you to the art of dance, what made you want to become a dancer?

A: That’s a hard question, I don't think I can pinpoint what exactly or why, I can't exactly pinpoint what made me want to be a dancer, I can just tell you that I've always enjoyed it and I've always had a love for it and at this point, I can't see myself doing anything else.

Q: How did you start dancing?

A: Yeah, so I got into dancing really just on a whim, I think my mom had taken me to a performance of The Nutcracker when I was like 18 months and I think that just sat with me and then by the time I was like 5 I started nagging her about putting me in dance classes and I've just been dancing ever since.

Q: What type of dancer would you say you are?

A: I’m primarily a contemporary dancer who can get down, I have a hip-hop background as well and I’m always trying to expand on my craft, so you know, I’ve taken a few Samba classes and I'm trying to get more into Afro. It’s important to always be training and continuing on the thing that you love.

Q: Most memorable performance of yours?

A: There's a few, I think my most beloved performance would have to be of this performance called Earth. It was at the Toronto Center for the Arts, and the first half of it was a solo and it was just a very vulnerable moment for me both as a dancer and a performer.

Q: How do you collaborate with your community in your city?

A: Yeah, so living in Toronto has been a really great experience thus far, the dance community is quite small, everybody knows each other for the most part and so there’s a lot of opportunity to collaborate and you know, explore different genres of dance within different mediums of dance because everybody does so many different styles and genres so it's a lot of mixing.

"I wanted to find a way to give back to my community, so the way I loved my hood was that I set up a dance fundraiser where I raised funds through this virtual showcase to give back."

Q: Can you tell us what LoveMyHood means to you?

A: Yeah, so for me - you know last summer was very traumatic, and there were lots of different things going on within the city and around the world and I wanted to find a way to give back to my community, so the way I loved my hood was that I set up a dance fundraiser where I raised funds through this virtual showcase to give back to two initiatives: Native Child and Family Services Toronto and a black business grant set up to help businesses in Little Jamaica. So that was me just trying to use my craft in the best way I knew how through dance and raising money and redistributing the funds to those who need it.

Q: Tell us about any upcoming projects!

A: So in terms of up-and-coming projects, I got to be a part of a Disney movie called Sneakerella last year that will be coming out either at the end of this year or next year. Then on my own personal side, I am collaborating with a great dancer and videographer to create a short dance filmed inspired by the film: If Beale Street Could Talk by Barry Jenkins. So that’s in the editing process right now and it's a great passion project of mine that I'm really looking forward to sharing with you guys!