#MonsterArtist Giggle Queens shares their story about taking the risk to take dance from a hobby to a full time career in this #MonsterArtist Development (MAD) episode.
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ABOUT GIGGLE QUEENS
Giggle Queens is made up of two long time friends and choreographers: Ria Aikat and Jennalee Desjardins. They love working on nostalgic pop and fusing their styles together, all while laughing their faces off.
ABOUT MONSTER CREATIVE COLLECTIVE
Monster Creative Collective is a not-for-profit organization, committed to providing entertainment for the young and old alike. In the spirit of giving back to the community, Monster Creative Collective produces the #MonsterArtist Development program, now in its fourth season, to help develop the professional and artistic careers of Canadian artists.
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Entertainment#MonsterArtist Giggle Queens shares their story about taking the risk to take dance from a hobby to a full time career in this #MonsterArtist Development (MAD) episode.
Song 1 of 3
Song 1 of 3
Bindis and Bangles
Song 2 of 3
Song 2 of 3
S P A C E
Song 3 of 3
Song 3 of 3
A.R. Rahman, Shakthisree Gopalan, Lady Kash
SME (on behalf of Sony Music Entertainment India Pvt. Ltd.); LatinAutor – SonyATV, CMRRA, LatinAutorPerf, SMEIndia_Pub, Sony Music Publishing, SOLAR Music Rights Management, UNIAO BRASILEIRA DE EDITORAS DE MUSICA – UBEM, and 6 Music Rights Societies
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Use CTRL+F to find key words if it is a longer transcript.
>>Ria: Hey this is Ria from the Giggle
Queens and you’re watching MAD.
This is probably the biggest moment in my
career so far especially as an artist.
Uh, you know I had done dance
my whole life.
I did like jazz, tap, ballet,
I did Bharatanatyam, Bollywood,
hip-hop like all the things
and I was doing it,
you know, as a hobby as a lot of people do.
Um and I don’t think I realized how much
it was a part of my life,
Um a lot of the people I know,
a lot of my friends
I met through dance and
I didn’t realize how much I needed it.
My plan was to become a teacher,
like a classroom teacher,
and I graduated my Master’s
and I was looking for work
and I was teaching dance in school but
also supply teaching.
And I have my best friend Jennalee who
is teaching dance full-time
and I just remember feeling so
envious of her every time she was
doing workshops or teaching
And she just got to be creative and got to
live her life as a dancer.
And I remember feeling
really sad and I was
— I had a year of, I think a lot of people
go through that after school,
you know you’re like
“what is my life, what am I doing?”
So I went through kind of a hard year of
figuring out what I wanted to do
and um once I finally decided, you know,
I think what I actually
need to do is just make that jump
dance as a career then I…it all came together, you know.
I was so happy, but it was hard
because I was really worried.
I think a lot of South Asian
artists feel like that too, you’re
— I’m worried about what my parents are gonna think.
So that was probably the
hardest part for me.
I remember telling my parents
and they were kind of stunned
only because they were like
we don’t know anything about this world.
Right, you know, my dad was like I
know about engineers and doctors so
I don’t really know how to help you
in this world.
And they just want to make sure that
A I was happy but I could
support myself you know.
So once I kind of
made a plan for them and
you know showed them how I can make
money and support myself as an artist
and as a dancer in Toronto
then we were all good.
On one side, myself,
I’ve done a lot of workshops in Brampton.
You know, it’s amazing,
it’s probably my favorite thing to do
is to go into schools and work with
students, you know, who look like me!
And I get to represent an artist who is
South Asian as well and who can bring
music that they know.
You know, I think that’s really exciting for them
that they get to come up to me and be like
I know that song that we were dancing to,
my dad plays it all the time at home and…
you know what I mean — and
I can feel their excitement because
they probably don’t get to see that a lot of the time, you know.
So that has been really rewarding for me because I…
I didn’t have that growing up.
And then Jennalee and I
have started our own business actually,
aside from Giggle Queens, we’ve started a
school program called Dance ‘N’ Culture.
And because of my work that I’ve done
in Brampton and just kind of in the
GTA with Indian dance
we decided that we wanted to create a
program that represents
a bunch of different cultural dances
So we have a roster of people
doing Chinese dance, Afro, Bollywood
and we have a bunch of different
instructors who will go into schools
and bring those cultural dances
into the school and into the curriculum
cause we think it’s so needed and
[enthusiastically] representation matters.
[Bindis and Bangles by Raja Kumari playing]
>>Ria: My name is Ria…
>>Ria: Uh we are a choreography and
We’ve kind of created
this little niche for ourselves
to be happy in the dance world so
whenever we choreograph
we try to add a little bit of
comedy to whatever we’re doing.
We also have this other side of our
brand where we’ve kind of like fused
our two dance backgrounds.
We do a little bit of fusion
with Eastern and Western styles
like Bollywood and hip hop,
and Bharatanatyam and waacking.
>>Jennalee: Trying to figure out rehearsals safely
we definitely didn’t want to involve any
and at first we were creating distantly,
and then we bubbled.
So that was definitely a huge
You know, usually we’re right up in each
other’s space and
and the ideas are flowing.
There’s something about dancers and being physically…
you know, it’s so physical you need
and it was navigating it over Zoom
for much of our creation process was
>>Ria: Keeping in mind that you’re
not going to be performing
to a live audience,
and that’s where we get a lot of
our energy, when we’re performing.
Um…but yeah, the BMM setup was so
great that it kind of
subbed in for the audience.
With…with the music and the lights
it still created that
atmosphere of performing
so it was still easy to give that energy
that we usually do.
>>Jennalee: The coolest part for me, personally, was that
my family around the world could
dance and it’s been a long time for
you know my grandmother out on the
East coast in rural Nova Scotia or
have family overseas so
that was really cool.
>>Ria: We’ve been doing this for
four or five years now
um and each year
— we were saying before —
each year it gets better and better.
They really up their game.
They clearly, you know, it’s one
take feedback and put out surveys
and it’s another to actually act on what
and it’s clear that they’re listening.
There’s just so much communication going on,
you know you really feel valued as an artist
and you feel like you’re you’re important
part of the show.
Like, you’re a star when you come to
BMM which is a nice feeling to have
especially as a dance artist
because that rarely happens.
>>Jennalee: I think we both felt very vulnerable
as we sort of
embarked on this
new and different dance journey
and this festival has helped us
find an outlet
like it is worth creating and worth doing.
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