Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Dancer in the Spotlight - Gregory Villarico

As a dancer, we can only dream of being hand-chosen for a scholarship by legendary choreographer Shaun Evaristo at a Movement Lifestyle convention in Chicago. But for this talented Toronto dancer, the dream became a reality.

“Straight-up, I cried when they announced my name. I was so happy. Overjoyed.”

21-year-old Gregory Villarico is a dancer and choreographer here in Toronto, where he teaches weekly classes at RightFoot Dance Studio and performs at a variety of showcases throughout the city, and even across the country. He currently represents three crews: C2Genesys (which he co-founded), RAW Dance Crew, and most recently, he was recruited by Pyro to join the Twisted Ankles 3rd Generation.

Earlier this month, he attended the Chicago stop of the Movement Lifestyle Tour and came back home to Toronto with an amazing experience, incredible inspiration, and a realization of how much dance truly means to him.

He also came back with a scholarship for one month of free classes at the Movement Lifestyle studio in LA as well as another stop of the mL Tour for free.

“I can’t say that I went down there with no expectations - I had an expectation of myself to work really hard and to just go in there with an empty mind. Just to be a student, 100% student. Forget the fact that I’ve done this or I’ve done that. I wanted to forget all of that and go back to where I started and how I felt and how I viewed dance back then.”

Check out this awesome video from the Chicago stop! (The piece that Shaun taught is my FAVOURITE btw)

Don’t know what Movement Lifestyle is?

“mL is a lifestyle brand which provides various components including choreography management, merchandise, a premiere studio facility, film/production, and now expanding to a national tour. Along with our mL artists and affiliates, we focus on creating ways to expose their art using all of our resources. The Tour is our opportunity to bring the Movement Lifestyle experience to individuals like you.” (

Well now you do!

I actually met Greg last summer in Vancouver, when him and RAW Dance Crew performed at the J.Reyez concert. You can go back to that blog post HERE. So it was great to catch up with him and chat about his dance life in Toronto.

So who are his dance inspirations?

“I can look at this in two different ways. My mom would be one because I know that this is the only way I can see myself providing for her. So if I feel myself slacking, I have to remind myself that you have to take care of your family when you’re older, so don’t slack off on this. So that’s an inspiration in that sense. And I guess in a dance world sense, the people who might inspire me to work harder are definitely the crews I’m a part of. They’re all such hard workers, they’re all talented, they’re all creative and they’re all original. Toronto is inspiring. Not just dancers inspire me, just any artists in Toronto that put in good, quality work, that help bring the city’s overall presence up - that uplifts me and makes me want to do the same thing.”

It’s clear that dance has opened many doors for him and that it’s allowed him to learn, grow, and meet amazing people. So I asked him: What does dance mean to you?

“After that weekend in Chicago, I found out that dance means everything to me. I was so tired after that first day and I pushed myself. Then that second day I really found out how much it meant to me once I pushed through mental exhaustion and physical pain. I thought I was done, but I dug deep and it made me realize that I really do love this. I love it more than all the negative stuff, all the pain and the laziness I was feeling. I pushed it all aside and realized that I want to make this my life. This is how it’s going to be from now on, just dancing. It sounds so simple, but it is my life now.”

I'm excited for what's in store for him in 2012! You can follow him on Twitter at @GregoryJohnV - And you can take his classes at RightFoot Dance Studio on Tuesdays 6-7:30pm!

Thanks Greg for the interview and CONGRATS again on the scholarship! :)

- Christina (@christinaaa28)

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