May 20th, 2024

Toronto dance teacher joins LCI artist-in-residency program

By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman on October 7, 2021.

Herald photo by Alejandra-pulido guzman Dance artist, choreographer and perforer Raoul Pillay, shares his knbowledge and experience of House Dance with LCI students as part of their Artist in Residency program.

Lethbridge Collegiate Institute is hosting dance artist, choreographer, and performer Raoul Pillay for their Artist-in-Residency program this week.
Pillay has flown from Toronto to teach house dance at LCI as part of their artist in residency program, but he is also choreographing a very special dance for them to perform in February at the Yates theare.
He was first introduced to LCI students via Zoom last year after artistic director of the LCI arts academy dance program, Geordan Olson, reached out to him.
“As soon as I seen them, I came out with full energy and I think for kids when they can relate to somebody who matches their energy, it’s almost like oh my God there is somebody like me and there is something I can strive for,” said Pillay.
Pillay explained that he loves teaching, and loves to share and explore. He loves to see people shine.
“For me is a privilege to be able to teach, so I try to let students know that it’s a privilege to even have the access to dance,” added Pillay.
Pillay believes that dance lost the social aspect when it became competitive, so now that they are bringing it to the classroom, it’s like the kids are awakening and realizing that they can dance together, they can celebrate together. It is up to them to carry on further.
Pillay is instilling a lot of their practices based on them, not based on him. He said that he teaches people to feel for themselves and to really understand music.
“I always believe that once I leave my mark, I exist forever. The fact that I was here, and my presence was there, it’s going to be a part of a moment and I think moments carry on further than dances,” said Pillay.
Pillay is not only bringing the dance steps of house, but he is bringing the culture of house as well.
He embodies the culture and the dance that he is teaching.
“He is an incredible dancer, and he is amazing to watch, and the kids are having a blast,” said artistic director of the LCI arts academy dance program, Geordan Olson.
Olson explained that house dance is not something that is commonly taught in dance studios, it might be a component of a hip hop class, but it’s not taught by somebody who is a seasoned master of the style.
“To have someone like him in our classroom is amazing, because the kids are going to grow from the experience,” added Olson.
There are kids that have never done house dance before, but their program is a growth mindset, so Olson tries to bring as many master teachers from across the country as she can to feed into the experience of the children that they teach.
“It’s amazing to see my older kids from Grade 12 that have worked with so many people of Raoul’s kind of status pick up his choreography and it’s cute to see the Grade 9 students who have never done anything like this before. It’s nice to see both sides of the growth of our program,” said Olson.

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