Check out her interview summery below

How Tangent’s BGirl & Dance life began:

Back in the nineties, I was into the raving scene.  I had friends who were bboys, but never thought that it was for me.  Then I saw Christine Little Bear breaking at a rave, and she inspired me to try and learn the dance.  I had a group of girlfriends who were into learning, and we would trek to the OGC every Wednesday night to catch a session.  We practiced and copied VHS tapes of battles and different crews.  We studied the moves and tried to emulate them.  We eventually formed an all girls dance crew called Decypher Cru.  We weren’t the first, Christine had started an all-girls crew with ET and Cleopatra well before us, but we were the only all-girls crew at the time.  There were other strong bgirls who were repping at the same time: Melle Mel, Julie Rock, Marie Monsta and ZepolRock.

It was great to have other girls to learn with.  Breaking was at the time mainly male dominated, it was created by boys and the movement is suited to their body types.  It’s not to say that women can’t break and excel at it, it is just generally more challenging for most women.  We generally are not as naturally strong in the upper body and our centre of gravity is lower.  So, many of the moves would require adjusting and tweaking.  I loved messing around, learning moves and seshing with my crew.

Breaking is by nature highly competitive and combative, and there can be a lot of attitude.  I loved and will always love the culture, music and movement, but I didn’t feel at home.

How Tangent gravitated to House Dance & Culture:

I met Rise Ashen in the mid 2000’s and really started to fall in love with house music and house culture.  We would pilgrimage to NYC to track down elusive sessions, take classes with many of the originators of the dance and soak up the culture and vibe at the nightclubs.  House is inclusive; it’s about having an open conversation with others, about exchanging ideas about movement.  It’s about connecting to the music and letting go.  Rise and I started teaching and throwing practices called Capital Sessions to share what we learned and gained in NYC.  For the past three years, we have collaborated with the NAC to have Capital Sessions in their space and have brought dancers and DJs from across Canada and the U.S. to teach, present and share their art-forms.

Even though the roots of house started as non-competitive, competitions are now a big part of all the urban dance forms.  I think it can be a great means to showcase your skills to the world, and gain wide, sometimes world-wide exposure.  It can also force you to up your game, and really perform under pressure and at your best.  It can have negative repercussions as well.  There’s only one winner and a whole lot of losers.  To me, it’s not about who’s considered the best, but rather the focus should be on embracing difference.

How Tangent balances her art, motherhood, work & more:

Life is a balancing act.  You have to prioritize the things that are important.  Firstly, you have to understand what is important to you.  Start with the end in mind.  It’s very important to come up with short and long term goals, and a mission statement.  You then base all your decisions on your goals and mission statement.  Proactively work towards your goals.   If you’re looking for a great resource on time/life management, I suggest reading  Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

How Tangent continues art, dance & other skills even after practicing it for 20+ years:

I make dance a priority in my life.  It’s something that I think about every day and try to devote time to.  As you go along in life, life gets busier and busier and you gain more responsibilities and duties.  It’s not about not having time, it’s about making time to do the things that are important to you and cutting out the things that are not important and don’t help you achieve your goals.  I don’t sleep a ton, I don’t watch TV, and I rarely relax except to read (and often I couple that task with stretching or doing cardio).  It’s about working hard towards every goal that you have and grinding.  To be successful in any area of life, you have to put the work into it.  It’s about making every minute count in your day, because you’re never going to get that minute or hour or day back.

It’s important to gain skills in other areas of life, become an expert in another field.  As this pandemic is demonstrating, when society is doing well, art and art culture thrives.  However, when times get hard, art is often the first thing to go.  It’s a good idea to have other skills to fall back on.  Find other areas that you’re passionate about.  For me, I studied architecture and design at the same time as I delved into dance.  I now run my own architecture practice.  I find the two passions inform each other.  One is about moving through space, and the other is about creating space to move through.