Dance stars Jordan Clark and Trevor Tordjman bring Raw Motion Masterclasses to Australian shores
This month Australia welcomed international talent Trevor Tordjman and Jordan Clark to venues around the country, with the duo bringing a full day of Masterclasses to delighted dancers as part of their Australian and New Zealand Tour for Raw Motion Dance. The Raw Motion Tour kicked off in New Zealand on October 3rd, before making its way to Melbourne, Sydney and the Gold Coast, and finally wrapping up in Brisbane on Sunday the 14th, after a total of nine masterclasses. Throughout the day attendees were treated to classes with both Trevor and Jordan independently, as well as the opportunity to perform the choreography they learned to the group, win scholarships to the Raw Motion 2019 tour, and participate in an intimate Q & A with the ‘The Next Step’ stars.
Energetiks attended the Melbourne Masterclasses on Sunday the 7th for an exclusive peek at what looks set to be the first of many Raw Motion events Australian dancers can look forward to. See some of the highlights from the dance-packed day below, as well as our chat with Jordan and Trevor.
The Melbourne Masterclasses began with dancers of all ages joining Jordan and Trevor for a thorough warm-up; by the time the group got around to the splits (at which point a not-quite-flat Trevor joked “Don’t skip ballet kids.”), the nudging and whispered exclamations of ‘Oh my god it’s really them!’ had slowly started to die down amongst the elated youngsters in the room.
After this the workshops kicked off as dancers split into two groups, with under 14’s joining Jordan for a powerful contemporary class, and seniors learning a slick hip hop routine with Trevor. The infectious energy from both teachers was impossible not to take on board, with Trevor’s disarming humour and Jordan’s warmth and expressiveness finally coaxing even the shyest and most-starstruck students out of their shell and beyond their comfort zones. After lunch it was time to mix things up with seniors joining Jordan for contemporary, and under 14’s letting their hair down in Trevor’s class to Missy Elliott’s rap classic ‘Lose Control’, with fantastic results.
The workshop portion of the masterclasses concluded with dancers splitting into groups to perform the choreography in front of each other. A full day of dancing and the adrenaline of sharing the room with their idols lead to a final showcase filled with sheer exhilaration and revelry; heightened by parents piling in and crowding around the doorway to watch. This was topped off by Trevor and Jordan taking to the floor at separate points to perform their own choreography to the room of spellbound dancers.
The last hour of the day was reserved for Scholarship awards and an informal Q & A with Jordan and Trevor, during which Trevor announced the incredibly ambitious convention Raw Motion is planning to bring to Australia in April 2019, an event that’s shaping up to be one of the biggest highlights on the calendar for Aussie dancers next year. This month’s lucky Scholarship winners will among those to experience the convention first hand, after receiving free passes to the event next April.
We spoke with Trevor and Jordan before they left Melbourne about the tour experience so far, what’s in store for Raw Motion’s April 2019 Convention and more, read on for the interview:
Energetiks: You’ve both been dancing since you were young, was acting and choreographing always part of the game-plan as well, or did that develop later?
Trevor: I think it developed later for me. I grew up dancing at my mother’s dance studio, and I didn’t get into ballet until I was much older, so I was behind technically. And I think partially because of that - and because I just loved performing - I became really good at the performing side of things. That was always my forte, which kind of goes hand-in-hand with acting. I never knew I wanted to be an actor when I was a kid, but once I started it just made so much sense. It wasn’t part of the game-plan but it definitely is now.
As for the choreography, I’ve been doing that since I was like twelve, so that’s always been part of the plan!
Jordan: I actually wanted to be an actor before I wanted to be a dancer! But I was always really nervous to speak out loud. I wanted to be a gymnast, too, and then my mum signed me up for dance and I kind of fell into it… I was like ‘Oh my god, I love this’.
With acting, I did some drama stuff here and there; I’d take it in school or do an intensive every once in a while. But choreography was something I always wanted to do. Always. And then I started assisting with teaching classes when I was about twelve, and I properly started choreographing once I was taking really good classes, at about sixteen. And yeah, now I’m definitely focusing on acting.
But it wasn’t really until after I competed on So You Think You Can Dance Canada, I think. After the show finished I asked myself what I wanted to do next, dance-wise, and I realised I couldn’t think of anything that just focused on dance. So I was like ‘Ok, it’s time I really started taking this acting thing seriously’. And I began taking some classes and then auditioned for The Next Step, and it was the perfect segue for me. It just came at the most beautiful time in my life.
E: It must be great that you’ve both found a show that allows you to use both of these skillsets!
Jordan: Oh my god yes, we’re so lucky!
E: So how have you found this tour experience so far, and taking workshops across Australia and New Zealand?
Trevor: The tour experience has been so great, the Masterclasses have been really up close and personal, which we think is very cool. This Tour is almost a teaser of sorts for the bigger events we’re bringing back in April, and it’s been awesome, we’re looking for that more competitive audience; the kids that want to dance for a living. And the reason we’re bringing Raw Motion to Australia is because we want to be able to inspire the young kids and expose them to professional choreographers.
Jordan: And more opportunities too.
Trevor: Yeah, and just that insight into dancing for a living, and what it’s like to be in the industry. So this has been really eye opening for us. One of the reasons we did this tour was because we wanted to actually meet the kids, and get to dance with them as opposed to just performing for them. So yeah it’s been great!
Jordan: There’s been lots of learning, and it’s been really cool getting to be on this side as opposed to just performing, like Trevor was saying.
E: And do you have a stand-out moment, or even city, from the tour so far?
Trevor: Well we’ve always loved Australia and New Zealand, we’re big fans.
Jordan: I’m so in love with Waiheke Island! It’s so beautiful.
Trevor: And of course we love Melbourne, a lot.
Jordan: Oh my gosh, yeah we love Melbourne.
E: We’re very glad you added Melbourne in there!
Jordan: Well we absolutely do, we stayed in Melbourne with a couple of the Next Step people last time we were here, and we had the time of our lives!
Trevor: It was a blast!
E: Trevor, you founded and are the Director of Raw Motion Dance, what inspired you to launch this company and what is your vision for it moving forward?
Trevor: Well it’s evolved so much. Initially I was doing a lot of teaching at dance studios locally, and I wanted to attach a brand to it. So it started simply with me looking to grow a business with what I was already doing a lot of. And at first it was about what made sense, and it was a fan event based off The Next Step. Now though I’ve got Jordan involved, and Stephane (Lecuyer) and it’s grown so much, we’re turning it into a more serious convention.
E: And can you tell us a little more about what you’ve got in store for the April 2019 Tour
Trevor: Yeah, so April’s the full package! The convention will have workshops, a solo competition and an audition class, we’re calling it ‘RAW Starter’. The workshops will be with international choreographers including ourselves, and the solo competition will be open to kids that are in the workshops, with lots of awards like cash prizes, free admissions, scholarships to workshops in America and internationally, as well as titles. The audition class will be really cool and creative, we want to run the kids through what it’s like to have an audition and what it’s like to audition in the industry, first of all. Secondly, the winners from each level at the convention will be named RAW Motion’s VIP Dancers, so they’ll get exclusive opportunities for the future events, and the senior dancers will actually get the chance to become assistants at those later events. Which is a really big deal because being a senior dancer, if you’re still in it, still pushing really hard and you book that audition class that we’re running, you should be given a chance to assist some of the choreographers.
Jordan: We’re trying to make it more personal. You get to know and learn from the choreographers, as opposed to just winning some prize money.
Trevor: Yeah, it’s about the experience. You start by assisting choreographers, and then you can become one, you know what I mean?
E: This isn’t your first time in Australia, you were both here for the Wild Rhythm Tour with First Step, a tour which you co-directed and choreographed! How was that?
Jordan: Yeah, we were both creative directors – I guess co-creative directors – for the show, and choreographed for it, which was pretty cool. We got the opportunity about three or four years ago to choreograph for the First Step for the first time, at one of our smaller concerts. And that was like a fifteen minute set. Trevor and I had never worked together before, choreographically, so that was kind of a little tester. From there we got offered the chance to choreograph first, and then when we started doing the Wild Rhythm Tours we got Creative Direction and all of that. So that’s something that Trevor and I are both really, really passionate about. When we’re watching a show we see it, you know, we want it to come across the way we envision it. So it was such a great opportunity for both of us, and that’s what really started this whole tour too! We got really close, and we started talking, and that’s how RAW MOTION developed.
E: Speaking of the workshops, teaching is a whole other skillset of its own – what do you focus on in your classes, and what do you want the kids to walk away with?
Trevor: I really focus on building their confidence. I think it’s unrealistic to think that when you’re doing a workshop where you only have an hour or an hour and a half with the kid that they’re going to grow their dance skills immensely in that hour. But you can inspire them, and make them feel confident, and challenge them. That’s really what I focus on, giving them something to take away and apply to their classes as they continue training.
Jordan: Absolutely. I find that I don’t stop speaking, I’m constantly throwing out information and just trying to give them as much as I can. Something that I really try to achieve is connecting with each kid; breaking down those walls and getting them to be a little bit more open like Trevor was saying. If they mess up, they mess up. Who cares? Letting go is a skill within itself. Especially as tweens and teenagers it’s something that’s really hard to do. We’ve been majorly focusing on that for the Master Tours.
E: And what inspires you both as choreographers?
Jordan: Emotion. And anything that I go through, I usually choreograph about it. Anything that happens to me and makes me feel the need to dance it out. So life situations inspire my choreography.
Trevor: I think my process starts with something smaller. It starts with a song, or watching another choreographer on YouTube, and then I’ll begin choreographing, and it’s that feeling that generates whilst I’m choreographing that inspires me to continue creating. There’s also just other forms of inspiration that happen throughout my life, I could be on vacation or anywhere and I’ll just feel inspired.
Jordan: That’s it, it’s that feeling, you know. Anything can do it.
E: So is there anything else you’re looking forward to for 2019 at the moment?
Trevor: Definitely to start having these conventions!
Jordan: We’ve been talking about them for a long time now and I feel like it’s finally happening! I feel like our lives have both changed dramatically in the last year, or two years; Trevor and I both moved to LA and it’s just been a complete change in atmosphere. I feel like it lit a fire within both of us to really get things going, and to start achieving our goals.
And it’s really nice to feel that hunger.
E: Lastly, do you have any words of advice for young aspiring dancers, choreographers or creatives?
Jordan: Yeah! Don’t let fear come in the way of anything. I think if something scares you then you should probably do it. That’s the way I look at it.
Trevor: Yeah, that’s huge. You have to remind yourself of that one, all the time. Because sometimes it’s fear in disguise – sometimes you tell yourself a different story, but really it’s because you’re scared of something. And if you’re scared of it you have to remind yourself that nothing comes without change, nothing comes without feeling uncomfortable. You have to fail first. Being a dancer is tough, we all go through it! It’s a hard career to pursue, but it is possible. So if you love it, stay at it.
Article and photography by Elly Ford.