Dora Award Winner Anisa Tejpar on DCD Dance Hall of Fame, Hit & Run Productions & the Rolling Stones

Dora Award-winner Anisa Tejpar is a graduate of Canada’s National Ballet School and is the Co-Artistic Director of Hit & Run Dance Productions. We had a fabulous conversation about the upcoming Encore! Dance Hall of Fame event (canceled) by Dance Collection Danse where she is producing the performances.

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TRANSCRIPT:

I have another dancer for you. I’m so inspired by talking to all these dancers. They understand my love of JLo and Janet. They get it they understand me See you guys I was meant to be a dancer Anyways if you are a dancer, musician, or actor, welcome. And in case you missed last week’s episode, where I introduced the sing dance act, thrive progress pathway coaching program. I help musicians, actors, and dancers who are driven to succeed, but struggle to get ahead. I help them cultivate authentic connections with audiences and industry gatekeepers so that they can build a thriving career in the arts without feeling overwhelmed or doubting themselves. If you want to stop letting fear and a lack of knowledge holds you back, I can empower you with confidence and profile-building strategies to propel you to the next level.

So if that kind of sounded like you, why don’t you apply for a free coaching session with me, dianefoy.com/booking, we’ll figure out where you want to go and see if we’re a match for me to help you get there. That could be for anyone around the world because the sessions are just on zoom online. So I hope you guys take advantage of that. If you go to the thing and you don’t see a free appointment, just wait a few days and a few more will pop up, hopefully.

So today’s guest is Dora award winner, four time nominee Anissa Tejpar is a graduate of Canada’s National Ballet School, and is co-artistic director of hit and run dance productions. We had a fabulous conversation about the upcoming Encore! dance hall of fame event by dance collection dance, where she’s producing the performances, the Canadian dance hall of fame and it’ll be held in Toronto. Anisa is very passionate about dance so I’m sure you’ll be inspired, hearing her talk about her career and the amazing experiences that she’s had, including dancing works by Christopher House and Guillaume Côté, working in film and television and producing events for the Rolling Stones, Mac cosmetics, Casa Loma and the Toronto International Film Festival. She’s a current board member for Canada’s National Ballet School.

The dance hall of fame event is coming up yet Tell me about that.

Anisa Tejpar 3:39
On Sunday, March 29, Dance collection dance is having their third annual encore Dance Hall of Fame induction ceremony for the country’s some of the country’s most amazing dance artists every year. They select a group of people with incredible presenters to present them who are just as big stars as the people being abducted themselves. And they have this incredible evening of celebrating dance and dancers in Canada. The whole event is in support of dance collection dance and their amazing initiatives in archiving dance, the history of Canadian dance and you know, they publish books, they publish magazines, they they have something crazy, like, you know, like thousands and thousands and thousands of hundreds of thousands of programs from past shows so that anytime you’re ever wondering about the history of Canadian dance or wanting to look back so that you can look forward there the place to go so all around really celebratory evening on the 29th of March.

Diane Foy 4:49
And who are some of the inductees?

Anisa Tejpar 4:53
So it’s a pretty star-studded group of humans. So, James Kudelka, formerly director Canada’s National Ballet of Canada and choreographer, Margie Gillis, superstar performer Ethel Bruneau, tap-dancer extraordinaire, amazing teacher, Rosario Ancer, flamenco artist and creator Peter Boneham, contemporary dancer and director and choreographer, Michael Greyeyes, incredible actor, dance theater creator. And then we have a luminary award is it’s to somebody who is influential in the community and has been for a long-standing number of years and this one’s close to home. It’s Mavis Staines, article, artistic director of Canada’s National Ballet School. And then there’s also a new generation award for someone’s who’s contributing contribution to dance has been, you know, over the top and they’re under 40. And that’s to Ilter Ibraminof, who is the artistic director of all for dance north. So it’s an incredible group of humans are super, super inspiring.

Diane Foy 6:02
And your role in this is to produce or choreograph the performers for that night?

Anisa Tejpar 6:10
Yeah. So I’m actually not choreographing anything. But basically I’m the performance producer. So every year that we have, well, originally when we started the dance hall of fame, three years ago, I was brought on as a volunteer just to support the awards and to give my voice as to how it should go. And with my event background, it seemed like a really good fit. And I really liked the all of the people who work at dance collection dance, they’re really inspiring and cool people and I really just like hanging out with them. So it’s an easy place to volunteer and but quickly as we started talking about the awards, we realized that we couldn’t have an award ceremony celebrating dance without having dance at the awards. So I took on the job of curating performances to happen as happenings in that space and that evening, they have it on the same level as everyone who’s attending, so it’s, it’s kind of like they happen out of nowhere. Yeah, and I take a lot of pride in curating a nice group of multidisciplinary dance artists every year. So this year, the lineup is pretty spectacular. And although they don’t hit all of the inductees on the head as far as dance styles, we try and lean into some of the styles being represented. So we have, you know, Travis and Tanya Knights performing kind of like an improv-graphy tap performance, which will be really awesome. We have Roger and Valerie Scannura who are flamenco dancer and guitarist, they’re very sweet friends and they’re great, great, great performers like I love watching them. Evelyn Hart and Zhenya Cerneacov will be performing for old legs by James Codelco which has received so much attention in the past few years and it’s Evelyn Hart’s you can’t loose, Canadian princess superstar we all love her. And Jera Wolfe will be performing a duet with Evan Webb. He’s currently the performance associate at Red Sky. So he’s creating works all the time. And he’s an awesome, awesome, awesome dude. And then Adam Barruch will be performing slipstream, by Margie Gillis, which is like, you know, super special, like, these are the kinds of things that generally you have to pay huge ticket prices to go and see in big theaters where you’re at the back row and you’re, you know, chomping at the bit to hear their their breath and be a part of their performance. And they’re going to be doing it right there right in front of us. celebrating this event. So it’s pretty spectacular as a group of performers.

Diane Foy 8:48
Yeah and that’s very cool. So that’s March 29. I will put the link to buy tickets on the website.

Anisa Tejpar 8:56
Yes, I hope people will, will come out it’s such a great organization to support and it’s such a great night of schmoozing and meeting all the dance. Who’s who in Toronto, Canada.

Diane Foy 9:08
Yeah. So, who have been some of your mentors? You just listed off a lot of amazing talent.

Anisa Tejpar 9:15
Yeah.

Diane Foy 9:18
Who stands out to you as someone that you admired all of their career? Or someone that was in your life?

Anisa Tejpar 9:27
Yeah, I have so many I feel like I’ve been super. I’ve been super lucky. I mean, I think this all the time, but I don’t always believe it. I’m gonna say it with belief. I’ve been super lucky to be able to actually be in the presence and work with so many people that I looked up to as a young dancer and, and as a human. The first person that I really just was obsessed with in my life was Peggy Baker. She was my first contemporary dance teacher at Canada’s National Ballet School and she was always so supportive of me, and I’m going to cry thinking about it, I’m sure I always felt that she was really in my corner. And so to be able to perform her work as a student and then to know her as an adult and to interact with her all the time, like I see her all the time, and I know I can, I can always lean on her and I mean, I love her. I love her deeply. And it’s been really incredible to watch her as a creator and as a solo performer, which, you know, is the most daunting thing humanly possible to go on stage night after night after night by yourself. But she did it for decades. And now that she’s creating group works, it’s so it’s such a nice transition for her as an artist and it’s really cool to watch someone keep reinventing themselves and their ideas around how they see their own art form. It’s really cool. She’s a very inspiring person. Yeah, I’ve been inspired by so many people. Oh my gosh. I mean, I love people like you know, JLo.

Diane Foy 11:02
I love my JLo too.

Anisa Tejpar 11:03
I feel like JLo is like she’s crazy inspired. I find her to be spectacular in every way. She does what she wants…

Diane Foy 11:14
Yeah. I’m JLo and Janet all the way.

Anisa Tejpar 11:16
Oh, I love Janet too. I love Janet. I will not let a chance to see a Janet concert. No, I mean, they do they do what they want. They have the voice and really authentic voice to themselves. They, they do good things, they take care of themselves. You know, I love that. That JLo is a mother. I love that. That she keeps reinventing herself and she stays incredibly current but she doesn’t pretend that she’s younger than she is. She is who she is. She is where she’s at. And I hope that I age as gracefully as JLo hashtag.

Diane Foy 11:51
Yeah, I look at her every time.

Anisa Tejpar 11:53
I know, well, this is the thing. I mean, I feel like with people with that kind of you know celebrity but also money they’re able to you know have people look after them like chefs and massages and pilates and gyms and all those things that you know as regular folk can’t necessarily have but it doesn’t mean that we can’t look up to the integrity in which they’re living their art form, you know, like I you know, yeah she’s a pop artist and yeah, she’s for the masses and the what I’ve chosen to do is definitely not it’s way more niche and rd than that, but there are things that are the same and that you know, she she followed her dreams she danced, she acted she sang she did all she produces, she creates like she still gets out there on stage and and does not disappoint. It’s really cool. She’s a cool chick.

Diane Foy 12:45
Yeah, I always admire her work ethic.

Anisa Tejpar 12:49
Oh, yeah, it’s not easy to do it what she does, and there’s only I mean, she has the same amount of hours in her day as we have in ours. Yeah, she’s juicing every second out of it. Yeah. But then, you know, I also look around in my life and you know, I feel I feel inspired by people that I work with. You know, I feel inspired by my business partner Jennifer all the time. She’s a workhorse. She’s incredibly dedicated to her art form. And I love her and I feel inspired by my mother, who is always tell us the truth. Always, always, always, even if it hurts, and it’s kind of infuriating and incredible. You always know where you stand with her.

Diane Foy 13:25
I love that.

Anisa Tejpar 13:27
So think to look around you all the time to feel mentored by or inspired by and, and yeah, like the dance stuff is, is easy because I can fall dance in love with someone after watching them once you know. But when you get to know the person or when you get to know what they stand for, it makes it all just it’s so much more all encompassing, because what we bring to the stage as performers is not just, you know our bodies and our talent. It is also all the experience we’ve had before and all the experience we’re looking forward to in the future, so that’s what you feel when you feel something from a performance. It’s not you know how well they executed you know what they needed to execute because of the work. It’s what they bring to it. Step into individuality and every performer that makes them special.

Diane Foy 14:16
Yeah, that’s what I coach on is finding what is unique about you. Why should they go see you over someone else? Why should they hire you or book you over someone else that has equal talent?

Anisa Tejpar 14:28
That’s a really important thing to train for and to know about yourself, you know, there’s that line that everybody says, you know, stay in your lane or you’re not in your lane or and all of that stuff. I don’t feel like you need to stay in your lane. But I definitely think that every artist needs to know what their lane is and what needs to know what they bring to the table and needs to know what they can bring to the table. You know, it’s really important. It’s great that you’re teaching that because uniqueness and embracing that in the context of a group is really, it’s what art is about.

Diane Foy 14:59
Yeah. It’s taking the time to figure out who you are, what you want, and what your skills are, what your strengths are, what are your personal you know, people skills, get to learn people skills and yeah, and be charismatic and but authentic to yourself. And that’s what you bring to everything that you do.

Anisa Tejpar 15:19
Authenticity is really, I think we talked about it a lot in terms of like the world but I think authenticity and what we do is like, is everything in such a fine line you know, I went to a ballet school and you learn a lot about how to not stick out how to stay in line how to do all those things which are invaluable lessons they are they will travel with you in your in like forever. Like there are things that I learned back then that I still use on a daily basis. But then as you grow as an artist, it’s important to know how you’re how you can be still you within that. And that’s where the real magic happens.

Diane Foy 15:56
Yeah, obviously, it’s like you got to learn the rules to be able to break them.

Anisa Tejpar 16:01
100% Yeah.

Diane Foy 16:04
So what was your training in dance?

Anisa Tejpar 16:07
Yeah, so I, from a very young age, went to Canada’s National Ballet School and became a pretty, pretty pretty ballerina. And then, within my last few years of Ballet School, I started to realize that I probably would not have the career that I want to have in ballet. You know, simply I’m very tall and I’m not ballet size, as they say. And so I knew that it would be uphill for me quite a bit, and then I probably, you know, would end up standing in a ballet line for most of my career, which is, like the most beautiful work to do to work on the group, especially in a team of women. It’s very empowering and beautiful, but I knew that I wouldn’t be okay, just doing that for forever. And so when choreographers would come To develop school and make workers at work, I often got the opportunity to be in that work, which showed me also that I had a voice in a different medium. And I started leaning more into the contemporary dance side of things and when I graduated I joined as an apprentice in the Dance Theater at Christopher’s house and had two great years there of transitioning out of ballet but more than that learning from the best time to be a solid contemporary dance interpreter to be in the room when someone’s creating Christopher house in the time that I was there made two new full length works. I had never been in the room at the time when someone was like, really thinking it through throwing a lot of things at the wall and seeing what stuck throwing a lot in the garbage working on something forever and then just saying, nope, I don’t like it anymore, or no, it doesn’t work for this beautiful but I can’t use it or, you know, learning about creation was about learning how to interpret someone else’s voice but also like you said, stay true to your own. I learned all of that really, really quickly. And I was really lucky to get the the chance to just get thrown to the wolves and just, you know, sink or swim.

Diane Foy 18:04
That’s the best training ground.

Anisa Tejpar 18:05
It really is. And I feel like my whole career is, is that I’m a spokesperson for throw yourself with the stuff you know, nothing about.

Diane Foy 18:13
Figured it out.

Anisa Tejpar 18:14
Yeah I figured out and really you know, if you if you can get past your fear, if you can find the gumption in yourself to just say, like, forget it, I’m going to do it. I’m gonna probably fail, I’m gonna fall flat on my face. I’m gonna, you know, not be my best all the time, but I’m going to get there. And ultimately you learn, you piece together the puzzle as best as you can, and your first few attempts are crappy and then they get better and they get better and then ultimately, in the end, you start being the one calling the shots.

Diane Foy 18:48
Yeah, and you created your own production company hit and run. How did that come about?

Anisa Tejpar 18:54
Yeah, that’s that’s an interesting thing, because it definitely isn’t concert dance, which is what I always ways I’ve been I’m definitely a concert dancer. That’s how I that’s how my career has played out. And that’s how I see myself and I like any emerging freelance performer I, you know, was a waitress and I worked in a store. You know, I lived in New York City, I had two jobs and you know, you have all these side hustles that you do, and I would do industrials, like, you know, dance shows for the the snow, or whatever the ski and snow show what the convention center and all these things and they were all great, they’re great experiences, but I wanted so badly for my whole life to revolve around dance and for it to be driven by me. And I met this woman whose name’s Jennifer Nichols, and we met in a ballet class when I was probably 18 or 19 years old, and then she moved away and then she came back and we met again in a ballet class, open class. You know, those are the values of going open class. And we got to talk about hanging out, we became friends and then realized that we were kind of in the same place. We both wanted to create things we both wanted to work with our friends, we both wanted to stop being waitresses. So we came up with this idea to promote ourselves as a duo. We call ourselves hit and run dance productions and to create works for environments and people who would never go to the theater and see it. You know, who wouldn’t pay the ballet ticket who wouldn’t go see contemporary dance? Who wouldn’t go to a dance theater production or an immersive theater production? Who would you know, who aren’t in that place in their lives and so, events and corporations and individuals could hire us to tailor make performances for their events. So often we work with brands and we’ve done commercials, television shows, a lot of weddings, a lot of a lot of corporate holiday parties and events those the bread and butter of our existence, who you know, want something a little different, you want to wow their guests who want something that’s, that looks tailor made to them, you know, that goes with their themes and their ideals as a company or as a couple or you know, for whatever they’re promoting. And then quickly, you know, that became really a huge part of our lives. I mean, I work on Hit and Run every single day of my life. It is all encompassing and, and you know, within four years, we both stopped being waitresses, and we’re focused on our performance careers as well as hitting around as well as anything else that came flying our ways are both teachers as well. And so you know, it became exactly what we wanted it to become. It became a life every day and out living dance.

Diane Foy 21:46
How did you get into film and television, choreography and dance?

Anisa Tejpar 21:51
Yeah, well, I’ve been lucky enough to have the same agent forever, Peter de Costa and Frank de Costa, and they are they’re awesome, dudes. I love those guys. And I’ve always had a really special relationship with them because I’m not the most commercial of performers and I don’t really fit into every, you know, breakdown that comes through the agency email. I actually I probably, you know, I’m only good for about 3% of the paper, but they’ve kept me on all these years. And when I was younger, you know, I would do fun things like, you know, movies, like I made this movie called, I’m with a bunch of performers in Toronto, called Step Enough, Save the Last Dance to where there was like ballet dancers in it. And I’ve been in, you know, some dance films and a couple of commercials and some print stuff, you know, as a dancer, and then also as a woman, you know, just kind of there and then quickly, I kind of with all my choreographic experience and also just with my experience in managing people, with Hit and Run and managing other people’s projects, became kind of clear that I’d be good on set and I got I got some chances to support other choreographers that go in as a as a secondary to choreographers and help them out and and then like I’ve done a few on my own so you know, I choreographed Minority Report that a television show where they had all this like, live VR in the air and and they had to do arm gestures and things to like, but unlike in the air, you know that they would add in the the animation afterwards. So it was really fun working with actors and letting them you know, laugh at themselves and also hate their jobs. When the choreographer comes in, everyone’s like, Oh, no, we have to dance But no, it was good. And you know, I that was really fun. I have done a lot of performance capture and movement for video games and that is a blast and a half I love doing that. I love creating that. That’s one of my favorite things to do. And yeah, and then you get to see like, you know, the most awesome version of yourself in the game, you know, the really buff that he’s out there. So yeah, it kind of came naturally. It just came over time and then Hit and Run we’ve done like Pinesol commercials and brands for pop over bond and and we’ve done a million fashion shows you know Nike Puma and then high fashion like I’m for love the wedding dress designers and so we like oh, it’s all there like really every movement is dance and you just need to be able to frame it in the right way so that your audience understands it and your audience leans in and wants to be a part of what it is that you’re creating. And you know, we’re lucky to have some great people who always support us you know who who bring us on their projects and include us in their huge decks of stuff you know, we’ve worked on Mac cosmetics, Mac cosmetics is such an outside the box company, they let us do animations in stores and really, you know, we take over half the mall and do like a big ol thing supporting a collection of theirs and it’s fun people give you the reins to actually go for it and they trust your taste. And they trust your vision. You can really bring dance anywhere.

Diane Foy 24:59
Yeah it’s amazing. And I saw the Rolling Stones in your credits, what did you do for them?

Anisa Tejpar 25:04
Oh yeah, Rolling Stone story is pretty great. So I’m gonna take a second to tell it because it’s pretty great. In the early days of Hit and Run, I mean, I still was working. And we were in the first five years of our business. Jen was working in a restaurant and so was it. It was, we had cell phones, but we still had landlines everywhere. This is a while ago, guys. And Jen called the the landline of the restaurant that I was at working from the restaurant she was working at and she was like, what are you doing tomorrow? I was like, I don’t know, what do you want to do tomorrow? And she said, Well, this guy music industry guy came into her restaurant and knew that she was a dancer. He was a regular knew that she was a dancer and asked her if she wanted to make up a dance performance for Mick Jagger’s birthday, which was the next day because the stones were rehearsing for their upcoming tour here in Toronto. And I was like, Oh my God, we have to come up with a whole show in a day, as fate would have it the next day, I had an emergency surgery under my arm and couldn’t put my arms down. So, yeah.

Diane Foy 26:11
Crazy timing.

Anisa Tejpar 26:13
I know it was in the morning and then in the afternoon, we went into rehearsals, I couldn’t put my arm down, like literally arm, one arm to the side, like always on my hip, like could not move my arm. We go into these rehearsals, we put together a cast of beautiful women that we knew, you know, we were just like, Hey, wanna do this? They want to do this. They want to do this and everyone had to sign NDA at the time. And Lauren Scott who was passed, bless her, was dating Mick Jagger at the time and she wanted videos and she wants to we were wearing she was very involved. And we showed up at the rehearsal studio. They were fully rehearsing like, you know, all the instruments out whatever and at some point in a lull in their rehearsal, the door swung open and out we came and performed privately for the stones. It was wild. Crazy, crazy, crazy crazy. Yeah. And I, you know, I’m 22 years old thinking, what are we doing? But it was so great. And after that, you know, that really launched our, you know, launched the fact that we were something different. It was an article written about us in the Globe and Mail shortly thereafter. And people started to understand that, you know, we weren’t just a plug and play type of company we were on the fly making things making decisions using our tastes, curating specific dance performances for specific people for specific events. You know, from there also came like we worked with Kanye West. We created an after show for him after one of his concerts and Brianna. You know, we’ve got a we’ve got some great accolades because of that.

Diane Foy 27:52
Right. And you were nominated for a Dora award for a solo show? Tell me about that.

Anisa Tejpar 27:58
I’ve been nominated three times. And yeah, and I won last year in an ensemble for an opera actually. Which is funny because leave it up to me to win in a category that I’m not even in. I don’t sing at all. So, yeah, that was I went for against the brain and Copernicus shut up to my peeps. That was a great show. So, but yeah, I was nominated for Dora on my own for a show that I created with Hannah Keel and doing body expression. She’s an incredible friend, one of my closest friends and beautiful choreographer. And I’ve produced some of her work in the past as well that I haven’t been in, but I’ve also been in three creations with her. And she created In Time, which was a semi autobiographical, but universal show about being in the middle of your life not about being new or being old, just about being in the middle. And I know that’s sounds boring, but it’s actually when all the stuff happens, is in the middle. It’s when you become a mom, it’s when you become a wife. It’s when you start having the pressures of everyday life and start planning for your future, start actually thinking about what your life is going to be like when you’re 70 when the when life isn’t as sparkly as it once was, when you have more bags under your eyes, and maybe a little bit more fat around your middle, you know, all that great, juicy time, which is where I am now in the middle of my life. But the show was beautiful. It was a great experience to make. I never in a million years would have thought that I could get on stage for 70 minutes by myself, but Hannah encouraged me and was really a driving force behind it. We fundraised all the money ourselves, and I produced the work for myself with amazing collaborators that include Joe Pagon, Simon Rossiter, No Bever also worked on it and taken me to VIP and John’s house giving me an incredible score. So I had a great, great, great team and support. And yeah, it was a big highlight for me in my career. I look back on that time with a lot of joy. I’m also so happy that I chose to do it when my daughter was a little bit older so that she could be in the audience. And remember, I have a great memories of her face right afterwards and the way she looked at me, I’ll never forget that.

Diane Foy 30:23
Amazing.

Anisa Tejpar 30:24
Yeah. Special.

Diane Foy 30:26
So what are some of the challenges that you’ve faced along the way or lessons learned from those challenges?

Anisa Tejpar 30:33
Yeah I mean, I think I’ve had challenges, I think in, in getting to where I wanted to go as fast as I wanted to get there. You know, I think about when I was younger, there were a lot of years and time spent working on things that, you know, maybe weren’t pushing my career forward or maybe weren’t exactly what I should be doing or maybe weren’t anything at all, you know? But what I learned is that, you know, you have to keep going, you have to move forward. If you want to do something, then just do it. You know, don’t, don’t make excuses for yourself. Don’t think, oh, I need someone to help me you don’t, you can do it on your own. And when you need help you ask for it, but in a very, you know, confident knowing what you’re in charge of you. And if I were to tell any emerging performers, any piece of advice, it would be like, just keep going, I my husband says this all the time, but when you’re in hell, keep going. You know, you just got to move forward, keep going. Don’t lose faith, don’t lose yourself. And definitely don’t give up. You know, it’s at some point, something will come. And you can make it into whatever you want to make it into now, are we all going to be like our favorite gal JLo and have that kind of life? Maybe not. But will you have a full life of making art and being around people who you love deeply and supporting them and them supporting you, yes.

Diane Foy 32:02
Yeah, it is possible and it’s just knowing your motivation to get there and creating a life. That’s that you’ll be happy in.

Anisa Tejpar 32:11
Yeah, and remembering that, like, you’re the architect of it, right? Like, you don’t have to follow any kind of, you know, formula like not everyone’s going to get the, you know, eight shows a week, summer stock job every year, not everyone’s going to be in a Broadway musical. And have a career and have like a three year contract. That’s maybe not you, but, but you know, you can be the architect of how every single thing plays out in your life and how it all points to the same things, the same ideals and the same goals.

Diane Foy 32:41
Yeah, there’s a lot of waiting to be discovered happening.

Anisa Tejpar 32:45
Oh my God, and it’s just not gonna happen.

Diane Foy 32:48
Keep waiting.

Anisa Tejpar 32:50
Yeah, it’s like a it’s a game of waiting, you know, and that’s and that’s too bad to hear that because some people are discovered and that’s so incredible and fantastic and good for them. But most of us who are working artists are, it’s full push full of me, with my foot on the gas. You know.

Diane Foy 33:11
I always say that’s the lottery, you know, those people make it and the JLo that’s the lottery. But you don’t get kind of get it without the work ethic.

Anisa Tejpar 33:24
No, or with the continual voice to keep telling more stories. I mean, here’s the thing, too, like, you know, we all we’ve all heard the term one hit wonder. And you might have one show or one contract or one, you know, idea that is gold. But what keeps you in the game is that you have 20 of those that you keep going, you keep going, you know, you reinvent yourself, you reinvent what it is that you’re creating, that you evolve that you have with time that you accept what’s happening in the world and incorporate it into your work. I mean, we can’t be dinosaurs about it.

Diane Foy 33:59
But what are coming questions that young dancers ask you for advice on.

Anisa Tejpar 34:06
A lot of them asked me how I got into producing a lot of them ask me how I got into or how I got all my jobs. And my answer is always the same. I tried really hard and then yeah you know? Yeah, often people ask me know how I got my hands into this so many pieces of the pie because, you know, I’ve been lucky enough to be able to perform and to continue to perform and, and then to also, you know, support other people’s projects, produce other people’s projects, produce my own and to run a company all at the same time, not to mention, you know, at times be on the faculty of some universities. So, it’s a I mean, I didn’t I definitely, I don’t sleep that much, and I definitely don’t have a lot of free time. And I think people who are looking for a life of you know, long coffee dates in the afternoon are not going to b

e able to hold down as many gigs as I currently hold down. But you know, you have to have, you have to wake up every day and be motivated for yourself. And that’s really hard when you work for yourself and all of the projects that you have are driven by you. No one’s telling you what to do. You don’t have a boss saying you have to show up at nine I can show up at my job whenever I want because my job is in my head a lot of the time and it’s in my body. So it’s just discipline. Discipline is a huge part of being a performer and even you know, you think that you talk to other artists you know, even writers or painters you know, it’s self discipline it’s waking up each day putting yourself in front of that Canvas and painting every day. Yeah. And not and not letting you know weeks get away from you or, or other stuff get in the way. You know, in society. Now we talk a lot about compartmentalizing and not being bad for your emotions. And although I agree, I also kind of disagree. I feel like we need to compartmentalize all the time in our work as performers. We need to be able to tell the story that we’re telling right now, not the story that’s being told all the time. In our heads, you find the project, you tell that story you work on the next one, you tell that story and that also goes with all the tasks that you take on. You know, there are days where I say today is a budget day and I will sit down with 18 spreadsheets and budget six shows, you know, and that’ll just be my whole day is a budget day without those aren’t my favorite days. You know, they’re not my they’re not the days I look forward to but they’re necessary. I can’t get caught up in answering the phone or looking on social media, you know, I have to just do it, hammer it out. All those things are make pieces of the puzzle. And so for young artists wanting to get in the game, you have to be really self disciplined. And you have to keep learning, keep learning about all these things that you don’t know about keep learning how, how to how to do your taxes, how to different modes of creation, take workshops, go to see shows, see what other people are doing. Create your taste. What do you like? What do you like seeing? What don’t you like seeing? What’s your voice as an artist? How is that voice translated into money? How much money do you need to make your show? How are you going to get it? Right grants, all those things. They’re all a part of making your art work for you. It’s really a broad broad broad spectrum of activity. Yeah,

Diane Foy 37:21
Yeah. The dancing is the, the cherry on top.

Anisa Tejpar 37:25
It really is. Studio days for me are like gifts. I when I get a whole day in the studio, I feel like angels are singing. Because with everything else that has to happen to get there. It’s like such a win just to get in there. And to make something it’s like, it’s like, oh my god, I’m actually doing it. You know, I even feel the same way when I’m in the room supporting someone else. You know, I work for Guillaume Côté, who is principal dancer with the National Ballet of Canada and we were we went to school together. We know each other since we were kids and we’ve been friends a long time and we can be really honest with each other, which is why we like working together. It’s there’s a deep level of honesty between us. But he also creates work as a choreographer outside of the National Ballet, although he does great for the National. But he creates work outside of a national and for independent dance artists also for his festival and central suburbs. But then beyond that, for other companies, and often I get brought along on those journeys and days in the studio with him, creating days in the studio rehearsing him because often he’s in the shows and I have the deep pleasure of rehearsing a dancer of that stature, those are all days where we get to work on the thing that we know the best, you know, dance is what I know it’s the thing I feel most confident with everything else is you know, ah, running around with my hands in the air screaming. Yeah, so those are those are those are amazing days. They’re gifts. They it makes you appreciate what you do so much more. When you have to do all the back end of it. It really does. And then when you get to go dance for someone else, I just had the immense pleasure of dancing for a good friend of mine Melan Young on this show about a month ago called Eden Planted, which was presented by Harbourfront and Next Steps. And walking into that room and having him come up with all the ideas was amazing. I felt like I was like, you know, at a club met. All I had to do was do it. All I had to do was bring my voice to it, all I had to do is execute and, and be generous. And that was, oh, what a great time that is, you know, because after doing all the grunt work, it’s so beautiful to like just dance and to and to have and to be able to focus on your voice and to focus on what you’re saying and to focus on how you’re going to temper your performance when you’re going to do this when you’re going to do Oh, it’s great dance is so it’s such a gift in that way and I appreciate it so much more now that I have to do all the other work for it. I have to cast it and you know, organize it schedule it budget, custom it light it that stuff is that’s the work.

Diane Foy 40:05
Yeah, so that’s your why I was going to say what is your why but it’s, you get to do that, that’s why you’re going on all those challenging parts.

Anisa Tejpar 40:15
Yeah and then as I transition into you know not dancing as much I’m not as young as I once was and and and as I transitioned into only doing a few projects a year as a dancer and maybe even less than that today, I can’t tell you that there is a better feeling than sitting in the audience or watching your work or, or the work that you’re supporting. come to fruition. It emotionally, like moves me every time and anyone who knows me knows that I’m easily emotionally moved that actually think I think that’s why I have great taste and performance is because I’m moved by a lot of things. But I love the feeling of it just about to happen and you know that you’ve given the torch away the performers are going to go out there and they’re going to do it. They know what they’re doing. They’re beautiful. They’re perfect. They are going to bring a true sense of authenticity to their performance. And you get to sit there and sweat like a pig from stress and enjoy it. It’s great. There’s nothing like it in the world. It’s the best feeling ever. So huge, high. I could live it every weekend.

Diane Foy 41:21
Yeah. Amazing.

Anisa Tejpar 41:23
But so super stressful at the same time. I mean, it’s like the best and the worst of feelings, you know, sweating like a pig sitting there because you’re just so stressed. But it’s so great. And when that curtain comes down, or when the performance is over, like in Hit and Run, you know, when when the audience goes wild, or when everyone says to you, oh, my god, that was so spectacular, and it’s just so unexpected and special, and there’s just nothing like it. It happens live, live performances. I mean, when have you ever been on stage and thought, oh my god, did I lock my front door? Yeah, you don’t think those things you don’t think those things that you do in regular life because performance is it minute by minute, but you’re the most present you can possibly be in life and I think that’s the drug. There’s no riffraff. There’s no, there’s no clutter. There’s no, there’s no dust in your head, you are focusing on what you’re doing and how you’re going to do it and the people around you, and that is it. And it’s just so crazy in this day and age to be that present. You know, there’s no phone in your hand.

Diane Foy 42:20
Yeah. That’s amazing.

Anisa Tejpar 42:23
It is amazing that and that’s why I feel like live performance like will never die. Will never not want to see that thing that is so unique to that moment. It can never be repeated again.

Diane Foy 42:32
Yeah. And as an audience, you’re couple hours where you actually turn your phone off.

Anisa Tejpar 42:40
Yeah, and you’re watching art be developed in front of your eyes. And like I said, it will never happen like that. Again. You will never see that dynamic play out that way ever again. Then that moment that you experienced with the whatever, you know, thousand people that are sitting in the audience with you. It’s incredibly special and intimate. yeah obviously I’m a performance fan I think that, that is clear.

Diane Foy 43:04
Yeah.

Anisa Tejpar 43:05
I’m still not over it you think after all these years and after like living through the best and the worst of it, I’d be over it but I’m so not over it. It’s still my favorite thing. It still is from when I was like four years old to now.

Diane Foy 43:17
Yeah, there’s some experiences that just don’t get old.

Anisa Tejpar 43:20
No, I’ve never bored of live performance I’m never bored of seeing art happen in front of my eyes never. And maybe that’s just me or maybe that’s because I’ve been so lucky to be a part of and see such amazing work but I think if it’s moving to you will always be moving to you.

Diane Foy 43:41
Yeah, and it makes all the other stuff worth it.

Anisa Tejpar 43:46
Oh my gosh, 100% even though you know if you ask me on a random you know, weekday afternoon, I’d be like no, screw this. I’m gonna throw my computer in the garbage. I hate everybody.

Diane Foy 43:55
Yeah.

Anisa Tejpar 43:56
But don’t get me in the theater and I feel very different.

Diane Foy 43:59
Yeah. Yeah, often I find that the the worst days are and the best days are the same day.

Anisa Tejpar 44:07
Yeah.

Diane Foy 44:09
Although leading up to it, you’re like, I’m gonna quit. And then you see the performance well, for me, it’s seeing the performance for you, it’s performing. It makes it all worth it.

Anisa Tejpar 44:23
Yeah. And then also, I think anything worth doing is also worth quitting. You know, like, if you want to quit something, it’s because you feel so strongly about it, that it’s almost the same as if you loved it so much that you felt so strongly about it sometimes. So sometimes, you know, they come hand in hand.

Diane Foy 44:41
Yeah, for sure. That’s great. Thank you so much for your time today, and I look forward to the event, the Hall of Fame event on March 29.

Anisa Tejpar 44:52
It’s going to be star studded and incredible at the Globe and Mail center. It’s just going to be the best culmination of so many dance styles and so many dance artists and beyond that fan, so it’d be a lot of dance fans there and people who have followed the careers of these amazing artists. It’s gonna be a cool night to pat ourselves on the back as the community of dance, but then also to thank all the people who have made it all happen.

Diane Foy 45:19
Yeah, and if you’re a young dancer, get there be in the room with all these people. That’s amazing.

Anisa Tejpar 45:26
Oh my gosh, if you’re a young dancer, this is the this is the best room of all time. I mean, I can’t tell you how many times my breath has been taken away by things that I’ve seen or things that I’ve heard the speeches alone by these inductees are so you know, beautiful to hear the voice of these artists that you see move your whole life and then they get up there and they they sound just like us. You know, they sound like Oh, it was so hard when I was young or or, you know, I’ve been so lucky or I’ve had really rough times or whatever it is. It’s really incredible to get a little you know, magnifying glass into these people that you looked up to your whole life and see that they’re human too, you know? Yeah, it’s really cool.

Diane Foy 46:08
It’s amazing. Okay, and where can people find you online?

Anisa Tejpar 46:14
I’m on Instagram @anisatejpar. And you can also look at Hit and Run, it’s @HitandRunProductions on Instagram. We post all of our performances coming up and all of our past stuff. And we also, yeah, link to a bunch of other great artists too.

Diane Foy 46:29
Cool. Well, thank you so much.

Anisa Tejpar 46:33
Thank you. Thanks for having me fun times.

Diane Foy 46:40
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