Today’s Notable Young Professional is Christine Flores, a professional dancer from Toronto who is currently living out her dreams in Mexico City with the Tania Perez-Salas Dance Company. We caught up with her to find out what inspires her and what advice she would share with other young professionals…
1. Describe what you do in less than 140 characters. Go.
I’m a Toronto-born freelance dancer who specializes in contemporary, ballet and hip hop. My career has taken me all over the Americas, but I’m currently working in Mexico City with the Tania Perez-Salas Dance Company.
2. What was the inspiration for your career route?
It was my older sister who first inspired me to start dancing. She began training long before I did and after seeing her perform, I decided I wanted to too. Later on, it was learning about all the different paths a dancer could take that pushed me to be involved in all aspects, i.e. commercial dance, contemporary, etc. Also, choreographers such as Crystal Pite, Mats Ek, and William Forsythe have inspired me time and time again.
3. What is the most memorable milestone in your career so far?
It would have to be when I performed with the Tania Perez-Salas Dance Company at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. Not only was this my first time performing with the company, but it was also my first performance outside of Canada and the U.S. The Palacio de Bellas Artes is unlike any theater I have performed in and I was very honoured to be there. Dancing all over the world has always been my dream, so this performance felt like a huge step and accomplishment in the right direction.
4. Where do you see yourself in five years, 10 years, 20 years?
In five years, I hope to be at the peak of my performance career – hopefully with a major touring dance company, either in the states or Europe. In 10 years, I hope to have my Master’s but I haven’t quite decided which major yet. And in 20 years, I’m not sure. Maybe I’ll have my own dance studio or company, or maybe I’ll be teaching at a university. Whatever happens, I want to be performing for as long as my body allows.
5. Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Stay curious, positive and hungry for more. Stay true to who you are, creatively.
6. Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is it (or they) important to you?
I support the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Cancer Society. I’ve participated in the Ride for Heart for the Heart and Stroke Foundation for many years because my grandmother passed away from a stroke. And the Canadian Cancer Society is dear to my heart because my grandfather passed away from stomach cancer and my mom is a breast cancer survivor.
7. What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
After living in NYC for a year, a major challenge was building connections in one of the largest dance communities. No one knows, or sometimes even cares, who you are. So I made a list of all the studios I could take a class or possibly work at, a list of companies that were having auditions, and a list of shows/events for all genres of art. Taking classes to stay in shape and prepare for auditions is very difficult because they’re very expensive and may not always coincide with your work schedule. I survived by interning at Peridance Capezio Dance Center which gave me unlimited free classes and helped establish myself with other dancers, teachers, and choreographers. Going to support people in their field and their work was another way for me to stay connected and inspired.
I also ruptured my FHL tendon in my right foot right after graduating college and this was extremely hard to overcome because it was the prime time to be auditioning for companies and I was planning to move to New York. Recovering from injuries is common in any dancer’s career, but can be one of the most difficult times physically, mentally and emotionally. I went to physiotherapy almost every day for a couple months and the progress seemed unbearably slow. Maintaining a positive attitude was hard but I kept thinking about the long term benefits I would have if I recovered properly at that time.
8. What does the word notable mean to you?
I believe it means being unique and significant.
1. Where is your favourite place to wine/dine in your city and why?
I’m a huge foodie, but this is a tough one because I don’t get to spend a lot of time in Toronto these days. When I’m home, I would say Asian Legend for soup dumplings, Portland Variety for their coffee but mainly the warm chocolate chip cookies, and California Sandwiches for a monstrous veal sandwich.
2. What’s the most visited website on your Internet browser? The most played song on your phone?
Without a doubt, Instagram. I check whenever I get a chance because I love staying up-to-date with friends’ activities but also being able to browse and find inspiration from people around the world.
Right now, Chance the Rapper’s “Coloring Book” album is on my phone’s heavy rotation.
3. Who’s one person you think everyone should be following on social media?
4. What’s your favourite country to visit and why? And what’s the next one you plan on travelling to?
France, mainly because I love Paris and the culture. I hope to travel to Australia, Iceland, and the Philippines in the near future.
5. What gives you the greatest FOMO?
When my friends go to a new restaurant we’ve been meaning to try. Nothing is more upsetting than not being able to experience the delicious food.
6. What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
7. What’s something you wish you didn’t spend so much money on? What’s something you wish you spent more on?
I, unfortunately, need coffee and Coca Cola, well any caffeine, to function most days… so that adds up. I wish I put more money back into the bank.
8. And finally, what does success look like to you? Work, play, or otherwise…
In my opinion, success is having people who love and support you, and being able to do what you’re passionate about on a daily basis.