If you are looking to try something new this year, visit Pulse Dance Studios in Calgary and take a dancehall class from Sabrina Naz. At 22 years old, this gal is on her way up. After taking only one class with her, you can feel her love and passion for everything dance. Sabrina currently works as a dance instructor, performer and choreographer in the city and is also training at the Decidedly Jazz Danceworks Studio in various dance styles when she’s not working.
Between a busy calendar of performances, appointments and classes, Sabrina talked to us about her love of dance, her big dreams, and how she loves sharing her Caribbean heritage with Calgary.
Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
I am a dance instructor, choreographer and performer here in YYC. I specialize and instruct in dancehall, soca and diva styles hip-hop! I also choreograph for recording artists in the city such as Jay Nova, Yemimah Kwaje, and Young Dre. I am currently a dancer for The Bad Girls Club YYC as well.
Why did you start working at your company?
I started teaching at many different studios in Calgary at the age of 18 because I was and still am very passionate about Caribbean dance and culture. It was and still is my goal to educate the dance community in Calgary about what artistic treasures the Caribbean has to offer, as well as connect Calgary’s urban dance scene with the thriving Calgarian-Caribbean community.
What was the inspiration for this career route?
My inspiration is my mother. Not too long after migrating to Canada from her beautiful island of Trinidad and Tobago, she created many community projects. The most impactful of her initiatives was a non-for-profit performing arts club for all youth in the Caribbean communities of Calgary called ‘Community’, a place where youth of similar cultural backgrounds could come together, continue to learn about their culture through dance, drama and song, and gain performance experience. This group is still very active today and has since gained a vast amount enthusiastic and multicultural youth from all over Calgary. It is an honour to have started my dance studies in this group and I am currently giving back to it by offering dance lessons and choreography for their touring shows.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis?I enjoy the fact that what I am doing is the exact thing that I want to be doing! Every chorography or class plan that I create allows me to dive deeper into to my culture. There is constant learning going on and never a dull moment.
The most challenging part?
Traffic can be a pain… but other than that I love it all!
What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
As many artists and freelancers might experience, the balance between money and effort can be backbreaking at times. But with will power, faith, persistent work ethic and a positive outlook on life, the once backbreaking balance always levels out.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I see myself performing more as well as creating works for companies and artists that I love and directing my own shows that could tour to places worldwide.
What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career?
Learning how to get out of my own way and be the bravest that I can possibly be.
How did you overcome it?
This is something that I deal with on regular basis still, but with enough push and support from my family and community I am overcoming it day by day!
What does success look like to you?
Success to me is an idea carried through to its absolute end. Whether it be a brilliant idea or not, the fact that it was given the chance to become something is success to me.
Does Money = Happiness?
No. Money creates comfort that allows you to then experience happiness. Let’s be honest, the green makes the world go ‘round, but the fact that I can watch it go ‘round makes me oh so happy.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
At the age of 17 I was dancing in a company called House of Dangerkat and was given the opportunity to perform our latest work at the time in Helsinki, Finland. This was right around the time of my 18th birthday, so I was beaming for the entire trip! I performed alongside urban dance masters such as the GoGo Brothers featuring Tony GoGo, The Electric Boogaloos, Tommy The clown and Bboy Y-Not. It was mindblowing and I’m forever grateful.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
You hear it all the time but there is no such thing as “too big of a dream.” We really have to believe that! Go big, and when you do that, go even bigger!
Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
Over by Stuch (Calgary)! Some of the best Caribbean food I have ever tasted and the steak salads at Moxies give me life!
When you’re not working, how you do love to spend your “me” time?
A good ‘ol Epsom salt bath plus a glass of Apothic white and Seinfeld re-runs have me in heaven!
Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
I love, love, love to travel to New York City. I have been there more times than the mall in my life (give or take)… it’s my second home! I love NYC because it is the place where I feel the most refreshed and inspired to be the best person I can possibly be. I am on my way back there this summer.
If you had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
JUMP by Rupee! SO GOOD. The first time I danced Soca choreography was to this song.
What to you is notable?
How optimistic someone can be during the most trying of times. To me that says this is a person that has faith in themselves and their surroundings. No matter what, they will triumph. That is a very notable quality to have.
Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
I’m team iPhone. All day, every day.
#LYNL | (Live Your Notable Life)