Faced with the sudden arrival of the pandemic, the artists-in-residence from our Neighborhood Arts Ottawa program had to adapt quickly to its reckless currents not only in their private lives, but also as community-engaged artists. Indeed, it was in total uncertainty that they had to digitize their projects and programming in a short period of time while also dealing with the precarity of their everyday lives. But they all knew that adapting to these precarious times would be key for us to move forward and that we were all in need of some positive reinforcement through the arts. So, in order to shed light on their fantastic efforts and the important role artists play in our local community, we have asked them a few questions about their journeys, community-engaged projects and what these past few months have taught them for the future. We are pleased to offer up to three blog posts in this series including MOOV Ottawa Dance, Kseniya Tsoy and the Eagle and Condor Collective. First up, for this week’s Neighbourhood Arts Ottawa spotlight project is Th3rd Fridays by MOOV Ottawa Dance:
What is Neighbourhood Arts Ottawa?
Neighbourhood Arts Ottawa is a community-engaged artist-in-residence program by Arts Network Ottawa that connects artists and community partners to collaborate with the community residents on art projects within Ottawa neighbourhoods. To date, 6,770 individuals have experienced the work created by another 852 Ottawa residents.
Stay up to date by following the program on Instagram: @neighbourhoodartsottawa
A vibrant local hip-hop initiative by MOOV Ottawa Dance
In order to aid the transmission of knowledge to the younger generation in the Ottawa Street Dance community, Th3rd Fridays by MOOV Ottawa Dance connects the community through DJ-ing mentorships, free online Street Dance classes and video interviews with key figures in the Ottawa Street Dance Scene. The project makes use of virtual meeting platforms such as Zoom for all the mentors and mentees sessions. YouTube and Instagram are used as the video platforms, where all the online classes and interviews are available.
Founded by co-founders and co-artistic directors Alea De Castro and Arnaldo Betancourt Silva, MOOV Ottawa Dance specializes in the arts of Hip-Hop and various Street Dance styles. Through event coordinating, dance classes and competitions, MOOV welcomes beginners and experienced dancers alike to interact and learn from each other. Through their international and local presence, MOOV offers a bilingual creative outlet and a unique guided experience to Street Dance culture.
Alea De Castro began her journey through the classical forms of Ballet and Jazz at the Canadian School of Dance in Ottawa. Throughout her youth, she was a part of many organizations such as Boss Dance Crew where she began event curating, choreographing and performing. Alea has had the pleasure of showcasing her work as part of Capital Pride 2018, Canada 150, The Grey Cup Festival and Runway for Hope. She is currently working on theatre shows, teaching and working with her community to make Street Dance more accessible in our community.
From his end, Arnaldo Betancourt Silva decided at the later age of 18 to get involved in the arts by learning Breakdancing. In 2009, he joined the Deadly Venom crew and has since performed around the world. Arnaldo has won several competitions such as the Canadian Street Dance, Vancouver Street Dance Festival and many more. He is currently dedicating himself to help the next generation in his community through dancing.
In this brief interview, artists-in-residence Alea De Castro from MOOV Ottawa Dance shares about the impact of their Neighborhood Arts Ottawa projects and what is to come over the next few months:
What have you accomplished since the launch of your project?
Alea De Castro from MOOV Ottawa Dance:
DJ Mentorships (DJ mentor, DJ Jervy Jerv on his work with our two youth DJ mentees):
First month – basic scratching (baby scratch, forwards and transformers)
Second month – basic mixing and transitions (mixing with bpm, transitioning with low volume fader, using echo effect to fade out, mixing at the right time of a track)
Third month – how to DJ dance battles (Hip-Hop, Popping and Breaking and all styles), a refresher of what we covered in the first two months, plus a rundown of what to look for when you DJ a party/club or dance battle events
Interviews: We’ve conducted 5 live interviews with key Ottawa players in the Street Dance Scene thus far, which can all be found on our Instagram: @moovottawa
Free online dance lessons: We had to wait for all our equipment to come in, so we just posted our first free online mini dance lesson! We’ll be posting a new one each week until the end of December.
What are the upcoming plans for your project this fall?
Alea De Castro from MOOV Ottawa Dance: We’re continuing everything listed above but with some adjustments. Our DJ mentorship with DJ Jervy Jerv ends tomorrow, September 29th, 2020. Starting from October to December, the two youth DJ mentees will be part of a biweekly virtual workshop from various Canadian DJs. Our Interviews will continue through Instagram Live until December and our free online classes will also continue. Finally, we will be sharing dance moves and some background history about Break Dancing, Hip Hop, House and Whacking to our audience.
What have you learned from this experience and how do you plan to apply these learnings in the future?
Alea De Castro from MOOV Ottawa Dance: Everything we’ve done so far is re-building the foundation of our scene, virtually. Initially our plan was to have in-person dance battles, but since that can’t happen safely yet, we are providing tools for our community so they can come back with new skills and a desire to dance! Our youth DJs will be able to apply their knowledge and skills once our battles return; our community will have a sense of history and perspective of the past, present and future of our scene; and new dancers will get to know foundational moves of various styles of Street Dance. All elements we’re working on virtually will come into use when our battles return.