By Pia Cabrera
Tamina Pollack-Paris is a Toronto native whose love of dance began at the age of two. With 16 years of professional work under her belt, she has developed a name for herself in Canadian Entertainment before going on to work with the best in the business in Los Angeles. Some of her career credits include: Season One of So You Think You Can Dance Canada, Degrassi, American Idol, Glee, Frenemies featuring Shake it Up stars Bella Thorne and Zendaya, and plays the principal role of “Tiffany” in the new tween Family Channel series, “The Next Step”. Tamina has also worked with Justin Bieber, Ke$ha, Rye Rye, Victoria Duffield, Danny Fernandes, and Massari.
Fresh off a year-long world-tour with Lady Gaga, Tamina wanted to find an avenue of giving back to the community that meant so much to her. That vision grew into THE GIRLS CLUB, which is now a distinguished Academy geared towards the development and empowerment of young female performers. A word-class entertainer and the brains behind the force that is THE GIRLS CLUB, Tamina Pollack-Paris is a spirited force to be reckoned with, and she took the time to answer some of Lithium Magazine’s questions for journalist Pia Cabrera.
Pia: Do you remember the exact moment when you started dancing or knew you wanted to become a dancer?
Tamina: I began dancing at the age of 2. My mother used to make home videos of my sister and me dancing. It was very evident that I loved performing in front of the camera, even at such a young age. There was something so magical about music, I always loved making shapes and letting the flow of the rhythm lead the way
Pia: How did you start your career as an international dancer, entrepreneur and choreographer?
Tamina: I landed my first professional role as a dancer at the age of 9, working for the Toronto Raptors Jr. Dance Pak. A few years later I went on my first tour with Canadian Artist Keshia Chante. After working with several American productions and artists that made their way to Toronto, I decided to make the move to LA to pursue a full time career in the city of dreams. With the desire to succeed, and with the help of my amazing agency (Bloc Talent) I was fortunate enough to work with many amazing artists such as Ke$ha, Aloee Blacc and Justin Bieber. After learning many valuable lessons throughout my career, I wanted to find a way to pass on this knowledge to the next generation of aspiring performers. With a natural aptitude for business, and with 2 years of training at Ryerson’s School of Business, I wanted to find a way to put both of my passions to use. This idea was the foundation that lead me to create my Academy and Entertainment Company, called The Girls Club.
Pia: With 16 years of professional work, what has been your favorite moment or experience in your career and why?
Tamina: There have been so many memorable moments in my career, and I am super grateful to have had so many opportunities. One of my favorite moments in my career has been to be able to see the world. It was so great to travel and learn the different cultures and to see all of the historic landmarks of each city. I think it was such a great experience not only as a performer, but as a person. It really gave me a well-rounded perspective of the world.
Pia: Name one of your favorite artists to work with and why?
Tamina: It’s really difficult to choose a favorite artist or show because I learned something valuable from each experience. The most valuable lesson learned is the importance of hard work and dedication, which is the underlying requirement for any successful show or performance.
Pia: Where or with whom are your working with today?
Tamina: I most recently completed a year-long world tour with Lady Gaga, so right now I am focusing on expanding my Entertainment Company and Academy, The Girls Club.
Pia: What or who are your biggest influences?
Tamina: The biggest influences that inspire my performance style are timeless Entertainment icons such as Diana Ross, Prince, Chaka Khan and Cher. I truly admire their sense of style, elegance and their contribution to the expansion of society’s perception of entertainment. I am a firm believer of striving for 50 years of success over 5 minutes of fame.
Pia: Which show or artist would be your dream to work with?
Tamina: I would really love to dance or choreograph for an R&B artist because it would give me the opportunity to perform in a new and different capacity than I am accustomed to. Having been on tour with a pop artist, most of the routines are high energy, so it would be interesting to work on the opposite side of the spectrum with slower and mellower movement.
Pia: As a choreographer, is it hard to come up with choreography?
Tamina: I actually really enjoy the creative process as a choreographer because music inspires me to create different ways of moving. I also enjoy using bodies to create pictures. I think of them as puzzle pieces arranged in a way to create dynamic and visually appealing masterpieces.
Pia: Is the dance industry in Los Angles different from Toronto’s?
Tamina: There is definitely a huge difference between the dance industry in LA and Toronto. Although the talent is comparable, the distinguishing factor is the amount of competition. Toronto is a very tight-knit community with a small industry, so it is very difficult to get your foot in the door. Once you are presented with your first opportunity, there is a strong chance that you will be called upon when jobs become available, which isn’t very often. In LA, there are many jobs but there are many people going after the same jobs. The upside is that if you aren’t successful on one project, there is a higher chance of finding another opportunity that will better suit you. Both industries can be equally rewarding, it just depends on your goals and aspirations as a performer and where you see yourself establishing your career.
Pia: What advice do you have for aspiring dancers in Toronto?
Tamina: The best piece of advice I can give, is to never underestimate the power of hard work and dedication. There is much to be said about creating your own path to success. Not only will you learn valuable lessons along the way but you will always know the road taken to the top. When opportunities are constantly given to you, you are robbed of the opportunity to learn what it takes to achieve a long-lasting and fulfilling career on your own.
Pia: What is your favorite song to dance to?
Tamina: My favorite song to dance to, is the first song I ever danced to as a child. SWV’s “I’m So Into You”. Every time I hear this song, I’m reminded of why I love to dance and the natural high it gives. For me, this song represents the purest form of passion and love for my art. Whenever I hear this song, I know that I am on the right path and that good things are coming.
Pia: What inspired you to start The Girls Club?
Tamina: I have always wanted to find a way to give back to the dance community by sharing all that I have learned in my career. That vision grew into THE GIRLS CLUB, which is now a distinguished Academy geared towards the development and empowerment of young female performers.
Pia: How does The Girls Club help empower and develop young female performers?
Tamina: The Girls Club empowers young performers by creating a supportive environment to foster growth and development through our specialized curriculum that emphasizes both dance and business training. Not only do we focus on refining their skills as performers, we also dive deeper to bring out their most confident selves and teach them how to present a complete and professional representation of themselves. Our academy also encourages growth by creating positions of employment for our senior members in our business operations. We also create performance opportunities by doubling as a full-service venue Entertainment company by providing high-calibre, innovative and immersive performances at various events around the city.
Pia: Any upcoming projects and shows in Toronto?
Tamina: I’m currently producing a full show for The Girls Club. It promises to be an exhilarating, immersive performance that will showcase a lot of Toronto’s Talent. The show is scheduled to happen in the beginning of summer, so stay tuned for more information!
Pia: What do you hope to achieve in the near future?
Tamina: Aside from spreading the work and ideology of The Girls Club on a National scale, I plan on heading back to Los Angeles to continue growing as a performer by working with as many artists as I can to continue passing along what I have learned to the upcoming generations of entertainers.
Our Girls Club website is currently under construction, but you can find more info at:
Instagram: the_girlsclub and taminapollackparis
Twitter: the_girlsclub and misstamina