MsToya Robinson - ROLE MODEL & AMBASSADOR
ABOUT MsTOYA: La Toya Robinson, known as MsToya on stage and for performing and instructing. A Dancer/Performer, Choreographer and Instructor; born and raised in Toronto. She began dancing at the age of 3, technically trained in ballet, tap, jazz, gymnastics and hip hop. She competed across North America winning championships with her dance school. She broke into the entertainment industry with a tap dance role in the movie 'Bojangles' which starred the late great Gregory Hines. From there, she went on to dance in some other well known dance movies including 'Honey' and 'Save the Last Dance 2'. She has also performed on stage and in videos for Drake, Black Eyed Peas, Rihanna, Akon, Kardinal Offishall, Flo Rida and Deborah Cox. Performing with artists like Massari, Kreesha Turner, Blake McGrath and soca star Destra have led her to travel across North America, to the Caribbean, Europe, UK, Africa, Australia and the Middle East doing what she loves and making a living.
Also, she assisted Tre Armstrong and Luther Brown, who were the head judges and choreographers on all seasons of So You Think You Can Dance Canada. As a true lover of dance and movement, she likes expressing her creativity through choreography and staging which has led her to create routines for the Toronto Raptors, Toronto Argonauts and the Toronto Rock Cheerleaders. This past summer, MsToya had the opportunity to work with RnB superstar Mya on her performance for Toronto's Carnival! It was a huge accomplishment for her and definitely a highlight in her career so far. 2013 has been a really great year so far, as she kicked off the year choreographing and performing with Massari on City TV's NYE Bash and her work has been featured on Breakfast Television. She just finished choreographing Massari's latest video 'Shisha' and working on putting together his stage show for a worldwide tour!
Tell us something not many people know about you? Something many people don't know about me is that I'm an extremely shy person. Dancing and performing in front of thousands of people, you would never assume that I get tongue-tied and so nervous when it comes to talking to a group of people.
What's your inspiration or how do you get motivated? I'm inspired by God blessing me with the opportunity to wake up each day and better myself. Music is also a huge inspiration for me work wise and is what keeps me motivated to continue working with artists and creating shows.
How did you get to where you are now and what more should we expect? I've gotten to where I am now through hard work, drive and dedication. I am very self-motivated and love the entertainment and performance industry. I've always tried to step up my game with everything I've done; so I think that has really put me in the position I am in now.
What you can expect from me in the future is that I am working with Ron Bedeau on a business venture called In Tha Groove, that would cater to all areas of the entertainment field from artist development and dance performances to music editing and consultations. I am also getting more involved in the fitness world and plan on building on that area much more. Training and helping others change their lives for the better.
What would you like to be remembered for? I would love to be remembered as a successful entertainer and one that helped bring together the community through the love of the arts. Someone that positively worked and travelled the world to give back.
How do you balance work, family, friends and leisure? Balancing work, family, friends and leisure definitely is not easy especially in the industry that I'm in, as work is very unpredictable. When it rains it pours with work which may not leave much leisure time and being the driven person that I am, I'm always trying to better myself and move on to the next thing. I do however make sure that when I am home, I spend time with the ones I love and try to vacation at least twice a year (not in conjunction with work travel).
What's your favorite food, book, music, movie? My favorite book would have to be The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho; favorite food is a tie between Jamaican food and Thai food; music is 90's RnB and hip hop; and my favorite movie that I watch over and over, and whenever it is on tv, is Grease.
What's your experience as a Black person in Canada? As a Black person in Canada and especially in the entertainment industry, I have come across many issues like type-casting and preconceived notions, but I love doing what I do with confidence and proving those people wrong.
What is the Black community doing right or wrong in Canada? Right now I think the Black community is learning that to be successful we have to support our own businesses. Other cultures and ethnicities do it all the time and are thriving in Canada. I think once we really learn that support and positivity is key within the Black community, we will be unstoppable.
Are there as many opportunities for Blacks in Canada compared to the US? I don't like comparing Canada and the US just because we are two totally different countries, but it does seem as though there are more opportunities for Blacks out there. Working in film and television, there aren't as many opportunities but I think we need to work hard in Canada and create our own opportunities here. This is definitely possible. We have the means and the knowledge, we just need to come together as a community and support each other.
Mention a few of your favorite Black Canadian Leaders, Artists and Role Models? A few of my favorite Black Canadians Leaders and role models for me would be Luther Brown and Jae Blaze. They have shown that in the industry that I'm in it is possible to achieve your dreams. They are both international choreogrphers and innovators who have worked with everyone from Alicia Keys to Rihanna creating and developing them as artists and putting together award winning shows and videos.
Whats your understanding of Black History in Canada? There are many significant Black Canadians in Canada's history. One I distinctly remember is Lincoln Alexander, who Canada's first black Member of Parliament. This just goes to show that, minority or not we have the means to influence other blacks in the community and around the world.
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