Dancer, Choreographer, Creator
Based in Vancouver, BC
This month, we had the pleasure of talking to the inspiring young creator, dancer, and choreographer that is Chanel Lacasse. As someone who has been immersed in the dance world since youth, Chanel’s valuable perspectives illustrate her passion, vulnerability, and unique energy as an artist. Learn and be inspired by her words below.
When you decided to pursue dance as a career, what was the path you imagined for yourself? Tough question! I honestly don't believe there was ever an 'aha!' moment for me where I knew that dance was going to be my career. I always felt it was going to be a part of my life in some way or another. I was immersed in the dance world from birth, with my family owning the dance studio I grew up in. It came as second nature to me. The path I imagined for myself when I was younger is completely different to what has transpired thus far and what I hope to happen in the future. I trained intensely in ballet, to the point of receiving the highest standing award in the Royal Academy of Dance, known as The Solo Seal Award. I thought I would continue on as a ballet dancer but instead, I have taken a totally different direction. I now focus primarily on choreography, commercial, and contemporary work. I am so grateful to have the foundation and discipline that ballet provides. Ballet enhances my current work and continues to influence and inform my approach to creating in and out of the studio.
How do you take the time to care for yourself with a busy schedule? Taking time for yourself is SO important! I personally am pretty good at taking time for myself…. no shame there, haha. I find it instrumental in how I give back in all aspects of my life. For me, it comes down to time management. Over the past two and a half years I have become accustomed to utilizing my ‘Passion Planner’. This isn’t a plug for PP my friends, it is a true GAME CHANGER! A Passion Planner is an agenda, but it is so much more than just that! It ties in self awareness with goals, daily tasks, quotes, and things that you are grateful for... I could go on a long list of what it has to offer. What I am trying to say is that I enjoy taking the time to sit with my planner. Taking time for a cup of coffee on a Sunday morning to see what my week looks like sets me off on a great foot for the week. I like to visually see where there is free space in my schedule and I then slot in time for myself. My second tip is pretty general but can be applied directly to this question - becoming aware. This would be listening to the signs your body is giving you. Perhaps that means some time to slow down or the exact opposite, to go for a run. When I feel these signs for myself, I try my best not to ignore them and to delegate what I can (even if it is just a short 20 minutes) towards filling up that tank of time for self.
What is something you wish you knew earlier? This can be in dance, career, or life in general. Honestly, I thought about how to answer this question for a long time and contemplated multiple things I wish I had known earlier. I even came up with an answer! But, in the back of my mind, an even bigger voice says that everything I’ve learnt, I’ve learned when I’ve needed to learn it. I believe the timing of all events in our lives happen when they are supposed to. If I were to share a nugget of advice with you it would be to have trust in the timing, it will all unfold as it is meant to.
Who currently inspires you most as a professional? Currently I am so intrigued with artists of all different mediums. I am loving the singer, songwriter, composer, and artist that is 'Rhye'. His music feels like stepping into a different world. I am in love with every song shared because they all inspire me to move - whether it is just my hands whilst on transit or choreographing on the beach at English Bay. It is always the right time to throw on some Rhye tunes.
What is the greatest thing that dance has taught you? Has this lesson translated into other aspects of your life? Dance has taught me an immense amount of lessons - the good, the bad, and the ugly. If I were to choose the greatest thing it has taught me, it would be the way I am able to connect with others as well as with myself. I have been told I have a way of interacting with a unique sense of warmth and openness. I believe I learnt that through growing up in an artistic environment where I was free to explore vulnerability, emotion, boundaries and human connection through the form of dance. I am so grateful I’m able to call dance my facilitator to connect.
You can find more from Chanel on Instagram (@chanellacasse) or on her website chanellacasse.com