Chase Constantino is a performer and choreographer predominantly operating in and around the GTA, but not limited to it. Chase has performed all over North America whether in the Hollywood or Bollywood scene, and always creates a presence. He first began as a singer and actor, until dance joined his roster of talents. Dance has taken Chase to many new and great places, and he now celebrates it at every chance he gets.
Chase began dancing reggae and hip-hop but was soon called to recognize his potential in his own community. As a South Asian dancer, Chase has had the opportunity to embark on a cultural journey which has made him skilled in Bollywood, Bhangra, and the Classical Indian style Bharatanatyam.
He has had the opportunity of working with Bollywood stars such as Neha Dupiha, Akshay Kumar, Sonam Kapoor as well as many other names. Chase is also one of the principal dancers and instructor for the Bollywood Choreographer Divya Kumar, which has allowed his to travel around the world with opportunities of Bollywood performances.
Aside from the Bollywood world, Chase has worked with many Canadian and International artists in either backup performances or feature music video roles. His resume includes artists like Kos, Feist, Alex Cuba, Russell Peters and Apache Indian. On the recent film Breakaway, Chase not only choreographed a scene in the movie but got the chance to work with SYTYCD judge/choreographer Trey Armstrong as a featured dancer in a Ludacris video directed by Lil-X.
Not every performer can say that they have performed for the Queen, but on the last Royal Visit to Canada Chase personally met the Queen and performed in a Bollywood-fusion piece directed by Deepa Mehta.
With all of Chase’s success in the dance world he has recently started his own dance company and performance group called Broken Dance formerly known as Broken Pin-Stripes. Chase most recently had his choreography and talent recognized on the nationally broadcasted and world renowned show, Canada’s Got Talent. Where his company, Broken Dance not only were chosen to be aired in the Toronto Auditions episode but through judge’s selection and audience votes made it all the way to the Finals!
Here’s Generation Next’s interview with Chase:
• Please tell us a bit about your academic and family background?
I am one of 3 children, the youngest with 2 older sisters. My parents grew up in Mumbai and although they have a mixed background they are predominantly Goan. I was born in Bahrain and came over to Canada when I was 7 years old. I grew up in Mississauga and then attended York University where I graduated with my Bachelor of Arts and a Creative Advertising Diploma from Seneca College.
• After acting and singing, how did you find your true talent in choreography?
I had always been into the arts since I was a child. I started with drawing to copy my sisters, and soon found myself singing in plays at the age of 6. As I grew up I knew I loved performing and kept trying a new art form. In high school I moved to theatre, and finally in University I was forced to join a dance team where my obsession took over.
• Where do you get your inspiration for new moves in choreography?
I love being inspired by different artists and dance pieces. Seeing how people innovate movement and formations, I try to draw inspiration from that, not plagiarizing. I take that inspiration and I try to experiment with my own body when I choreograph and try to see how movement can flow into something new and what my body and experience leads me to do.
• Before showing of dance moves, do you picture the artist who will be performing it? Is it important for you to know?
I think it is very important to know your artists and dancers, is it within their capability? What range of movement do they have? What will make them look good while not compromising creativity. I tend to have a process where I day dream about songs and dance routines and picture how something would be performed on stage, with innovative ideas and formations and that is my jumping off point for my choreography.
• Which dance would you say you have specialized in and why?
I have always had a love for dancehall reggae and hip hop as I started dancing those styles. But since then I have grown to love so many more, Bollywood, Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Bhangra, etc.
I would say the dance form I specialize in is definitely a hybrid. It is Bollywood centric, but the fusion of that with Classical styles or with Hip Hop- I truly try to bring my own personal dance experience to my choreography to make it signature.
• What type of dance brings you closer to yourself?
I love learning classical because of the discipline .. hip hop helps to hone musicality and sharpness.
• How do you keep yourself fit?
Most people think I keep fit by dancing, and of course it helps. But I definitely need to take the extra mile and go to the gym. I try to go at least 4 times a week, but it’s hard at time when you travel or have a unpredictable schedule.
• Do you have a special diet?
I definitely do not. My friends hate me for this but I do have a very high metabolism so I tend to eat whatever I want. Although, I try to stay away from too much junk food and keep a high protein diet it doesn’t always work out.
• Would you like to work more in Hollywood or Bollywood?
I don’t think I want to pick. I think the magic of Bollywood is always there, I love working on Bollywood sets because you can be creative and use your imagination. Indians are all about dreaming big. But when I work in Hollywood I get to showcase and bring light to not only my style but my culture and help break boundaries which is also rewarding.
• Do you think Hollywood offers scope to South Asian artists such as yourself?
Hollywood is increasingly offering opportunities to South Asians. It may not be as many out there, but things are changing and we are making waves.
• How is your brand different from say other dance companies in the GTA?
Our brand is different because of our choreography and our talent. I have some of the most talented dancers that I work with and that coupled with the difference of my fusion choreography- I think we are able to tell a story with our dance. We are not just about filling a song with repetitive moves but engaging our audience with a great performance and choreography.
• Most young people like to dance. Some think of themselves as outstanding as well. How can one know that he/she has a world class talent and should hone their skills more?
I don’t think its something that anyone can just judge. I mean there are the staples that I look for when I adjudicate dance, but as an individual if you have a passion for dance you should know no limit. There is always a dance style to learn and room for improvement.
• What advice would you offer to those who want to venture into the field of choreography?
Be true to yourself. Don’t regurgitate and copy routines and choreography you see. Think about where your strengths are, the difference in your movement and use that to create from your heart.
• Can you give three basic dancing tips to our readers, please?
1. Don’t be afraid to look stupid, looking stupid is half way to perfecting the move.
2. Practice indeed makes perfect, and each of us work differently.
3. Dance with conviction and heart. .
• Are the tips different for men versus women?
Although, choreographing men and women can be very different. The rules should still apply, in fact I would say to both sexes. Don’t be afraid to learn each other’s choreography- it is just another step in understanding movement.
• Tell us about Broken Dance and what you hope to achieve through it?
Broken Dance has been great and I see it growing as a dance and entertainment company and would like to in the future have it as a studio when my choreography work slows down. But my aim is to also bring productions to the masses using the talent of Broken Dance and show the world the difference in our company.
• Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Well I see myself happy in 10 years and in the performance arts. I know that sounds simple, but for me to be happy is to just keep going on and striving for the best in what I love. Aside from Broken Dance I want to continue choreographing, I choreographed and went on my first world tour recently and I would like to be able to have that global reach in the near future.