LIMA — Jonny Zakian, of Manchester, England, is hoping to form a professional hip hop dance troupe with Lima’s youth. He is holding auditions for youth with all abilities and experience levels from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday at The Coworking Centre, 220 W. Market St., Lima.
Zakian ended up in Lima after following his husband over from the UK.
“I moved here to be with my husband, who I met in the UK. He was studying in England at the time and we ended up meeting, so one of us had to make the jump, and that ended up being me. It’s been a positive move,” said Zakian.
He has worked with young people across the world producing talent for TV shows like “So You Think You Can Dance,” “Britain’s Got Talent” as well as for international artists such as Justin Bieber, Camilla Cabello, Rita Ora and more.
Zakian has decided to bring his skills as a dancer, choreographer and talent agent to Lima’s youth in the formation of Jaz Arts Hip Hop Troupe.
“This is definitely not a dance school. Lima is already very saturated with dance schools. What I’m ideally hoping to brand is a professional dance company,” said Zakian.
He is offering training with rehearsals geared towards doing professional performances. Zakian is looking to get the troupe booked and seen at professional events.
“I know there’s a lot of festivals in Lima and across the state. I think there’s a lot of opportunities, be it commercials, festivals or performing for artists. There’s a whole host of opportunities for young people to get involved in. Instead of hiding them away and sending them to competitions, I want to give them the chance to actually build up their resume and their professional skills,” said Zakian.
He has opened the auditions to youth from age 10 to 25, which is very broad.
”I was very keen to keep the doors as open as possible. I really want to invite the most diverse crowd possible. I think it’s really important to broaden the scope of arts projects and try and get as many people involved as possible. I’m not too worried about experience level or ability. Whatever it is that people have done in the past or not done, even if it’s just, ‘I’ve got a bit of an interest in dance and want to explore more,’ there’s definitely a place to come audition and just see what happens, give it a go. I want to create a very safe space for the young people, I don’t want them to feel intimidated or scared that it’s an audition. I want them to feel like it’s an opportunity to take a class, show off your skills and try something new. Everyone is going to be very supportive and welcoming,” said Zakian.
After the audition, Zakian hopes to start rehearsing in September once a week, which will lead up to professional performances in early 2019.
“[It’s] so they’ve got a nice slot of time to get themselves ready and get up to standards so we can start performing next year, early in the season,” said Zakian.
He has interest in the professional dance troupe already and credits Lima with being a welcoming community.
”I’m very grateful to be in such a positive environment and I think there’s a lot of growth that is happening and there’s a lot more that can be done, so it’s really exciting to be involved in the arts,” said Zakian.
Reach Merri Hanjora at 567-242-0511.