Dance artist

Winnipeg pop-style dance artist says his Maples neighborhood nurtured his talents

You might have seen Calvin Lam moving through the streets of The Maples neighborhood in Winnipeg.

Or maybe you’ve watched the dozens of videos he’s posted to YouTube and Instagram, showing off his pop-style dancing skills.

Regardless, the Winnipegger is making a name for himself with his pop and independent dance moves, and says his neighborhood, The Maples, played a big part in his love of dancing.

Lam, 22, says that growing up he still danced, even when he was little.

“Growing up, I always squirmed in the room and in the kitchen or something. My mom said to me, what are you doing?” He said. Radio Information host Marcy Markusa.

“She would even tell me when I was younger, like ‘Oh, don’t do that in public. You look weird.'”

LISTEN: Calvin Lam talks to Radio Information host Marcy Markusa on how he learned to dance:

Radio news – MB7:34YouTube taught this Winnipeg Maples his dazzling dance moves

Calvin Lam tells host Marcy Markusa how his neighborhood played a role in his love of dance, especially popping – a style of street dance characterized by the contraction and relaxation of muscles to give the illusion of movement. . 7:34

He started taking dance lessons in college, while watching YouTube videos and shows like America’s best dance team learn popping – a style of dance where you contract and relax your muscles to the beat of the music, creating fluid movement.

When he arrived in high school, he took optional dancing at Maples Collegiate and successfully auditioned for the school’s dance team in grade 9. At the time, he was the only boy to try for the team and was one of its younger members.

“I was just one of the few guys who danced a lot,” he said. “Even at lunch I would go to the dance studio and do freestyle or make something up, do my own thing.”

He said his dance teacher, Rachel Cooper, and others at the school adopted his different dance style, which allowed him to develop his talents.

Cooper, who runs the dance department at Maples Collegiate, says she remembers Lam as being extremely talented, but also very shy and in need of encouragement to come out of her shell.

She says her students learn a wide variety of dance styles, from ballet and jazz to hip hop, but it was the pop that really appealed to Lam.

While she was able to give him some exposure to the dance style, as well as bring in different choreographers, it was Lam who took it upon himself to learn to pop and lock.

“I think he has been working since he was a student of mine and continues to learn and grow,” she said.

“I was proud of him in grade 9 and when he was performing at our school recital, and I’m just as proud of him now as I see him flourish as a professional, accomplished artist.

Lam’s dance has taken him all over North America, including competitions in Mexico, Los Angeles, Florida, and cities across Canada.

Today Lam teaches dance at the Shelley Shearer School of Dance and Muse Studios. He says he uses dance to deal with the stresses of everyday life.

“It kind of helped me get through the day if I’m a bit bored or maybe I need to move a bit or relax a bit what I’m going through,” he said. .

CBC Manitoba interviewed Lam as part of our community journalism project, On the Move, where we take a closer look at neighborhoods in northwest Winnipeg.

This includes neighborhoods like The Maples, Inkster Gardens, Amber Trails, and Garden City.