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Jeffrey Lapira: Deep Insights and Fun Facts

Jeffrey Lapira is enjoying his first year as one of our company dancers, and is also a Grade 11 dance student at Cawthra Park Secondary School. Jeff dove head first into dancing with CCDT this past September and has embraced his continued experiences with us with an open mind and a full heart -- and sometimes a full belly!

What influenced and/or inspired you to audition for the company?

I got inspired to audition for the company after seeing their school matinees, especially after knowing that the dancers were either my age or even younger. My school teachers and friends suggested I should audition because they really believed that training at CCDT would improve and enhance my abilities.

Is there a particular piece you are most excited to be a part of this season?

I'm excited to a part of Less -- it consists of the three boys of the company only, and I think that's what excites me the most. Also, the choreographer is Ryan Lee, whom I've worked with in the past. I love his style and movement choices; they feel really natural yet sophisticated.

What was the adjustment to CCDT's schedule and studio dynamic like for you, having recently come from another studio?

Adjusting to the CCDT schedule was definitely difficult at first as the amount of training throughout one week was more than what I had at my old studio. The studio dynamic was also different but in a good way. I felt that the company was mature and supportive, which made me feel confident in what I was going to do for the year.

Comparing my training now from what I did before, there's definitely more emphasis in Modern and Ballet technique at CCDT. When I first started at CCDT I felt almost as if I was left behind or late in terms of modern training from the others dancers my age. Comparing that to the present I feel I have grown a lot, and I'm not worrying about where the other dancers are but where I am in my journey to become the best dancer I can be.

Are there any artists you have worked with at CCDT who have been greatly influential on your training and/or growth as a dancer and artist?

The most influential person I've worked with at CCDT is [Associate Artistic Director and Rehearsal Director] Natasha, 100% I owe what I'm capable of now to her. In Modern classes, C-I training, and rehearsals, her being is very influential to me as an artist. So, thanks Tash :)

I would also like to mention Hanna Kiel as an influence on my growth as an artist. I'm always going to remember her saying, "Just have more fun" as one of her only corrections.

What skills do you think your training, performing, and overall experience with CCDT have given you that are transferable to other aspects of your life?

Whenever I'm asked to collaborate in anything it comes very easy to me now and I'm certain that comes from my time at CCDT. I also take more risks, whether it be going first to do something, creating, or exploring ideas that may be abstract and different.

What's something interesting about you most people don't know?

I can't do the splits even though I've been dancing for 9 years.

What other hobbies or interests do you have outside of dance?

Outside of dance I love to play sports, my favourite is basketball. I like watching sitcoms and mystery shows on Netflix, and I love playing video games with my friends.

Who is someone who regularly inspires you as a dancer/artist/creator/human being?

My mom regularly inspires me to do everything, sometimes she doesn't need to be there or tell me anything but I try to do my best for her because she has given me so much. Love you mom.

What are you totally obsessed with these days?

I'm totally obsessed with bubble tea: so unnecessarily expensive, but so damn good.

Share one of your favourite personal memories about your time with CCDT.

One of my favourite memories with CCDT is actually with one person in the company, Daniel Santokie. We always try to go to the organic store in our short breaks and try to stuff food down our mouths before classes. I always laugh when I think of it, mostly because I know it's going to happen again.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about auditioning for CCDT?

I'd say that it isn't some scary company that trains like it might break you. The company members, staff, and guests are all just artists and human beings sharing knowledge and time with one another, it's truly a one of a kind experience. Just take the audition like a normal class, and have fun.

One of Jeff's favourite quotes:

Be happy for this moment, this moment is your life. - Omar Khayyam

Top photo of Hanna Kiel's A Day of Light taken by David Hou. Lower photo by Francesca Chudnoff.

Jeff performs throughout CCDT's spring season in works by choreographers including Hanna Kiel, Roderick George, Nicole Caruana, and Ryan Lee. Come see our touring production Teasing Gravity at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre on April 5th at 7pm, and don't miss our home season production Light Years at Toronto's Fleck Dance Theatre, May 24-25.

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