Dance Talk with Tati McQuay
Teen dancer Tatiana McQuay was not born in Tinseltown—she was raised in Ontario, Canada until age seven when she moved to California with her family for more opportunities. In Los Angeles, she was given the chance to star in national commercials for companies such as Toyota, Macy’s, and McDonald’s, as well as for Disney. She also joined girl band L2M, whose song was featured in the LEGO and Friends movie, “Girlz.” But dance is what has really given this powerhouse teen her stellar reputation: McQuay has performed with major artists including Justin Bieber, Janet Jackson, and Meghan Trainor (to name a few). Additionally, she visited Kenya with the Call It Spring x Me to We movement to teach dance and help build schools. Currently, she stars in her own YouTube Red show called Hyperlinked, playing the role of Izzy. It’s clear that McQuay has been on a rocketing rise to fame these past few years—and now she’s ready to share all about her journey.
How did you first discover you had a passion for dance?
I knew since the day I could stand. I was always bouncing around—I loved watching BET music videos and Dora because of the music.
What is most special about dance to you?
It’s my outlet to express my feelings and let loose! It has always been there for me and I just love how it makes me feel. It’s amazing how I can inspire and motivate others through dance to follow their dreams and do what they love.
Who are some dancers that inspire you?
All dancers inspire me! We are all so different and unique—everyone has something that we can all learn from or be inspired by.
What would you say has been your biggest accomplishment as a dancer to date?
By far, dancing on stage with Justin Bieber in L.A. on his Purpose Tour was the biggest highlight of my dance career. I’m a huge “belieber” and always will be.
In your opinion, what is the most challenging part about being a dancer?
Trying to stay motivated in such a competitive atmosphere. The older I get, the tougher it gets, for sure.
Who are some of your favorite choreographers you’ve worked with and why?
I started doing hip-hop in L.A. at a studio called The Rage, and my very first choreographer/mentor/dance dad was Willdabeast Adams—I’ve stayed close to him ever since! I also love learning from and dancing with Tricia Miranda, Brian Friedman, Hamilton Evans, Nika Kljun, and JR Taylor. Matt Steffanina has been a huge influence on me as well; he has taken me under his wing by booking me jobs as his assistant and taking me around the world with him. We have a close relationship and I look up to him very much. Recently, Galen Hooks has also impacted me—I love her style and technique.
Previously, you were a part of Willdabeast Adams’ dance crew, immaBEAST. What was that experience like for you?
immaBEAST is like a second family to me where everyone has the same interests and goals in mind. It’s a safe place to learn and grow together. Recently, I’ve moved on to do other things such as acting and modeling, but my immaBEAST fam will always have a special place in my heart.
What advice do you have for aspiring dancers?
Stay focused, keep practicing, and have fun. You have to love what you do and never give up on your dreams.
Do you hope to choreograph dancers in the future?
I love choreographing and teaching. It has given me amazing opportunities to travel around the world and to connect with others who have the same goals and passion. But ultimately, it's not what I want to do career-wise. I’d love to become an all-around performer, an actress that can dance, sing, model, do it all...like a JLo.
What’s up next for your career?
Hopefully I’ll book a role in a movie or TV series, but I’m going to continue dancing, modeling, and producing some music on the side. I just plan on staying busy and doing what I love.
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YouTube: Tati McQuay