Katie & Will Sanchez
Meet the Ultimate Duo in both Dance and Life
Mr and Mrs Sanchez are an exciting and creative couple that were brought together both professionally and romantically by dance. They both work successfully in the commercial dance world as well as in the modelling and advertising worlds. Plus, if it all turns bad, Will Sanchez may have to rely on his skills as an aspiring Masterchef! From The Bronx to Chef in the Hood, and Beyonce dancer to dance mentor … meet Katie & Will Sanchez.
Here is Chris Duncan’s recent interview with Katie & Will.
CHRIS: We’re talking to the lovely dancing couple Katie and Will Sanchez. What have you been up to recently?
WILL: Just been busy with ‘Beat The Streets’ and planning a tour to Canada in July and August.
KATIE: Yes, we’re doing a big circuit of buskers’ festivals over two months over there with Beat The Streets. We’ve managed to book all the big ones, which is really exciting for them being their first big overseas trip together.
WILL: It’s been a while… I used to do them back about 10 years ago and just did a lot of Canadian tours and European busking tours so decided to give it another go this year.
KATIE: And I have just been working away as usual. Both of us have managed to book a few TV commercials (TVC) this year which is good. I think dance has actually slowed down a little for me this year… I’m trying to focus on a few other areas of life. I’m working with Marco Panzic on Show Business… we’re onto our second group of students this year and they’re an amazing group of artists that we’re working with. That keeps me pretty busy Monday to Thursday and then I’m just really focusing on doing commericals… just really giving that a lot of my energy.
CHRIS: Katie, you’re a dancer who ahs done a lot of modelling… how did you get into the modelling side of it?
KATIE: I got into modelling through dance. I was on set for a music video and the guy who was directing it was also a photographer and he asked to shoot me. I was probably 20 or 21 at the time… and I was so into dance that I didn’t care about anything else! I agreed and he took these amazing photos and he actually sent them off to an agency that was called London Management… they’re now called The Management and I’m still represented by them today.
I was really lucky because 21 is really quite old for modelling … they look at 15 year olds for fashion. I obviously don’t really do the fashion side of things (it’s a really brutal industry!), I’m more on the commercial, lifestyle side of advertising which is a lot nicer. It’s a really good balance with dance because they kind of go hand in hand together… they’re both last minute and crazy! … so I just manage to juggle them.
CHRIS: It works so much better with your dance career and it’s a good positive role model for our Facebook and video kids as well because obviously you’re a dancer first and have been able to branch into the modelling side of things.
KATIE: I have always put dance first because I love the dance industry and I’m a lot more passionate and involved in it, whereas I do love the modelling side of things, but the industry is very different in terms of the fashion industry. So I prefer to get a lot more involved in the dance side of things and keep the modelling gig as a side thing.
CHRIS: Will, tell our readers about your background? Can you walk me through how you started in breakdancing and what your journey was?
WILL: So I started in Bronx, New York City at the early age of 11-12 years at a community centre called The Point. Basically, I didn’t really plan on dancing I just ran into it . I started off doing martial arts in school and then my brother came home one day and he was like ‘check this move out’. It was breakdancing, and I honestly had no idea what breakdancing was! He did something like a chair freeze and I was like ‘oh that is the coolest thing ever… how did you learn that?’ At the community centre there was this guy called CrazyLegz teaching… and from that day from day I just could not stop dancing. I just fell in love with dance!
I was able to travel the world doing what I love to do. I’ve never worked a ‘real job’ in my life… just been dancing since I was a kid and I’ve gotten to see this amazing world, meet amazing people … and get the girl!
KATIE: And it was big to get out of the area you grew up in…?
WILL: It was huge. It was a really tough place to grow up. I was in a group of 15-20 friends … and there are only two of us left because we left and travelled… the others are either dead or in gaol. It was really tough.
CHRIS: So what made you decide to come to Australia?
WILL: Well I came here first in around 2002-2003 for a Buskers Festival in Coffs Harbour. I realised I really loved this place and I want to come back. Then a friend Travis Ross decided to run another festival… which I met this lovely lady next to me! Then I came over the following year to surprise Katie and I just didn’t go back home!
CHRIS: That’s so beautiful! So Katie, what are some of the jobs you’ve done?
KATIE: I think my career has mostly been artists’ work … it’s what I love to do the most. The Beyoncé video was really cool to do. I had to meet Frank Gadson, Beyoncé’s creative director, whom I’ve looked up to for a long time… We had to meet him at a hotel in the city… They said it was an audition but I we were meeting in a lobby? He literally got us to do one ballet move each, and that was it! Obviously it was just his test to see if we were trained… that was all he wanted to know. Then after that we got a call back to go backstage at Acer Arena with all the female dancers because she was touring at the time. We had to go backstage and learn ‘End of Time’ from all of her dancers which was the most surreal experience ever because I love that routine.
I ended up booking the job and it was all top secret. We were driven three hours away to the sand dunes in Newcastle and we weren’t allowed to hear the track so whenever we were dancing we either had to dance half time or double time. So they’d either slow the track or double time it so no one could get the melody… because it was such a secret project. I had to sign many things because of the secrecy of the video.
So that was a real highlight for me… and Beyoncé wasn’t even on set! It was just the whole experience and watching the way they run it. They’d flown in a French director and Beyoncé’s choreographer from LA … I just love watching how things come together. It was just really cool just being on set and watching these people work on this huge scale production on this one video I think they were shooting for 4-5 days and the crew was insane.
Another highlight was working with Jason Derulo. I wasn’t really a big fan but his work ethic blew me away! Will was on that job with me too. Derulo had us in the studio until about 1-2am one day just wanting to learn the choreography.
WILL: He (Derulo) wanted to learn the tap dancing, the line breaking… he wanted to do everything.
KATIE: He got Will’s whole crew in the show and he wanted to break, to learn tap and hip hop, everything!… he is a real dancer and he was really awesome to work with. I love working for people like that. For me it’s less about the status and who they are… but working with people who are just really hungry for is the best thing. And obviously I love working with Ricky Lee (Coulter)… she is one of my closest friends and I’ve worked for her consecutively for nearly 6 years. She’s my favourite person to be on stage with!
It’s her vibe. It’s so real for us on stage with her. I’ve danced with artists that don’t even look at you and it feels really disconnected. With Ricky it’s like we bounce of each other, we just have each other’s back and it’s just really fun. When you’ve danced next to your duo partner for however many years it’s just you get this really cool chemistry on stage and that’s really fun for me.
CHRIS: And what are some of the highlights for you Will?
WILL: Stan Walker was cool. About 4-5 years ago a friend asked me to choreograph a music video for Stan Walker in Queenstown, New Zealand. I was like sure!! He’s really talented and it was a beautiful place. When I was younger I opened up for Kanye West that was really cool… he’s a really nice guy he cares about his dancers.
And since I’ve been here I’ve done some good stuff like some TVCs and… I got married!
KATIE: We even did a commercial together. It was a Brown Brothers wine ad. We got flown to Melbourne and were up in the wine region for two days just sipping wine and getting filmed doing it. That was a really good job! We don’t usually get ads together because we’re both quite ethnic-looking… it’s like they usually pair up different people.
We love when we get to travel and work together because we love food and travel that’s our favourite thing to do. So when we get to work as well it’s our dream job, no matter what we’re doing we’ll always have fun doing it.
CHRIS: Will, tell us about your other passion – cooking?
KATIE: That’s Will’s passion. He calls himself The Chef from the Hood.
WILL: I take my food very seriously actually. I’ve even got a Chef From the Hood page on Facebook and Instagram. It started when I was young as I used to always watch my mum cook and, as a Puerto Rican, males have to know how to cook. So when I was really young my mum would honestly be stirring a pot and she’d tell me to take over. I just fell in love with it and so then she’s telling me all the tricks. Even now I call my mum and I’m like ‘ma so I’m making this and she’s just like you have to add a little bit of this or just do this’. It’s getting crazy some of the dishes I’ve created we’re spending tons of money on food and plates and serving dishes.
If I wasn’t dancing I would probably be cooking somewhere. I think a lot of my friends hang out with me because of my cooking. No matter what whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner someone is going to get fed.
CHRIS: So what’s your take on the condition of the Australian dance industry at the moment and how can entrepreneurial-type people improve it?
KATIE: It feels a little quiet right now, especially in the commercial dance world, which is why I think it is always important to have your options open to be in other parts of the industry. This is what Marco (Panzic) talks a lot about in his Show Business program… that there’s so many amazing jobs within the industry that don’t necessarily just mean performing all the time. For example, you could be an amazing stager manager? This way you’re still involved in the industry and you’re still feeding that passion. Sometimes performers get a little too focused on career specifics, but you want to have your mind open so you’re attracting a whole lot of things and a whole lot of possibilities because you don’t know where one thing can lead to.
WILL: In this dance world it’s just hot and cold. There could be some years where it’s great, and then there are times where you don’t where your next job will come from. So I would say, don’t just rely on dance. Like I said earlier, I haven’t ever had a ‘real job’ but I do have my other outlets such as emceeing, Beat the Streets and my commercial work.
KATIE: Yeah, there’s just so many things you can do. There are just good things happening in terms of creating work in the industry at the moment with people creating shows… but as always I think to build it up we just need to continue making smart decisions about the jobs we take and the standards we make for the dance industry because that is really important in terms of what you will do.
BIO | Katie Sanchez
Katie began her training in Byron Bay at the age of 4. At 17 she moved to Sydney and completed a certificate IV in Performing Arts at Brent Street Studios under the guidance of the industry’s best choreographers.
Since graduating in 2007 Katie has become one of the most sought after commercial dancers and models in Sydney, featuring in Music Videos, Television Commercials, campaigns and live shows for Australian and International artists.
With a career spanning 10 years, Katie has had the pleasure of performing alongside artists such as; Kylie Minogue, Jason Derulo, P!NK, Ricky Martin, FloRida, Ricki Lee, Jessica Mauboy, Sam Sparrow, Natalie Bassingthwaighte, Wynter Gordon, Alexis Jordan and Havana Brown on shows such as The Voice, X-Factor, The Arias, The Logies, So You Think You Can Dance, Australian Idol, Australia’s Next Top Model, Sunrise, Funniest Home Videos, NRL Grand Final, Fashion Week and many more.
She has appeared in music videos for Beyonce, Ricki Lee, Havana Brown, Potbellez, Natalie Bassingthwaighte, and Elen Levon to name a few and has appeared in Television commercials for Toyota, Bonds, Target, Kmart, Brown Brothers, Hungry Jacks, Corona, MasterCard, Pura Milk, Live to Dance and Got To Dance.
Katie has modelled and appeared in campaigns for General Pants, Tony and Guy, Evo Hair, Qantas, Westpac, Francis the Label, Death Suite, Wolftress and Color Smash.
Most recently she was cast in The Dream Dance Company’s season of “The Secret Society” alongside the best commercial dancers in the country directed by Marko Panzic and choreographed by Candace Brown.
When Katie is not busy performing she enjoys travelling around Australia teaching and passing on knowledge to the next generation of dancers.
BIO | Will Sanchez
Born and raised in the Bronx, New York City, Will started Breakdancing in 1995 under the guidance of the legendary bboy “Crazylegz” from the world renowned Rocksteadycrew.
While dancing professionally in the United States, Will was fortunate enough to work with artist such as Kanye West, Twister, Ciara, Neyo, Suga Babes, N’sync and Mandy Moore. He performed on television shows; America’s got Talent, The Rosie O’Donnell Show and the Regis and Kathy Lee Show, to name a few.
In December of 2009, Will made the audacious decision to relocate to Australia in an attempt to explore different areas of dance and bring his knowledge and skills to the other side of the world.
He promptly settled in to the Australian dance industry and has appeared in Television commercials & editorials for Foxtel, Hyundai, Brown Brothers, Holden, Qantas, Panasonic, Rebel Sport, Cleo Magazine, Cosmo Magazine, Big W, Kmart, Australia’s Got Talent and Samsung. He has performed on Australia’s Next Top Model Finale, The Face and X-Factor, has danced for George Michael, appeared in music videos for Ricki Lee and Timomatic and choreographed Stan Walkers film clip “Music Won’t Break Your Heart”.
With all of this experience, knowledge and passion of dance, Will teaches all ages and levels, travelling the country with workshops.
In June of 2010 “illwill” founded Beat The Streets, the first crew to ever combine Breakdancing, Tap Dancing and Comedy. Surrounded by 4 of the industry’s best and most respected performers, Will has already initiated building an all inclusive entertainment company unlike anything else Australia has to offer.