Hot Talent Watch | Paris Cavanagh, Jake Edwards & Lilly Jackson
Final Cast Members of WE.ARE Dance Project’s Inaugural Show FOUND
Interviews by Chris Duncan
Up and coming talents, Paris, Jake and Lilly, each with their own unique flair, are the final cast members in our interview series for the new non-profit dance company, WE.ARE Dance Project. Choreographed by Stephen Tannos, the premiere season FOUND will ignite on April 12, with a run of five shows only at NIDA’s Parade Theatre, Sydney. More shows to be announced soon! Get an inside look at the cast of FOUND.
Paris Cavanagh is a striking performer joining the cast of the WE.ARE Dance Project’s premier of ‘FOUND’. Already building her career with her dedication and talent, Paris lets us get to know her a little bit more today…
Q: What does it mean to you to be a part of the Premiere season of FOUND?
I’m so grateful to be part of the show, it’s given me an opportunity to showcase how hard I’ve worked and trained over the years. In the first week of rehearsal I have already learned so much and have been so inspired by the dancers I’m surrounded by. I can’t wait for everyone to see it because it’ll be like nothing you’ve ever seen before.
Q: What are some of the challenges you face as a professional dancer/choreographer?
Making sure I constantly evolve and grow. I want to make sure that I’m pushing boundaries and changing it up as much as possible, not ever playing it safe.
Q: Who are your heroes?
Heroes, in regards to life, would be my family. I wouldn’t be where I am without them. Heroes in regards to inspiration, I would say Billie Eilish. I have been a fan for years now and it’s not just her music that inspires me, I’m inspired by how incredibly different she is to every other artist and how she is so versatile. So I would definitely say she is a hero of mine.
Q: What is your best piece of advice for our Tribe of DanceLife Australia readers?
Stay true to YOU. Don’t try to fit a mould, do what you love and do what makes you happy because it will shine through your dance/ choreography.
Jake Edwards is another captivating, unique and creative talent featuring in the inaugural cast of ‘FOUND’. Only a ‘new’ adult, he already possesses a diverse array of stylistic movement qualities from his fascination with street styles. Today he shares with us a little bit about his background and what most compels him.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your background in dance – where did it all begin for you?
My introduction to dance was at Urban Dance Centre at age 9. I trained there for 5 years which connected me to talented and influential in people in the dance community and provided me with a solid foundation in street styles.
At 16 I explored these styles in greater depth, including: waacking with Ibuki and training in 90s grooves, as well as taking classes in house, popping and dancehall. I also fell in love with all things Vogue, which led to the creation of Kiki house of Luna (the vogue equivalent of a dance crew). Since turning 18 last year, I’ve danced in, and choreographed, concept videos and showcases, performed as a back up dancer, danced in music videos, created performance art pieces, competed in vogue balls and taught regularly.
Q: Who are some of your most influential mentors right now?
My mentors include but are not limited to: Rosa Agius, Tiana Canterbury, Fetu Taku, Sela Vai, Andrew Huynh, Cassandra Merwood, Mathew Mizyed, Tania “Praiz” Rees, Karlee Misipeka and Jackie Laso Barros.
Q: Who is on the guest list for your ideal dance party?
In addition to all the mentors I’ve already listed, I would include Australian dancers Patric Kuo, Matthew Gode, Yukino Mchugh, Jal Joshua and Caetlyn Watson as well as international dancers Ibuki, Seishiro, Aya Sato, Shimizu Mash, Haeni Kim, Slim Ninja, Lea Vlamos, Irina Milan, Daniel Milan and UU Milan.
Q: What’s in store for you for the coming year/near future?
Many, many more dance projects. I’m keen to further explore how music, fashion, drag makeup (specifically 90s club kid), and cinematic techniques can be used to enhance dance and create a full sensory experience. I’m also excited to continue teaching and to explore more commercial and experimental choreography.
Lilly Jackson, still only sixteen, is the youngest addition to the cast of ‘FOUND’. Already holding her own as she takes this first step into the professional realm, Lilly is a rising talent and her momentum is only just starting to build.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your background in dance — where did it all begin for you?
One could say I was dancing in my mum’s belly! I started classes at three years old, learning all styles, especially hip hop genres. The beginning of my dance career vision started at Brent Street, where I have since gained a passion for the emotion and movement of contemporary and lyrical styles.
Q: Who are some of your most influential mentors right now?
I am lucky enough to have countless influential mentors in my life, but right now; everyone in the WE.ARE cast. Every single member has something about their movement that I’m obsessed with, and I am always trying to absorb their styles and grow my movement capacity. Anyone who has something unique about their movement is an influential mentor for me. I watch and visually study their movement, then go home and practice in the mirror for hours.
Q: Just for fun – if you could chose, what would be your one superpower?
I would probably have to go with either super speed or mind reading. Super speed because if you know me, I’m always late. Instead of getting to your birthday dinner 40 minutes late, I could get there on time! Or mind reading because I’m always wondering what my dog is thinking.
Q: Where do you hope you will be in 5 years?
In 5 years time, I hope I have learned a lot more about dance and worked with more incredible dancers. I also would love to have created choreography or be about to choreograph my own dance project.
BIO | Paris Cavangh
Paris trained extensively at Brent Street Studios in Sydney and is now part of the faculty there. She has worked with some of our industry’s leading professionals including Jason Gilkison, Marko Panzic, Stephen Tannos, The Squared Division, Cameron Mitchell and Mitchell Woodcock to name a few. Her TV and Screen credits include ‘Everybody Dance Now’, ‘X Factor’, ‘Dance Academy’, ‘Dance Academy The Movie’, ‘The Kerry Ann Kennerly Show’, and ‘Young Talent Time’. She has appeared in music videos for Havana Brown and Elen Levon and has performed alongside Jessie J on ‘X Factor’ and Little Mix on ‘Sunrise’. Paris’ stage credits include TLC Australian Tour, GRL Aus Tour, Paces Aus Tour (in both dancer and choreographer roles) and performances at the Australian Dance Festival.
BIO | Jake Edwards
Jake began training at Urban Dance Centre at age 9, which connected him to talented and influential in people in the dance community, as well as providing him with a solid foundation in street styles.
Jake has trained extensively in waacking (with Ibuki), 90’s grooves, house, popping, dancehall and vogue – which led to the creation of Kiki house of Luna. Jake has danced in and choreographed concept videos and showcases, performed as a back up dancer, danced in music videos, created performance art pieces, competed in vogue balls and teaches regularly.
BIO | Lilly Jackson
Lilly Jackson, still only in high school, is already paving an incredible path for her career, training and performing with some of Australia’s best. Lilly has attended Brent street for a number of years and also studies dance at Newtown High School of the Performing Arts. She has assisted and been trained by countless national and international choreographers developing extraordinary skill for her age in jazz, contemporary, lyrical, hip hop, musical theatre, ballet, acrobatics and choreography so far. She has been awarded multiple awards including Pre Senior of the year and Most Inspiring Dancer and has performed in Dance Editorial, Buildabeast Showcase, HSC major dance performance, music videos, Dance Life competitions, Australian dance festival competitions and showcases, School Spectacular and has been selected to be part of the IMMABEAST team, created by Wildabeast. Lilly is determined to always reach her full potential and her charismatic nature and open heart has seen her create lifelong relationships both in the industry and daily life. Lilly is certainly a rising star with much ahead of her.