Known as a judge on CTV’s popular show So You Think You Can Dance Canada, Tré Armstrong has worked hard her whole life at something that she loves … dance. This acclaimed choreographer, artist and actress now shares her strong passion for the art of dance through her not-for-profit foundation “The Tré Armstrong Gives Back Foundation” and her dance company A New DAEI (A New Dance Academy for the Entertainment Industry); both offer programs and events that make dance and creative artistic expression available to communities across Canada.
One of Tré’s missions is to use the medium of dance to positively influence the youth of today, “I want to make sure that I provide them with accessibility to dance. But I am going deeper than accessibility; I am also enabling them, empowering them and mentoring them to be leaders not just in dance but also in life in general.”
Her urban dance program, D-Tour, attains this mission by using dance as a tool to build life-skills in youth. What makes this 12 week program so powerful is HOW it is done. “We allow the kids to actually take control, create and direct the projects themselves. They then perform on stage in a showcase at the end of the program.” It started in the Toronto Parkdale community for girls aged 14-20 and has now expanded into a program for boys. Tré hopes to bring D-Tour to every city across Canada and the US.
Her dance academy is presently offering summer programs. “We have over 60 kids registered which is a big surprise for us because we are opening up a dance studio in Brampton in September.” Another program is “The Give Back!” which is a one-day free day of dance offering different styles; classes are taught by teachers in the professional industry. And you can even take a free seminar with Tré herself!
And what is Tre’s favourite dance style? “Hip Hop – it is the culture that I have identified with the most in my life being a tom boy too. It speaks about a lot of the struggles that I have encountered. The culture itself is something that I have grown up in and I have been nurtured by it naturally by people around me. And just the influence of the music itself on my life growing up – it is pivotal in creating who I am today.”
When asked what comes to mind when someone says the words ‘born to dance,’ Tre’ responds thoughtfully, “Wow – freedom! You can do what ever you want. It also reminds me of me; that’s who I am – I was born to dance.”