Taylor and Reese Hatala talk Dance, Confidence and Social Media

Taylor and Reese Hatala aren’t just sisters, they’re show-stopping dancers and an unstoppable duo to watch.

The Canadian sisters have been growing their platform for years, ever since their incredible hip-hop, stunning contemporary, and one-of-a-kind facial expressions hit the Internet.

Everly Mag talked to Taylor and Reese all about how they started dancing, what inspires their creativity, what’s next for the pair, and more!

Everly Mag: How did you get your start dancing?

Taylor: My mom was a dancer for a very long time; she danced until she was 18.  When I was really little, I had tried gymnastics, soccer, other sports, [and] nothing really clicked.  I started dance at age 3 with ballet and tap.  At age 6, I got into hip-hop and jazz.  I did my first hip-hop solo around age 6 and fell in love.  I said that this was something I wanted to do as long as possible.  I loved performing.

Reese: I started dancing because my mom was a dancer.  When she had Taylor, she put her into dance, [and] when I was 3 I started and found my love for it.

Everly Mag: What is it like to dance with your sister?

Reese: I love dancing with my sister because we feed off each other’s energy.  She’s a great push and I always get to look up to her as [she’s] the older sister.  We have things in common, and she inspires me.

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Image: Crystal T. Photography

Everly Mag: What are the top moments of your career so far?

Taylor: Of course, I would have to say appearing on The Ellen Show.  Ellen was a dream come true [and] it was the first big thing to ever happen for me.  I couldn’t even imagine going on the show before it happened.  Ellen and her staff are so welcoming and nice, and getting to share what I love to do with her huge fan base was a dream come true.  I’m blessed to say that I’ve gotten to appear on the show 3 times now, and I’m very thankful for that experience.

Janet Jackson’s tour was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  I’ve toured with her twice and she’s been almost like a tour mom for us.  She’s so sweet and such an inspiration to me.  [Also] performing at the BET Awards with Chris Brown as well as Janet was amazing, [and so was] performing with Justin Bieber in my hometown.  It was my birthday and he got the entire arena to sing Happy Birthday to me!

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Image: Teresa Hatala

Reese: I loved performing with Justin Bieber, along with my sister here in my hometown.  He picked children from the city to dance with him for one song.  It was on my sister’s birthday, and it was just us two and it was really cool.

Everly Mag: What’s your favorite style or genre of dance?

Reese: I love all styles, but I find my biggest connection with hip-hop.  I notice a feeling that I have when I do [hip-hop], that I can really connect.  You can go really hard, and then really soft and slow.  I just find a big connection.

Everly Mag: Who are the dancers and choreographers who inspire you?

Taylor: Favorite female choreographer is Janelle Ginestra.  Top 3 male choreographers are WilldaBeast, Alexander Chung, and Brian Friedman.

Reese: Basically everyone, but just to name a few – WilldaBeast, Janelle Ginestra, Alexander Chung, Anze Skrube, and my sister.

Everly Mag: Taylor, what’s it like working as a choreographer?  How is it different from working as a dancer?

Taylor: What’s cool about teaching at so young is that I’m still a student and I understand what it’s like to learn from a student’s perspective.  I can take that into my teaching.  When I’m teaching, I always remind myself that this class is not for me or for getting videos, it’s for the students and to help them learn and improve and grow.

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Image: Teresa Hatala

When taking class as a dancer, I focus on things I need to improve on.  In choreography, I focus on my levels and textures and things I want to explore.  I’m learning so much from taking class, and so much from teaching class.  I’ve traveled through Canada and taught in my hometown and in Toronto and Vancouver.  I’ve taught in Los Angeles and all throughout the United States.  I’m hoping to one day teach at Millennium Dance Complex – I’m crossing my fingers!  I love traveling and teaching, and doing both makes me so happy.

Everly Mag: You create a lot of dance videos.  How does an on-camera performance differ from an onstage one?  Do you enjoy watching yourself dancing?

Taylor: It’s different [in] the way your body moves and the way you have to perform.  Onstage, you have to perform to a much bigger crowd, so the people all the way in the back can see and understand what you’re doing.  You also have to be clean and fit in with the other dancers onstage.  You have to still be yourself, but also look like a team and group.  In class, you can kind of mix it up and be more internal with your movement.  You can explore the choreography a little more.

I personally love performing in front of people, that’s how I fell in love with dance.  I do love class and being on set for music videos and TV shows.

Reese: It’s kind of hard to explain, but I think it’s really cool to watch myself dancing because I know what I want to work on and what I could have done better.  I’m so thankful that I get the opportunity to dance, to watch myself [and] my sister and other choreographers.  It’s so cool.

Everly Mag: What’s the best thing about being a dancer?

Taylor: I fell in love with dance because there are no rules to dance.  It’s limitless.  You can never stop improving, you can never stop exploring, and there’s no right or wrong.  You can kind of just be yourself in the best way possible.  You can express emotions without having to use your words.  People who are shy can use dance to express what they are feeling, and that is so cool.

Reese: Just that I get to express my feelings and show my emotion and passion.  Not everybody gets to do what they love, and I find that so cool and I’m thankful for it.

Everly Mag: What’s the hardest thing about being a dancer?

Taylor: It’s hard to figure out the way my body moves.  I grow so much, from height to arm length, so modifying the movement to my body can be tricky sometimes.  Dancing so much as a professional dancer, I [have to] take care of my body.  I have to make sure that I eat right, stay hydrated, get enough sleep, go to massages and the chiropractor, and make sure that I can give 110% at all my different jobs.

Reese: I just love dancing.  I don’t have a least favorite thing!  It definitely is a challenge to balance dance and school, but my teacher is so good.  My sister had the same teacher that I have right now [in public school].  She’s really understanding and she’ll give me work for the road.

Everly Mag: What advice do you have for aspiring dancers or dancers looking to improve their facial expressions and craft?

Taylor: I think that, at all costs, you have to be yourself.  There will be people who tell you that you are not enough or that what you’re doing or who you are is wrong.  You have to ignore them.

At the end of the day, God made you for a reason and you are put on this earth to be you.  You have to be confident with who you are and how you want to express yourself.  You have to be humble, hungry, and honest.  Remain humble to retain corrections and advice from others that can help you grow; honest to congratulate yourself on new accomplishments and take a step back [to see] what you can improve on; and hungry for new knowledge.

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Image: GTFX

Reese: Just push yourself, keep on training, and do what you love, and you’ll probably get there someday.  Always have fun!  My facial expressions just come naturally to [me].  You just have to feel the music.  If you’re having a bad day, just let that all go.  Just have fun and dance and have a party!

Everly Mag: How can young dancers work to become more confident when performing?

Taylor: I’d rather watch a dancer with presence and purpose than one just doing a bunch of tricks, so it’s important to really perform and use facial expressions.  Raw passion will always show through.  [I love] watching dancers who are truly passionate about what they do.  Dance is such a cool art form and we can use it in so many ways to share peace, love, and unity.

 

Confidence comes naturally, but there are things I have to think through.  There’s a lot of videotaping within [dance] class, and I have to stay confident that I’m going to be the best me when I perform, in class or onstage.  If I know I’ve been the best possible version of me, then I’ve done all I can do and I can be confident in who I am.  It can take a while to find who you are, and with time you will [and it] will feel amazing.

Everly Mag: What’s your favorite thing about social media?

Taylor: One of my favorite things is that I can share what I love to do with a wide range of people around the world.  I think that is so incredibly cool.  My goal is to inspire and spread love, peace, and unity, and I think with social media I can do that.  Putting out my dance videos inspires people, and watching other people’s dance videos inspires me.

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Image: Romy Young

Reese: My favorite thing is that I can show the world what I’m doing and show the fun things I’m doing.  I love to give advice, too, [and] just be positive and give the world some more positivity.

Everly Mag: What’s your least favorite thing about social media?

Taylor: On social media, you’re at risk to get hate, and everyone does no matter what.  You can’t escape it.  At the end of the day, you have to shake it off and ignore it, and understand that the hate is coming from a place of jealousy.  You don’t even have to try to figure out where it’s coming from, because it’s irrelevant.  You’ll have positive people who comment and say they’re inspired by you.  That’s what makes me happy.

Everly Mag: What are your hopes and dreams for the future?

Taylor: I definitely want to stay in dance.  It’s my true passion.  I would love to get more into modeling and acting.  I feel like acting is very creative, like dance, and it allows you to express yourself and be different characters.  I’m auditioning for roles right now and it’s very exciting.

Reese: When I am older, I definitely want to get into acting [and] get better at singing.  I want to do movies, TV shows, and little skits.  That would be so cool.  I want to keep on dancing!

Everly Mag: What do you like to do in your free time and with your friends?

Reese: With my friends, I want to just chill with them and hang out.  I also like going to hockey games with them.  Here in Canada, hockey is a huge thing so we love going to hockey games.  We love spending time together and just doing fun things.

Everly Mag: What can fans expect to see from you this year?

Taylor: There’s going to be a World of Dance Season 2 coming out soon, and I’m on that with my partner Josh Beauchamp.  I’m really excited for that.  More videos, vlogging more, social media, creating and teaching more, [and] more dancing.

Reese: There are a lot of things I’m excited about, so stay tuned.  We have a Hatala Sisters clothing line coming soon with unique styles including leggings, hoodies, [and] half-tops.  Really cool projects coming out very soon.


Find Taylor on Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.  Find Reese on Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.  Find the Hatala sisters on Instagram.

If you liked this interview, you might also enjoy reading:

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Feature Image Credit: Crystal T. Photography

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