Photo by Kevin Jones.

Photo by Kevin Jones.

Natasha Powell is a Toronto-based dancer, choreographer, producer, and founding artistic director of Holla Jazz.

Born to a Grenadian mother and Jamaican father, Natasha’s first exposure to dance was through family social gatherings, basement parties, and backyard barbeques hosted by her parents and elder siblings.  With an older brother and sister growing up in the height of the hip hop era, it was only natural for Natasha’s dance practice to be rooted in the social dancing dancing from the Caribbean home.  

Enrolled in ballet, modern jazz, and tap classes from the age of nine, Natasha’s vocabulary encompasses a wide rage of dance styles that also include hip hop, house, and vernacular jazz.  She has trained with North America’s top instructors in the field from New York, Toronto, Los Angeles and Vancouver and continues to be a student to the craft at all times.

This vast training has lead to a number of appearances in film, television and stage with performances in HBO Series The L Word, Nickelodeon movie Spectacular!, the dance movie Center Stage 2, and graced numerous stages across North America.  As co-artistic director of Catalyst Dance Company alongside Janet L. Castillo, she co-created a body of eclectic works for clients including Fashion Alternative Week, Four Seasons Hotel, Canada Philipines Fashion Week, The Toronto Fringe, Free the Children, Artbound, and the Canadian Special Events Gala.  Natasha is the co-producer/choreographer for the dance-theatre production Gimme One Riddim; has received grant awards for new creations, productions, and research from the Toronto Arts Council, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Canada Council for the Arts;  is the recipient of the 2014 DanceOntario Dance Weekend Commission Award; and is on the board of directors for the Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists.

An injury forced Natasha to take a slight pause, but also introduced her into the new territory of her creative career - of jazz dance.  Grant awards from the Canada Council and Ontario Arts Council supported her New York residency research period, guided by Professor Moncell “iLLKozby” Durden and support from Margaret Batiuchok, Nathan Bugh to study the roots of jazz dance, lindy hop, and their connection to the popular street dances as we know them today.  This residency was the birth of new creative chapter for Natasha leading to creation of Holla Jazz - an arena where all jazz dances, hip hop, and house intersect to reinvigorate the idea of freedom and unity of the dance styles that bring meaning and hope to our communities.