Dance opens doors to creative life
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Jorie Brown
Jorie Brown
Thornhill's Jorie Brown is the head coach of the Toronto Argonauts cheerleading squad, a successful entrepreneur and a respected choreographer—and, perhaps most importantly, she serves as a prime example of the vast opportunities open to young dancers.
The 33-year-old believes she's able to indulge in her passions today because of her of involvement in dance growing up.
“My parents would often see me dancing to music videos in front of the television, so they decided to enroll me in a dance class at a local school in Thornhill when I was three years old,” she recalls
“I got started in ballet, jazz and tap. And, as I got older, I got into the competitive side of dance. I guess you can say that dancing has become part of my identity.”
While Brown was attending York University in 2002, her father, Bob Brown, told her the Toronto Argonauts were holding open auditions for their cheerleading team.
“Beyond her obvious love for dance, I knew it would introduce her to many new people and open doors to help her with a future career,” said the Thornhill dentist about his decision to recommend the Argos cheerleader audition to his daughter more than a decade ago.
Thanks to her strong background in dance, Brown landed a spot that summer and says she has been on an “exciting and amazing journey ever since.”
She would dance for the Argos from 2002 to 2005 before joining the Toronto Raptors Dance Pak for a brief stint. Realizing her heart was with the Argos, Brown returned to the team in 2010 as the head coach of the cheerleading squad.
Although the Thornhill dancer identifies many highlights during her time with the Toronto football team, she says the two that stand out most came in 2004 and 2012 when the Argos captured the Grey Cup.
“The wins in 2004 and 2012 were both very special in their own unique way. And it was just absolutely unreal to be on the sidelines and being part of the team's success,” Brown says.
“I still have the Grey Cup rings from those two victories, which I display proudly at home,” she adds with a wide grin.
In her current role, Brown is also heavily involved in the public relations and business side of the football club, including scheduling and planning cheerleader appearances, organizing fundraising initiatives and overseeing the junior cheerleader program.
Realizing how much she enjoys the business side of the sports and entertainment industry, Brown recently partnered with a longtime friend to start Cotton Candy Events Staffing, a company that provides brand ambassadors, street teams, host and hostesses, etc. to help clients promote their products or events.
With clients such as popular apparel companies, Canadian and American financial institutions and notable movie studios already on board, the business venture is off to a successful start.
While football and business have evolved into passions for the Thornhill native over the years, she says choreographing keeps her connected to her roots as a dancer.
“I remember being inspired by musicians through their music videos as a young girl, so it's just great to have the opportunity now to work with recording artists and be able to share my vision of their songs through the choreography in their performances,” Brown says.
One of her most notable assignments came recently when she was asked to come up with the choreography for an international chart topper at the 2015 Much Music Video Awards.
“The opportunity was posed to me to create something unique and exciting for OMI's debut at this year's MMVAs. The song Cheerleader is a major international hit; so my goal was to put together a performance that would be memorable and would complement the song perfectly,” she explains.
“We had to work in many elements, from his arrival car to the cheerleaders to the choreography and, at the same time, making sure all the camera angles worked, so it was a major project. But based on the feedback that I got, we nailed it,” adds Brown about working with the 28-year-old recording artist from Jamaica.
The York University graduate recalls that growing up as a dancer, she often received feedback that there weren't many opportunities in the field beyond a career as a professional dancer, but she says her own journey is proof that's simply not true.
“I've learned that there are so many doors that can open up because of dance,” she says. “Being involved in dance led me to work with the Argos and to start a business and, obviously, to choreograph. But for someone else, they can open up a dance studio or they can be a dance instructor or an educator and the list goes on and on.
“So, it's important for young dancers to understand that and just be open to all the possibilities.”


Jorie Brown's…
… favourite local restaurants.
I love Laterna and Me Va Me. Those are my go-to places.
…best career advice.
It would have to be from my dad. He's a dentist, but never pressured my sister, brother or myself to pursue the sciences. He just told us to do something we love and that we're passionate about and has always been supportive of my decisions. He's been my biggest cheerleader.
… alternate career path.
I would say teacher because I liked
the idea of being able to help people
grow and develop.

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