Tag Archive | "Antony Ginandjar"

Inside Britney’s Las Vegas Residency!


By Kristy Johnson of Dance Informa.

There’s no denying Britney is on fire with a new show and hot new look. Ever wondered what it takes to put on a show of that caliber? Dance Informa caught up with choreographers Ashley Evans and Antony Ginandjar of The Squared Division and dancer Willie Gomez to find out exactly that.

The Squared Division

Congratulations on working with Britney for her Las Vegas residency! How did this opportunity come about?

Ashley
“We heard a rumor that Britney was looking for choreographers for her upcoming residency in Las Vegas. Soon after, an email went out via the director requesting choreography submissions for a show. Very little information was given and there were a few requirements for the submissions. We were in Los Angeles at the time, and thought, ‘How are we going to do this in America?’ So we instantly flew back to Sydney, called some of our favorite dancers up and filmed two pieces of choreography for our submission. Of course we went all out – costumes, sets and lights!”

The Squared Division with BritneyAntony
“We just did what we do, and we did it with passion. We stayed up until about 4 a.m. one morning editing them to get them off on deadline. Then it was about a week later [when] we got a call from the director saying Britney wanted to have a Skype meeting with us, as she was interested in working with us.”

Ashley
“A few days after that, the phone rang again and Britney wanted to meet us. We flew over to L.A. to meet Britney for a private one-on-one. It was directly after that session that we got the call from our agent saying ‘You just booked Britney.’”

How long had you known that you had secured the role of choreographer for Britney’s Las Vegas residency? Did you have to keep this a secret for a while?

Antony
“We actually had to keep it top secret for a couple of months. The project itself was not yet even confirmed to the public, let alone who was choreographing it. It was so hard. Naturally it is something you want to just scream from the rooftop, but we are very good at keeping secrets. It was funny, by the time we were allowed to tell people, we had known for so long and we were so involved that we kind of forgot to say anything. It wasn’t until Britney released the “Work Bitch” music video and I posted it on social media that people learnt the news and the response was amazing.” 

Ashley and AnthonyWhat is Britney’s work ethic like? From images in the media, it appears that she really does give her all.

Ashley
“Incredible. Some artists we work with just don’t put in the hours, whereas she definitely puts in the hours, working seven to nine hours per day. On top of rehearsing this show, she was releasing an album and doing press for that, shooting music videos and she is a mom of two! I don’t know how she does it. One thing you may not know about her is that she is always early. Britney is always 10 minutes early and always ready to go before you are. We absolutely love working with artists like this, it rubs off on everyone working on the project and everyone puts the extra work in.”

Is she easy to direct when it comes to choreography and overall vision? Does she like to have an input?

Antony
“Britney is definitely in control of everything she is doing. She collaborates with all the creatives involved – the director, stylist, dancers and definitely the choreographers. We worked on this project for about five months, and we really spent the first month getting to know her and understanding what it is she loves. Once you get on the same page as an artist it’s really easy – you create what you want to do with what you know they will love also.” 

Ashley and AnthonyWhat can we expect to see from the dance numbers?

Antony
“This show is such a massive dance show full of intricate dance routines. It’s non-stop. The dancers do not leave the stage as they are working so hard. At first they never thought they would get through it from start to end. We even had some dancers throwing up on stage during our first full runs of the show, crazy! They have now become machines and are super show fit.”

What’s next for The Squared Division?

Ashley
“Everything is always top secret. We have some really wonderful things possibly coming up so it’s going to be an exciting year. Our first goal was to relax, so we have taken some time out to rejuvenate and reinspire! Loving this time and as always excited for the future. It’s so important to take time out to rebirth some new creative energy.”

Britney Spears dancerWillie Gomez

Congratulations on working with Britney for her Las Vegas residency. Having worked with her before, did you have to audition for this particular job?

“I had to audition again. It was an all-new team from the choreographers to the director of the show.”

What’s it been like to work with The Squared Division? What kind of energy do they bring to the set and rehearsal room?

“It’s been great! I’ve learned so much from Ashley and Antony. They are such professionals and hard workers, and on top of that they have the best energy to be around. I have a lot of respect for them.”

What is Britney’s work ethic like?

“Britney works so hard. I give her props! It’s not easy to be a mom, be at rehearsals for the show with all of us for eight hours a day six times a week, and be releasing and promoting a new album at the same time. She did it! Got to love our girl.”

Britney Spears dancerFrom working closely with Britney, has she taught you anything about the industry or as a performer?

“I have been learning from Britney since I was about 16 years old to be honest. Which was way before I started working with her. [Laughs.] A big part of who I am today as a performer is thanks to her. She’s been a huge inspiration in my entire career. I love how even with all the success she’s had she still remains that sweet Kentwood Louisiana girl. No matter how much success I have, to always stay grounded. It’s not good to get caught up in the industry.”

How long did the rehearsal process go for, and what did it entail in terms of coming up with dance numbers and the overall vision of the show?

“The preparation of the show for us was about 12 weeks. We would come in and learn a number or two a day throughout the process, some things subject to change later on but that’s the process of the making of it. Ashley and Antony always had the choreography ready before they would put us into numbers. It’s fun! We all become a big family.”

We all know how competitive the industry can be. How do you make sure you’re on top of your game?

“Well, as some people may know, I am a fitness addict! I know this has helped me stay on top of my game. At auditions when it comes down to the last group of guys, they start looking at more than just your talents. It’s why I’m always training hard on my free time at least five days a week. I love to hike, take yoga or dance classes, workout at the gym and eat healthy. This keeps me always in the best shape and at auditions when it comes down to the last guys, it’s always a plus.”

Photos courtesy of The Squared Division.

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1+1 = The Squared Division


By Kristy Johnson.

With over 15 years of international industry experience, The Squared Division is a force to be reckoned with. Two singular talents, Antony Ginandjar and Ashley Evans, join to equal a powerhouse team in high demand both in Hollywood.

Collaborating with some of the hottest names in the industry such as Ke$ha and Taylor Swift, Antony and Ashley fuse their love of fashion, recording, styling and choreography to produce one-of-a-kind events.

Dance Informa caught up with the boys to chat about their start in the industry, and continued international success.

Can you tell us how The Squared Division came about?

Antony
We were professional dancers before we met. We actually met back in 2005. We both dabbled in choreography, but on the side Ashley was always working in fashion styling and I had an interest in song writing and recording. So it wasn’t until 2007 that we officially joined forces and decided to put everything we loved doing under one umbrella: styling, recording and choreography. From there, The Squared Division was born.

Taylor Swift with Antony Ginandjar of The Squared Division

Taylor Swift with Antony Ginandjar of The Squared Division

How well do you think you complement each other?

Ashley
We really complement each other. For the most part as creative directors, we deal with the lighting, designing, set prop design and camera shots; then choreography is the next step. We have such a large scope of duties and we really know how to delegate according to each other’s strengths. I guess that shows the 100 percent trust we have in each other. We’re able to stand back and critique each other’s work objectively and come up with something we both love.

Ashley, would you say fashion is what inspires you with your choreography?

Ashley
Art and fashion really inspire us. Alexander McQueen and Givenchy; I think clothing can change a performance. That piece of clothing also allows us to transport to another time and place. That’s where we get our direction from, and then the choreography as well.

When you’re working with stars such as Ke$ha or Taylor Swift, do you have an input as to what they wear?

Antony
Definitely. I guess that’s where the creative direction side comes into it. We put together what we call ‘creative treatments’ that involves not just the stage, lighting and choreography, but also the costumes for the dancers and performers. From there, we direct the artist’s personal stylist with what vision we’re seeing. They will then come back with their thoughts and it becomes kind of like a collaboration.

What is it like working with Ke$ha?

Antony
What we love about her is that she’s crazy in a really good way (laughs). She allows us to push boundaries and she pushes us quite far out of the box. We really love that. She’s a pop star but at heart she’s a rock god fusing her crazy rock and roll with her pop songs.

Ashley
We’ve been working with her for three or four years now, so we know exactly what she’s thinking.

Ke$ha and Antony Ginandjar

Ke$ha and Antony Ginandjar

Which choreographers inspired you when you were first starting out in the business?

Antony
I think for both Ashley and myself, the big one would have to be Bob Fosse. Then growing up in the pop era, Wade Robson is someone we have always looked up to. Kelley Abbey is a major inspiration for us as well.

When was the last time you had a ‘pinch yourself’ moment?

Antony
I guess the last time would probably be late last year. It was when Ash was back in Australia and he was working on the finale for the X Factor Australia, and at the same time I was in LA working on the American Music Awards with Ke$ha. It’s not often that we have to split up but we had two massive jobs on, so we had no choice. And then on top of all that, we got a call from our US agent telling us we just booked Taylor Swift! That was a spin out! After the meeting I called Ash on opposite sides of the world and we couldn’t stop laughing with amazement. We were literally pinching ourselves, thinking this was crazy, really stressful, and yet wonderful all at the same time!

Do you ever feel pressure living in LA?

Ashley
Not really. Every time we’re in LA we’re working. I guess we’ve been really lucky that as soon as we’re here in LA we’re working on big jobs. We haven’t experienced too much pressure yet (laughs). We’re very much day-by-day people and look forward to what the future may hold.

Kylie Minoque with Antony Ginandjar and Ashley Evans of The Squared Division

Kylie Minoque with Ashley Evans and Antony Ginandjar

How important is teaching to you?

Antony
We always say we wish we could do it more often. Master classes are definitely our way of getting back out there and seeing how the younger dancers are coming along. Hopefully we inspire them as much as they inspire us.

Ashley
At the end of the day, we’re only as good as our dancers. We really pride ourselves in working with amazing talent.

Where do you hope to see The Squared Division in the next five or so years?

Antony
I guess our goal is to continue to build our business in the US and all over the world, as well as continue to be strong in Australia. It’s always been a goal of ours to direct or choreograph an arena or stadium show for a music artist. That would be in five years or even less! And we’re both really passionate about the film industry, so all those things are on our cards.

To find out more about The Squared Division and keep up with all the news, visit www.thesquareddivision.com and www.facebook.com/THESQUAREDDIVISION.

Photo (top): Ashley and Antony of The Squared Division. Photo by Marvin Joseph.

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