This is VIBE Spotlight: a weekly series that celebrates and shines a light on VIBE Arts’ roster of talented artists. Each Monday, our Instagram and website feature a different VIBE Artist and provide a look into their craft. Stay tuned and get to know the diverse talent that makes up our organization and community with #VIBESpotlight.
On this VIBE Spotlight, we’re shining a light on Alia J, an artist working within acting, dance, movement, and spoken word.
VIBE: Is there anything you are currently working on that you would like to share?
AJ: I’m working on my second full-length piece, Xiety Complex. Working on this one is a different experience in comparison to my first, and I’m excited to see where my writing goes. I’m incorporating dance and movement as well as original music, so there are more aspects that need my attention. The performances can sometimes take a toll on my body, but it’s worth it…. I have to stretch a lot.
VIBE: What has been one of your greatest accomplishments to date?
AJ: One of my greatest accomplishments would be having my first full-length piece, YellowZoned, produced in Hamilton following its initial run in the 2016 Toronto Fringe Festival. I had heard a few people say that anything “good” would get produced somewhere else – I didn’t know I wanted it until it happened. I’m always focused on producing work of quality. This was validation that my show was worth seeing beyond the two-week festival. It was exactly what I worked for.
VIBE: What has been one of your favourite moments while being on the VIBE roster?
AJ: VIBE has been incredible to work with. Being a part of their NExt Program allowed me to experiment with live performance in a way I had not previously been able to. With the support of a supportive and nurturing mentor, I was able to work through my anxieties and perform at the NExt Exhibition Opening. That performance is one of my favourite moments to date PERIOD.
VIBE: What are some of your future goals?
AJ: I want my workshop series Chill N Do Art to expand and reach out to different areas in the city. I’m focused on outreach and funding in regards to the workshop. An increase of funding would allow me to increase access for those attending and have the workshop series expand to a larger network.
VIBE: What is one of the greatest lessons you have learned thus far?
AJ: Don’t bother being jealous of it unless you’re willing to work just as hard to get it.
VIBE: What changes would you like to see in Toronto’s Art community?
AJ: More opportunities for those over 29 to explore new art forms and access affordable arts courses/workshops. The lack of resources creates anxiety around age and career. The thought that “I only have 3 years until I have no funding options” pops up more often than I would like it to.
Support Alia J: @its_aliaj | @chillndoart | aliaettienne.com
Stay tuned for more VIBE Artists on VIBE Spotlight