By happenstance, I ended up choosing The Federal Bar for dinner to meet the Canadian choreographer, Hollywood Jade. As we entered, the locale was dimly lit with tables that seemed to feel like separate small islands. No one seemed to notice us as we walked in. In fact, it seemed that everyone was so deeply into their conversations that I could have walked in with the wig that Ricki Lake wore in Hairspray and no one would have batted an eye. The waitress escorted Hollywood Jade and I to a lonely table in the secondary lounge. Though she was very sweet, she was visibly boggled when we asked for a food and drink recommendation. Later, we realized it was her first full day working for the establishment. So, we went with “easy” and asked for two waters. I gently turned the dial up by ordering a Z. Alexander Brown Reisling. The waitress returned after what seemed an eternity. Hollywood Jade requested one Mac and Cheese with Short Ribs, and I that’s when I asked him my most serious question of the night, “Who is your Sasha Fierce?” Without hesitation, he answered, “Hollywood. Hollywood Jade”.
I first met Hollywood Jade in Toronto, Canada and I vowed I would return just to see one of his shows. That was just over 7 years ago and it never happened, but we kept in touch. I noticed that his name plate around his neck said “Jade.” I confessed that I had mistakenly recorded his name as “Jake” in my memory bank. We laughed about that (or at least I think he laughed) and I settled in to learn more about this Canadian creative genius.
Hollywood Jade, named so by his mentor, Jae Blaze, is a first generation born Canadian, with Jamaican and Guyanese roots. Hollywood grew up in a house full of women. Dancing was both his retreat and escape from the family and having to conform to the traditional confines of his Caribbean culture. He taught himself to dance in his basement by watching videos. His family didn’t approve until Hollywood appeared in Hairspray. To some extent, they began to accept his dream of being a dancer. His formal technical experience came from writing and producing his own musical, Almost Broadway. Hollywood infused dancer terminology and directions for the cast of 22. Hollywood is currently the Artistic Director for DLM (Dance Like Me) Entertainment and its sub-company, ArtXperiential Projects, through which he has been able to create opportunities for other young choreographers and dancers. Hollywood seemed to glow just a little when he mentioned Brandy Norwood as the headliner of the event. We talked more about other artists Hollywood idolizes such as Aaliyah and Janet Jackson, but Hollywood expressed that sometimes he needs to check in with himself and take a trip. Hence he came to Los Angeles where he ended up getting booked to assist with a project.
Hollywood Jade is proud of the events that he has worked on in Los Angeles. You can see samples of his work on YouTube and Google and his social media is Hollywood Jade on Instagram and Hollywood Presents on Facebook.
By Julio Hanson