Interview: Timor Steffens


Timor is working with world’s greatest artists, making choreographies all over the world, teaching and giving workshops worldwide, judging on national TV shows, co-creating television formats, acting, modeling and much more. His resume includes names such as Janet Jackson, Madonna, Chris Brown, Whitney Houston, Beyoncé and Usher.

In 2008 he signed up for the TV talent show ‘So You Think You Can Dance’. His hard work paid off when he was awarded 1st runner up in the competition. This experience changed Timor’s life and he is now recognized as one of Holland’s top dancers.

Craving More, Timor traveled to Los Angeles for the first time to shoot a music video. It was three months later that he received a phone call for the Michael Jackson audition. Timor poured his heart and soul into the audition and it paid off. He became one of the 12 principal dancers of the This Is It Tour.

After the sad and sudden dead of Michael Jackson and so end of the This Is It tour Timor decided to do exactly what he learned and experienced during his time with MJ: inspiring and sharing. So he did. Up until this day Timor inspired a lot of people to work and learn with and from him.

His main goal is to become one of the best choreographers and art directors in the world, as well a renowned actor. With his work Timor wants to inspire people worldwide in all aspects of life.

What did you think about the workshop you just gave?

I liked it! It was a diverse group, and I’m not used to that. Normally I teach advanced dancers: dancers who want to have a serious dance career or who want to work in the dance industry. This was an open group, with different levels. These people just like to dance and were open to learn new things, which is very nice.

At EDS we provide different dancing styles: hiphop, salsa, kizomba and ballroom. Are you a master in all dancing styles?

I began with hiphop in the underground scene with battles, which include a lot of hiphop, waving, popping, break dancing and all that kind of stuff. Then I started studying ballet and modern at the high school Codards. I've done four years of ballet and modern, where I’ve learned to control my body. I moved to America when I was 20 and over there I have actually done everything. I just use my technique well, so I'm actually an all-round dancer. When I learned ballroom, for example in the program So You Think You Can Dance, I could camouflage that I didn’t had a lot of experience with this style. I call myself more of a ‘master of movement’ because I can control my body very well and therefore I’m able to learn different styles. I'm not a master ballet, no master in ballroom. But when I’m learning one of those styles, I can feel how something is supposed to be just by carefully watching the choreographer regardless of what style we do.

What makes a dance teacher a good one?

I think it is very important for a dance teacher to understand well what the level is of a group that he or she teaches. Also important is to bring innovative material every week so the persons feel that they are growing. Teachers also have to do a little research into what is now going on in the dance industry. This way they continue to innovate as well. A dance teacher must be patient with people and well prepared. That's number one, I think, for a dance teacher. Being patient, innovative, and aware of the different levels in the group so everyone can develop himself or herself and will become a better dancer.

Do you also think that a dance teacher has to be a very good dancer as well?

You can be a good dancer but actually terrible in teaching. You can also be a very good dance teacher but a horrifying choreographer, and vice versa. I think, if you are a dance teacher that you first need to have the understanding in the base of the style that you want to teach. You also have to know what it's like to perform on stage, because then you have that experience to share with the group. You also have a lot of people who are teaching but aren’t good dancers yet, so then, what do you learn? Same as I'm not a professor of science and I'm going to talk about science: it’s not right! With dancing it’s exactly the same, so I think that a good dance teacher first have to master the material. You have no dance diplomas so it’s hard to see if someone is or is not good, you can only assume. I think good dance teachers have to be honest to themselves and must deepen those styles before they teach someone else.

Do you have a signature move?

Phew… a signature move… I do not know. Often I do tricks like the gainer (video), which is the somersault that I do very often. That's one of my signature moves I guess? One of my signature moves as a choreographer is that everything has to be in sync. In my work, everything has a lot of symmetry, as you saw at the workshop. All the people with black shirts to the right, then the dark colours, lighter colours and finish with white at the left. I do this in all the shows that I make too. You will never see a show I made that is asymmetrical. I also love details, which is important.

Do you want to see some of the work Timor did? Check his website   My American dream – Timor Steffens   gainer van Timor Steffens


Written by Amber-Louise de Jong