Former Beacher Tamina Pollack-Paris is one of the stars of a new reality-style TV show airing Friday nights at 7 p.m. on Family Channel. The Next Step follows a group of dancers trying to make it big in the dance world.
“It profiles the lives of elite dancers in the Next Step studio and it shows the process of going to competitions, coming up with routines, and also the relationships between all the members,” said Pollack-Paris. “A lot of people get to only see the final product, so it shows the behind the scenes of everything that goes on before we get on to that stage.”
Pollack-Paris, who is in her 20s, is no stranger to the stage. She has performed with Lady Gaga, and appeared on the TV shows Glee, American Idol, Camp Rock, Frenemies and the first season of So You Think You Can Dance Canada. She was one of the on-stage dancers alongside Canadian superstar Justin Bieber at the Billboard Music Awards.
“At first it was surreal because, okay, this is Justin Beiber, but actually he’s really just a normal kid, and he just wants to have fun and it was super fun to share the stage and perform in front of so many people,” said Pollack-Paris. “It was live, too, so it’s like, no mistakes, you have to be on it, you know. Pyrotechnics are going, and if you stand over the pyrotechnics then you’re going to get hit and the show is going to be done.”
Pollack-Paris has been dancing, as she says, “forever,” and loved to ham it up every time her mom turned on a video camera.
“She saw that I had this spark of energy and every time she put the camera on I was just ready to go, ready to perform.”
At the age of eight, she received a scholarship to study hip hop, jazz, Irish, ballet and modern dance at Toronto’s Interplay School of Dance. A year later, she auditioned for and won a spot on the Toronto Raptors’ Junior Dance Pak, her first step into the world of professional dance. Three years ago she moved to Los Angeles to pursue her career, but she still returns often to Toronto to see her family and keep up with her schooling. She is studying Business part-time at Ryerson University.
Although she retains ties here in T.O., Pollack-Paris plans to keep following her dream in L.A.
“I want to continue acting and I also want to dance and I want to combine business with it because that’s what I’m in school for,” she said. “I want to find something where I can combine all three worlds and just follow my passion and do it all.”